Friday, 16 December 2011

Some sums

So our last day in Madrid, with no more classes and no commitments we go a visit to the Feria de Madrid where they just happen to have an exhibition of superdeportivos (super sports cars). Good news is that we both chose a white model (so far so good). Mine was the Pagani Zonda F - 10th fastest ever on Top Gear with a nice pink undercarriage and wing mirrors. However Les chose the Aston Vantage S - not so nippy but you could 5 of them for the price of the Zonda. Good point Les, but I only need ONE car. Wonder how it drives in the snow? At least I could find the Zonda in a blizzard!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Recent break ins...

Add mushrooms and wine...

 There are other reasons why we enjoyed our visit up North so much, two of them being local cheap produce: in the case of the mushrooms - free and in the "case" of the 16 litre box of wine from the local co-operative almost free!

Oh, yes another reason was the resident cook & general factotum at Adulam- Marcileno from Gran Canaria.

Now tell me you guys, who wants to volunteer for a bit of buiding work - the food is fantastic!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

This is it!!

So far so good. We have just visited the seaside town of Ribadeo - about as close to Orkney as you can get! It felt just right to us, and we felt at home immediately. Turns out we have been looking at the harbour scene all year on the cover of the book Ronnie gave Les for Christmas - we just didn't know it was Ribadeo. We loved the beach, the town even the Octopus (big ones and peedie ones we ate them all!) We really hope we are right to feel to drawn to this area as they need an evangelical church. We met a YWAM couple who have just moved to the town and we would love to join them - roll on 2013! Now see the final picture of the cathedral cave... my wings are glowing but what about Jaap's head? Either he has angelic qualities too or his mobile phone needs a service!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Madrid is starting to feel all Christmassy. We have watched them building the tree outside the college all week and then on it goes. I didn't have my camera when the crane came in and was telling my Turkish friend that I had missed a great shot - she looked round and said " Mire! Mire! Alli es tu marido" - sure enough there he was in the crowd snapping away - clever! (his first phone photo - ever)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Baking life..

Baking life and Farmville are two things I have never tried on facebook. I maybe have had enough practice at the real thing, and have no wish to contact friends for a donation of manure. I have however really wanted to email friends for a bag of castor sugar or cocoa or whetever else the recipe needs. Despite various experiments I never seem to get the right mix to make self raising or mincemeat. However I have found The Food Hall -  just a short drive away . Everything you could ask for in the baking department. Yes it would be cheaper to buy ready made cakes but with St Andrew's Day approaching we are keen to give our Spanish friends and students a taste of real Scottish food stuffs. So far the list goes: Mum's shortbread, doodlebugs, duff what else? Ideas please before Wednesday! Thanks

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

It could be you - fatty!

No these are not Spaniards queuing to vote on Sunday's National Elections (- Tories got in!) they are the queues of people who want to buy a lottery ticket for the Christmas Lottery - EL GORDO- literally the fat one. Tickets cost 20 Euros each so we are amazed at the queues every day - in one queue this morning I counted 739 people with more joining all day - bizarre. The favourite lottery promoter is Dona Manolita, whoever she is. People travel from outside the city to her kiosk while the usual gypsy vendors have very few customers, not surprising as there are regular fights breaking out there as they accuse each other of cheating and stealing, often sending for the police. We are in no ways tempted by a ticket from either type so no, "It could NOT be us!"

It is raining.

We haven't had rain during the day for 6 months. That may account for this guy's lack of an umbrella, it certainly puts a new image into my mind for the verse "Rise, take up your bed and walk." It does rain at night - but "mainly on the plain."

Saturday, 19 November 2011

YSL in Madrid

Have been rather silent this past fortnight, mainly as I have mislaid the camera but also we both had exams this week and everything else has to give way to these wretched verbs. We made up for it yesterday as soon as class was over with a visit to IKEA (free coffee) a walk through the park, a visit to the Yves St Laurent exhibition (also free) and eventually to the Cafe Central to hear a bit of jazz. At this point reality kicked in and we were charged almost 10 euros for 2 pints of Guinness. You know what? It was worth it. A grand day out.

Monday, 7 November 2011

new beginings...

Last week Les had his first solo gig to play at the opening of the Kofi Jaus (Coffee House) in Alcala - he began by playing Tea for Two there not being many songs about coffee! A local cooncil dignatory cut the ribbon and then we had wine & canapes (no coffee!). The mastermind of the venture is Ken Barrat - back centre and the two chicas in the front are Belarmina and Nuria both friends from an English conversation group. The venue is part of the Brethren Assembly in the town and is now open for activities and concerts, possibly even for coffee??

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


So we have just had fellowship days with our team. As a rookie I had two jobs to do, the first one  to update the pictures on our notice board, the second to do an ice breaker activity. I chose patchwork (Thanks Gayle and Anne) and gave each person a piece to fit into a quilt - of unknown design! Eventually clues from scripture were handed out and finally God's servant Mija  helped by letting them "see the big picture". Bless Sjaak - the team's Mr Fix It for placing the last piece. Over the weekend Liz Fox and I stitched it together as a demonstration of how God could use all of us just where he wanted us to be in Spain. However as Juan and René pointed out this is the not the whole quilt - just one square in a much bigger blanket - one that still has to be sewn!

Arepas v Porridge?

Yesterday we had arepas for breakfast, cormeal and water with a bit of salt. Juan is from Venezuela and made them for us by putting them on the frying pan for a couple of minutes before crisping them up 20 minutes in the oven. Split and stuffed with bacon, mushrooms and cheese. Yum

Today we got our own back, knowing that Juan has hated porridge in the past - we served the dreaded gruel with cream and brown sugar.. not too hot ..not too cold.. just right and just like Ricitos de Oro he ated it all up. He goes to the Basque Country tomorrow. Salt fish?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Chop chop!!

This is a chuleton - a chop - it is big. The wine is not a big as it looks though it is just nearer the camera - promise! Maybe you can believe Les has put on weight. However the day after he asked me if we could afford a rowing machine for Christmas ("NO!") he found a good exercise bike out at the bins. God is clearly more generous than Santa!

Busy, busy , busy

Sorry we have been quiet this month - it has been all go! We both managed to pass our exams, thanks in part to our neighbours who prayed for us. One of the down sides to passing an exam is you attempt to speak more Spanish when you really shoudn't! Howlers this month include " We used to live near the ice cream. " (North Pole)  Said Les at Church. "Personally, I don't like sex." (The Saxophone) Said Fiona in class - although to be fair she was merely mis-heard (el sexo - el saxo easily done). This was the day after telling a Columbian worker that she too was a mercenary (missionario).  And we wonder why we get funny looks. Conversation groups are going great though - thank goodness we can safely speak in English!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Students are revolting!

Outside the students are revolting and creating quite a bit of noise - they have been on strike all day about the cutbacks on teachers - who were on strike the last two days, not much work happening in high school this week, as firemen arrived I hurried home!
Inside our school however it is work as usual and the concern is more for the exam on Friday - if we don't pass we have to go back and pay another month's fees to repeat. This class has 4 Turks, 4 Germans, 1 Indonesian, 1 Chinese 1 Pole, 1 Italian and 1 Orcadian - the other is a Swede - handy for clapshot!

Monday, 3 October 2011

40,000 injections later...

Did a big sum this morning, think I have had over 40,000 injections since I first started on  insulin in 1981 - 30 years ago today. If I keep this up for another 20 years I get a medal. They won't care if I have missed a few. I am not complaining  - I am ALIVE and I wouldn't be here without the work of Banting, Best Macleod and another Orcadian scientist who retired just before they announced the Nobel Prize for Insulin. Anyway I am happy to have insulin available until they can do the islets transplants (which have already cured one lady in Scotland) - just think,  if it becomes available before 2031 I won't get my medal, but then if I am sorted before then I can have a chocolate one instead - every cloud has a silver lining! No picture - sorry!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Flipping Tortillas

So sorry to keep posting about food but this recipe is nice.. first get 7 people into a small kitchen to peel & slice 5 tatties and dice one onion - fry both in a frying pan with about 1" of olive oil for about 10 minutes. (Meanwhile have a meeting). Beat 5 eggs in a jug with seasoning. Pour off the spare hot oil then pour tatties into the egg mix. Return to the pan and fry until the bottom is cooked put a foil covered lid on top of the mix and turn upside down. Then slide it back into the frying pan to cook the other side. Our team leader reccomends repeating this last step after a bit. (Means you get a second round of applause?) It was delicious served with Spanish roast chicken. At 9 months it was the best Susannah had tasted.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

What a load of tripe!

Sorry for the long silence - however the flu is now past and things are kicking off again. Like Conversation classes. We have started two in our community room so people who are neighbours can all meet downstairs and practice speaking English together. So far we have 12 people over two evenings with more to come. However... as the classes are free they want to treat us to give something back for a free lesson. They took us out for a beer after class and the complimentary "tapas" turned out to be the only thing I don't like - tripe. (Ah OK, I don't like spoots either.) I managed to avoid it but Les had already made a stab... keep swallowing Les! However it is great that so many people are coming and we are humbled that for most of our neighbours they have never even spoken before despite living in the same block for 22 years!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Esta Fiesta

This weekend was the Fiesta in Vallecas - the barrio next to ours. A bit like shopping week but fewer drunks. Les stopped the marching band to offer his services and so is lined up to go and practise with them once they recover. The closing fireworks were right outside our bedroom window so getting home was not a problem. It is a bit like having a house on the Bignold Park Road - We like it!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Knife Crime?

Here he is the man we have been waiting for! He only appears every other month aand you hear him from the top floor as he plays his wee tin whistle - the tune is unique to the trade of knife sharpeners. The pedals turn the grindstone. As soon as we heard him, Les grabbed every blunt knife in the drawer (including the "lifetime sharpness guaranteed" ones) and set off with them all in a bag. In Britain he would have been arrested for carrying so many weapons - in Spain he also got charged and at 5 euros each it sure was sharp practice!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

One wedding, five flights and a ferry.


The wedding was SO worth the trip and in 5 days I had five flights and one ferry trip. Thanks to those who sponsored me with air miles and gifts of money. At the end of the day I still have a return portion of a trip to Westray. (Sadly not from anywhere in the world.) This reminds me that when Miriam gave me my leather passport holder it had a ticket for Westray in it already - now only 5 years since it expired!

Cog and Cake!

As some of you know I had to fly home for a wedding on Saturday - my friend and former tenant Sarah was due to marry Roy and I had baked the cake when I was home in July. You can see the newly weds carrying the traditional cog round the hall with it's hot potent brew inside.
And if there wasn't enough alcohol in that I had to admit that the cake aslo contained a bottle of brandy. No wonder the lobsters look happy! The cake was fine and the lobsters had been specially commissioned from my neice Julie Hagan of Gogo Olive fame.  

Monday, 29 August 2011

Where is Wally?

There he was, waiting for the sea to come in and fill the salt water swimming pool in Bayon..when he took off the stripey jumper and went for it. What a wally! Do you see him, do you?

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Gadding about in Galicia

 In Galicia
Les was more than happy to see:

The Sea
His pen pal Jose de Jorge
His pen pal's boat
His pen pal's plotter
All the other "gadgees"
Meanwhile Fiona was happy to see
The Valoria -
Boat belonging to Amancio Ortega, (founder of Zara and the tenth richest man in the world.)
However as it hasn't a mast, she is no longer interested.