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?