Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Are you wearing green? I am.

Happy Father's Day for tomorrow!

There was a display for Semana Santa (Easter) of processions that each church puts on over the week. Well done models I thought and certainly easier to see than waiting on the crowded streets for hours. 
This is all small scale!
Exact replica of the Museo, close to us, the detail!

With Dawna and Erwin’s visit we had to curtail both a Pepe’s family bodega tour and lunch with him and Angela and Ryan at a favourite restaurant, poor Dawna caught a flu bug. She was holed up in the apartment for a couple of days. Thankfully she felt better by Friday and we were able to visit again. We intended to go to their apartment across town but it poured rain and worse was windy. Bruce needed the umbrella but had difficulty holding it and dodging on the sidewalks with others in his chair. We got a couple of blocks out and decided this is a no go, asked D & E if they could taxi to our house. Dawna suggested we get a large cape for Bruce, hence no annoying umbrella. Taxi they did after Erwin found an app to install on his phone. We all didn’t know that taxi drivers are individuals here and they sign up on phone apps to get clients. Transport worked well for them and we had a nice visit. 

Christoph sent us the mail from Germany, means a bit of a hike to the post office so I decided to take the bus, mistake. I probably missed it by minutes, schedules are not clear, and then it stopped for some time at the next stop, apparently waiting for a regular passenger who was running for it. Good service for her, she apologized. Next stop was mine and he stopped a block sooner than expected. The route has changed, I’ll have to take it all the way around to find out how much. Plus since they cater to regulars it could change daily because some will just rap on the window to get off between stops. Which I could do as well I suppose. Walked back, nothing exciting. 

Christmas in March! We received a few cards from friends who do not read the blog and I write to over Christmas to stay in touch. Sadly my ex-mother-in-law passed away last year, such a lovely lady. She requested her daughter to write to those on her Christmas list to tell us of her passing which I think is a great idea. Long letter from our host in Brussels showing the feistiness that we love her for. The Christmas letter from my cousin who writes per family, i.e. her children and then parents write the highlights of the year including grandchildren and pets. Card from my cousins in Ireland and card from our friend in England who lost her husband last year, we met them in Heidelberg, she seems busy with grandchildren now. Bills, bills, bills for both Germany and Canada, not so welcome, mostly paid already but I do need to get a better handle on that, lazy me.

The orange blossoms are starting to bud, no smell yet but it will come soon, so lovely when it does! I know, you hear that every year.

We’ve made plans for the summer, finally. Considerations included London, Rennes in France, Brussels to see our friend Linda, and lots more, nice choice to have, and I appreciate it! Decided to work through Switzerland, moving every two weeks, Lausanne, Bern, Lucerne, Konstanz (Germany). All of these cities are on water so that's the theme and the plan for now.

We’ll be going hotels on this trip and must remember to bring my portable kettle and packets of coffee for those that do not provide, but a few provide free breakfast which could be anything from continental, a bun and jam, to full on eggs and bacon. More research to be done here.

I’ve been antsy about getting to LinoyFino but so far this week changes in plans have not allowed me to make it there. Example, Lexi bit us both one night, me on the leg which bled a lot (good, cats apparently have vile toxins in their mouth) but she bit Bruce on the hand. Next day the hand was swollen, he waited another day to see if it would go down but didn’t. When she bit me in the middle of the night I yelled at her Bitch! Woke Bruce up and she showed remorse by tapping my armpit after, in bed. As said, we cannot overstimulate this cat. It happened in Vienna too. We’ve read and experienced that a cat bite on the hand, while one would think, oh well, another scar, can become serious. We went to the clinic on the Alameda and no go there, they directed us to the Emergency in Triana. Pepe to the rescue once again, he picks us up to go there. We were lucky, not busy and in and out in about 45 minutes. Bruce gets a prescription for antibiotics as expected. The Doctor was actually looking it up on Google, Bruce could see her screen. They get dog bites but this is the first cat bite she’d encountered.

Thursday and to hell with diversions, I take the C5 bus to visit Yolanda at Linoyfino, Bruce is still sleeping so I get there and try on many linen tops. This year the colours are vibrant, not pastel as in years past. Yolanda speaks no English but I can understand most of what she says and she is a warm and friendly person. End result, purchase of six new linen tops, leaf green, Teal blue (my fav), lime green, white, dark blue and crimson, very pleased! You’ve read in previous years I shop for three basics, linen shirts (admittedly not so practical for travel wrinkle free but cool), T-shirts and jeans at stores in Freiburg.
Pretty colours!
Our good friend Omar from Amsterdam contacted us, he’s back in Croatia to visit family and friends after a very stressful time with his employer in Amsterdam. Such a gentle soul that got tromped on by the owner of the condo we stayed at there. We saw it happening to some degree and I wish now, at the end of our stay, I would have said something but doubt the man would have listened anyway. Well I’m a firm believer that the karma you sow, bad or good will come back at you. This man is owed some bad karma.

Acts of kindness, it’s been raining here a few days (weeks it seems). Anyway, Bruce was going down the street, umbrella on the bike but not in use and a lady took it out and put it over him. Another day Bruce was waiting outside in the rain for me to get the ramp and a lady held her umbrella over him while he waited. I am becoming a rain wuss! We were so used to it on the west (wet) coast, but not so much now. This town is not rain friendly, meaning the cobblestones are uneven and the water puddles between guaranteeing wet feet, drainage is pretty much nonexistent. Absolutely everyone uses umbrellas so walking on the sidewalk is an exercise in bobbing.

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and the brat Lexi Cat

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Feliz Dia Andalucia!

Happy Andalusia Day! From Wikipedia... "The Día de Andalucia ("Day of Andalusia" or "Andalusia Day") is celebrated February 28 and commemorates the February 28, 1980 referendum on the Statute of Autonomy of Andalusia, in which the Andalusian electorate voted for the statute that made Andalusia an autonomous community of Spain.[1]

The above link shows the area of community.

On the domestic front, Bruce received the tooth he’s been missing for almost a year, having a dentist here is good but instead of waiting three months, it was much longer (the three month wait is to ensure the post settles in). He says it feels weird and now he has no place to store olive pits…

On the way back we asked Pepe stop at Ikea to get Bruce a sheepskin to sleep on, weary bones at night, this should help. 
Lexi likes it!
Pepe buys much of his home furnishings from Ikea for the apartments he rents out so is very familiar with the store. He has a “family discount”, knows how to search for whatever on their computer kiosks that are information centres. Goes to the 50% off section to see if anything is useful. Pepe had in mind smallish things he wanted to get so we did, and a print of the ocean caught his eye so he bought that too. The store is certainly customer friendly, with self checkouts and a person to help when needed, although I’m sure they also check that everything brought through is accounted for, cynic I am.

I used to be familiar with the one in Richmond, BC, but this one is probably double the size. A little hint, is that upon entering the store you are directed to the show room, with kilometres of show space, but if you go with something specific in mind you can avoid all that and go directly to the warehouse to actually buy what you want. At Richmond the door was almost secretive, tucked away, here, it just means entering the exit. My Polish friend Danuta and I would often go to Ikea for lunch at their cafeteria, she ate the pickled fish and lingonberries she couldn't get elsewhere. Great memories!
People are doing a major renovation in and outside a building next door. I missed an opportunity to photograph to show you the plank over the pile of dirt, with another coming down the slope. Workmen are manoeuvring wheelbarrows up and down this steep narrow slope. Thought I’d get a chance returning but there were three workmen inside at that point and it didn’t feel right to take a photo.

Dawna and Erwin are here for a visit and darn it the weather has turned to cloud and rain today. They came here and we went over to the art market. I am able to ask the partner of Olivia with enough Spanish where is she, she's been MIA for a few weeks, she's gone to Thailand, and that’s about all I could understand. Talked to Liz again, the market wasn’t even half full due to closing of the streets for the annual Zurich marathon. 

Procession down our street to return the statue of Jesus to his resting place in the church, they had likely been restoring it before Semana Santa. The men carrying it do not walk underneath like they do in processions, they are at the four corners. 
Blurry but much less so than the next...
The white is caused by the swinging of lanterns, added "just because..."
There are many bands around our area now also, while D & E were visiting we could hear them. They must have been practicing so not sounding coordinated at all, just producing noise.

I took the next two pictures on our return from Triana, read on.

Fountain built to commemorate Spanish explorer Juan Sebastian del Cano at the end of Los Remedios bridge

Queen Maria's sewing box or basket, local legend that she spent time sewing in the building, it was actually built after her death. In Spanish, Costurero de la Reina
Bruce’s ears were plugged with wax so Pepe took us to a Doctor, recommended by Ryan, in Triana, the other side of Seville, across the river, where the residents call themselves Trianans first, Sevillanos second. Honestly I think it is quite an ugly neighbourhood but it does have some nice parks. It’s full of low rise apartment blocks covered in brick for the most part, but people who live there say there is a real sense of neighbourhood. Anyway got into Pepe’s car and it’s covered inside with confetti! 

He’d taken people on a bodega tour and coming back ran into a large parade from the carnival in Cadiz. They were stopped and people threw confetti into the car from the parade. Cheerful but messy!

All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

Here is a post from a couple who "collect" images of hearts, in building design and everywhere in their travels. 

Bruce and I do not "celebrate" this day, we are more spontaneous about showing our love. We did buy Rocio a box of chocolates and card, last week was a tough one for her, personal reasons, so we wanted to cheer her up a bit.

We owed a rather urgent bill to a company in Germany. I don’t understand and have complained before about this. Bruce had some updates done to his wheelchair about a month before we left Freiburg, we did not receive the bill and he offered to pay it on the spot but no go. So they finally send the bill and expect payment immediately or maximum 15 days, what? We can hardly remember what the charge is for! 

Pepe came over to install the bathroom light, before he got here I unwrapped the one we bought to discover a large crack in the casing, darn it! So Pepe goes to the store, same one we were at earlier in the day and picks up another. We take the cracked one back and have some trouble with language, the clerk gets frustrated with us which is unusual, maybe because it was a Monday morning?

We’ve been craving king crab after our wonderful dinner of it in Amsterdam, but wondered if it was available here and it is! So we bought a mess of it, frozen and invited Angela, Ryan and Pepe for a feed. 

Pepe is cutting down the side of the legs for easier access, Thanks Pepe! Angela's photo.
And a feed it was, served with melted butter, lemon and garlic bread. 

Me checking temperature, we steamed them. Angela's photo.
I put out tomato and cucumber but they will now be a salad for me, everyone seemed to keep their appetites for the crab. Very messy meal but very tasty. A treat for everyone.

Ryan's photo, Ryan's plate
I’d put the packages in the fridge to thaw overnight and they leaked all over so had a fridge to clean out before they arrived of smelly sea water. Now I’m learning how to make bisque from the shells but first had to look up what is bisque anyway? Fancy name for soup really, but typically refers to a soup made from shellfish.  I think I’ll make a chowder instead.

Bruce has missed several dental appointments due to lack of energy and upset stomach so this last appointment he was feeling better and went. Pepe picked us up and drove us there to Espartinas where the office is. Lovely drive this time of year through very green fields and orchards of olive trees. Appointment didn’t take long and Pepe had an hour to spare so he took us to LinoyFino - yah! Finally got there, but she has no stock! I did get two men’s shirts and she said she’s bringing all the spring stock in beginning of March so you can bet I’ll be back, her name is Yolanda. The spring colours she showed me are great! I expect this will be a productive and expensive visit, which I look forward to! I was in and out in about 15 minutes, doesn’t take me long, not with two men in tow. 

We take Lexi to the vet for a pedicure and have to wait so we admire the other animals in the waiting room, a beagle and a pug. We get the vet this time, not her assistant and she does an inspection of Lexi, ears, teeth, whole body through, and then does her nails, Lexi hissed once but was otherwise okay. We really like this vet and her staff, they are friendly, capable and the office is close.

Bruce wanted "Swiss Chalet" sauce, which I don’t like, never have, but made it just for him (after procrastinating about a week in hopes he would forget, he didn't). We left out the vinegar, all-spice and ginger, mostly because we didn’t have them in the house. Surprise to me, it tasted really great with the chicken we bought pre-cooked. Made another run of broth from the carcass. P.S. Swiss Chalet, in case you don't know, is a Canadian chain of restaurants serving mainly chicken with their signature sauce.

Went up to the Setas (Metropol) market, had lunch prior to going into the market, but by the time we were done the market was closing and couldn’t find the root vegetables (turnip, parsnip, beets) we needed for borscht soup. We'll have to wait for borscht when we get back to Germany where the vegetables are more widely available. Who has heard of Spaniards eating borscht anyway? Definitely not a Spanish dish. Went to El Corte and found ingredients for mushroom soup instead, which I'd never made before but turned out tasty. I found this bit amusing from the recipe:

"Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Do I have to remind you to do this in stages, with the blender's lid firmly held down, and with the weight of your body keeping that thing from flying off and allowing boiling hot mushroom purée to erupt all over your kitchen?"

From Reprinted with permission from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain with José de Meirelles and Philippe Lajaunie. © 2004 Bloomsbury
Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Spicing of Olives

Olive making! We didn’t grow the olives obviously, Ivan’s Uncle did. Earlier this week Ivan dropped off a large pot of raw olives with instruction to bathe them every day, dump the lot into a colander and rinse them for five days, that process softens them up. The pot is large and cumbersome but I did it with apron on, they splash into the sink.

Ivan and Lola came over to put the recipe together. First you have to smash them using the bottom of a beer bottle, of course you have to drink the beer first. See the pot on the left, full, lots of smashing! Sometimes they jump off the counter, flying olives, smashed garlic cloves also flew...

Here is Ivan's family recipe: Bitter orange juice, (the kind that grow in the streets here) two bitter oranges cut up, garlic, thyme, oregano, cumin, a bit of hot chilli pepper, stir well and let sit for a day and enjoy! Ivan brought all the spices including his Uncle's organic oregano. 

Garlic and bitter orange.
We have enough olives to feed an army. Everyone who comes to this house this next week will be going out with olives! 

Finished product.
It was great fun! Many families here do it and each have different recipes handed down by generations. Pepe tasted them and he would have added more spice, as his father does but he liked the initial flavour, Rocio liked them too. Pepe would add vinegar, as would Lola, whose family also makes their own. Pepe has never made olives with his father and maybe will do now to find out the favoured recipe. Of course it is to individual taste, and what you grew up with is also a factor.

Huge Thanks to Ivan and Lola for this great experience!

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat who had no part in olive making.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

January 2018, New Year, New Phone!

Fountain installed in 1844, Plaza de la Magdalena, Muse Caliope
I'll tell you now, the pictures in this post have no real relationship to the writing, all parts of the same fountain.

I bought an iPhone SE and love it! Gold in colour to match the MacBook, well I don’t know why but might as well match. Exciting for me and with a year’s worth of nagging, not really, but urging from Ryan to get into this century. Since this is an Apple product I am adapting to it’s features easier. My tech friend Gary in Canada, you will be proud of me! Reading the manual and it can do everything and more my MacBook can, real power in a bitty machine. Ryan and Angela are coming over for lunch tomorrow and giving me help setting it up, least I can do is feed them for the favour. 

He looks bored!
Menu for lunch morphed from enchiladas, due to my failed making of the sauce, I used paprika powder instead of chile powder, one taste after about an hour’s work and didn't like it so, if I don’t, who will? Dumped and lesson learned they are not the same peppers. Now instead of Tex-Mex theme, we decided lamb kebobs would be good with tabouli salad. Being Saturday I didn’t want to brave El Corte so went to our local grocers. Well, one learns to be very flexible when shopping in the small stores. Butcher didn’t have lamb, bought chicken, veg shop’s parsley looked like road kill but I was able to salvage enough of it, no bulgar for the salad, used couscous instead. It all worked out, luckily, just not what I had planned. Ryan also said he makes “killer” enchiladas so mine may have not been to his taste anyway.

Ryan’s patience with me and my fumbling fingers on the phone was epic! He also installed WhatsApp on it which is a cost free SMS or text messaging version which now I’ve added Rocio to and Erwin texted me from Ottawa since he likes to use it here. Bought a Moshi cover for it mostly because I don’t have a good place to keep it scratch free in my purse. Discovered another reason after the cover was installed, Lexi had swept it off the table and it survived! Moshi is a company I was unfamiliar with but looking on their website, they have high quality products and with very limited options at El Corte, I am pleased with what I bought.

Under the bowl
Elevator and heating broke all at once. I used the elevator while the heat was on and it toasted the connection, no fire thank goodness, just a shut down of both, breaker cut in. Our friend and electrician Pepe is out of town for three weeks in Dubai and Copenhagen but he contacts Juan Luis heating/air conditioning person who installed our unit last year. Long story short, heating now works, elevator not, and I am sure it is a simple fix, my attempts, turning off the power, etc, haven’t worked. I have decided to make a Pepe job jar, my Dad did that with my ex-husband when he wasn’t my ex. Small jobs that can be done and not forgotten between visits. 

Tuesday was almost as busy as our usual Wednesdays this week, I had a mani/pedi done by Maria Jose and am now more confident of her skills and instrument sanitation. Then a meeting at Kakure with Ivan and Shane to catch up after the Christmas season. Had a great lunch, food is always good there.

Wednesday, and it’s Angel and Rocio day but I decide to take the hour while Bruce has his massage and go to the Museo de Bellas Artes to view the Murillo exhibit that is on until April 1st. The impetus was an email from Jeffrey and Adrienne in Freiburg saying they wanted to see it and also wanted to escape the cold weather in Freiburg right now. The exhibit was absolutely wonderful and while I didn’t know much about Murillo before going (he’s a local Sevillano) I really enjoyed the works showcased. They are very large for one thing, colourful, and depicted people in a realistic manner, far ahead of his time I think. I brought back a small notebook for Rocio with print of mother and child on the cover done by him, and give aways of a postcard and book mark. We are communicating a bit better now over coffee when she gets here. Today I thought I would get away without the coffee but asked and she wanted one, okay, all good, and it does give us a bit of social time together, she corrects my accent. 

Bottom, I like the shells.
Coming back from a mini shop and we see Ryan and Angela at Granado so stop into chat with them. Mama Pepe and friend Mercedes are also there, hugging, kissing on both cheeks occur as usual. Mercedes now greets me as a friend as well. 

Did a major shop again and bought another pair of slippers. Frankly those I showed you in a previous post weren’t working for me, these have more support for the footsies and I don’t walk with a shuffling gait which is bad for my back.

Finally we took the C5 bus around the inner city with the goal of going to Linoyfino for the shirts I wear. I hadn’t eaten and Das Brot was next door, supposedly a German bakery, I thought it would be great to get a bretzel, well they had fake ones, but no real ones, had a horrible muffin instead. 

The LinoyFino shop was supposed to be open but nada, closed. So we got the bus again to come back, it only goes one way round, a couple and teenager got on board soon after we boarded and they were loud. The husband appeared drunk, the noise coming from them, the bouncing over cobblestones, and the heat got to Bruce so we got off in the touristic neighbourhood, one we recognized and walked home. He said as he got off the bus, I am never going on that again! The shaking, heat, noise, the second driver had the radio on really loud with someone yelling, not pleasant! 

I find all public transport that way, either really great or terrible, depending on circumstance, luckily it’s ratio is usually to the good. The ramp didn’t work properly, there was an arm sticking out from the driver’s seat into the aisle that got in the way of Bruce parking in the designated spot. The driver stopped without a bus stop, or missed pick ups at bus stops. Bruce says the whole thing was second rate, I agree this trip was. My two previous trips on this bus have been much better, crowded sometimes but better. The route is a really good way to see other parts of Sevilla, small neighbourhoods and tourist areas both. Upshot, I’ll be taking it again, fare is €1.40 per trip, cheap enough, but I’ll be going on my own and meeting Bruce at the destination.

Art market again being Sunday, Liz, the archeologist is quite animated today, she’s usually an understated calm person. She’s planning a solo bicycle tour around the Neckar river in Germany for June/July this year. She does like Germany, having lived in Freiburg for a dig and is familiar with the area, she also appears to be a bit of a loner. Doing her research now, she will drive to Heidelberg and bike from there. Wow! Adventurous woman and it will be so wonderful to hear about her experiences. I’m almost proud, even though we don’t know each other well.

I met another lady Sunday at the art market. We’ve talked before but I introduced myself to her, she is from Thailand, came here to study, fell in love with a Spaniard and stayed. She told me her Thai name which I repeated to her and promptly forgot, my bad, her English name is Olivia. She is talented in my opinion in different mediums.

Tuesday 23rd and there has been a major earthquake in Alaska with tsunami warnings all along the coast, since many people who live on the coast read this, I’m sure you were aware of it. I watched the news until it was lifted and sighed with relief! 

Pepe was here to help us out from his “job jar”, elevator is now fixed, luckily the elevator fellow was very close by and came within five minutes, a quick fix as suspected. Pepe put in a new bulb over the staircase which I would have had to climb over the railing to do, adjusted our window blinds to get more natural light in, couldn’t fix the bathroom light, off to buy a new one tomorrow. He showed us pictures of Dubai, what an incredible place that is, buildings so tall and the mosque is beautiful! He also went zip lining there and was provided with a camera on his helmet to record the experience, Wow! 

That's all for now folks! Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Saturday, January 6, 2018

First week of the New Year!

We had lunch at Perro Viejo, (means old dog) with Ryan, Angela, Ryan’s sister Heidi, brother-in-law Ben and Pepe. Lively group and enjoyable lunch, just don’t order the Caesar salad, for yourself only, it comes in a kitchen bowl, enough to feed probably six or so people. Here is a review with lots of pictures, although we sat outside.

Went out to do a shop and our downstairs neighbours came out their door and insisted we move the ramp, indicating they trip on it, it’s at the ledge outside their door but there is room for them to enter/exit. Well I’m sorry you tripped on it but the building management okayed for us to install it. Pepe to the rescue! He called the building management and told him to call the fellow downstairs to tell him it has to stay. Honestly, I doubt it will work, but the procedure has started. What a pain, I don’t like arguing with people, these two are sour pusses to begin with. Of course they are arguing in rapid Spanish and us in English, all not good.

On the way back we found this patio, cheered me up! The custom is, if the door is open you are welcome to stare and admire, if someone comes along you say muy bueno!, very good!

Pretty disbursement of oranges, more to come.

Right side
Back wall, those oranges!
Back wall, like the windows and stars.
Get the shop done, that wine rack is a thirsty devil, empty again, so bought enough to fill it up, for home delivery, which I love to use about every two weeks, called “enviro a casa". I always re-fill the buggy for the clerks, most don’t which means the clerk has to, so they appreciate it when I do. I’m also prepared and keep my name, address and phone number on a piece of paper for them to type into their system. I would think that if they put one identifier into the system my name and address would come up, but no, they have to type it in each time. Another mystery of the grocery retail world here, like when they move items all over the store for no apparent reason. Another service they offer is “personal shopping”, a clerk will take the list you have phoned in, or maybe online, collect all the goods and send them to you. For these services a minimum purchase of €120 applies.

Feeling a bit abandoned, all our Sevilla friends are away this week. Ryan and Angela took Heidi and Ben to Portugal; Ivan and Lola are also in Portugal. Pepe took his mom to Dubai to see his brother and from there he is going to Copenhagen, severe weather differences will be encountered on that trip! 

Bought another vacuum today, a canister type like we have in Freiburg. I lifted many models off the shelf to get a light one to help Rocio any way we can. We had done research before going but since we were on North American sites, they didn’t mention companies that are based in Europe, e.g. one from Sweden, so research should have been a bit more inclusive. Ended up with a Bosch so hopefully fine because we cannot return it. The sales clerk tried to tell me that, didn’t get it, so they took me to the multi language speaking inquiry phone, said what they needed to and the lady translated for me. I thought it was a good way to handle it and will use the function again if needed.

The Three kings parade is on tonight and children get their presents tomorrow. Read an article that this tradition trumps (not the Donald) Christmas Day and Santa by about a 2/3 to 1/3 margin for them.  It is raining quite hard in fact. I don’t envy them for sure. Another link with video of this year's parade.

We’ve walked by a paper goods store many times but decided to go in today, what is it about paper goods stores that fascinate me? Is it the possibility of creativeness? Is it the feeling when you bought your school supplies in September, all shiny and new? I don’t know, I mean really, what is exciting about a bunch of paper in different options and writing implements that I like so much? Anyway whatever it is, this new to us store has everything we have looked for in the past in different places, a large copy machine, etc. They are a chain of four stores in Sevilla, website (this reference is more for me than you, so I remember.) Anyway, bought a small notebook to help me learn Spanish better, I’ve analyzed my best methods of learning and found that if I write the words down it helps me the best, better late than never.

I bought these slippers and while they have no foot support, they are warm, a bit playful, and keep my feet from picking up every cat hair in the house. 

Bruce thinks the bows are ears!
Just to round this post out, Lexi here with her toy given to her by Ryan and Angela, Thank you!

Love my toy! (It's on a leather string so when it goes under the couch, and does, it's easier to pull out, or I can drag it around with her chasing it.)
All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!!!

Massive palm tree, Metropol Parasol in the background, read on.

This is Ryan's post about their visit with us and other friends in Freiburg. Great picture of him and Bruce.

Thwarted Christmas dinner, or when even careful planning goes amiss. I asked Ryan to contact the local butcher to get a pork roast, meaning to stuff it, he ordered for pick up Saturday. Turkeys can be found but large cured hams like we get in North America cannot, or at least no one here seems to be able to find them. Go to the butcher on Saturday and it is a zoo, just as we did, everyone else did too, poor fellow was so busy! Bruce gets to the counter and he asks for the roast, said pork roast three times, not understood I guess because we brought home a cooked beef roast and a tin of gravy. Pepe stopped by for a Christmas drink and he confirmed that Bruce had the words correctly but he said “that just happens sometimes” What? Well we’ll be fed and the beef is tasty because I opened it’s package to see what we actually had bought. (Read on, it was pork!)

Pepe showed us pictures of his recent trip to Marrakesh, Morocco and it looks to be very exotic, colourful, gritty and chaotic, Bruce said he’d be booking a ticket for next week if he didn’t have mobility issues. I’ve read bloggers stories and their opinions swing from loving it to hating it. We were glad Pepe had a good time there, he said it was like Sevilla about twenty years ago. His brother is in town so he took a bottle of Clamato juice to introduce him to a red eye, Bruce said hah! we’re converting Spaniards, well on a very small scale for sure. 

From my Christmas message mentioning dried sage I received an offer from a lady I know on the Coast to mail me some! Isn’t that in the Christmas spirit!  

I received so many lovely responses to the blog from friends for Christmas, it fills my heart! Thank you!

Christmas lunch worked out well, it was a pork roast, including gravy the butcher put in, well seasoned and we used the raclette grill to warm it, I thought the oven might dry it out. Stuffing done in the oven, not very traditional, included orange juice and rind, but tasted good. Mashed potatoes sent Ryan into heaven, hasn’t had them in a while, done with butter and cream. They brought a tasty mixture of snow peas, garlic and soy sauce, a perfect sharper mix to the lunch/dinner. 

There should be a name for lunches in Spain that transcend to dinners, brunch is a good word for breakfast and lunch, no word that I know of for what happens here.

I am good with a knife, can’t remember when I have cut myself with one, but a grater, well, not the same story, two grate marks on my fingers, not great, hah pun intended. 

That fancy, Dyson vacuum cleaner we bought? Doesn’t work well, battery life on it is shorter than advertised half hour, Rocio couldn’t even finish doing the couch before it conked out. She said it was cumbersome to use. So being rather expensive, it’s going back to the store. I was dreading this experience but it turned out well. I typed on my phone, translated and handed it to the clerk. He didn’t say anything but rang it through. Had an orange juice at our favourite little cafe and the owner of it recognized me and asked if we live near by, that’s always a nice thing. The cafe is a French one called Colette,

Saturday the 30th and a sunny, warm day so we go to the top of the Setas, Metropol Parasol. 

One of the 360 degree views, I took many more pictures, but into the sun, not good...
Been meaning to do that all the time we’ve been here, finally done! I actually had a bit of vertigo, don’t know why really, ramps are wide with high guard rails. The nice people at the entry booth saw Bruce’s chair, pulled us to the front of the line and issued us free tickets to go up. 

Beautiful tile work on the side of a church.
Had Japanese lunch first and good thing too, after we were looking around to have a drink at a patio and there wasn’t a table to be found! Couldn’t even see some of the restaurants, just the crowds of people with drinks in hand. We did find a table but were told we couldn’t have it and couldn’t at the moment figure out why, no indication it was reserved or people had left it temporarily. Sitting at home and I remembered Alonzo saving us a table when it was busy, we’d wait at the sidelines until one came free and he’d wave anyone else off who wanted it. Hah, mystery solved. Whole town was out with all their relatives, strolling along, not walking, mind, strolling, sloooowly, in family groups taking up the sidewalks. I remember Angela and Ryan coming to our table at our old local and almost begging for a seat, must have been this time of year, they’d been all over and couldn’t find an empty spot. Now if we are going out for lunch with them, we arrive early, get a table, otherwise people wait outside the tables and stare hungrily at you to guilt you into leaving. Custom here is that you enjoy your time, line up or not.

Well that's a wrap of this post and 2017. Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2018!

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat