Archive for November, 2007

every days a holiday with mary

Friday, November 30th, 2007

its friday and after a morning pruning mulberries for Jesus and a fleeting visit up to the large plot of land that Yasmina and John own to chat to John about what plants he can grow as a wind break then home to break up a wardrobe ready to be chopped up into fire wood.

last night after going into Figueres to hunt down some floor tiles for the living room and new kitchen, then a quick trip to the new solar panels shop that has just opened (some one is going to ring me), we went out for a pizza in the hotel, cost us about 20€ with wine and coffee. then back home to a nice wood fire.

did i mention that Pepes brother shot himself in the foot?

while he was out hunting thrush or some such beast, john was telling me he has had to get some hunters in at the land as the wild boars have been at it with domestic pigs so they seem to be breeding much quicker, aparently they shot 9 and there was atleast the same amount that got away.

Jesus is from Barcelona so he knows what i mean when i go on about how much sky there is around here.

it seems there really is a water shortage here now they have reduced the pressue of the water in Girona and i think they are cutting the water for a couple of hours a day in Barcelona, its crazy Seville is virtually flooded and weve had nothing apart from a couple of days last week. its december tomorrow and the lawn hasnt grown any since about May, its greened up a bit and that is it.

i planted a new almond tree in the garden to replace the old one and rosa “pauls scarlet” to grow through the bottle brushes i planted near the hammock. i got them in Aki they where only 4€ each.

the little mint

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

i was pruning lantanas this morning and i mentioned to Jesus that we prune fushias in the same maner in england, after a few attempts at saying fushia with a spanish accent we got it and Jesus told me that Fushias are called “pendientes de la reina” which means earings of the queen, how nice is that, i then attempted to tell Jesus that Jock burys his fushias in the ground wrapped in straw every winter, i didnt know the word for bury but we got there in the end, all is going well with Jesus, i think, after a little bit of a chat, with probably a little bit of misunderstanding either way i will be getting a contract in late Jan or atleast Feb. as its getting frighteningly close to christmas i am only doing mornings for Jesus this week and its fiesta next thursday, so there is no point working the friday after a fiesta (which is good cause natalie and andy are here) so its back to painting the shutters.

theres snow on them there hills

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

the solar panel man is hopefuly coming this morning, it was to late for him on wednesday and we were in Figueres when he rang on thursday.

ive put the swimming pool cover on, it wasnt to difficult, it took me an afternoon, i wasnt working thursday afternoon because it was raining. it looks alright and ive switched off the pump but catherine who has been down from france for the night last night to see cathy recommended putting the pump on for a few hours really early in the morning just incase the water is about to freeze which makes perfect sense to me.

i little bit later on:

cathy has gone home and so has catherine and we have been back to bed as it was a bit of a heavy one last night. the solar panel man didnt show and also Yasmina has cancelled due to a funeral, we were going over there for dinner this evening. so im going to preserve lemons instead.

couldnt face beer this morning

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

mum and dad have been and gone, we went to the market in castello and then for lunch there aswell, another goats cheese salad, not bad and plenty of salad, with walnuts aswell which i feel all goats cheese salads should contain. we also went to Girona for the day so mum and dad could see the place and so we could then pick up Moira from the airport at about 3.30 in the afternoon.  they picked the coldest weekend so far to come here.

because it was a cold weekend there was a lot of wood ash from the fire which consequently went on the compost heap i must remember to let the ash cool down next time as we had a little fire and burnt some of the bamboo and thanks to the tramontana one of the posts broke so i had to concrete it back in place, i have now got a slightly improved version of the old compost heap built to hopefully withstand the wind a bit better just need a bit more bamboo for the side that burnt down.

we now have a swimming pool cover the nice lady gave me a 10% discount for my trouble now ive got to put it over the pool and secure it, i will do that probably this weekend as i seem to be working all week, jesus seems very happy with me.

cathy is here for the week which is handy as the solar panel man is hopefully coming over tomorrow and he speaks french so between the two of them it should be alright.

where is phillipe?

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

i roasted some of the almonds on sunday night but forgot to mention it in the last blog, i think 10 mins is a bit too long not much but probably 5 mins would be better as the almonds keep on roasting for a while after they leave the oven, and i atye them all before i had a chance to make some almond butter.

i had breakfast beer this morning, with my new boss, for atleast a while i hope, jesus that is, at the moment he is going to pay me by the hour, but if all goes well, with any luck he will give me a contract in january/ febuary, but so far it seems to be going well, im not working tomorrow as he has to go to the hospital for a check up and there is only about 2 hours work friday morning which is fine by me as i can go to Girona tomorrow and to the office of extanjeros to collect something, i dont know what yet, and friday mum and dad are arriving in the afternoon and ive got to take Moira to the airport a a stupid time in the morning. but because im basically having to speak and listen in spanish, my spanish can only get better, till the golden day when i find myself thinking in spanish without realising, then i can learn catalan, fantastic.

still beering

Monday, November 12th, 2007

i met Jesus this morning in the bar while having a coffee, i knew he was going to be there, as Pepe had told me earlier that he came in every Monday morning for a coffee and a sandwich, a nice bloke. he is also a gardener that has recently had an operation and needs some help, so ive got work this week and hopefully for a while longer, as is my usual style i neglected to ask how much he would pay me.

i think ive got the hang of this fire business, i know how to get one going as i used to be the one that got the old stove going in the garden centre, but that was generally with old pallets and stuff like that, how long do i have to wait before i can burn the pine i chopped down in summer?

weve got satalite tv, we havent got sky yet but thats on its way, we need to get a new remote control as the old one has been worn down to nothing buy the last owner, an american that lives in Empuria Brava right next to a thai restaurant .

wrap up warm as the tramontana is on its way tomorrow. i built a little wind break around the fennel seedlings.


hang a christmas tree between your legs

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

we went to england

the first day i spent shopping for Moira and i bought myself a nut cracker so i could have a go at all those almonds that i had aquired while picking olives, it was nice being a tourist in a city that i new so well, with the smell off the fallen leaves, bringing the memory of sweeping them up rushing back to me. once i had dropped the shopping off i found myself going to Hyde park to kick piles of leaves around because i could then strolled back via paddington. we went out that night to see a few of the old friends Farah was there i havent seen her for ages, that was nice and cat and paul who i havent seen since their wedding in wales, and also Graham, scottish graham the one who went off to travel around the world, it was his last night on his round the world trip as he was off back to scotland the next morning. i have to admit i ended up smilling and laughing quite alot that evening.

the next day was a hard day doing stuff with Thuys Graham, taking in a trip to the harlesden tapas bar meeting moira for lunch, and then the next day i went for a pub lunch with graham and paul then home. every morning i managed to get a bit off spanish culture by going into Garciass on portabella road and having a cortado while reading the Vanguardia and trying to listen to the waitresses chatting away.

i bought a book by Orsen wells called ” Homage to Catalonia” which kind of explains why the catalans are little bit like they are.

now im back weve sorted out paying for the kitchen and the chimney, still havent got the bill from the electrician, the swimming pool shop was shut so we didnt pick up the pool cover, i really need to give the pool a good clean out this afternoon. and water the garden as its quite warm again.

the earl percy

Monday, November 5th, 2007

well that was different, and i came back to a warm house, i got home last night as there wasnt enough olives left to make it worth the bother picking anymore but we picked 13 boxes and they are about 20 killos each which really is enough olives to keep a medium sized family in olive oil for atleast a year and a half, i came home with 130 euros and a bag full of hand picked (by me) almonds which i might roast and turn into almond butter because there is far to much to eat with a nut cracker at christmas

once i finish this blog im going to finish painting the railings upstairs, but first ive got rub them down and tidy them up a bit where the swirls were.

where we were picking the olives was near a small town called Sant Carles de rabiata or something like that, but it was definatly Sant Carles, which is almost the last town before you get to the catalan border and enter Valencia. we were up in the hills a bit, the guy  i was working with is from switzerland so to him they where hills i wasnt so sure, with the most amazing view and all you could hear was the buzz of mosquitos whizing past your ear looking for a spot to get a bit of blood. very tranquil, and now i can say ive picked olives like millions of poeple have over the centuries, we picked them buy hand as well it was all very organic. there were different kinds of olives which i really should have known  but hadnt really thought about it before, i even new at one point the name of the little hardy olive that you get around here but i have forgotten for the time being. there are also different types of almonds one is much sweeter then the other but the other tastes more of marzipan. also orange trees need a lot of water and its to warm for cherries that far south as they need a bit of cold.

the night we got to Sant Carles a huge flock off birds flew over head and i mean a huge flock of birds the sky was almost black, they are only around at this time of year mainly for the olives and also Sant Carles is on the Ebre delta so there are loads of birds stopping over on there way further south.

apart from picking olives i pretty much spent the weekend having to speak spanish and understand catalan aswell as they as devoutly catalan there as they are here, but i think it has helped quite alot, and Marcos the guy i was working with as he also had to learn the language once about 15 years ago he knows it helps if people correct you so you can get it right. he asked me at one point to tell a joke, one i couldnt think of one at the time and 2 if i had thought of one it probably wouldnt have translated anyway.