Thursday, February 15, 2018

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

Here is a post from a couple who "collect" images of hearts, in building design and everywhere in their travels. 

Bruce and I do not "celebrate" this day, we are more spontaneous about showing our love. We did buy Rocio a box of chocolates and card, last week was a tough one for her, personal reasons, so we wanted to cheer her up a bit.

We owed a rather urgent bill to a company in Germany. I don’t understand and have complained before about this. Bruce had some updates done to his wheelchair about a month before we left Freiburg, we did not receive the bill and he offered to pay it on the spot but no go. So they finally send the bill and expect payment immediately or maximum 15 days, what? We can hardly remember what the charge is for! 

Pepe came over to install the bathroom light, before he got here I unwrapped the one we bought to discover a large crack in the casing, darn it! So Pepe goes to the store, same one we were at earlier in the day and picks up another. We take the cracked one back and have some trouble with language, the clerk gets frustrated with us which is unusual, maybe because it was a Monday morning?

We’ve been craving king crab after our wonderful dinner of it in Amsterdam, but wondered if it was available here and it is! So we bought a mess of it, frozen and invited Angela, Ryan and Pepe for a feed. 

Pepe is cutting down the side of the legs for easier access, Thanks Pepe! Angela's photo.
And a feed it was, served with melted butter, lemon and garlic bread. 

Me checking temperature, we steamed them. Angela's photo.
I put out tomato and cucumber but they will now be a salad for me, everyone seemed to keep their appetites for the crab. Very messy meal but very tasty. A treat for everyone.

Ryan's photo, Ryan's plate
I’d put the packages in the fridge to thaw overnight and they leaked all over so had a fridge to clean out before they arrived of smelly sea water. Now I’m learning how to make bisque from the shells but first had to look up what is bisque anyway? Fancy name for soup really, but typically refers to a soup made from shellfish. https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-bisque-995579  I think I’ll make a chowder instead.

Bruce has missed several dental appointments due to lack of energy and upset stomach so this last appointment he was feeling better and went. Pepe picked us up and drove us there to Espartinas where the office is. Lovely drive this time of year through very green fields and orchards of olive trees. Appointment didn’t take long and Pepe had an hour to spare so he took us to LinoyFino - yah! Finally got there, but she has no stock! I did get two men’s shirts and she said she’s bringing all the spring stock in beginning of March so you can bet I’ll be back, her name is Yolanda. The spring colours she showed me are great! I expect this will be a productive and expensive visit, which I look forward to! I was in and out in about 15 minutes, doesn’t take me long, not with two men in tow. 

We take Lexi to the vet for a pedicure and have to wait so we admire the other animals in the waiting room, a beagle and a pug. We get the vet this time, not her assistant and she does an inspection of Lexi, ears, teeth, whole body through, and then does her nails, Lexi hissed once but was otherwise okay. We really like this vet and her staff, they are friendly, capable and the office is close.

Bruce wanted "Swiss Chalet" sauce, which I don’t like, never have, but made it just for him (after procrastinating about a week in hopes he would forget, he didn't). We left out the vinegar, all-spice and ginger, mostly because we didn’t have them in the house. Surprise to me, it tasted really great with the chicken we bought pre-cooked. Made another run of broth from the carcass. P.S. Swiss Chalet, in case you don't know, is a Canadian chain of restaurants serving mainly chicken with their signature sauce.

Went up to the Setas (Metropol) market, had lunch prior to going into the market, but by the time we were done the market was closing and couldn’t find the root vegetables (turnip, parsnip, beets) we needed for borscht soup. We'll have to wait for borscht when we get back to Germany where the vegetables are more widely available. Who has heard of Spaniards eating borscht anyway? Definitely not a Spanish dish. Went to El Corte and found ingredients for mushroom soup instead, which I'd never made before but turned out tasty. I found this bit amusing from the recipe:

"Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Do I have to remind you to do this in stages, with the blender's lid firmly held down, and with the weight of your body keeping that thing from flying off and allowing boiling hot mushroom purée to erupt all over your kitchen?"

From Reprinted with permission from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain with José de Meirelles and Philippe Lajaunie. © 2004 Bloomsbury
Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat




Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Spicing of Olives


Olive making! We didn’t grow the olives obviously, Ivan’s Uncle did. Earlier this week Ivan dropped off a large pot of raw olives with instruction to bathe them every day, dump the lot into a colander and rinse them for five days, that process softens them up. The pot is large and cumbersome but I did it with apron on, they splash into the sink.

Ivan and Lola came over to put the recipe together. First you have to smash them using the bottom of a beer bottle, of course you have to drink the beer first. See the pot on the left, full, lots of smashing! Sometimes they jump off the counter, flying olives, smashed garlic cloves also flew...


Here is Ivan's family recipe: Bitter orange juice, (the kind that grow in the streets here) two bitter oranges cut up, garlic, thyme, oregano, cumin, a bit of hot chilli pepper, stir well and let sit for a day and enjoy! Ivan brought all the spices including his Uncle's organic oregano. 

Garlic and bitter orange.
We have enough olives to feed an army. Everyone who comes to this house this next week will be going out with olives! 

Finished product.
It was great fun! Many families here do it and each have different recipes handed down by generations. Pepe tasted them and he would have added more spice, as his father does but he liked the initial flavour, Rocio liked them too. Pepe would add vinegar, as would Lola, whose family also makes their own. Pepe has never made olives with his father and maybe will do now to find out the favoured recipe. Of course it is to individual taste, and what you grew up with is also a factor.

Huge Thanks to Ivan and Lola for this great experience!

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat who had no part in olive making.



Thursday, January 25, 2018

January 2018, New Year, New Phone!


Fountain installed in 1844, Plaza de la Magdalena, Muse Caliope
I'll tell you now, the pictures in this post have no real relationship to the writing, all parts of the same fountain.

I bought an iPhone SE and love it! Gold in colour to match the MacBook, well I don’t know why but might as well match. Exciting for me and with a year’s worth of nagging, not really, but urging from Ryan to get into this century. Since this is an Apple product I am adapting to it’s features easier. My tech friend Gary in Canada, you will be proud of me! Reading the manual and it can do everything and more my MacBook can, real power in a bitty machine. Ryan and Angela are coming over for lunch tomorrow and giving me help setting it up, least I can do is feed them for the favour. 

He looks bored!
Menu for lunch morphed from enchiladas, due to my failed making of the sauce, I used paprika powder instead of chile powder, one taste after about an hour’s work and didn't like it so, if I don’t, who will? Dumped and lesson learned they are not the same peppers. Now instead of Tex-Mex theme, we decided lamb kebobs would be good with tabouli salad. Being Saturday I didn’t want to brave El Corte so went to our local grocers. Well, one learns to be very flexible when shopping in the small stores. Butcher didn’t have lamb, bought chicken, veg shop’s parsley looked like road kill but I was able to salvage enough of it, no bulgar for the salad, used couscous instead. It all worked out, luckily, just not what I had planned. Ryan also said he makes “killer” enchiladas so mine may have not been to his taste anyway.

Ryan’s patience with me and my fumbling fingers on the phone was epic! He also installed WhatsApp on it which is a cost free SMS or text messaging version which now I’ve added Rocio to and Erwin texted me from Ottawa since he likes to use it here. Bought a Moshi cover for it mostly because I don’t have a good place to keep it scratch free in my purse. Discovered another reason after the cover was installed, Lexi had swept it off the table and it survived! Moshi is a company I was unfamiliar with but looking on their website, www.moshi.com they have high quality products and with very limited options at El Corte, I am pleased with what I bought.

Under the bowl
Elevator and heating broke all at once. I used the elevator while the heat was on and it toasted the connection, no fire thank goodness, just a shut down of both, breaker cut in. Our friend and electrician Pepe is out of town for three weeks in Dubai and Copenhagen but he contacts Juan Luis heating/air conditioning person who installed our unit last year. Long story short, heating now works, elevator not, and I am sure it is a simple fix, my attempts, turning off the power, etc, haven’t worked. I have decided to make a Pepe job jar, my Dad did that with my ex-husband when he wasn’t my ex. Small jobs that can be done and not forgotten between visits. 

Tuesday was almost as busy as our usual Wednesdays this week, I had a mani/pedi done by Maria Jose and am now more confident of her skills and instrument sanitation. Then a meeting at Kakure with Ivan and Shane to catch up after the Christmas season. Had a great lunch, food is always good there.

Wednesday, and it’s Angel and Rocio day but I decide to take the hour while Bruce has his massage and go to the Museo de Bellas Artes to view the Murillo exhibit that is on until April 1st. http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/cultura/museos/MBASE/index.jsp?redirect=S2_1_3_1.jsp&noticias=3815 The impetus was an email from Jeffrey and Adrienne in Freiburg saying they wanted to see it and also wanted to escape the cold weather in Freiburg right now. The exhibit was absolutely wonderful and while I didn’t know much about Murillo before going (he’s a local Sevillano) I really enjoyed the works showcased. They are very large for one thing, colourful, and depicted people in a realistic manner, far ahead of his time I think. I brought back a small notebook for Rocio with print of mother and child on the cover done by him, and give aways of a postcard and book mark. We are communicating a bit better now over coffee when she gets here. Today I thought I would get away without the coffee but asked and she wanted one, okay, all good, and it does give us a bit of social time together, she corrects my accent. 

Bottom, I like the shells.
Coming back from a mini shop and we see Ryan and Angela at Granado so stop into chat with them. Mama Pepe and friend Mercedes are also there, hugging, kissing on both cheeks occur as usual. Mercedes now greets me as a friend as well. 

Did a major shop again and bought another pair of slippers. Frankly those I showed you in a previous post weren’t working for me, these have more support for the footsies and I don’t walk with a shuffling gait which is bad for my back.

Finally we took the C5 bus around the inner city with the goal of going to Linoyfino for the shirts I wear. I hadn’t eaten and Das Brot was next door, supposedly a German bakery, I thought it would be great to get a bretzel, well they had fake ones, but no real ones, had a horrible muffin instead. 

The LinoyFino shop was supposed to be open but nada, closed. So we got the bus again to come back, it only goes one way round, a couple and teenager got on board soon after we boarded and they were loud. The husband appeared drunk, the noise coming from them, the bouncing over cobblestones, and the heat got to Bruce so we got off in the touristic neighbourhood, one we recognized and walked home. He said as he got off the bus, I am never going on that again! The shaking, heat, noise, the second driver had the radio on really loud with someone yelling, not pleasant! 

I find all public transport that way, either really great or terrible, depending on circumstance, luckily it’s ratio is usually to the good. The ramp didn’t work properly, there was an arm sticking out from the driver’s seat into the aisle that got in the way of Bruce parking in the designated spot. The driver stopped without a bus stop, or missed pick ups at bus stops. Bruce says the whole thing was second rate, I agree this trip was. My two previous trips on this bus have been much better, crowded sometimes but better. The route is a really good way to see other parts of Sevilla, small neighbourhoods and tourist areas both. Upshot, I’ll be taking it again, fare is €1.40 per trip, cheap enough, but I’ll be going on my own and meeting Bruce at the destination.

Art market again being Sunday, Liz, the archeologist is quite animated today, she’s usually an understated calm person. She’s planning a solo bicycle tour around the Neckar river in Germany for June/July this year. She does like Germany, having lived in Freiburg for a dig and is familiar with the area, she also appears to be a bit of a loner. Doing her research now, she will drive to Heidelberg and bike from there. Wow! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neckar Adventurous woman and it will be so wonderful to hear about her experiences. I’m almost proud, even though we don’t know each other well.

I met another lady Sunday at the art market. We’ve talked before but I introduced myself to her, she is from Thailand, came here to study, fell in love with a Spaniard and stayed. She told me her Thai name which I repeated to her and promptly forgot, my bad, her English name is Olivia. She is talented in my opinion in different mediums.

Tuesday 23rd and there has been a major earthquake in Alaska with tsunami warnings all along the coast, since many people who live on the coast read this, I’m sure you were aware of it. I watched the news until it was lifted and sighed with relief! 


Pepe was here to help us out from his “job jar”, elevator is now fixed, luckily the elevator fellow was very close by and came within five minutes, a quick fix as suspected. Pepe put in a new bulb over the staircase which I would have had to climb over the railing to do, adjusted our window blinds to get more natural light in, couldn’t fix the bathroom light, off to buy a new one tomorrow. He showed us pictures of Dubai, what an incredible place that is, buildings so tall and the mosque is beautiful! He also went zip lining there and was provided with a camera on his helmet to record the experience, Wow! 

That's all for now folks! Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat



Saturday, January 6, 2018

First week of the New Year!

We had lunch at Perro Viejo, (means old dog) with Ryan, Angela, Ryan’s sister Heidi, brother-in-law Ben and Pepe. Lively group and enjoyable lunch, just don’t order the Caesar salad, for yourself only, it comes in a kitchen bowl, enough to feed probably six or so people. Here is a review with lots of pictures, although we sat outside. http://azahar-sevilla.com/sevilletapas/2015/01/perro-viejo/

Went out to do a shop and our downstairs neighbours came out their door and insisted we move the ramp, indicating they trip on it, it’s at the ledge outside their door but there is room for them to enter/exit. Well I’m sorry you tripped on it but the building management okayed for us to install it. Pepe to the rescue! He called the building management and told him to call the fellow downstairs to tell him it has to stay. Honestly, I doubt it will work, but the procedure has started. What a pain, I don’t like arguing with people, these two are sour pusses to begin with. Of course they are arguing in rapid Spanish and us in English, all not good.

On the way back we found this patio, cheered me up! The custom is, if the door is open you are welcome to stare and admire, if someone comes along you say muy bueno!, very good!

Pretty disbursement of oranges, more to come.

Right side
Back wall, those oranges!
Back wall, like the windows and stars.
Get the shop done, that wine rack is a thirsty devil, empty again, so bought enough to fill it up, for home delivery, which I love to use about every two weeks, called “enviro a casa". I always re-fill the buggy for the clerks, most don’t which means the clerk has to, so they appreciate it when I do. I’m also prepared and keep my name, address and phone number on a piece of paper for them to type into their system. I would think that if they put one identifier into the system my name and address would come up, but no, they have to type it in each time. Another mystery of the grocery retail world here, like when they move items all over the store for no apparent reason. Another service they offer is “personal shopping”, a clerk will take the list you have phoned in, or maybe online, collect all the goods and send them to you. For these services a minimum purchase of €120 applies.

Feeling a bit abandoned, all our Sevilla friends are away this week. Ryan and Angela took Heidi and Ben to Portugal; Ivan and Lola are also in Portugal. Pepe took his mom to Dubai to see his brother and from there he is going to Copenhagen, severe weather differences will be encountered on that trip! 

Bought another vacuum today, a canister type like we have in Freiburg. I lifted many models off the shelf to get a light one to help Rocio any way we can. We had done research before going but since we were on North American sites, they didn’t mention companies that are based in Europe, e.g. one from Sweden, so research should have been a bit more inclusive. Ended up with a Bosch so hopefully fine because we cannot return it. The sales clerk tried to tell me that, didn’t get it, so they took me to the multi language speaking inquiry phone, said what they needed to and the lady translated for me. I thought it was a good way to handle it and will use the function again if needed.

The Three kings parade is on tonight and children get their presents tomorrow. Read an article that this tradition trumps (not the Donald) Christmas Day and Santa by about a 2/3 to 1/3 margin for them. https://www.thelocal.es/20180103/why-spain-loves-the-three-kings-more-than-santa  It is raining quite hard in fact. I don’t envy them for sure. Another link with video of this year's parade. http://sevilla.abc.es/sevilla/sevi-sido-salida-cabalgata-reyes-5703213260001-20180105074819_video.html

We’ve walked by a paper goods store many times but decided to go in today, what is it about paper goods stores that fascinate me? Is it the possibility of creativeness? Is it the feeling when you bought your school supplies in September, all shiny and new? I don’t know, I mean really, what is exciting about a bunch of paper in different options and writing implements that I like so much? Anyway whatever it is, this new to us store has everything we have looked for in the past in different places, a large copy machine, etc. They are a chain of four stores in Sevilla, website http://www.papelesdelnorte.com/ (this reference is more for me than you, so I remember.) Anyway, bought a small notebook to help me learn Spanish better, I’ve analyzed my best methods of learning and found that if I write the words down it helps me the best, better late than never.


I bought these slippers and while they have no foot support, they are warm, a bit playful, and keep my feet from picking up every cat hair in the house. 

Bruce thinks the bows are ears!
Just to round this post out, Lexi here with her toy given to her by Ryan and Angela, Thank you!

Love my toy! (It's on a leather string so when it goes under the couch, and does, it's easier to pull out, or I can drag it around with her chasing it.)
All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!!!


Massive palm tree, Metropol Parasol in the background, read on.

This is Ryan's post about their visit with us and other friends in Freiburg. Great picture of him and Bruce.


Thwarted Christmas dinner, or when even careful planning goes amiss. I asked Ryan to contact the local butcher to get a pork roast, meaning to stuff it, he ordered for pick up Saturday. Turkeys can be found but large cured hams like we get in North America cannot, or at least no one here seems to be able to find them. Go to the butcher on Saturday and it is a zoo, just as we did, everyone else did too, poor fellow was so busy! Bruce gets to the counter and he asks for the roast, said pork roast three times, not understood I guess because we brought home a cooked beef roast and a tin of gravy. Pepe stopped by for a Christmas drink and he confirmed that Bruce had the words correctly but he said “that just happens sometimes” What? Well we’ll be fed and the beef is tasty because I opened it’s package to see what we actually had bought. (Read on, it was pork!)

Pepe showed us pictures of his recent trip to Marrakesh, Morocco and it looks to be very exotic, colourful, gritty and chaotic, Bruce said he’d be booking a ticket for next week if he didn’t have mobility issues. I’ve read bloggers stories and their opinions swing from loving it to hating it. We were glad Pepe had a good time there, he said it was like Sevilla about twenty years ago. His brother is in town so he took a bottle of Clamato juice to introduce him to a red eye, Bruce said hah! we’re converting Spaniards, well on a very small scale for sure. 

From my Christmas message mentioning dried sage I received an offer from a lady I know on the Coast to mail me some! Isn’t that in the Christmas spirit!  

I received so many lovely responses to the blog from friends for Christmas, it fills my heart! Thank you!

Christmas lunch worked out well, it was a pork roast, including gravy the butcher put in, well seasoned and we used the raclette grill to warm it, I thought the oven might dry it out. Stuffing done in the oven, not very traditional, included orange juice and rind, but tasted good. Mashed potatoes sent Ryan into heaven, hasn’t had them in a while, done with butter and cream. They brought a tasty mixture of snow peas, garlic and soy sauce, a perfect sharper mix to the lunch/dinner. 

There should be a name for lunches in Spain that transcend to dinners, brunch is a good word for breakfast and lunch, no word that I know of for what happens here.

I am good with a knife, can’t remember when I have cut myself with one, but a grater, well, not the same story, two grate marks on my fingers, not great, hah pun intended. 

That fancy, Dyson vacuum cleaner we bought? Doesn’t work well, battery life on it is shorter than advertised half hour, Rocio couldn’t even finish doing the couch before it conked out. She said it was cumbersome to use. So being rather expensive, it’s going back to the store. I was dreading this experience but it turned out well. I typed on my phone, translated and handed it to the clerk. He didn’t say anything but rang it through. Had an orange juice at our favourite little cafe and the owner of it recognized me and asked if we live near by, that’s always a nice thing. The cafe is a French one called Colette, https://www.facebook.com/COLETTESevilla/

Saturday the 30th and a sunny, warm day so we go to the top of the Setas, Metropol Parasol. 

One of the 360 degree views, I took many more pictures, but into the sun, not good...
Been meaning to do that all the time we’ve been here, finally done! I actually had a bit of vertigo, don’t know why really, ramps are wide with high guard rails. The nice people at the entry booth saw Bruce’s chair, pulled us to the front of the line and issued us free tickets to go up. 

Beautiful tile work on the side of a church.
Had Japanese lunch first and good thing too, after we were looking around to have a drink at a patio and there wasn’t a table to be found! Couldn’t even see some of the restaurants, just the crowds of people with drinks in hand. We did find a table but were told we couldn’t have it and couldn’t at the moment figure out why, no indication it was reserved or people had left it temporarily. Sitting at home and I remembered Alonzo saving us a table when it was busy, we’d wait at the sidelines until one came free and he’d wave anyone else off who wanted it. Hah, mystery solved. Whole town was out with all their relatives, strolling along, not walking, mind, strolling, sloooowly, in family groups taking up the sidewalks. I remember Angela and Ryan coming to our table at our old local and almost begging for a seat, must have been this time of year, they’d been all over and couldn’t find an empty spot. Now if we are going out for lunch with them, we arrive early, get a table, otherwise people wait outside the tables and stare hungrily at you to guilt you into leaving. Custom here is that you enjoy your time, line up or not.

Well that's a wrap of this post and 2017. Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2018!

Cheers, Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Our bits of decoration, I know, certainly didn't go "full out".
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! Wishing you all the best for 2018!

We haven’t really been doing much lately but this Friday we bought a nifty Dyson vacuum cleaner for Rocio, she will need the manual to figure out the five attachments but it will make her cleaning time here much easier, getting rid of cat hair that replaces most people’s dust bunnies. 

Nice day and we’re having the vacuum delivered so hands free we had a coffee at a fav little cafe, then moved on to Plaza de la Encarnación under the Setas or the Metropol Parasol. We have been on a hunt for dried sage, salvia in Spanish, to spice up our Christmas lunch. It’s not an herb that is used often here but found some in the market. A couple were buying up the vegetable and fruit stand, obviously locals that shop there a lot, lots of teasing between the proprietor and them, we waited patiently for our less than  €5 purchase. Stopped at a Japanese restaurant and had a great lunch. There were many Japanese people inside so that’s usually a good indication food will be decent. Shared a Sapporo beer which was good and it’s been years since I’ve had one. 

Nice day out! Walked back to the flat through streets we hadn’t been down before with red streamers crossing the narrow street, past stores that had interesting themes, closed for lunch, past a couple of upmarket seafood restaurants. 

Note the next few pictures were mostly shot through windows, not great, but included anyway.
Hats and accessories for them
Door of the shop.
This doesn't do justice, it was beautiful!
Cute? Ugly? I don't know but captivating.
Door to a curio or antique shop.
Huge fish! Terrible picture, I asked permission and didn't want to push my luck taking another.
A church band played in the Museo Plaza the evening of December 22. They are pretty good, likely due to the numerous music schools here in Sevilla. A joy to hear! I remember last year, they played the night we had moved into our new flat and it felt like a welcome to the neighbourhood. This time of year you can stumble on many bands either practicing in plazas or in the evening providing a full concert as they move through the streets. Oh, and they aren't wearing street clothes, they wear full uniform including hats.

Bruce likes to give Lexi a kitty massage, mostly under the chin and around the head. Well she loves it but this time she got over stimulated and acted like crazy cat for an hour after, jumping around, sideways like she’s seen a ghost, tail fluffed to double the normal size, ears back, running from room to room with no intention. Hmm, probably not a good idea to over stimulate but she does have fun. Smart, inquisitive is she, Bruce had liquorice ropes in a package on the table (from British Shop), I watched her select one with her paw and drag it out to chomp on it. Now if it does to cats what it does to humans I’m very glad I stopped her in time or, well, let’s not go there.

All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and the crazy Lexi Cat



Monday, December 11, 2017

Enjoying Sevilla and Good and Very Bad Cooking

Here's Lexi, on Bruce's shoulder, something she did on their first meeting and continues.
I made stew, guess it’s good, well I like it, Bruce does too and called it beef bourguignon. Helps that the meat was good from the butcher, I partially used a recipe and then went my own way with it. Bruce has difficulty standing at the stove for lengthy periods of time right now so I’ve taken over the cooking duties. He has always done the cooking so now it’s payback time. I’m actually enjoying it, always have, so does he, but he’s a different kind of cook than I am. I take a recipe, or two, and modify by taste and what’s in the cupboard. 

Vegetable from our local shop and a splash of red wine, usually drink it not eat it but made a difference!
I’ve been cooking since about ten years old and using what was in the pantry. We had our own meat, vegetable and fruit off the farm so those were my only available ingredients, good variety and fresh or fresh frozen, nothing “fancy”, but good.

Pepe said we had permission to install ramps in the atrium to ease Bruce’s journey across it so Juan, same carpenter as last year, spent a couple of days making and installing those in wood. They work well until the cleaners move them and don’t put them back. Juan does generate a lot of sawdust and Rocio looked at the staircase last week and shook her head in mock disgust, told her to wait until he’s done. She agreed to iron our shirts for us, yes, we’ve been living wrinkled for a long time now but did appreciate the ironing Gilbert did for us in Amsterdam so asked her, now you’ll only see wrinkles in our faces, lucky you. Small things make me happy these days.

It is getting colder here and if there is a breeze, well you know … so our haunting of cafes has lessened considerably. Although we were at one in the early afternoon and a wedding party went by. What I mean by that is not the bride and groom, but the attendees. Wow, as I’ve said before people really dress for weddings here! Most women wear hats, over their curled and heavily styled hair (bizarre looking hats in my opinion, but that’s just me) high heels, and lovely dresses, they also cling onto their partner’s arms, or women go in two’s or threes, so as not to stumble on the uneven cobblestones.

Heard a strange noise at 7 am outside the window, fellow in a cherry picker crane installing these on our street.
Wednesdays are THE day for appointments, we start with Rocio, cleaning and Angel, Bruce’s massage at 10:00 and it seems we usually have one or two appointments after that, next week it’s hair for me and dentist for Bruce. Other weeks it’s been the carpenter or computer fellow. Well at least we are accomplishing things and a routine is established, not very interesting to tell you about really.

Cooking disaster! Maybe disaster is too strong a word, failure would be better. We’d bought a cauliflower with the idea to pickle it with Ivan’s uncle’s olives, more on that in a bit. Didn’t make it to his Uncles, it was Wednesday, see above. So with it sitting in the fridge for a few days and neither of us wanting to eat it raw, it was time to either pitch it or cook it in some fashion to make it tasty to us both. My attempt at cauliflower soup failed miserably probably due to using Moroccan spice which was too heavy a spice for it and my use of about three recipes, well, all I can say is the twain did not meet. Oh well, I did lighten the load in the fridge and it all got tossed. Bruce was kind and honest, didn’t say it tasted like shite but came close. Guess I need the occasional cooking failure to stay humble. 

Today is Immaculate Conception day and a public holiday so many families are out and crowding up cafes and the start of Christmas craziness, as with most of the rest of the world.

Another type of Christmas decoration.
Ivan’s Uncle “makes” his own olives. He takes raw olives and brines them and adds spices. 
Ivan's picture see the garlic!
We didn’t get to see the process, it was Wednesday, so Ivan brought us a jar, complete with garlic and I think thyme used for spice. They are large, split, pit still in, and very yummy!

Olives are split by putting them through this contraption, important to get the spices through.

Just don’t breathe on anyone after eating, garlic breath for sure.

Nuestra Senora De Las Mercedes, Chapel of our Lady of Mercy

Under construction and finally finished but never seems to be open, do read the links, for good explanations. 



All for now, Cheers, Bev, Bruce and the shoulder decorating cat Lexi