Friday, 19 December 2008

Christmas Cheer?

It's cold here at the moment. Overnight lows down to 4ºC and daytime highs not much more than 15ºC so we are all wearing woolly jumpers and stuff to keep the chills away. But at least the rains have gone away at last, we've had a good few heavy downpours in the last 2 weeks keeping my babies out on the balcony well satisfied but now, because of the sunshine, I'm having to keep a wary eye on their welfare.

My photo of one of the Xmas decoration pieces set out in the town centre does nothing to uplift my spirit this Christmas time because the annual disaster occurred last Friday while I was visiting Ann & Bill for a chat.......Larisa sent a message to say that she was leaving for Russia on Saturday night. I knew that she had been waiting for a visa to go to The Crimea with Viktor to meet his family etc. but I hadn't been expecting it to arrive before Christmas. My reply some 3 hours later (after I'd left Ann & Bill) let her know that the Saturday was my day off and that I had been hoping to see her as normal and was disappointed that that could not now happen. "I'm busy until 6pm" she replied, "come then and go to the airport with us, we have to be there at 10pm". I did one better; I dared to ask Ann if I could borrow the car so that I could take her to the airport. And that is what happened on a "filthy" night weatherwise. I've not seen so much rain in a long time but, after a meal together indoors at Calahonda, we made it safe-and-sound to the airport with time to spare. Whilst she hadn't interfered with, or tried to influence, my holiday arrangements (for Aaron & Shellies' sake as well as the fact that she hadn't known when her papers would arrive) she let me know that she had been hoping that I would have been able to go with her for a couple of weeks. "But you've got my email address?". I quoted it off the top of my head right there-and-then in the middle of the airport departure hall and judging by her face on hearing it, that pleased her very much. She's back on March 11th.

Folk are beginning to arrive for their Xmas break here in Torre, including a lady from Germany, who visits every year at this time, who told me last night on her first sortie into the bar that she had printed my paella recipe off the website and made it for herself back home in Kiel. Fame at last!! Ann & Bill have invited me to Christmas Dinner and I've managed to persuade Favio to allow me to open a little later than normal so that I don't have to rush the Brandies! Teresa is away for the Christmas week so I'll be running the place on my own, no doubt without a day off (again), and then she returns in time for New Year's Eve when we are planning to throw a little bash with some grub 'n stuff on the bar, having opened at 11pm or so. It'll be a busy day for me prepping food etc., and without Larisa here to give me a hand it won't be the same, previous years we've always been together at this time. ¡Esa es la vida!

Monday, 8 December 2008

A Souper End

All good things come to an end they say. It's true, my holiday finished yesterday and later today I pick up where I left off 2 weeks ago. Aaron's visit was too short of course but despite some dull weather he and Shellie enjoyed their stay on the Costa del Sol. They went home last Monday and then Larisa called me early on Wednesday to say that Viktor had arrived and that I should come to see him etc. I stayed for 3 days and got told off about keep asking if I can do things (such as make a cup of tea) with the words, from her, "esta casa, tu casa". During my stay we went for a walk down to the nearby Calahonda Beach where I took this shot of the sun descending towards setting for the day before going to a local Chinese for a meal but the real highlight for me was a bowl of the soup that she was making when I first arrived. A Ukrainian recipe, she told me, involving Chicken pieces, cabbage, carrot, onion, beetroot and potato which I am having a go at myself this very afternoon. Mine's not as pink as hers was so next time....more beetroot, but I think that I have got it nearly right.

I'm going to have to brush-up on my dancing; Thursday evening the living-room floor was turned into a dance-floor whereupon I found myself required to lead her in a Viennese Waltz to the strains of a suitable Russian tune. There not being enough space for such a dance in the average living-room with the carpet lifted we soon had to give that idea up which was a shame but she keeps taking (or getting me) to dance and I'm rusty. It's well over 35 years since I last danced regularly and it is time to go back to "school" I think.

You did not meet Viktor while you were here simply because he wasn't but he has asked after you and I'm to pass on his fact this last photo here is a wave to you from both of them which they wanted me to take especially, while I was there, so that they could do just that.

OK, I think my soup is cooked and I have to bash on and get ready for work which means that I cannot serve it like she did with cloves of raw garlic on the side to nibble between spoonfuls. Never mind, maybe for supper later on when I get back home.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

In Conjunction

I've just noticed that across the internet there are thousands of photos posted of the conjunction between the Crescent Moon, Jupiter and Venus. As it happens here is one more taken from Larisa's terrace on Sunday after I'd noticed the event for myself in the evening sky. I tried a dozen times to take a decent shot but my hand wasn't steady enough so I have to thank Shellie for coming to my rescue, taking my camera and photographing the phenomenon for me with such clarity that the whole orb of the moon can be seen in the image
Calahonda, MARBELLA, España, 30/11/08, 18:44

Monday, 1 December 2008

¡¿Por que no me dices antes?!

An early start this morning saw Aaron and Shellie arrive on-time for their check-in and later he sent a txt to say that they had safely arrived in Manchester. Although the weather was chilly throughout their stay at least the rain stayed away during the daylight hours allowing them to enjoy themselves in the wintry sun.

Yesterday we went to Calahonda. Paella was on the menu, paella mixta to be precise, full of seafood. And the starters? Amongst all there was Sardinas (Sardines), Pulpo (Octopus) and Gulas (Baby eels). Upon seeing all this being prepared in the kitchen I took a deep breath and quietly kind of mentioned in passing that Aaron was not all that fond of seafood. "Why didn't you tell me before??" to which I unsuccessfully explained that there hadn't been an opportunity before what with Bill's Thanksgiving do and stuff. As it happened Aaron and Shellie coped admirably with all that was offered, including the very worm-like eels!

They had to pack ready for their trip home so the evening came to a close earlier than normal with a walk down to the bus-stop and the dreaded 220. Once back in Torre they decided that they still had enough time to pop into the bar with me to say cheerio to Teresa and anyone else who happened to be there and while we were there Larisa rang to make sure that we had arrived back in one piece (so to speak). Unusual, that; she normally trusts the bus and train to do their job without incident....anyway, the last two photos of their visit to see me are posted here. First, at the bus-stop bidding Larisa goodbye and second, taken by Teresa in the bar minutes before they went back to the hotel to pack.