Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dunking cookies

One of the things I have learned to love living here in Catalunya is dunking cookies in my tea.

My understanding of the etiquette on this topic is that it is really something of a no-no, at least in my family, and it was not something I ever really did.  In fact even after many years here I didn't do it ever.  Then a couple of my students were talking about how delicious it is, and I started dunking.

O my goodness.  Love it.

Everyone here does it, especially at breakfast, it is polite and accepted.  You can dunk into coffee, tea or hot chocolate, and you can dunk just about anything sweet and bread-like from cookies, to croissants to special finger like cakes made specifically for dunking, and then there are xurros!!!

I may have trouble when I go back to Canada this summer resisting the temptation!!!!


Sunday, January 31, 2016

weird, no just plain rude and astonishingly oblivious

In the village where I live (not that village-y, but still) we have been lucky this year that an amazing ensemble has been coming to play, there have been four classical music concerts so far, and there is one more to go.  Love it. 

We are a village, so we are a little uncouth, in that there is a tendency for people to applaud when they aren't supposed to, but we make up for it with vast enthusiasm!

There is one thing about it though that is so weird.  There is a group of old ladies who come, and they chat (a bit) during the concert, and this is NOT a big hall, 500 people, but the worst of all is that they eat candies.  They share them.  They bring the candies in a plastic bag that they pass around.  A noisy crinkly plastic bag. The candies themselves are wrapped in crinkly paper, so they pass them back and forth, open them, then they have to crinkle the papers up into a little ball, and frequently THROW THEM ON THE FLOOR!

Please remember, small hall.  They are very close to the musicians.  

It is astonishing.

Today was better than the other times, it was only two of the old biddies, and they only did it once.  They also got fiercely shushed at one point when they started to chat.

But honestly, even if you did grow up under Franco, how, how how, can you think that this behaviour is OK?

Who would make that much noise in the middle of a quiet stretch of a Mozart piano concerto, when you are only about 15 feet from the pianist and then throw the wrapper on the floor after crinkling it into a ball?


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Look at this fish!

I went on a gorgeous walk today with a gigantic group of people.  It was great fun, but you have got to see this fish...

There's a big tuna that lives in one of the ports and it is pretty amazing to see.  A very strong muscular animal.  It moves very very fast and looks quite predatory.

Unbeknownst to me my camera lens was filthy, so the other photos came out pretty terrible.  My phone took better photos which is kinda sad.

And while good blog posts are supposed to be about only one topic, meh, I don't care.  So here are some more photos from the day!

I love sea anemones and I love the sea. 

Goodness but I am a lucky person.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Driving class

Our Canadian driver's licenses are not accepted here, so instead of just flipping them over for a Spanish license, we have to go through the entire (expensive) testing process.  Ho freaking Hum

Especially as the theoretical tests is a ridiculous monster, which I am not going to go into as it will raise my blood pressure and I want to go to bed soon, and not lie there grinding my teeth!

However the man did it and he passed on the first try - an accomplishment here!

He had his first in-car driving class today.  I would like to add that he is pushing 60 (from no long distance) and has been driving for over 40 years without an accident and I have known him for 23 or 24 and during that time anyway, he has never gotten a ticket.  He drives, perfectly (not like me!)

So off he went.

The driving instructor told him that if the flow of traffic is over the speed limit (within reasonable limits) he could go that speed - which he would of course have done if he had not had a driving instructor with him!  If he had gone with the flow of traffic, the instructor would have told him to slow down, no doubt.

He also needs to return his hands to the wheel more quickly after changing gears....yadda yadda yadda, if that is all he had to say in a full hour of driving.........

Bring on the exam!!!!

(on another note, Chuck and I did about 30+ K today, lovely out there (the dog is sleeping s.o.l.i.d.l.y!).  He managed to tear a toenail back, but seems to have fixed it himself, so I'll keep an eye on that, but otherwise it seems to be OK.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Today was also Sant Antoni, when all the animals are blessed

And a whole bunch of horses go around and around and around the town....

It's good fun.

I went for a walk too....

That's an enormous surprise I imagine...

It was a gorgeous place full of gorges and beautiful waterfalls and a castle!  See....Near Santa Coloma de Farnes,

 Below is a cork tree, well several cork trees, that have been trimmed....

Modern stairs, and very cool ones, up to the top of the tower...

the biffy, it would have had a plank with a hole in it.

Nice, no?

Sooo very very much, and so much to be grateful for.

That sounds gross, but honestly, I am so utterly happy, it¡s hard not to be.  The man has work, both kids seem to be very happy and doing well in their chosen routes, we don't have to worry about money, my workload has diminished to the point that I can enjoy life again, we have friends, beautiful weather, a beautiful place to live.  Life is good.  (and youngest gave me a great haircut yesterday!)

So, now that I have gloated horribly, I'll show some pics, though mostly I am just so happy to be happy.

Youngest has been doing a lot of climbing:

We went to Montserrat, which I LOVE

My sister in law came and youngest and I went off cycling with her and Eldest did the bus version of the route....

We had Christmas with the family, we took more photos of this guy than anyone else.....

 More to follow......

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Street party

Back when we lived in TO, our street would have a street wide yard sale, the first Saturday in June I think it was.  We'd save up all the junk to put out and sell.  In a good year we'd make 25 or 3 bucks and get rid of a ton of crap.  The rule was that once it went out, it didn't come back again, the yard sale ended with a goodwill run.

The best part though was that all the neighbours then got together later that afternoon for a big old barbeque, everyone hauled out tables and grills and chairs, brought their own plates and salads and deserts, I think we pitched in 5 bucks to buy the meat, but maybe not.

Then we'd all sit around till late shootin' the shit with the kids running around as it got darker and darker.  It'd usually still be going on when I went to bed.

Here in Catalunya we had a street party today, I think just cause we wanted to do it!  Of course it's Catalunya so it was a little different, there were 130 people, we paid in advance so they could buy the ingredients and we had paella (very good paella indeed) and salad, bread, wine, water, deserts (potluck) coffee and chupitos or digestives - shots of liquor at the end of the meal.  There was a band that played some terrible music far too loud, and it was great.

Here's a couple of photos:

Now that's a big pan, no?  Actually, they come much bigger.  Btw, you need a kilo of rice per 10 people,

Street's all decorated (the garbage cans don't add to the beauty of the whole thing, but what the heck.)

One pan is frying onions and garlic, the other peppers and tomatoes for the sofregit.

Cooking the meat.

Meats out, add the rice and fry it up to get more flavour.

Now we've got the meat and the artichokes in, and the broth has been added as well.  15 minutes to go!

View from the terrace....


Kids are busy.....

finishing touches

putting out the fire...

It was delicious....and I have to say that I love these kids of events.  Really do.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

I have so many posts and so little time.

Ages and stages, that has seemed to be a very good way to look at life for a long time, there are ages and stages.

And in each of these there are things you love about it and things that, well, not so much.  Things that you would like to hang on to, and continue doing, and things that, well, not so much.

So, what has been not so much?  working and working and working and working.......


Walking is great, when I can.....

This area is near Tremp which was the front in the civil war for quite a long time.

Below is a spring emerging from the ground.  Catalunya is amazing this way.

Military installations, 

The ground is so rocky the trenches were only dug down half way, and the rocks piled up to make a wall.  Also, it was thought it would be temporary so not a lot of attention was paid to quality construction.  10 months later, they were still there.

A more solid military post.

I also went to Girona for the day:

 That says minyons, as in not those strange yellow things, but girls who worked in a residence, so this is essentially the servant's entrance.

Now, back to the grind!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

feed station

I spent the afternoon working a feed station at a rogaining course....know what?  It was great fun, I highly recommend helping out at a race.  We had a beautiful spot, a gorgeous view a really nice day, we didn't run out of food so everyone was really happy......feet are a little tired from standing, we gave our chairs to the runners, they were doing 12 hours, and you do like to sit down after a while.

Lovely time, and lots of people from here, and lots from far away, two Italians, a German, one from Brussels, an Australian and someone from Ireland....

Great fun.