Showing posts from April, 2010

Market Day

After yesterday's busy day of hospital visit plus some supermarket shopping, my daughter has been confined to the couch for today, except for an early visit to the market in the village. Thursday is market day in Campo Camara. This is a busy thriving little village and most people buy their weekly shopping from the little supermarket and the weekly market, trips to the bigger supermarkets are kept to a minimum. I think shopping locally is very important if you want villages to survive. The village is much smaller than my own village in England but it certainly seems to be just as busy. We bought lots of fruit and veg. We were not buying meat today but the choice was very tempting. Here we have cured ham being carved, wafer thin, off the bone. Very yummy with a salad for lunch. Lots of cured salami sausages. They also make the best black puddings I have ever tasted here. A box of fresh sardines.... mmmmmmmm. ...................and then we went to the local bar for a

Nest Building

The last few days we have been nest building... you know, doing all those little jobs that need doing before baby arrives. Some thorough cleaning - my daughter sits on the couch and directs me, while cleaning or dusting a favourite ornament - sweeping, washing floors and cleaning lamp shades is all down to me. It has been a sort of busman's holiday and I must say I have quite enjoyed it - it is a nice change to clean some one elses house. We even got around to clearing a pile of dry grass and logs and scrap cardboard from the garden and making a bonfire. Bonfires are not allowed after the 1st May due to the fire risk so we were determined to get this done before then. When we cleared the pile of cuttings and damp cardboard we discovered some rather large squatters underneath... We don't know which type of beetle they are or what their proper names are but we left a small pile of leaves for them to find some shade. It's 27 degrees C here today... it was 17C this

Moors and Christians

Today we went to Bena Maurel where they celebrated the rich history of this area... it is Moors and Christians day. The Moors were here for several hundred years and their influence is everywhere in the architecture and art work of the past... and then the Christians drove them out. If, like me, you are a costume officianado then you would be as impressed as I was. As we waited for the procession to begin we were entertained by some dancing horses as their riders put these beautiful animals through their paces for the delight of the crowd. Then the Moors marched/danced past us... it took quite some time as group after group paraded through the street... each with their own band accompanied by the noise of firecrackers going off - symbolising the medieval canon fire. Each group to pass had quite different costumes but they were fantastic... not historically accurate you understand, but very beautiful. And the backs were as impressive as the fronts... And then came the Christi


It's the weekend and we went to Castril to do a little sight seeing. This town is very beautiful, nestled half way up a mountain, swathed in mist in the early mornings and bathed in sunlight in the afternoons. The swifts migrate from Africa in early spring and arrived here just a week or two ago... the air was frantic with their calls and their swoopings and aeorobatics. The sun was shining and I had to crack open the Factor 30 sun cream ... my fair skin can't take too much sunshine without burning. Castril is a popular destination for tourists as well as the swifts but this early in the season the town was very quiet. Castril was famous for it's glass blowing in the past but today has only one glass blowing factory still open with a little factory shop where you can buy the most beautiful hand made glass objects... sculptures, vases, plates, jugs and glasses... considering what they were the items were really quite cheap but my budget is very small so I chose a lit


My daughter suffers from Aphasia . The way this condition manifests itself can be different in every sufferer. For my daughter, it has interfered with her ability to express herself in anything but fairly simple language. Sometimes when she is trying to explain something that requires a more complicated language structure she has difficulties. For example, if she is trying to tell me what someone else has told her, about something that may happen in the future, she gets very confused and frustrated and often the correct word does not automatically come to mind and the nearest available word pops in making the whole sentence either nonsense, or actually have a totally different meaning from what she intended. It is made worse by the fact that she knows she has not said what she wanted to. She understands everything you say to her and she can read the written word just as fluently as she did before having aphasia but she cannot express herself the way she used to. She feels what

Hurrah! I'm in Spain...

Arrived here this morning after a very early flight... no problems at all... I didn't really notice the airport being that much busier than normal except that there was no online check in so we all had to queue. And my flight wasn't full either... Really too tired to blog at the moment but suffice to say that BillySarah is looking very well indeed and apart from being a bit weary is coping very well with the pregnancy. So much so that they are letting her go full term and barring any last minute complications she will have a normal birth. She is on medication to stop convulsions and is still coping on a daily basis with the Aphasia but more on that curious condition over the next few days.

Stuck in the UK

Reality check now. I am still booked on a flight first thing tomorrow morning and the website shows it as still operating. But I am pretty certain it wont be. The buses are fully booked for at least the next two weeks... the trains are only viable if you book in advance... even my little windfall would not cover the journey if I have to buy the tickets on the day at the station. Ilona suggested contacting an international haulage firm and tomorrow I may well give it a go... I once travelled by lorry from Amsterdam to Nice in the south of France and it was a pleasant enough journey... mind you I was 18 and with a friend and it was the 20th November 1975. How do I know the exact date? Well as we drove down through France we heard on the radio that Franco had died, I remember being firstly impressed that I understood the French radio presenter, and secondly this was quite momentous for europe and hailed a new beginning for Spain. As you can imagine I am devastated at not being ab

The Dark Ages

Well this is a funny old time isn't it? As Cyberkim has pointed out in the comments section of my last post... is this supposed to be progress? Indeed if I travelled by zeppelin I would be on my way! Lets not go into the downsides of zeppelin travel... mind you they would have solved all those little problems by now wouldn't they? I am still booked for Monday morning's flight to Almeria. However, while the volcano with the unpronounceable name continues to spew forth, ash cloud conditions will be the same, and it is likely my flight will be cancelled AGAIN. OK says I, lets be adventurous and look at the trains... mmm... seems like I am not the only one up for an adventure... fully booked from London to Paris.... Oh and the French railways have recently been on strike... are they still on strike? How can we tell? The websites are not very clear... so even if I do get to Paris... would I get any further? What about the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao? Mmmm P&O


Well as you guessed... I am not in Spain... it was nearly 11pm last night before my flight appeared as officially cancelled, giving me the option to reschedule. By the time I navigated through the webpages (including the one that didn't work!) to book another flight... I couldn't get a ticket until Monday morning! But that will give this cloud plenty of time to dissapate or move away or whatever ash clouds do. On the subject of ash clouds.... have you seen it? I mean any evidence of it? I watched the sunset for any unusual colours in the upper atmosphere... nope. I phoned a friend in the very north of Scotland... had she seen any evidence of it? Nope. I listened to the news telling me there might be ash on my car this morning... nope. The prevailing wind at the moment is from the north... sunny outside but a very chilly wind... Iceland is north of us... so where is this ash cloud? Now the conspiracy theorists among us may speculate about this unprecedented grounding


....And just as I prepare for my trip......... a volcano erupts in Iceland and today's flights to Almeria, Spain, are cancelled due to volcanic ash in the upper atmosphere... at the moment tomorrow's flights are all still flying... my fingers are crossed. ...And I catch up on a film that I missed last Sunday on BBC 3... It is called Farewell (do watch the trailer it is sooooo worth it) and is the story of the Graf Zeppelin's circumnavigation of the world in 1929 - from the diaries and articles of the only woman on board. Lady Grace Drummond-Hay. The film is compiled from the exact footage of the original journey.... I am a complete fan from now on... if you like the trailer then UK residents can watch on BBCiplayer (BBC 3)... for the rest of the world... alas... I don't know how you will get to see it. But do seek it out if you can. Lady Grace is a woman of her times... among the items she packed for the journey ... Channel no. 5. I love it!!

Thank you Inari

This year has been really expensive so far. Unplanned for expenses such as two trips to Scotland and to Spain have really pushed our finances beyond the normal limits. I hate it when we are in the red. This was the year that I had hoped to make an overdraft a thing of the past. Well when it's your family and an emergency you don't worry about things like that but the consequences need to be addressed. While in Japan I prayed to Inari for wealth ... I felt myself blush because I am not used to asking for things for me when I pray (if I pray). But it was actually quite a liberating experience... to be so honest and say... I would like some money please. Well... we haven't won the lottery - which is what I had in mind at the time, but I have had a little windfall from a totally unexpected quarter, that has put us back in the black. It is such a relief I can tell you. Do I believe Inari listened to my prayer? I think it would be nice to live in a world where Gods lis

Boys will be Boys!

In my last post I explained about my brother and my father going on a road trip together. Their plan was to drive down to the South of France to collect my brother's motorbike and then bring it back on a trailer to the UK (my brother used to live in the south of France you see) with some sight seeing along the way. But that is not quite how it has turned out.... Just as I was getting the house back to normal after having visitors my brother phoned me to say that they were in France but were leaving as quickly as possible.... I was a bit confused as you can imagine. It turns out that my brother was stopped for speeding by the French police, fined 130 euros and then banned from driving in France for six months... on the spot!! While my brother was speaking to me on the phone he kept saying "brake ... brake"... what on earth is going on I asked? "Oh Dad is driving and we are headed towards Belgium now..." I was completely stunned... my dad hasn't driven

Father's and Sons

I have had my father to stay this week. He will be 87 in a couple of months and he is recently widowed. My father and I have always got on really well. We like the same kind of things. We just get on. Now that he is older this hasn't changed much... except that I have to give him a little more time and sometimes shout (especially if he has forgotten his hearing aid). I was determined to enjoy his visit, to enjoy him, after all... he won't be here forever... I won't be here forever! In spite of not having a great deal of money to spend we had a great week. We went to a couple of museums in Oxford - all the museums are free so it's a great way to spend an afternoon. We visited my son who has just bought himself a new house and had a lovely pub lunch with him. And we walked by the river and then sat in the garden yesterday enjoying the first real spring sunshine. Here is my dad getting to grips with the tennis on the wii! I am so proud of the way he is always u

And the winner is.............!

Mama Mouse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YaY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so please, Miss Mama Mouse... would you email me your snail mail addy and I will post you a couple of green tea sachets. Thank you so much to everyone who has posted comments and followed my blog so avidly over the last few weeks.. As a reward for you all... this is a little video clip of a waterfall in Kyoto train station... it writes words... how clever is that!! No it isn't... this is the view from the train... d'oh! Hopefully the next one will be the right one! lol! Scroll down to the bottom to view! on to some more news. My daughter in Spain, the one who had the brain hemmorage(sp?) a few weeks ago, was back in hospital for a few days this week after having had a seizure of some sort. She recovered very quickly and they could find nothing wrong in the brain so we are assuming that it is 'aftershocks'... I read somewhere that this can happen due to scarring from the brain surgery. My grand d

Trip to Japan - And finally.... The Giveaway!!!!

The Japanese love to write in English (and French too) they think it's sophisticated and cool. So you see English everywhere... only trouble is, they make literal translations from the Japanese Kanji and this doesn't always make sense... seen on a bag for sale (just couldn't justify buying it)... for those who can't zoom reads... Please do not go out with having left me in a house, If I am here, can you go out with you? I am unpleasant, I hate it being left. Some of the best one's are on this website Engrish.Com which I have been a fan of for some time. This is what makes travel so wonderful!! And now for the GIVEAWAY. I brought back from Japan (courtesy of the Hirakata Sun Plaza Hotel) two little sachets of Japanese green tea. Which I will give to a lucky person who leaves a comment on this post. Please tell me what you think you would have enjoyed the most about Japan... I will select the lucky winner (or rather the computer will select the

Trip to Japan - Part Six In search of Perfection

I am dedicating this post entirely to one topic... The Geisha. There are many misconceptions about the role of the Geisha both in Japan and the West. The most common is that they are prostitutes.... Wrong! Or that in the past they were prostitutes.... mmmmm.... not quite... but you could be forgiven for thinking of them as high class courtesans. The art of the Geisha is dying out.. at one time there were thousands and thousands of them throughout Japan... nowadays they are found only in a very few places and their numbers are dwindling. It is therefore actually very rare to see them. We snatched a quick glimpse of three Maiko (trainee Geisha) making their way up to a temple we had just visited - we hadn't realised that it was a special day to celebrate the beginning of the cherry blossoms. The girls walking in front and behind in Western dress are usually considering the life of a Geisha and will work for free while receiving lessons. If they pass their exams they themselv