Friday, April 30, 2010

Diablo time

The devils were out playing again this evening.

The shirtless devil set the torches alight by blowing flame on them

They burned an effigy of the church, in front of the church, and torched the politicians with their words.

They made a whole lot of noise too.

Have to say, I loved it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Progress on the house

I like this stage, things are going very very quickly.  The guys managed to put in the bulk of the roof over Youngest's room...well, this is rather illusory as they have more to fill in, plus a mesh of rebar and then concrete, plus filling in the holes in the walls.  Nonetheless, the change is impressive.

Looking up from Youngest's room:

This will someday be the terrace, with a higher wall and fewer bricks lying around.

Remember that view down the hallway that I painted as well, with the window at the end?  This is what it looked like last night. Not sure it would still looks like this now.  Guys are FAST.

More anon.

Amazing, no?  Makes me pretty happy.

Plus today, with the terrace sorta kinda floored, (don't step on the red bits, only on the skinny white bits) we got up there and had a look around......look-y!  We've got a pretty good view of some of the mountains.....

and we can see the sea!!!!  Or we would be able to see it much better if it weren't so hazy.  The view of the sea isn't as good as at the apartment, but we can get a look, and that is good.

happy days to you all folks,


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Nona our friend's dog was over this morning, which is fine, until she threw up.

That was a little nastier.  Fortunately Eldest got her off the couch before anything vile happened there.

Here's the thing though.  I have been feeling fairly terrible every time I use bleach for the last very long time and now we have run out.  That said, a certain amount of disinfectant is necessary in this life, and when faced with this mess an, ahhh, unusual idea struck me.  A couple of years ago someone gifted the man with a bottle of really cheap and terrible Spanish made whisky.  It has never been opened, till this morning.

Have you ever washed your floor with whisky?

It leaves a nice shine behind when it's done, evaporates away, not sticky and much better for the marine world than bleach.

What guests will think about the left-over smell is another issue.  Good to keep the dogs out of it till it's dry too, no?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Reader's meme...

Courtesy of JG at the Hotchpotcafe:

The rules: Bold the ones you've read completely and italicize the ones you've read part of. Watching the movie or the cartoon doesn't count. Abridged versions don't count either. According to the BBC, if you've read 7 of these, you are above the average.* My comments are in parenthesis.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18. Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger (no memory of the plot)
19. The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (hated it)
22. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens (very confusing as an audiobook)
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (delightful!)
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen

35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
47. Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (icky ick ick ick)
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert 
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (why is there so much Austen on this list and no Hemingway?)
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (in Catalan, hated it) 
57. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (TBR)
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
60. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov (hated it)
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (TBR)
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie (TBR)
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville (editor please)
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden -Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Inferno-Dante
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome (LOVED it)
78. Germinal - Emile Zola (in French class, the horror)
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - A.S. Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro (twice, the plot still won't stick in my mind)
85. Madam Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry (TBR)
87. Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (LOATHED it)
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down -Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, April 26, 2010

A reason I'd like to move.

The neighbours had a big party yesterday afternoon.

That's OK.

They didn't tell us.

That's OK too.

They had it up on the terrace.

Still OK.

All our laundry was hanging out on the terrace, including our bras and underwear and holey socks.

That didn't feel quite so OK at all.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

how to

Spent almost all day in the garden today, working away and slogging through Paul Thereaux's Dark Star Safari.  Unbearably dull.  When I've been five days at a book and I'm still only half way through.  Bye bye.  Sad, I usually like his work.

On another note, we're planning on building a climbing wall in Youngest's room once we get there, so we were doing a little internet searching this morning about how to build them and where to buy the holds.

Youngest went to type in, 'how to build rock climbing wall' in the google search window.  I stopped her part way through as the most intriguing list of how to items came up.

how to tie a tie
how to kiss
how to lose weight fast
how to get pregnant
how to solve a rubix cube
how to get a girl to like you
how to make a website
how to write a resume
how to download youtube videos
how to make it in america

I am sorry, but this list amazes me.  The order of the items and what they are. Something to be pondered here on a lot of different levels.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday's work....sunrise

Hi there!

Had to work this morning, but before heading out I went over to the much quieter house while the sun was coming up.  I like the way the architecture is shaping up in her room, some interesting geometric lines forming up.

She also has a most impressive view of the sunrise these days.

Impressive, no?

Staff meeting today.  One of the other teachers suggested that we, essentially, rewrite the text books, but when asked what she was planning on doing for her next class, and when given the option of doing most anything at all ie. writing her own little bit of curriculum, she decided that was too much work altogether and took the books to prep her class.
Guess it's not quite the same if someone else is doing the curriculum than if you have to do it yourself.


Friday, April 23, 2010

house photos, first week, destruction phase!

Bloglines has been down a couple of days and it has made me realise that I need to update my google blog list on the side there.  Feeling lonely over here!

OK, onto the house photos!  I may just put a link up to some albums 'cause this might get boring fast...or not.

This used to be a bathroom, now it, well, I think the guys are still using it, but I wouldn't want to.

This used to be the roof to Youngest's room, now her room is very bright and airy.  Sadly these beautiful beams have got to go, they are completely rotten and there is nothing holding them up but habit.  I was really fairly sad about that till I thought about sleeping under them.  That's when I came to terms with the loss.  I can hear them using the chainsaw on them from the apartment.  Kinda bugging me, but what can we do.

This is looking down into Eldest's room, the loft has been partially removed, it will later be completely replaced.  As you can see the upper part of the wall dividing Eldest's room from the rest of the house has been removed.

Flowers we've put out in the garden....

Youngest's lettuce patch:

More to follow I imagine, I believe they are removing those beautiful beams today!  As I now have a copy of the key, photos should be a little easier, no?

Happy St. Jordi's day, may you get a book and a rose!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Education in the capital.

There seems to be a problem with the education system in Madrid.  I am very sorry to report this, but the evidence has come in.

Here's how I know.  We went off to yet another government office today in the quest for the children's citizenship papers.  This, we thought, was nearly the final hurdle, indeed, for Eldest it was meant to be the last one.

But it seems, Madrid failed to learn one of those 'all I need to know I learned in kindergarten' rules.  That would be sharing.  Seems the papers have to go to Madrid to be looked at and they have to write it down.  Inscribir-la.

This is where the other educational problem seems to have appeared.  It seems that in Madrid they can only write very    veeeerrrrrrrrryyyyy sloooooooowwwwwwwlllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy.  It is going to take them a year to write down her name.

Something is going to have to be done with the education system in this country.

Really, it is a crying shame.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yesterday, a review.

Woke up extra early today, around 5:30 am, but it was OK.  I was just happy to find out I wasn't the only one in the bed.  The man is, however, a very very light sleeper and is also very very tired so I got up to let him rest, which has been lovely.  I got caught up on the canvas a day project which has eluded me the last two days due to exhaustion, got a cup of tea and watched the sun come up over the sea.  Life can be pretty darned sweet at 6am.

Got some catching up to do in other ways as well.  Youngest and I have been planting flowers like mad things over in the garden, photos should follow; and we had the first meeting with the architect and the builders on-site today.

Those guys are destucto-rama monsters.  Holy jeez they take stuff down fast.  If I could just get a key from them I could show you.

Some cracks in one of the vaults out back have appeared which weren't there before, kind of worrisome but what the heck.  I am having to g-nag those boys about protecting the floor, stairs and tiles, they just don't want too.  I am still fairly sure that the job foreman cannot read plans, he kept asking the architect questions to which he responded along the lines of, do you have the plans?  When I was talking to him the day before yesterday he was looking at them upside down......

They've already taken chunks of the roof off, I think before they consulted with the architect, pray it doesn't rain too much for me, m'kay?

I had to leave early, but the man showed up part way through.  The architect is planning on showing up really very often at this stage.  A good thing I think.

I also had one of those moments when you have to muzzle yourself and let a great joke die.  The man appeared at the job site, mid-meeting, quite unexpectedly.  He came in, said hi at which point I ran over to greet him and give him a hug with an air of surprise and delight.  I turned back to the conversation and while the architect was greeting him the foreman asked me if it was my husband.  For a brief second or two I was soooooo terribly tempted to say, "No, never seen him before, but he's really cute, no?"


Would have loved to have seen his face.

Ah well.

On another good note, looks like that big block of work that wasn't going to happen for me is back on the table again!  WOOT.

Better still, the man's workplace phoned him up last night and he will be working until at least June and maybe beyond.  Seems they need him.  Good, no?


The man is back.

I am utterly happy.

'nuff said.

See ya tomorrow, m'kay?

Love O

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A day of miracles.

Miracle 1:  The man made it (safely) across the Atlantic.

Miracle 2:  I've got him booked to arrive here tomorrow!!!!

Miracle 3:  I went to the National Police to get yet another bit of paper for the eternal paper trail of the kids citizenship process and - get this - I had Every. Single. Piece. They. Wanted!!!


Good grief Charlie Brown.

But Barça lost tonight.  Someone else's miracle that one.

Twilight zone.

The man has - in theory - just taken off from Canada, headed for an airport that is, according to all sources, closed. 

I am feeling a might twitchy.  Also kind of wondering exactly where he is going to turn up at the end of this.

On a weirder note, do you realise that there is a scheduled, non-cancelled flight that is going from Reykjavík to London today?  

Am I the only one that finds that just a little surreal?


he's down and am I ever glad of it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Whoa!! I am tired!!!

The guys showed up!

They also promptly broke the latch on the front door.  Ho hum.  It will ultimately be thrown out anyway.

Still....good news to see tools arriving, no?

LOVELY lunch with youngest in the garden, sat in the sun and was stupendous...and we put in some flowers I had bought all the while admiring the fact that there were no builders supplies in the garden, only in the house!!!

Something else I discovered.  Not only is the bed chillier when the man isn't here, but I think I don't roll over often enough.  That sounds crazy, but here's the backstory.  I am a really fairly heavy sleeper.  I can easily have a three hour nap and wake up in the exact same position I went to sleep in.  Exact.

The man however is a light sleeper who snorts and blows and rolls around...gets up to pee, checks his get the picture I imagine.

Well, with the man away my right shoulder has been getting progressively more and more sore and I think what is happening is that I am simply not being roused as much and so I am not rolling over as often as I do when he is here.  Not that I normally wake up, but he probably disturbs me enough that I shift.  I had fairly painful shoulder problems on the boat, I chalked it up to steering, but we didn't share a bunk there and it's making me wonder now if that was the problem there too.  I think in the summers I simply don't sleep enough to get sore.  Simply not enough hours in bed to work up any aches.


Just for the sake of it, I checked to see what it would cost to get the man out of Canada and back to BCN tomorrow wuth another airline on another route.  They wanted $4,255!!!!!

The profiteering rotten buggers.  Remind me never to fly with them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The garden, after some work

Ok folks, please remember that I am still at the cleaning out stage...though I am going to put in some plants tomorrow.  I have literally removed two pick-up trucks worth of plant material.  Ford 450s not a little Nissan either.

"What did you do this weekend Oreneta?"

"I killed plants!"

Anyway, here's some views of it as it is now.  My hand is horribly sore from using the clippers all day, there is a monsterous spiky beast growing there and it was like cutting through twigs all day.  OUCH.

This looks almost Japanese in the photo...not so much in real life and that spiky stuff has GOT to go.

Ugly chairs, but we found them for free so if they get stolen, well, what the time we'll get something nicer, and a better gate.

Similar comments.  Unfortunately, or not actually, most of the greenery around this seat is roses.  Lots and lots of very big, very spiky roses.  Sit vewy vewy cawfullwy.

All the nasty spiky green stuff is gone.  There was a theme in this garden, and it hurt. I have never ever in my life been in a garden planted virtually exclusively with spikes and thorns.

I got some help though.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The garden

The construction guy, when walking past the garden in the front of the new house, sized it up and said he could use that space for tools and working and mixing stuff.

I said no.

"OK", he said, "I'll just store stuff there."

Today I bought a gate.

I also bought three meter-square bits of deck.  Part of the plan tomorrow is to go down and do me a bit of gardening.  Part of the plan Monday morning is to go and get me some plants and do a little more gardening.  I'll also put a table and some chairs in there.

I also will not be trimming back the enormous spiky prickly sharp and poke-y rose from the entryway.

Think that'll be clear enough?

I love it when I can get the environment to do the talking and I don't have to face the argument myself.

Especially when it makes my garden more beautiful too.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Look-y look-y!

Look what we have!!!

This is the permission to start work on the house!!!!!!!!

Contracts signed, first payment paid and they start on Monday.

NEVER thought we'd get here.

Honestly, I wasn't sure.

The new set of headaches start now, no?

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Weird thing (some) Catalans do:  When they finish a puzzle, they glue it together, frame it and hang it on the wall.  I find that strange.

Rude thing one Catalan did (not to be generalised to all Catalans this one):  Came to my house, rang the bell, came inside.  All the while talking on her cell phone.  She continued her conversation for a full three minutes more while we all stood around inside my house, waiting for her to bother to say anything to us.

I find that really rude.

I am doubting again which contractor to go with, he is not returning calls.  He ain't even got the job yet and he isn't returning calls.



Told that boy off. Up one side and down the other.  I was being nice enough until he called me 'noia' which is girl-y (kind of).  Then I got nastier.

We met at five and seem to have sorted our differences.  It does help when the contractors need work.  They do have to reform to some extent.  He sent all the documents I need, even translated one of them out of Spanish for me, even though I told him, repeatedly, that he didn't have to, and the man will have a look over them this evening too.  If all goes well, I'll sign them, get the license, give him his initial payment and he may even start on Monday.


The man is supposed to be flying back from Canada via the UK in the next few days.  Here's hoping he makes it.  Not only do I miss him madly, but we have two meetings with government offices next week that he has to be here for.  Wonder if you can be excused on account of Icelandic Volcanoes.

Never, ever, ever, ever dull.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Well thank god for that.

Favoured contractor wasn't sending in his bid in a timely manner, which was producing a certain amount of, ah, tension on my part.  Indeed I found myself going to bed with the iPod on having laid there feeling angsty and frustrated for over an hour.  Listened to a book podcast and dozed right off, I was plenty tired.

Turns out he sent it to himself rather than to me.  Let's hope he's better with a hammer than a hard drive.

So.  Now we have a contractor chosen, or rather I do as the man is out of the race at the moment and I am handling this crap now.  Phoned the architect, he hasn't called back.

What right does he have to be busy with something else when I am trying to reach him, H.O.N.E.S.T.L.Y!

I am never, ever, ever unreasonable.


Oh, and I found the perfect thing, this is exactly what I need.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Comedy, a source for balance.

Funny things:

At lunch yesterday, in a restaurant, Youngest was drinking milk and took way too much in her mouth.  Her nose suddenly got called into play as an emergency vent.  Two streams of milk coming out her nostrils....I had to laugh with her.  Indeed I laughed rather hysterically, to the embarrassment of Eldest which made it all the funnier.

I was listening this morning to the CBC Laugh Out Loud podcast from April 3 and it was pretty good, then a comic named Billy Bob Jo Taylor came on and OMG, I. Could. Not. Stop. Laughing.  Could not stop.  Most of the podcast is reasonably funny, but Billy Bob Jo...Heavens above.  He starts at about 12:30.

Annoying things:  Contractors who disappear and don't return calls.

Monday, April 12, 2010


The man's mother has died.  The poor man hadn't slept since I don't know when, jetlag is a b*tch.  He and his siblings were all there and she just slipped away in her own room.


On another note, we got the municipal permission.  sadly, the third construction guy has not sent me the bid, that was supposed to be here 'tonight'.  I suppose, like some of my students, he still has another hour and 11 min.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Meetings a la Catalana (Eurpoeana??)

The man has made it to Canada, his Mom has been given days to live and he and his siblings are taking it turn and turn about to sit at her bedside.  Good grief.

I was at a meeting today for the group that I am on the board of.  That sounds much more involved than it is I will admit.

Two things struck me about it as unusual.

First, there were two official starting times, and this is in the statutes.  At the time of the first one we would have been able to start if 50 percent of the membership had been present.  You can imagine how frequently that happens.  This official starting time inevitably cannot be used, so the paltry optimistic few who are there then have to sit around for a further half hour when we can start with whomever shows up.  Of course, knowing this system, no one shows up for the first time, making it absolutely inevitable that every member of the board sit around for half an hour doing nothing.  One person went and did some groceries!

Odd odd odd, why don't they just mandate a minimum quorum and call it done?

Second oddity that I have noted here repeatedly is the reading aloud of entire documents.  Legal language and all.  I know we do this at weddings, but it is worded a little different.  Today, they read aloud the entire minutes of the previous meeting, all six single-spaced pages of it.  The minutes were not made available before the meeting.

Good lord.

The notaries do the same thing, they basically get paid ridiculous sums for reading things aloud all day and then signing them.

At about page four I came to the dawning realisation that this tradition may well hark back to the era - none too long ago in some places - where there were lower literacy levels, so things had to be read aloud before they could be voted on combined with a chronic shortage of printed matter.  Running off copies for everyone to read from their seats as they wait for the meeting to begin has historically not been such an option.

Tradition hasn't moved on.  We could now send an e-copy to some of the members (it is a fairly aged group) and they could read it on their crackberries.  Give it another decade and we'll all be there.

Girls and I jinxed ourselves by cleaning out every last thing from the house with the thought that the construction guys just might start this week.  We know, of course, that having done this means that it will be at least another two weeks, no?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

disconcerting disorientation

I don't know if you've ever done this, but I've only ever done it a couple of times in my life - get your minds out of the gutters!

I was having a nap and the cell phone rang, which I had tucked into bed with me because the man was heading to Canada and who knows who from there might have phoned.  A friend called.

I did not know where I was, what country I was in, what language I was speaking.  I knew there was something I was worried about, but could not fathom what it was...the most alarming part I think.

The sense of confusion lasted for hours.  Rationally I knew what was going on, but felt all whacked out and lost.

Weird weird weird.

Barça beat Madrid handily though, so all must be right in the world.

Friday, April 9, 2010

If it wasn't complicated enough....

Let's see.

Tomorrow the third builder will come by with his numbers.

Monday morning I'll meet the architect to pick up the license (hopefully)

Decisions have to be made about the builders, NOW.  With any luck at all, they'll start work next week.  We have to clean the house out this weekend and keep working on removing the plaster from the vaults.

Took the dog to the vet, seems his leischmania is resurfacing.  The stress of my being away last weekend seems to have been too much.  Blood tests done and vaccine postponed, plus a urine sample that he wilingly gave out. Plus he may have a nasty little tick-born problem and he has either worms or colitis.  I'm offering up prayers for worms.  Never thought I'd say that anyway.

We have the overarching charm of the man having to go into work while looking for work and not being properly employed.  The atmosphere there is delightful.

A large block of very well paid work that I thought I would be getting doesn't seem to be panning out, some whim of the generalitat seems to have sent the work to another language school.  Crap for us all.


Nownownownownow, we got an email from the man's sister this evening.  Seems his mother's health is failing severely.  Booking flights out of here for him.

He's all booked and going to be gone for a week!

Never ever ever ever dull.

Had dinner at 10:30 pm.  We were a little surprised by the time when we sat down, I thought it was around 8.

Gotta laugh, it's the only option.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kiss kiss update

I have been kisskissed these days.

My boss, but not her sister who is the office admin.  None of the teachers I work with in English, but the one who I always talk to in Catalan.  My closest buddy here.  The architect and yesterday's builder.  None of my students, neither adults nor kids.  The husband of my compatriot at work, though he does most times he sees me as in a couple of times a week.  An ex-student and a random person I know in the street.

Still ain't got this one down.  Fascinating looking at it though.

No rhyme or reason I can find anywhere.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A tiny little lesson in Catalan (swearing) Now you'll read on, no?

Real life again!

Meeting today with the architect and the first contractor who is now on deck again and a half - he could start today if we could.  It all went well.  We had been told we would get the license today, but no.  (This is Spain) The meeting was today and silly me, I thought that would include a decision.  So did the architect.

Friday or Monday.

Oh!  And we're missing a couple of bits of paper.  Claro.

The long-suffering architect is taking care of that anyway.

Good stuff I suppose.  When we get the actual license....Party!!!

When the guys appear on site......Oy oy oy, I will be one happy girl, for at least a little while anyway.

I am starting to dream of house-warming parties.  Talk about peaking early!

Heard a Catalan phrase today, 'estic fins als pebrots'.  It all went by quickly so I jotted it down to ask.  Pebrots is a colloquial and slightly more polite term for balls/nuts/yarbles....whatever.  So he 'was up to his nuts'  Can you carry this from here?  To busy or too fed up or simply overwhelmed.

They guy I asked got a good laugh too.  You can say, rather more crudely, 'estic fins als coyones' do I need to translate coyones?  Same meaning as pebrots but much ruder.  Much more polite is 'estic fins a dalt'  I am right up to the top.   In English we would trace an invisible line across our forehead and say we 'were up to here' with whatever is making us nuts (hahaha).

Seems the Catalans run out of patience when the water is much lower than for an anglo, no?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Back on the water. Heavenly.


Can you say funover or what?

Let's stick to just one topic for today, cause there is so very much to say.

Since I am such a boat-y water-y kind of gal, I thought I would ponder, punt around, piddle about and talk about punting on the Cam.  That'd be the river in Cambridge, UK.

Can I just say, every bit as cool as it seemed.

Can I also just say that it is way harder than it looks.  I am a boating kinda person, I've poled upstream in a canoe, I can sail just about anything, row a dingy, you get the idea.  This was not easy folks.

The pole weighs quite a bit in fact, and directional stability is a challenge.  That said, the learning curve was steep, and the sailing experience paid off, in that I could use the pole as a rudder in order to correct my direction from a badly placed punt shove.

We saw one guy who'd fallen in, and another go in.  (Higher than normal stats.)  He got the top of the punt stuck under a bridge and the bottom on the bottom and decided not to let go when the punt kept on going.  Like the man said, "If the punt gets stuck, let go.  It dries off a whole lot faster than you do."

It would be not too hard to fall off at first.

Youngest was working at it, she was coming up to one bridge with the punt crosswise in front of her.  The bridge is narrower than the punting pole.  Sweep. She got it sorted out in time.  She really did quite well in fact.  Eldest was less persistent.

The UK is lovely, honestly, it really is.

Saw lots and lots of narrow boats.  This has been a longtime obsession of mine....I even have a cruising guide somewhere!

Wonder what Chuck would think?

Monday, April 5, 2010


Whirlwind tour, Wales, London and Cambridge.  Sitting wearily on the couch now, but I was punting on the Cam earlier today!

Didn't even swim!

Here's a photo, more later:

Thursday, April 1, 2010


The man and I took the dog for a four and a half hour walk today.  Yummy.

Started out a bit inauspiciously, me cranky, the man realising I hadn't eaten and feeding me, and then rain.  That all improved though enormously.

Then a bath and a nap.  I have been struggling to get a bathtub in the new house, and we have one.  I don't have a bath often, but when I want one I really really want one.

I swear this has been the holiday of the nap.  Honestly.  I'm sleeping ten or eleven hours every night plus a two + hour nap every day and I still feel sleepy.  Not tired, but sleepy if you can see the difference there.

Went over to a friend's house to scan and send some plans to contractor number 1 and had a hilarious conversation comparing Catalan, Spanish and English swearing.  Rich and varied.  Though the Catalans seem the nicest of the lot.   A little crude in day to day conversation, but not nearly so harsh when they argue.  There has to be a point in there somewhere.

Off for a few days, posting likely to be irregular or non-existent.  Happy chocolate days!