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.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

back with a bang

Back in Catalunya and Oh my goodness, didn't absolutely everything start simultaneously!!!!

Normally I don't have all of my classes started up, they sort of trickle in, but this time, BAM, everyone is going full bore, plus youngest is going to a new school and there is all manner of things to sort out and organize with her, her various jobs more than anything else, and when and where she has to go....

Plus the work for the UOC is on, which is marvelous, and that has my masters, which I thought would start in October, has begun...

Never rains, but it pours.....and then there is my poor body getting used to biking again, only hill I went up in TO was in a car, so different is my life there.

Though filling up my tires from more than 10psi certainly helped, I don't have to pedal downhill now anyway.

All good, just all a lot all of a sudden.

We're back!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A very good day


Had a three hour nap

Read an entire novel

Saw a brilliant play

Spent time with friends and family.

A very good day indeed.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Finished. Ahhhhh

Just handed in the last piece of work for the Masters I am doing for this academic year.  YEAH!

Wow, that feels amazing. 

And I've got all the report cards is feeling very very manageable again.  I like that.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Menorca, now quite some time ago.

I shouldn't really be writing this now,  cause I have a 'to do' list that truly frightens me, but, if I don't do it now, I never will......and I really want to get this posted.

Quite some time ago now, I got the chance to go to Menorca with a couple of friends to do the 'Cami de Cavalls' which is a walking/biking (really hard core parts of that) or horse riding route that goes right around the island.

I thought we were going to do it on the super cheap and camp out, but it turns out that my fellow travelers were a keen on hotels, fortunately it was quite off season so that wasn't too bad.  Unfortunately I made a very poor shoe choice, one's I have been wearing for a year and that are super comfortable, but boy, they were not meant for walking.  It turned out to be quite a painful march for me, but the pain of the whole thing disappears from the memory and the place is amazing.

We started off flying into Mao, but caught a cab out and a little way up the coast, about 7K to avoid having to walk through the city on the first day, we started a little late, as we flew in that day and had about 50K to go.  We started in Sa Mesquita, which was lovely, as you can see below and started around the island from there counter clockwise.

This symbol was to become our friend over the journey!

The countryside looked startlingly Scottish, but as none of us have actually gone there, that was based more on photos, but harsh, bushy, stone walls.  The other amazing thing was that the entire island was in bloom, it was like an aromatherapy walk.  Every breath, honestly, every breath smelt like a different flower.  It was unbelievably spectacular.

There are some marshlands that we went out to see as well, fascinating.

And bay after bay after bay

The north coast was hilly and remote and dry and hot and beautiful.  We swam as you may imagine, but we also had long distances to cover as there is really no where to stay if you don't want to sleep out, which is technically illegal, but so much of this is so remote (relatively speaking, on an island that is 60 square Km bigger than Toronto!) no one would find you, especially as it was off season.

Section 6 did a number on us, we had to carry a lot of water as we had 45 K to go, also we were ladened by the accumulated km from the day before and our frankly not well trained bodies!  6 did a number on us.  I simply overheated.  WAY too hot, we were running out of water, one of my toenails was lifting off, the entire thing, down inside the toe too.  Didn't know it could do that.  No photos, seemed too gross to show.

We didn't make the whole distance, rather we caught a cab in Cala Morell down to Ciutadella. 

My friends walked through from Ciutadella, but most of it was suburban and my feet were tooooo tender to waste mileage on that...I caught a bus!  1.50 and I was down on the south coast.  Sooo Bahamian!

There were also a lot of bunkers, military bunkers that were left on the island from one or another of the many invasions.  I have to say that I found these fascinating.

Later, when we paused for a swim, look who we saw!  There were horses everywhere as there is a big festival that involves horses rearing up and people running under them, so the horses were being trained.  

We also went to see some truly gigantic caves, bigger than cathedral high...they didn't go very deep and there were very few formations...this is about the only one, as it was mined so they are regenerating at this point....

We also saw this piggy wig running along the trail!

On one of the days, the other woman with us insisted that we go to the Torre de'n Galmés, and I am so glad that she did!  It was AMAZING, we arrived at sunset and the taiotic ruins were simply amazing.  

The next day, my feet still being an issue, I set off on my own again on the bus up to Mao, but Mao is not a big place and I do love to walk, sore feet or not, so I set off to see the Fort that the British built, then managed to find BOTH of the taiotic monuments, without the benefit of a map, along the most fascinating route!  Through lots of farms.

Here it is....the bigger of the two I found that day.

And Mao, we flew home that night, but the flight was delayed for hours, so we got in at 4am, a little trying, but a fantastic trip.  Must go back.  As much because the people we met there, almost all of them Menorcans as we were outside the season, were SO wonderful and so helpful and they loved their land.  Not just the ones in the hotels, who also went well beyond the call of duty, but everyone we met.  It was a marvelous trip, and my feet are now largely recovered too!  Thankfully, it looks like the toenail will regrow too!

Monday, May 18, 2015


We have a great dentist here.  Seriously, I love her.

She has several great points, she's very very friendly, she seems to be a very good dentist, she's trained reasonably recently, so she is very up to date.  I don't feel like she's out for money as she very much works on a minimal intervention.  If she sees the beginning of a cavity she waits and watches it, rather than billing us 150 + for filling it immediately.  Sometimes, they don't change.  Sometimes they get better on their own.  Turns out.  Not something my Canadian dentists ever admitted to.

She's also nice.  In that she works with positive reinforcement about dental hygene rather than the shaming that Canadian dentists work with.

Finally, she's really really really cheap!!!!

Oh, and then, instead of a toothbrush?

Look what we got today.....

Meet Chuck

Most of you already have.....but here he is again.

Chuck's had a rough couple of days.  Started on Sunday when he went walking with Youngest to one of the local mountains (very very low).  You see, they lost each other.  For about an hour.

Fortunately Youngest had a friend with her who stayed put.  Also, Youngest had a photo of the dog on her phone, so she could ask people if they'd seen him.  Also, fortunately, Youngest is very fit, cause she walked up that mountain once and ran flat out up it twice that day.

Chuck eventually found the friend who had the sense to hang onto him.

This is Chuck once he got home.  He kinda needed a nap, but also kinda needed some physical contact.  I worked on the floor for a bit.

Then Barça won the league last night.  This involves lots of yelling and shooting off of fireworks.  Not Chuck's favourite thing.  And after the day he'd had?  There's no photo, he was hiding in a cave or box.  He didn't eat dinner and didn't want to go out for his walk.

So today he got a bath, went to the vet and got a vaccine.

Poor pup.

Though he actually seems pretty fine today.

Youngest  is, well, young and fit.  She's only a wee bit sore.  Got the highest score for girls on sit ups (57 in a minute) and the most flexibility in the class.  (22 cm beyond her toes, while stiff from running)

Exciting times.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Nothing in far far far too long

So much that I don't know where to start.....

So I'll go see what I have photos of!

Before I do that though...the reason why. There is that pesky Master's degree I am working on, and darn it, they don't let you just buy it, you have to actually work for it, and that is time consuming. 

Plus I got another job, this time teaching English online through a university!!!! YEAH!  Long may it last.......but that is also quite time consuming.

And then there is the usual work and family etc etc etc.....


some photos.......

I went into BCN a few weeks ago now (wow) and we had a marvelous day, I ended up doing and seeing four (4!!!) things I had never before done in BCN......

First we went to Sant Pau del Camps church which is a little old romanesque church tucked away in a corner of BCN.  I used to go by it often and never managed to get in.  But friend had organized a guide and everything!!!

Here it is.  Lovely little church, no?

A detail on the outside....they suppose that it is ...well men and lady parts.....which was apparently common at the time, though honestly, I cannot imagine why.  Looks like poop to me, but again, why?

Turns out the guided tours were cancelled for a batpistm.  Luck for us, the guide found us and took us around...and showed us stuff that no one normally sees, like into offices to see more features.  It was AMAZING.

Picasso lived in BCN for quite some time and did a lot of sketching here, as well as a painting of the church.  It is thought that this particular figure on one of the pillars may have been influential for  the Desmoiselles.

I can kinda see it. Especially in her face and the really big hands.

Filled with delight, we walked off to Monjuïc and took a tour of the roof of MNAC...never did that before, 2 Euros and you can walk all around the roof, though having done it before, it would be easy to do it for free....though that would be a little scuzy.

This is the walk up to Monjuïc, and I don't seem to have grabbed any photos from the roof.  Views of BCN and all...

Except this one, which was a dance that was going on nearby, the photo was taken from the roof itself.

Then we noticed that a building behind MNAC was open, which almost never is.  Honestly, it was something of a nasty pile....nothing special at all, but cool to see and had nice gardens.  Apparently (Spanish) King Alfonso the something or other stayed here during the world fair ages ago.  Whatever.

Then walking back through Montjuïc, we came across the font dels gats....which turns out to be a font, (not this one, it isn't so picturesque) but also a restaurant designed by Puig i Cadafalc, though not one of his most amazing works.

A lovely little place to take a break though.

Here's the restaurant.

And the entrance

And a view from above...

Then a walk down through the park and saw this lovely bit of tile work alongside a fountain.

Really, a wonderful day.