Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Get down and boogie.

 Well that was a first, being at a club where your son was the DJ ! Not such a novelty for Donald who is often found in disco mode but our parental status meant we got in for free!

Having invested in some of the required kit over several years it was interesting to hear how it sounded when played up a few decibels. We were very impressed with the showmanship and special effects even if we hadn't a clue about from whence came the sounds.

As we left (early.. @ 2.30am) a man felt he had to ask us why people of our "relative maturity" were having such a good time dancing we had to
admit that we were in fact "mature relatives" of the DJ. Well done Andrew!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Tick tock.. 2 more sleeps

Tick tock says the clock above Puerta del Sol.. it does go slow when I am in class eaxh morning but guess what - they slow the chimes at Hogmonay so that people don't choke on the 12 grapes they are required to eat - one between each chime of midnight, or at least so I have been told.
Anyway tick on big clock 3 more Spanish classes, but only 2 more sleeps until we head home. Whoop!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Christmas is coming..

Somebody asked today if they have Christmas trees in Spain. Well yes but they are growing outside. There are metal ones with lights all over town and artificial ones to buy. We don't know anybody who has a tree inside, but we have a candlestick covered with a green ribbon, which is fine especially as we are escaping home on 20th - DV and WP. The other picture is what I am making for Christmas presents for the neighbours. I am using Fanny of Netherbrough's recipe to make Marmalade from Santa (Eugenia)!  It is so funny to think that during Fanny's lifetime there was an abundance of oranges on Westray as the Spanish boats remained in the bay at Pierowall for weeks to avoid going home due to the Spanish Civil War. So many links with Spain and Westray.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Quite striking!

Scenes around our area this week have been quite striking, from the rubbish lying uncollected to the crowds of nurses carrying mock coffins.

Our local job centre appears on TV every few weeks as the unemployment figures rise - now 5 million and rising. This week our bank (Bankia) has paid off 8,000 workers in Madrid city alone. People openly rummage in garbage skips, which is easier now the stuff they seek is lying on the pavement. I even saw prescription medicines lying loose - the bag having been burst.
Beggars have given up sitting on the pavements with downcast eyes, it is now common to have someone heckle you even while sitting on the metro and demand money or face a outburst of unknown complaints (they presumably know whatthey are saying it is us who look bemused.)
During the general srike last month I was listening to Radio Madrid. They had recorded a jingle saying half of Spain was on strike the other half was playing football. They missed out the quarter who were on the broo.

The irony of this for me is that after waiting since June for an X-ray, I got an appointment for Wednesday and duly turned up only to be told the consultant was on strike and to come back next year. The nurses marched past with a chant telling me helpfully that they were striking for my benefit. Thanks lasses.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Donald turns 21

There have been many times we have thought our Donald would never see 21 with all his antics. Delighted he has and quite impressed with him to be honest. The boy who drove downstairs on a noddy car and knocked out all 7 teeth or danced about with a gerbil impaled into the end of his nose, lost his bank card on day one of his gap year and broke his iphone shortly afterwards seems to have become a model citizen and is regularly given a rifle to run with (but not scissors!)  His sporran is no longer filled with sultanas but money (or immodium to counter the sultanas) he dances with girls rather than gerbils and we are so relieved he is responsible...for himself! Happy 21st Birthday, Donny Lugs!

(Seen here with all 3 variants of the Colquhoun Tartan, and Auntie Ellen!)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Alpha One.

Actually this isn't a picture of our first Alpha group which was in a larger venue but week 2 or possibly week 3. Jessica proudly shows off her prize, which she won at a previous event with Cameron Stout Big Brother winner 2003. She should have been holding the Alpha DVD box. She is a power house of friendships and now has another three of her friends and neighbours roped into Alpha. Now seeing we have a general strike today we are relocating to her house to watch the next DVD together. Hopefully I can find a shop open to buy the food and some petrol for the car journey.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Who saw Secret Sam?

Les and his English students were talking today about childhood toys, this lead on to reminiscences (spell that you level B2 students!)  about his favoutite toy - the Secret Sam set - nearly as good as his friend's Johhny 7's rocket propelled grenade launcher, but sadly not quite. Time to write to Santa we think!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Let's hear it for the girls!

A good weekend with my girlies. Above the cream of China and below the cream of Stirlingshire. Apart from the size of the glasses, the difference in the two photos is that if you total the ages in the top you get 105 and if you total the bottom one I think you get 205.

Lovely having them here to stay, long night time chats, catching up and making plans. Leswas very patient and catered to our needs for food. Should we make him an honorary girl? I think not!
Good times lasses!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Dia de Hispanidad

 The holiday weekend began with Dia de Hispanidad - celebrated in all the Spanish speaking world. We were in town with friends and went into the Naval Museum to escape the rain! Turned out it was a good place for a day when they celebrated the day of the dicovery of America on this day in 1492. The picture (right) is perhaps a bit romanticised. No mention of the other explorers who clearly discovered  the new world before them.

The rest of the art work was a bit keener on picture of ships with the Red Ensign being blasted by the invincible Armada! Nobody here likes El Pirata Drake.  The pirate Frances Drake.  Not a mention of the Armada's visit to Orkney!!

However a great museum and well worth a visit - free !

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A marriage - Made in China


Sunday's wedding ay have been a marriage made in China but the celebrations were definitely made in Madrid. We, as a church had one hour to et everything ready before the guests and bridal party appeared. The cake was so heavy that Les had to carry the box on his head on the way to the Metro - I was laughing so much I was little help and quite unable to get the camera out. The church make a great team the food was assembled, candles lit, carpet laid, and then here comes the bride - what a stunner! We loved the wedding but also the changes in our friends' lives. A year ago they were not believers and so what a year this has been for them both.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ceilidh in Cuenca

What a great day in Cuenca with Granny Nan. We went (as usual) for a quiet visit to a historic village. As per usual we arrive and notice men with ladders putting up garlands and bunting for the town fiesta. As every normal cafe was shut we ended up having to eat in the Parador - what a yummy problem, partridges included. (Sean felizes y comieron perdices). After a rather noisy procession of 800 different coloured T shirts, some on - some off, and brass bands, they brought in the bulls to charge at drunk people and hopefully to clear the street. After all of the above they let the Orcadian entertain with an impromptu ceildh! What fun.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Round the walls of Cuéllar

We really enjoyed a wee dander round the walls of Cuéllar on Friday. We had gone to visit our friend Dani who was at home in the pueblo for the summer. The best thing was the walls which were huge and cheap - actually for me much better than Avila.  Being too short to see over them I had the delight of waiting for all these wee keyhole windows for a view. Pylons..famous Pine Forest..Church Tower... When I got to the end of the wall and climbed up and old lady told me the names of all the Church spires in her pueblo - 8 in total! Wouldn't want to be there when all the bells ring at once.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Don Justo's big kirk

Don Justo, has been building his Cathedral single handedly for almost 50 years - using only recycled materials. He is now in his 80s and still hopes to finish so has enlisted some volunteers. The council pretend to ignore the breech of planning permission but plan to demolish it when he is no longer here. Tourists love it despite the safety warning. A huge achievement for a young monk who was expelled from his monastry when he got TB in his 20s. Distinctive in his red hat, I wasnt sure if he was plastering that balcony or getting ready to preach. Andrew left and took his halo with him.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Beatles fan beats cake..

Seems to be another rush of 21st Birthdays and weddings coming up - cakes R us and I  promise the basins were clean! In at least one of the two flats that was miraculous!

Worth Proclaiming

Great gig by the Proclaimers, still worth turning out to see them after 25 years I reckon. Last seen Auckland, this time Kirkwall. The lighting crew excelled themselves with constructing a saltire and even a few shots of tartan during the three encores. Only discovered before the gig that the reason they are so familiar is because they both share Jean Leonards face! (Thanks Doris for pointing that out - it all makes sense!)

Friday, 3 August 2012


 Alcala is quite posh - more so last week when we were teaching some English classes as part of a GLO Campaign.
The literature we were posting through folks letterboxes may not have been of Cervantes' standards but we did manage to blag our way into all but one block of flats in our best Spanish.
Here are two shots of the team:
  • 2 English
  • 4 Egyptians
  • 4 Scots
  • 1 Ecuadorian
  • 1 Irish
  • 1 Czech
  • 1 Spanish and 
  • 1 Orcadian 

La-de-dah? Well who knows what sort of accents we have left behind. Don Quixote and Sancho Panzo said nothing.

Half a fish and 8 chips, please

 Sorry this blog is all about food this month as continue our global search for fish and chips. We saw a internet site for Fat Tony's Fish & Chips but when we got there he'd gone. Next we saw a poster (left) and the lady promised they would open in Madrid in September. Finally we tracked down the Bristol Bar and along with all our friends we ordered fish and chips @ 12 euros. Less than a fish between two and half a tattie.
I don't know what the Spaniards thought of our famous foodstuffs but next time I am getting the pan out and they can all have a page from The Orcadian on their laps.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Eat your greens

Pimientos de Padron - really nimmy peedie fried peppers from Galicia. The rule is some hot, others not. Apparently one in ten will burn your mouth off. After 29 I stopped, having escaped but not wanting to risk my luck.
 Romansku or Caulibroc a beautiful green thing with what looks like millions of tiny trees... too pretty to eat but if you do it means you have had two of your five portions - both cauliflower and brocoli

Friday, 13 July 2012

Meet me in La Coruña..



So it was like a Top Gear challenge really - Les got on board his brother's boat Mariche VI and set off to sail across the Bay of Biscay -  calling out "Meet me in La Coruña - in 3 or 4 days." He and three fellow marineros set of by sea Sunday morning while sister in law Gwen and friend Cameron set off to drive - without any way of checking where the boat was we had to take the long way round.  After a stop in La Rochelle for a birthday dinner and a Pit Stop in Ribadeo for a new front wheel bearing we met the guys Tuesday evening arriving at the restuarant, in time to tell them we had already eaten, we joined them for the final round - pudding! Two great teams!


Great to have been back in Ribadeo - beside the seaside and yet in town - perfect. Roll on next Summer when we hope to move there for a longish time. We enjoyed getting to know the town and meeting people who were friendly and very helpful. Special mention to Sagrit & Alfreddo and to the Citroen Garage! After three nights of special open air meetings, the Evangelical Church of Ribadeo had it's first Sunday Service - how cool is that?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Skulz out!

 Skulz out for summer so we can spell however we like - use the wrong tense and rabbit on in meaningless phrases or dichos as they are called here.
Dead men pass no marmalade, it has all gone from grapes to pears and it is time to soak your chin.
The top group is our English Chatters in Santa Eugenia while below is the class of 2012 who had a small refreshment with Carolina our teacher (second left) ater my presentation yesterday she has decided to visit Orkney this summer - was there any talk of commission?