Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New life in December

New life in December
Who is that lady on the balcony?

Well, here I am friends, on placement, miles from home, but also feeling slightly at home too!  I am in Wales now, gone from Essex, two trains two taxis, a coffee with a friend, and by way of a friends home for one night only.... and arriving Christmas Eve into a families home for the celebrations... like an orphan on the doorstep, looking for an inn for the night!!  No donkey though.... arrived by car!  Well, it is the 21st century is it not!  Wonderful food, full inclusion into the family, I didn't feel like a stranger at all...

Three nights in the Swansea area and now further inland, about an hour and a half, out in the sticks!
Photo on the left shows how mild it has been here, trees coming into bud in late December, very late, tomorrow is new years eve... another year passes us by... No, I don't feel its passed by,  I have run with it, wind in my hair and jet pack on my back! It has been a truly amazing year, beginning with the birth of our first grand child.... the light of my life, my little peanut! I love her to the moon and back...  Can't wait to see her soon, its been way to long, but got a wonderful amount of time coming up and I really can't wait!!!

Also this year we moved back home, a plan that took some doing, a whole load of life passed on, sold, given, or just plain gone!  A tonne of items I refused to take back again to Spain, that had grown in size once I had acquired the 18 boxes of my mom's things from Tony's garage! I feel freer now, just as long as I don't dwell on some of those things, of course I have photos of them all... which its best I don't pause at for too long while searching through my collection... my melancholy gets bad...

I have left one job.... Did a short term for a maternity cover, then returned to the job I started with at the beginning of the year!  Started year in... Cheltenham and ending it here in Wales!  Wales?? Would you believe it?  Irony!

I have some stories to tell today, by way of a lovely lady...  No names, no towns...

Pink Marshmallows!

And my brother said I'm not afraid of a hefferlump! And then it turned, picked him up by his waist and put my brother on his back! (India).

Walking through the crowds, my father picked up my little dog, with me walking behind, she (the dog), licked a woman's ear as he passed nearby, the lady turned and stared shocked at my father, she must have thought it had been him who had licked her ear!!

(As a nurse) A soldier who had been torpedoed, didn't talk, shell shocked perhaps? Top room of a hotel turned hospital (Wales), his bed facing the cemetery over the road... His name Chatty!!! Sounded so wrong to call someone who couldn't talk Chatty! Turns out his surname was something like Chatsworth! And therefore Chatty! He was buried over the road of that hotel/hospital, and she said she would love to visit, to lay flowers, so say to "hello your not forgotten..."

At a show somewhere she had her little dog with her, a corgi, the young Queen Elizabeth came past, and said to her, what a lovely little dog!! Now, I wonder if the Queen already had a corgi? Or not!

Worcester, trips to the factory and the factory shop, a little old boy, would always keep special pieces for her... (he said the items were seconds, I think he had a soft spot for her)

A friend in a farm in Suffolk, unwell and in bed, there was a banging at the front door... The lady told her to go down, to open the door please... She did, a sheep was banging on the door with her head, and on opening came past, ran up the stairs, got the dogs off the bed and lay down next to lady on the bed... The sheep, Thorp, had been hand reared, brought up with the dogs, and thought it was one! 

Oh Christmas Tree....


ps... oh and that lady on the balcony, at the top of the page... An ornaments shadow on the window sill, of course!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Caught this new ivy fellow a looking in through the window yesterday, 'he' wasn't there the day before... I better check his progress for the remainder of my placement here in Essex, the whole window could be covered in five more days!

All for today, I think today less is more... Because more would be far too much!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Summer breeze... in December....

Today was like a mild summers day, absolutely glorious... Above an amazing Nativity crafted by one of the guys who build from sand... creative sculptors in their own right...

People were sun bathing!  Laying on the sun-beds between wind breaks, bathing costumes and suntan cream!  The bars were quite full, the streets were lovely to walk on, enough people but all taking their time leisurely strolling along, window shopping or checking out inside the stores with room to manoeuvre... The Christmas decs up everywhere, especially the wonderful old square by the church in the centre of town... The big old tree completely covered in small lights, just wish I could get back in the evening, but alas... [jeje], they will be all gone by the time I return from the UK and work in January... Next year....

I had to take a picture of this great lamp in a window of the most amazing shop... Very Glam/Punk/Gothic... A real fantastic shop I just wanted to run into and buy all the strange and elaborate things, that I could never wear out in public for fear of laughter!!!

Some photos above I took at Cabopino yesterday, they have completed board'walked the dunes!  And it looks fantastic now!  They want to preserve the dunes and the pine forests throughout the area there, they have done a great job of it too!  When I am home next we are going to walk, with the Pipster, the full length of it, see how far it goes...


Wednesday, December 09, 2015


The road is open!  It opened when I working away, typical!  But Franco waited for me and down it we went when we went to the lakes last week... Can't believe it!  It has appeared to be there on the maps since about seven years ago!  Now this road takes you, or me, or anyone, directly up from the coast, at the junction of La Cañada and the wonderful road takes us all to the A357, the Malaga to Campillos road...

It was about a quarter of an hour quicker... Doesn't maybe sound a lot does it?  But it means for us we can go straight to the new road to the A357, bypassing Alhaurín and Cártama...

Today we visited a local government office, as per the norm we came out more confused than when we went in!  I think we nodded and agreed when we should have said we didn't understand!

So I spent a while on here... filled out a rather long and annoying form which got lost in the ether, and I had to repeat it and print while I tried to keep my temper and not throw printer and lap top out of the window and onto the heads of any unsuspecting passers-by!

We had no rockets or celebrations in our town yesterday, which was strange, it was the Immaculate Conception, which usually brings about a nervous Pippa from the rockets and streets full of people and statues!?!  Even lots of shops were open... Whats happening?? And Christmas is everywhere!  All over the TV, adverts and promotions... In every store, its a bit like Halloween... Its grown out of proportion here in this area now... Christmas trees, Christmas decs.... the lights and baubles and tinsel... Santa's hanging precariously from balcon railings, flashing lights in windows and on terraces!  LOL... well, you see, if you know Spain, its the 3 Kings that bring the presents and that's not until the 12th day... So seeing the more western idea of Christmas seems strange... I blame a particular food shop advert! LOL they did it with Halloween and now they're bringing the Christmas theme in early here in Spain.... Not that I am bar hum bug... This Christmas I shall be arriving on a strangers door step, in a strange place... I shall come bearing gifts! Well, not really, maybe a bar of Turron de Navidad!


Friday, December 04, 2015

Medieval Church near Dunmow, Essex

Stunning church, no amount of photos can do this beautiful church justice....Began in/about 1340 and completed in/about 1510... I wish I could step back in time, pass through like a spirit five hundred years ago.... see what was to see, the sights sounds smells.... The times of the reformation....

Very few stained glass in the windows, giving the church a light airy open feel...  Some churches feel they are at the end of they're time... But not this one forsure!

Full of light and life... Restoration going on all over, from ceilings to plaster work, to wood work...

This amazing ceiling....

The pulpit...

And modern organ... the older one at the bottom of the nave as you enter the vestibule...


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

DC - Abundance

I have a whole bunch of photos to place here lol.... I loaded them into my Picasso photos on my lap top, and they usually scoot over into my cloud thingy without a bye or leave!  I am guessing its not reached the cloud, and seeing as I have switched off the lap top... they are not here yet!!

Veronica Drawing challenge for last weekend was... is! Abundance! And as I was at work I had trouble really with it, but I did want to be 'there'... my abundance really is a feeling of having my life so full, for me now... Full of being at home at last back in Spain, full of work, here, or there, back home for two weeks now... full of wonderful family and friends... an abundance of fullness!

The photos are one taken in an amazing church where I have been placed for a few weeks, medieval roots, such a pretty town, and everyone so friendly, it was a like a walk down the movie set of The Truman show! lol... Smiley happy people, very welcoming... I took far too many photos inside the church, and spent far too long chatting to a lady about it!  Although, in all seriousness she didn't want to stop telling me!!

Photos to follow here soon.... bare with amigos!

Just edited to add these photos.... these are Abundance of amazing cakes and ice cream... and dearly wish these were within my grasp right now! lol

Other photos in next Blog!

I am going back for just over a week then moving on elsewhere for Christmas and New Years before coming home for a month.... I'll need it by then too!

Coming back home via Stansted airport I was very impressed with the airport, we flew into and out of it last about ten years ago going to Sardinia... it has changed considerably since then, bag check was amazing, I just walked up to a machine, put my case on the scale, held my QR coded check in under the reader, the tag was printed and came out for me to tape to the handle of my case.... I walked to conveyor, a lady there said it would be the last time a human would check my passport, and my case went off on its merry way into the abyss of the suitcase system!

Amazing!  Going through the passport control bit was a bit more harrowing, but only four people at a time filling our boxes with belongings, no pushing and shoving therefore... and through!  More shops than the average town centre, and food hall massive!

I got a bit lost going to the gate, misread the directions, thats the only point I would mention to the great Stansted airport people, of course now I know that you head down one corridor, then following the left right and straight ahead signs, and not before!!!!

Tuesday morning, after Franco finished his Spanish lesson we went off to the lakes, trying hard not to take photos I have taken a million times before... bit difficult now, seeings as I have been going there for nearly 30 years!!!  We followed up the lakes by of course having our second coffee break at El Chorro railway station, sat under a blue sky... amazing mountains and eagles circling high above... Bonelli eagles so the sign says, amongst others...


And today we went down to Fuengirola's paseo maritimo, after shopping for a washing machine, still some good bargains going in this week of bargains!!

We had a McDonalds... I know, I know, shame on us eh!  But we had never been in this newly opened restaurant, it looks great, and has the new machines... you know the ones yet?  You order your food on the computer screens, pressing all the correct bits, pay... and collect when your number is up! So to speak!

On our way back to the car we took a side road, it runs parallel to the paseo maritimo, and here we came across this restaurant, The Old Swiss House its called, you know I have seen the sign for this restaurant since 1989, when I first came to Fuengirola... always seen it, there, by the side of the road, always thought it must be the house by the sign, tried to see the restaurant now and again in the first few years, then just stopped thinking about it!  As we do sadly, we get used to seeing something and stop seeing it all...  Then here it is! Hiding about a hundred yards at least from the main road where the sign is!  I nearly fell over and then crossed over the road to just stand and stare up at at it!! And of course, take a photo!

Franco bought some beautiful colorful poinsettias plants, standing in out plant boxes from the front balcon... and the streets look extra bright and white, our little Andalucian village is being painted white for the forthcoming celebrations of December 8th The Immaculate Conception....


Sunday, November 22, 2015

DC - Calm

This weekend drawing challenge, thank you Veronica is Calm...

Working away for a couple of weeks in England, in placement... Today I have my break and I am relaxing, a, so far wonderful calm and relaxing day, I am staying in a small town which is outstandingly beautiful...

I took a front seat in a wonderful old coffee shop and partook of café latte and carrot cake so moist and tasty... Great view from the windows!

Great view on my table too!

The church is amazing original parts a thousand years old... St John the Baptist in Thaxted... I have taken lots of photos with my camera, you will have to wait a week!

I did a real tourist visit of the town, and I just didn't care that I was taking so many photos with so many passers by watching me!

A stroll past the beautiful church and the near by alms houses led me to the windmill leading my Blog... The wind catching the small blades in two directions...

It's been cold, a moment of snow yesterday morning, and a wake up temperature of -2c brrrr!! It's reached the dizzie hight of about 4c now at just after 2pm...

I am calm; we all need a little time out now and again, and a walk in fresh air, new interesting surroundings, all good!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

A plethora of photo all-sorts!  Last week I was on a course back with a previous employer and could not resist this photo opportunity above at a services stop on our way back home... It looks so 1960's... wish the traffic in front wasn't there... but still a great shot of a great looking building!

The course was up on the Orihuela coast... Near Torrevieja, the area where we stayed was sort of strange... a straight road, bridges over... N340 probably?? Nope, that stops at Vera!  Strange, always thought it went all the way up the coastline, maybe in did...  Anyway, we were in an apartment block between two restaurants, and all along on this one side were restaurants and beach type shops, residential properties on other side of dual carriageway... but it sort of seemed like we were nowhere... We three walked along the coastal path on one evening, very pretty walk...


Anyways, course went really well, great group, I was sharing with a girl, will I always call women girls?  Would just seem strange saying, 'shared my room with two women'... ? oh well... dos chicas? lol... Two great women!!!  A Spanish girl(ha!) from the Nerja area, which was where I picked up my ride from, and another great woman, English, who lives in the Valencia region... We became the three musketeers!  And although my Spanish didn't really improve, my arm waving did, and both myself and English gal started to both write and speak in broken English!

The apartment was okay, bit noisy at night, sounded like someone skateboarding in the room above mine, and loud men and music in the beautiful gardens late at night!  But, we did okay, the days flew by, lots of learning, I know I have already done the course, but I learnt more... there was more to learn this time... and before we knew it we were all saying our goodbyes and back in cars heading off in many and various directions!  I got a ride back with three girls who all live in Alhaurín area!

Franco and I went to a new burger bar down in the Miramar mall in Fuengirola... the little black disc with the number 59 we took back to our table while our food was cooked... and when it was ready for collection it lit up!! Great!!  Although I kind of expected it to hover or something else!

We were a little early for the new James Bond movie, Spectre on Tuesday evening, so spent some time at the top of La Trocha centre watching the sun set... and very beautiful it was too!  The movie was great, the film in English and not one empty seat... about 300 Brits!!!  Was a bit unnerving, not normally in the company of so many foreigners here!! lol!!

Loved the movie, two guys in the audience were wearing evening dress.... white dickey bows included!
It was only €5.00, although we didn't partake of food and drinks everything was less than half the price it is in the UK, so very good prices... and the seats for plush!  Tonnes of leg room, no awkward moments for people coming past to sit down!

We have a misty morning one day this week... and Sierra Gorda looks like a sea animal out there on the horizon...

We're heading fast towards the shortest day of the year but here the evenings are still light, up to about 6:30pm... When I take Pip out its about 7:15am and just getting light... I'll be having a shock next week back in England with the short days!

Yes back to England on a Monday afternoon flight, two weeks placement in Essex area... I am looking forward to getting back to work, its been well over two months now! Unbelievable where the time has flown to...

We're going to the market in the morning at La Trocha, and I am really hoping the dog that was there yesterday has gone by now, there was a poor little skinny thing laying down, people from the dog rescue were trying to lure her to food and water, but she wouldn't have anything to do with them, running away each time anyone came too close... while we had coffees, I watched her.... she watched every passer by, looking maybe for a familiar face... my heart broke, I suppose I imagine Pippa there... lost lonely waiting and hoping, Franco went to see if he could get close, but no luck... so sad...

Very grave news from France last night and this morning... The world has gone mad, we are one planet, one blood, one human race... When we came into existence we were one amoeba type thing, how has it come to this... I know, religion? Religion in the name of war; war in the name of religion.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Allure of the Sea

Today we went to Malaga, again.... and saw the largest, at this time, passenger liner in the world, the Royal Caribbeans MS Allure of the Seas... An almighty huge ship!!  No photos can really make it look as big as it is... Worth checking out here... 

There were a lot of ships in the harbour today, the MS Allure of the Seas, the MSC Divinia, Quote from web site... 'Timeless elegance in modern comfort inspired by the divine award winning actress Sophia Loren.... brings you all the elegance and glamour of the golden age...

We couldn't get close to MSC Divinia, she was behind a locked gate!

The Dutch ship below was big enough, although still dwarfed by the Allure... you can imagine people coming into port, "hey, look how big my ship is!"  Then the Allure pulled herself up and all aboard played the top trump card!! LOL  The staff aboard the Allure were about the same as the actual passengers aboard the Zuiderdam...

We had gray skies, and lots of rain, my feet were soaked through, mainly because I was wearing open sandal walking shoe type things! And a waterproof coat! And also 64% humidity so it was warm too...

We got the bus to Malaga today, the usual route, we were with the workers and lots of them, took about an hour to get there, then the walk along to the port, we stopped for a quick snack, I had a split bocadillo with tomato and olive oil, Franco had a mixto, that's the bocadillo again but closed with ham and cheese, fresh orange, very... made my face turn inside out and my eyes cross, but was really good, actually felt like it was doing me good! and coffee... that was €2.50 each, yep, a whole five euros for both of us!  Muy bueno!

After the tour of the ships, is there a name for ship spotters?  Like train spotters?? LOL... anyway, coffee at a port bar then the walk back to the bus station, got tickets for the bus back to Alhaurín... Not the usual bus forsure, but I am so glad!  A totally different route and through a couple of small towns I had never ever been through before, and so close really, didn't even know they were there!  Took a turn by the most haunted house in Spain, Cortijo Jurado... and came back around from there... via Cártama!  Great!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Down at the garage this morning where we bought our car was this little chap!  He caught my eye as I waited for news of our documents... so I caught him on my phone!

First from one side then the other!!

We went to have a coffee at La Trocha first before shopping trip for food at Mercadona... and we used the lakes road... This road was started, and finished at least by 2009... On Google maps it has shown this road which starts down at La Cañada on the main road near Marbella and comes as far as Alhaurín El Grande and Coín... it terminates at a roundabout... with the tarmacked road unfinished disappearing into the distance, over the hills and faraway!  The dual carriageway narrows into a regular road where no one has gone!  But today!!!

A man waving a flag moved us over and under the bridges of the roundabout above....

On towards the lakes road... Where once finished one will reach the A357 from Malaga; Cártama to the right and Campillos to the left...  It will bring Ardales El Chorro etc, a good fifteen or twenty minutes nearer!!


After a coffee in the fairly new bar on the outside of La Trocha we went to get our weeks shopping, we still haven't visited a Lidl shop yet, strangely as it was where we shopped back in Neath all the time, mainly due to the fact that that's where we shopped before we left here!

Maybe next week eh!

By the by... Our car documents not as yet ready... and we missed the post man delivering my new sim, so a trip to the post office in the morning is a welcome thought ahead of time!  Pippa as usual had brought the notification into the house for us to find easier than right near the door where we might have missed it!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Malaga or bust!

Some randomness today... Like I never usually am!!!  Above a plant, one of many in Mijas Pueblo gardens... The years and years and even more years I have seen this flowering plant, and never once seen fruit on it! The fruit looks like blackberries... I didn't try it, although we did observe a woman eating one...

Yesterday we went to Malaga for the day, and the whole day it turned out to be, including the nearly €17.00 car park cost!!!  We went because a Star Wars exhibition was a the port, followed in the afternoon by the legion in the main plaza... We didn't get to see the finale, we should have known better that they wouldn't be on time I guess... But because we were later than we could have been we bumped into friends and had coffees, so that was nice...

We saw lots of storm troopers, and lots of characters from the movies, apart from my favorite... no Chewbacca... sadly....  We saw a bride and groom, they had photos taken with every one!!  They were there when we were in the morning, and just walking about four hours when we came back into the port for ice cream... they must have been shattered!!!

There were ships in the port to see, I bundled up those above... well, so it seems, at the back a big huge ship from Italy the Splendida.. then a smaller liner before it... the older sailing boat in the foreground... there should be a fast large yacht in there too if you look closely!

I think I have some pictures of a navy boat somewhere?? And below is a ferry!

The day was warm enough but very overcast, we were lucky really, 20% chance of rain... We went on the wheel too, it seems so big from afar, but up close compared with the London Eye, it was small!  It was also movable!!  Unlike the London Eye this one is temporary! The pods were small, about six or seven foot by about five I guess, a bench either side to sit and a little leg room in between, you could rest your feet on the bench quite easily...

But it was good fun, and we were on our own in the pod, they spaced people out nicely, I am guessing when its busy that's a different matter!  Not too bad views considering the misty skies...

More pics from here tomorrow, or soon....

Big mural of a girl on this building...

After about six twirls on the wheel, which was also great... we went for lunch at Roy's!!  A great little port side café, very well priced and great food!

We had ice cream later too... while we were doing the tourist thing!

Waiting for the parade (that we missed), I started to get a bit chilly, and started spending too much time in the shops!  They're winter collections of warm fluffy knits became more and more appealing the cooler I got!!!