Saturday, 6 December 2014

Stick, stones and ...stairs!

All of the above are apparently liable to break your bones. In our experience the last of the three is more likely.
I have been called a few nicknames in my time but here I have been called "Eficaz" meaning teachers pet, "Gallina" meaning chicken as in cowardly although literally hen. Yesterday a German woman called me "Repunante" which is bad enough meaning in Asturiano a person who is fussy and complains although I mis-heard her and thought she was calling me "Repugnante" being of course repugnant and disgusting. No bones broken theré though. On the way home an old man shouted something else at me in Gallego so I nipped into the tourist office to aske what it was. Relief! I was delighted to learn he thought I was young and cute. So sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me, and some may even cheer you up!
Stairs however will break your bones and give you massive bruises on the beam end. Les is nursing a broken rib after flying down ours at a fair old lick, slightly slower than his laptop which reached the downstairs before him and amazingly still works. Unlike it´s owner. Thankfully it is a long weekend off but I don´t think he is going anywhere soon.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The other cathedral

You have seen photos of Cathedral beach nearby, but on Saturday we went to visit another cathedral that of Mondoñedo, about 20 minutes away. It should have been quicker but the main road was closed. We have just discovered they close it when the clouds are too low - it is our equivalent of high seas and causeways.
When we arrived in the town it did look a bit murky up there, and the break allowed us to have coffee and visit the catherdral. It turned out we had to wait a wee bit as two new priests were being ordained. Quite a carry on. We didn´t take pictures but if you are interested have a look here:Ordaining new priests.   You can see all the pictures even if the text is in Spanish. Given the huge shortage of priests in this area alone, a class of 2 is not going to go very far. We will go back.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

¡Tela marinera!

When I came out of patchwork class on Tuesday I hurried to catch the fabric shop before she closed. So did 15 other ladies. The queue was out of the shop and round the corner before long so I waited 45 minutes to be told that no, she didn´t have interfacing. (I bought the last yard 12 months ago!!) The phrase "Tela marinera" Which actually means sailcloth or canvas is often used to mean something is hard, difficut or too much effort. For me this queuing business was too much effort, espeially when I had to ask for double sided interfacing with non-stick paper on one side... ¡Tela Marinera!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Sailing home

When we were little we both used to sing the chorus "Sailing Home"  the words ended up "with Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm as we go sailing home." So here we are back at home in Ribadeo and yesterday we also brought the boat home - a 6 hour trip from Viveiro where we have been keeping it all year, We still don´t have a marina berth but we are officially visitors. Had a perfect sail today with Sylvia a Spanish nurse we are friends with. Just in case of any political tension we were flying not only the Red Ensign I inherited from Dad but the flags for Spain, Scotland and Orkney. Hope that covers all your bases!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Room 101 (not!)

Those of you who have read this blog over the past 5 years might know that I count beds where we sleep - only once each though, repeats don´t count. I was sick as a parrot when bed number 100 turned out to be in a hospital. However after a few restorative weeks at Mum´s we felt up to a wee Westray trip and had a lot of sleep in bed 101, loved it, Thanks Linda.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Appendix 2

Relax - I didn't have a second appendix I just had the wound re-opened - this time in Orkney and what a different experience, God Bless the NHS we say!!  This time despite 6 nationalities around the bed they all spoke English, explained everything, kept the screens closed, wore sterile gloves and were kind. Nobody told me to shut up when I yelped, and nobody came in selling rafle tickets while I was naked. All progress from my last experience.
I probably won't blog any more about this carry on as the wound will now take weeks to heal and you don't want to read about abscesses or pus. Just to say Orkney has fantastic health services, and we are so happy to be home. Mum's home cooking is just what the doctor ordered and he also reccomended Steak, Scallops and Guiness. Not difficult!

(This is an appendix - not a scallop!)

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Appendix 1

Would you believe it? We have both been in hosptal this month, it seems like a never ending revolving door - when, 5 years ago, we got the promise "I will open a door that no man can close" we never expected it would be  hospital door.
Les was sent packing after an attack of pericarditis following on from his Korean chest infection then I got appendicitis which burst, probably in the corridor where I was on the trolley, 9 hours AFTER having being diagnosed. We have come up with the idea of ladies of the blue light variety.
However life goes on without an appendix but I will say this has been he worst experience of my life so far, so I am lookingfor closure... I mean I want them to stitch the wound!!!!!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Calling for water....

Fire planes scoop up water in front of our window to quench a fire nearby - sucessfully thankfully!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

9 Million bicycles in Beijing?

I love the Katie Melua song about Beijing and while I was signing it my friend said " No there are not that many bicycles any more" You could have fooled me I would have guessed more! From the DHL Express man peddalling like mad with 120 boxes tied on the paniers to the bike selling hot rice (a nearby digger kept dropping rubbish on top of the rice!) It was like bike central. One evening there was high wind and rain and in seconds about 80 bikes all stood up on there supports fell down like dominoes in a domino rally. Space is at a premium in a city of 33 million people so the fact that one in 6 people would have a bike is no surprise. The wee postman pat car was obviously a limousine!

Coro en Corea

So what did we like about Korea - well the Choir was good (Coro in Spanish) it was all made up of WECcers, just imagine. They sung in English and Korean with wonderful traditional harmonies, just like the Men of Orkney really - I loved it. The worship times were also special sung by 300 people in 1bout 14 languages, including Spanish. These times were lead by Resonance so were totally ethnic and totally professional. They even used songs we had learned on our ethnodoxology course at Eastwest 5 years ago.  For our welcome concert there were traditional wooden flutes and stringed instruments whose name escapes me, all played beautifully by women from a nearby Unversity and the guy in green who was the Professor's son. She vowed to God if he lived (while he was a very ill baby) she would devote her life to worship music and here he was thriving and with amazings lungs for the flute. The cardboard box was an activity where 14 teams had to answer questions about the last 100 years of WEC. it was designed and built by Miriam Cowpland, Lindsay's cousin - a definite streak of architecture in that family. What a well run event. And below the view from our building!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Make new friends but keep the old... is silver the other gold.

Some of the old friends from Madrid paid us a visit and we had a party so they could meet some of the new (older) friends. These are about half of the total we hosted, it happened the day before Mother's day and so we were happy to host three of them to a special Church service the next day - a first for all three!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Let them eat cake?

Just a quick update about things medical - thanks to those who have been asking about the visit to the specialist. We have learned our way blindfold to the hospital (40 minutes away). I have even done it backwards - in an ambulance though not in high heels like Ginger Rodgers!  So far they are swithering about a total change to insulin but the specialist yesterday has given me a stay of execution two more weeks on the same stuff but with a totally different regime. His final advice as I left the consultation was that I should eat cake. Did he really say that or was it just my dismal Spanish?

Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Our first week of Carnaval in Ribadeo. So happy to see our students all dressed up and having such a fabulous time despite the freezing weather. The only person who wasn't happy was the pig who was up for raffle. This is all about pork say the farmers. The Catholic Church is against such pagan carry-ons but the event heralds the coming of lent. They have pancakes here as well, but all week not just Tuesday.
The ladies had been making pancakes all morning and they were very happy to have a customer at last. The cold weather seemed to have kept people at home but my neighbour says that the pancakes used to be free and this year folk don't want to paya euro, even if it is for charity. They were yummy!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Fair fa your cara tan guapa...


Our first Burn's Supper in Spain, with MacSweens Haggis bought at the Airport. Our Boss and some friends came to share it with us and we had a fair bit of culture as well. We were quite proud of Andrew's company - Whitespace- who produced a Burn's history in less than 3 minutes - I suppose if you only live til 37 it is possible. It is on YouTube at

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Dionisio Gamallo Fierros No more!

Just when we dicovered a statue of Dioniso in the park (writer & journalist born here) in fact just when we sent out 250 change of address cards saying this was the name of our street, in fact 20 minutes after I pay to register my UK vote at this address, I return to the flat and get a letter saying they have changed the name of our street "Please tell the bank and all your contacts" - aaaargh!
For those of you who have our address just substitute the new name "Praza da Musica" with the same flat numbers. We are sorry for any inconvenience - they're not.

Friday, 10 January 2014

New Year and New Partners

We had a lovely start to 2014 when we were invited to attend the first Sunday service in Dunbar Church of Scotland. One of the elders there was moored behind us in Fort Augustus in July and we kept in touch. Here Mike and his wife pose with us after the service - Emma is holding flowers as the next day they were moving to a new house. We were surprised and delighted that they want to adopt us as partners. What a great congregation, and what a great bacon roll we had upstairs in their fantastic premises. It may have been a place of worship for 1,000 years but inside the church it is the last word in luxury and high technology.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Beasties from my besties

I am very lucky to have such great friends in many time zones around the world. However with some the time is irelevant, when we talk we continue to chat as if we hadn't been apart for months or years. This year all 4 of my besties sent me wee wooden dogs, none of them knew the others had done likewise. Do I love them? Yes. And the dogs.