Friday, 15 June 2007

Had a Visitor!

I got it wrong. The day of the fish, yes. To do with the Virgen Carmen? No. Fireworks? No. So I've edited the previous posts. I had a spinoff from the festivities though, people were in the door more less right after I'd opened.

Larisa is here (in Fuengirola). She txt'd me to that effect at 1615. And not long after, following my directions, although I think she remembered the bar from a single visit we made to it a while ago, she arrived sporting a beaming smile!! I'm not expected to work on Saturday..."trabaja sin descanso? ¡No bueno!" without rest(day)? Not good! Instead, I'm to call her on Saturday. And she's mentioned Paella, maybe I should go shopping......

Managed to bake a potato today in the microwave without incinerating it! Whilst it was OK I much prefer a proper oven job with the crispy skin.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Birthday Girl

Today is my Mother's 21st Birthday (again!) This is to wish her "Feliz Cumpleanos" from Spain. I can't be there to help you celebrate Mum but I know the family will make sure that the day is a good one for you. I'll be thinking of you.
Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Summer Heat

Maximum today was 33C, so that makes it the new hottest day so far this year. It seems that summer has arrived!! Luckily though as the temp climbs the humidity drops (this can be seen on the graphs at the website) but, no doubt, that will change as we go through July.

Tonight the bar was a little busier early on but I was still able to get away at about 2300 because the evening went quiet.

Tomorrow Thursday 14th June is "El Dia de Los Pescaitos de La Carihuela" or The Day of the Fishes. the fiesta is all about free food (fish) and wine. Mostly it all happens during the day so I expect the bar to be dead for much of tomorrow.

More sun

I had a call via skype from Bill in America this afternoon and another from a friend in the UK, both of which put me back by a half-hour or so, and in the consequent rush to get to the bar on time I forgot to get the sunscreen. Which means I've caught another dose of sunshine only this time it is slightly worse because I had a haircut yesterday. There is a hair salon opposite the bar and I took an opportunity to put the "back in 5 minutes" sign in the window and go across for a 7euro cut.

The Bar was relatively quiet again tonight. This week so far has been nowhere near as good as last week.

Monday, 11 June 2007


Her reply came at 2150 tonight. She is in Madrid and coming to Malaga this weekend. She is back and we are getting together. Life is sweet.
At the time (2 years ago) the toast was to my Mum. Still is.

A mi, ella es muy especial (to me, she is very special). In recent emails sent while she was in Russia she has hinted about going home to Omsk for good so this return to Spain may be make or break for us. It's not her, it's me. I've got to get over my hangups. Her message has been clear right from the very start of our friendship and people here around me are now telling me to stop being such a bloody fool! And, bless her, she really does keep trying. Now it is my turn. While she is here we are planning to visit London, staying at my Mother's, "quality time" together which will give me a chance to sort my mind out. (Her idea to go to London together, not mine........)

The daily walk to work at 1445 is giving me a suntan to the face. I can feel the heat in my skin so tomorrow I am going to buy sunscreen with a high factor to tone down the effect of the sun. It's surprising what even just 15mins in strong sun can do.

The bar was quiet today and what with the excitement of Larisa's reply I decided to shut shop at 2230 to save the electricity. Philip did say that it has its good and bad days and to play it by ear.

Learnt that it doesn't take 20mins to "bake" a potato in the microwave. Incinerate, yes, bake, no. Place was full of fumes. I thought 20mins was the right length of time, apparantly not, more like 7 or 8 I've since been told. My dinner was spoilt. Another reason to take the opportunity to get away get fed.

Better this week

Sunday was better this week than last week although it was quiet for the first few hours. Ran out of a couple of lines. Have had to bring a "shopping list" home ready for a call to the suppliers in the morning. On the landline it will be free apart from the fact that there isn't a phone in the bar.

Either she's not here in Spain yet or hasn't turned her spanish phone on but I haven't heard anything so far.

Doing crackers, cheese and pickles for supper. Probably not a good idea bearing in mind the late hour but it is giving me an excuse to have some of the homemade pickled beetroot I bottled late last week. Cooked beetroots have appeared in the shops here and sliced and bottled in malt vinegar with a teaspoon of brown sugar they have turned out just like the real thing with a famous label. Mind you, actually doing the job is one of the messiest messes I have ever gotten myself into; the red juice goes everywhere!!! Kettles boiled, I'm going to get some tea brewing...........

Sunday, 10 June 2007

It was worth it

Opening up yesterday evening that is. 4 hours or so 8pm til just after midnight and even after I had shut the doors they were still knocking to ask if I was closed! I shall do the same next week off my own back (not at somebody else's request). I was so busy that I didn't manage to have my Dinner until I'd closed the doors. Mince, mash & spinach that I'd prepared earlier and just had to reheat.

Larisa's flight from Omsk is on time, although I'm not sure that the flight I'm tracking is the one she is on. But it is the only one that makes sense time-wise. Arrival in Madrid is scheduled for 1110 so I'll send an SMS shortly after and see if I get a reply, assuming she turns her Spanish Mobile on promptly.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

What a Night

Today is my day off...only it isn't. I was asked last night to open the bar tonight and I've agreed to open at 8 for a few hours. My company seems to be well sought after! Last night I closed at 0230 after a good night during which my photo was taken half-a-dozen times, my knees stroked simultaneuosly by 2 ladies while posing with them for photos and then, to top it all, my backside was pinched! And I thought life in the Bar Jardin was fun!! Anyway, I've asked for copies of the pictures via email so that I can post one or two here in due course.

So, today, some shopping and housework is in order. Tomorrow is 10th June, the Moscow flight is scheduled to land in Madrid at 1110hours (how I wish I could be there) and I want to be ready for.... whenever.

Oranges, 99cents for 2kgs (about 70p for 4.5lbs?) in the "corner shop" opposite the bar. Significantly cheaper than the big boys in town, excellent quality and with plenty of surprisingly sweet juice. I juice 2 a day for breakfast. Milk is also 4cents cheaper there than in Mercadona (Spain's 'Tesco').

Friends in the USA have found me on Skype which means the calls across the pond are now going to be free!

Friday, 8 June 2007

A long day

12hrs+ to be exact. I left home at about 1330 this afternoon and have just got home at 0150. I had to go in early to receive a beer order that could arrive anytime from 1300 onwards and as it was I was late. Luckily the Dray was parked nearby as I got to the bar and I had to pass it whereupon I asked the drayman (in my best Spanish) if my order was aboard to which he replied "No". That only confirmed a fear that my (unacknowledged) txt message to the rep yesterday had not been actioned. It was on though and a half-hour later was duly barrowed into the bar (I am not the only one delivered to from that particular roadside location.)

I'm enjoying myself. The social life (as a bar-keeper) is second to none and I am getting mine back (albeit for a brief few weeks). The bar is tending to be a "late bar" which normally I wouldn't countenance but the punters are nice people and the rapport building up between us is good. I'm told I make the best tea around!! (It's a cafe/bar dont forget). I took my dinner in today; a chicken curry I made earlier. Mouths were watering when I settled down to eat it at about 7pm. "You can cook then?" somebody enquired. "Oh yes" said I. "Smells lovely" he said. "No you can't " I replied.

June 10th is just round t'corner. I can't wait.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Busy little Bee

Well, if I sounded surprised at the fact that the bar is closed on Saturdays then I'm even more surprised at the level of trade on a Monday!! I was kept on my toes all day yesterday. Not overwhelmingly but a steady stream of punters; at one point all tables on the terrace were occupied. Mind you, Sunday was dead.

Walking home last night was an effort. I had no energy and found it hard work to "make my legs work". Perhaps this last year's sedentary lifestyle has taken it's toll and is now being worked off. I hope so. Today I will make sure that I have high energy sustenance for lunch and maybe I will buy one (or some) of those energy drinks that are on the market now to keep me going. The last three days have been purely salad with either fish or chicken...good for the waistline and heart etc but not packing a calorie punch (for energy). Dinner is difficult because I'm working and tends to be a bit "snacky" so I suppose I ought to do something about that as well. I'm also wondering whether the daily Blood Pressure medication is having an effect (making me tired) bu I don't think that's the case.....previous evenings journeys home have been fine, more or less, energy wise, but then the bar hasn't been as busy.

I have a backlog of phonecalls and emails to answer (latest was yesterday from a friend in the USA, which I received by chance because there is no signal in the bar for mobiles and I just happened to be outside tending the tables). Some I have flagged URGENT but getting home at 1 in the morning, or later, tired out, means that I go straight to bed. Also, because many are from abroad the time difference has a huge impact on whether, and when, it is sensible to respond. Bear with me, I am no longer "lazing around" all day hanging on the phone or computer!!

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Change of Server

The changeover to a remote host for the website is just about complete. Based in India, and providing all the facilities (at an extremely nice price) that the site requires I'm very pleased to have found and don't mind giving them a plug for their business. One or two jobs left to do but they are relatively insignificant and will make no difference to the site's performance. I took the opportunity to tweak the webcam settings to try and make the updates/video more reliable. I haven't had any feedback so can only assume that the camera is performing adequately. Certainly I now notice more and more people looking out for it as they pass by below the balcony on which it is situated. Why the move? Because the continuous disk writing required by the webcam software has caused serious wear and tear to the hard-drive on the machine that was used as the server. It now needs replacing and I don't want it to fail just yet, it wouldn't be convenient!

Today, Saturday, is my day off from my little job. The bar is closed today. Very different from the UK where saturday night is THE night of the week for takings. One can't blame "changeover day" because that doesn't exist now......changeovers happen on a daily basis these days.

Weather today was a little cooler than of late and just as well because I have spent the day houseworking etc. doing all those little chores that have gone by the board since my routine changed last Monday. I still perspired though; Málaga airport recorded a max of 24C today, and I recorded 27C on my terrace 9kms away from that weather station. By the way, it is the airport readings that are reported on the website.