Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!

Before Christmas I received an email from Heidi, Ryan's sister asking me to play Christmas elf and buy a restaurant gift certificate and bottle of wine for them. Okay! No problem, in fact, a pleasure. We go to La Chala the restaurant she chose and, before going wrote out the Spanish for gift certificate, well that didn't work well. Gift certificates aren't given here, I suspect, so they had no concept of what we wanted. I saw the waiter on his cell with the request in his hand and thought "oh, he's calling his boss", not. We are getting up to leave and Ryan and Angela with Louis show up. Waiter had called them! There goes the surprise! We all decided not to spoil it for Heidi so we didn't tell her. I also bought dog treats for Louis so he was included (from his Cousin Bentley, Heidi and family's dog).

Picture I sent Heidi to show her.
Bruce shopped for tools for his railway project, next day he decided two weren’t needed but others were so we went back to El Cortes tool department. Changed over, even got a credit, came home with new ones including a rather cheap drill. First drill he chose in the store had a broken handle on the case so we swapped for another. Get home to find NO drill in the box, must have been taken out for the demo, Dang, now we need to go back again to our friendly fellow in the tool department, Bruce is becoming a "regular" there.

Rant coming on, feel free to skip this. Shopping at Christmas always drives me crazy, no matter what country I’m in. I hate the over loud Christmas carol music, I dress for outside and get hot, it’s always crowded to the max. Here people find friends and group together taking up a sidewalk or store aisle to greet and chat, it’s not polite to ask them to move aside, even with a please attached. I remember a poster that had two buzzards in trees, caption said “Patience my ass, I just want to kill something” so while I don’t want to kill anything, the saying perfectly describes my impatience. As you know, I’m not a “shopper” at the best of times… off my mini rant now.

Had a manicure and pedicure with Lola again, she gave me a Christmas give-away which is hair spray which I unfortunately don’t use. Thinking of our closest women friends here and doubt they will use it either. But reading the warning label “do not smoke while using” reminded Bruce of when the Fire Department came to his University to do a fire demonstration. They used a lighter and hair spray and made a flame a metre long, so we’ll keep it as burglar defence - what? We do get silly, even without wine. About wine...

Found a lovely wine rack for twelve bottles, wood, lighter wood than most of the rest in the house. The one on display was a bit tippy so a clerk spent at least fifteen minutes hunting another up, wow! still tippy but bought anyway. 

Full now, not likely so after New Year's
While waiting another clerk who helped us with the Christmas decorations stopped by and asked how we were and if we needed help. This is good service and I’ve mentioned this before, the good service given to people, makes the wait for your turn much, much longer. I’ll generalize again, you’ve been warned, but clerks will endeavour to solve the problem until they cannot, they do not rush the process, just deal in the best way they can.
Entertainment for children out side El Cortes Ingles Department store
Being “the season” I’m hearing more from friends who read this blog. I heard from a friend in Madeira Park, (she has a great sense of humour), she is now working with an organization that will change the Coast dramatically. It is a marine science project with educational probabilities that could draw people from around the world. Extensive in planning and looks to be beautiful in production. Originally it was planned for Madeira Park but negotiations did not work out so now planned for further north at Irvines Landing. Now this is a project I would have volunteered for! the actual website for this project.

Pepe came over to fix our lighting in the kitchen and dining areas. He couldn’t get the kitchen to work, bulbs are difficult to find of the right voltage but even the least voltage didn’t work so he bought a new light. Turns out it was a problem with the switch! Oh well, new light is installed and works.

We enjoyed the company of Ryan and Angela Christmas Eve when we used the machine mentioned previous post. Made potatoes and onions in the fondue dish - yummy! Christmas Day they came back and Paula and Paul came - did an oil fondue with lots of goodies. It was very nice to entertain at Christmas again.

Remember we found Alonso, went back to his restaurant on a Wednesday but there was no one there we knew and we caught the slow time between breakfast and lunch, no service. Walked across the street to one called Taverna Alambique which was excellent!  We just can’t/won’t eat there when Alonso is working at his!

This week between Christmas and New Years is crazy busy in the streets of Sevilla! For me, not so much. Bruce is busy with his rail road project, building bridges see …

I think he is very creative and you will definitely read more on this project!

I am basically twiddling my thumbs which is getting both annoying and boring! I’m kicking my ass into “something” will let you know when I do…

Went to a new to us restaurant on the Alameda Thursday. It is called El Disparate (The Nonsense) ?? and is connected to the hostel The Corner House. Didn’t see the rooms in the hostel but it looks very nice. Food was good at the restaurant, Bruce had cheese cake, large piece with blackberry coulis on top and I had  patatas bravas, like wedge fries, which are done differently everywhere. These were crisp, well cooked and not greasy, sauce was a bit spicy, perfect really. I think many places microwave the food and to find a place with a real kitchen is a treat here. This place had a long open kitchen and the chef was feeding a spoonful of something to a waitress, or perhaps the owner to taste. Like I said, real kitchen! They don’t have many tapas though, mostly full meals for lunch anyway. Bathroom was clean, had soap, and lots of TP, and nice paper towels, another rarity. Most places do not have hand paper. Sunny day, coolish breeze and the Alameda is always a good place to people and dog watch.

That's all from us for now.

Cheers and again, Happy New Year! May the year 2017 be a good one for you! Bev, Bruce and Lexi Cat

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

This year's "tree" (card from Jay and Randy in Canada)

We decorated the flat with different red balls for Christmas, along the staircase and on the walls and in a glass bowl we like. 
Looked better before Lexi got at it - wow look how well these bounce!

That will likely be the extent of it but better than the year I used the laundry dryer as an unorthodox Christmas tree. 
We are having friends in this year and really for the first time since leaving Canada, this is good!

Our fridge has been residing in what we call the office, lofty name for a place to put a printer and paper and nothing else, storage room would be more appropriate for all the goods Bruce orders. Today we moved the fridge back into the kitchen, yeah! Took a bit of grunting and groaning, but done.

Pepe and his brother, the skateboarding guru, really, he has made a good business from it, stopped by Thursday. Pepe, the wonderful guy has offered to help again and we will need to stay in one of his apartments when the elevator is installed.

Bruce decided for the fondue we are having Christmas Eve that we needed small dishes to put sauces in, we figured sixteen dishes so price was a consideration here since we won’t likely use them a lot. After a few stores hunt we found them, two shapes but they will work for less than a Euro a piece in a store we’ve walked by many times but never entered.

Had a lovely coffee at a well rated coffee and bakery and enjoyed watching people walk by, we haven’t done that for a few days and missed it.

Lexi being either regal or silly, can't decide.

Met Ivan for lunch at Perro Viejo, translates as Old Dog, which is in an alley next to a school. Lunch time is 2 pm and when all the kids get out of school so there is a lot of foot traffic in that area and the noise of children recounting their exciting experiences at school to their parents. Food is, I would say Asian Fusion, Ivan and I liked our dishes, Bruce did not, his fish tasted fishy and that to us is a sign of not being the freshest, maybe it was, but scary to take a chance.

Bruce and I had an argument over the elevator. Arguments are pretty rare for us, so Ivan had to explain to him “the Spanish way” of construction and I agreed to lunch for that reason, and of course, to see Ivan again because he’s been incredibly busy. Bruce has been a renovator and knows what it takes to get the job done in Canada. Here it is different, I’ve seen people have hour long conversations over the smallest thing, and that will happen with this install between the constructor and the elevator installation people.

Bruce has decided to ship the totally unfinished project of a miniature train set from Canada to here. So in aid of that he wanted to visit a toy store on the other side of San Francisco plaza, nice to be in that more touristy area of town for a day. Toy store not so interesting to me but I crossed over to the Ines Rosales store I’ve heard, read about, this true Sevilliano product they have had for years but never really knew what it was about. Their main product is an olive oil fried disk with variations mostly sweet, but they have a savoury product, I bought the Rosemary and Thyme version, tasted the regular, original version in store. While I applaud the company and it’s history, can’t say their products are a favourite of mine.

So as I’ve said Ivan is now selling real estate, here is his website, he asked for input on a marketing campaign to English people and talking about business of any sort gets me interested so did my best to respond. He will take my suggestions with a grain of salt or try them out, up to him, honoured to be asked.

He dropped off a large aloe vera plant for us! It’s lovely and he thought ahead enough to the size of pot and amount of soil so that I could manage carrying it. When the elevator goes in (you’ll be reading that a lot, already have) it may live upstairs on the patio but for now it’s on our front porch. Nice to have greenery out there again. When we moved in there was a plant which I enjoyed but the former owner came and retrieved it one day which I thought was a little cheap until she explained it was a gift, okay then.

Thursday we meet Ryan and Angela and walk to Bar Tino where Alonso works now. Remember the bar he used to work at closed and last year before we left he gave us his phone number. I thought it a bit strange since we don’t speak Spanish and he speaks no English, but Ryan phoned him and located him, we went with them to see him and say hi to our good friend. Today it was so good to see him! and Manolo the manager! Big hugs from him, kisses and mi amigo (Bruce) mi amiga (me), multiple times while there. The four of us were having a tapa and along come Paula and Paul! Their neighbourhood is about two blocks away so they join us for a new to them Tinto de Verano and talk about their four day trip to Rome they just returned from. Angela does a sneaky move and goes in to pay the bill, a trick I “taught” her since I’ve done it before. Alonso says to her, have you talked to Bev? She’s going to be really, really mad at you!!! That just shows how well he knows us.

Ryan and Angela, bought a combo raclette and fondue pot set
Bruce had decided to do a fondue for Christmas Eve day when Ryan and Angela are coming to celebrate with us. So they did the research and it arrived. We all decided it needed to be tested ahead of time ;) so they came for a late lunch on Saturday. We grilled many types of cheese they had brought, jamon, chorizo, had raw veggies on the side, and Angela kept saying “I’m so Excited!!!!!” Clapping her hands. 

Rocio had been in to clean and discovered the main light in the kitchen had burned out, we had a spare, so engaged Ryan to install, being the tallest person in the house. But it didn’t work so now we have only the light over the stove argh!!!! 

Anyway that didn’t stop us having a wonderful lunch/dinner party. Angela did the dishes with me holding a flashlight, lovely, or not.

Sunday we met up with Paula and Paul for a long awaited tour of the Art Market, Museo Plaza. It’s been rained out the last few weeks so it was nice to be able to go. They enjoyed it and we spoke to several artists, as we do and met a new fellow who is named Anthony but goes by Tono? Think I’ve got that right. Anyway he works with teenagers and had trained in England, excellent English and entertaining fellow. 

Natalia was there, she did the commissioned painting for us and was telling us she has less time to paint due to her very active four year old. 

We went to La Chala for lunch and carried on the conversation, hard to walk and talk and look at art at the same time, rubbing your belly and chewing gum kind of thing, so sitting down and actually conversing was good.

Christmas lighting strung across our street (and all streets in Sevilla)

Detail, beautiful I think!

Merry Christmas from us to you and your families!!

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Lunch Party, Elevator and Picnic

These fellows were at the local next door to us, discovered after I heard the music and singing. You just never know what you'll see on a street in Sevilla and that's just great!

Another rainy Sunday, no art market so we meet Paula and Paul at the Antiquarium, Roman ruins, under Las Setas, Metropol Parasol, but first coffee and a tostada, of course.

Cloudy view from the Metropol Parasol 

Ryan and Angela meet us there and everyone gets to talking, having just met, and not really paying attention to the ruins so we leave and meet Ivan at the place we had breakfast.
Carved piece of ruin, can you see the smiling face in it?

Decisions, decisions, where to have lunch with seven people, Ryan and Angela take over since they probably know more restaurants than the local Sevilliano Ivan does. Ivan lives in a lovely neighbourhood a bit outside the city. We end up at Catalina.  We get to sit under an awning, very much needed due to continual down pouring of rain and enjoy a rather unique meal of good food, everyone’s dish was rated top notch and our waitress was engaging and funny. With the good company and stellar food it was a wonderful afternoon.

Big, good news!!!!! We received our permit from City Hall to install the elevator in the flat. When will it happen? Not sure yet, this first week of December and there are two holidays in it, Tuesday is Constitution Day, Thursday is Immaculate Conception Day, then Christmas in twenty days. Work will take about ten days so I honestly doubt this will happen before the holidays. Update, bad news: It will take a lot longer, as much as a month! So our choices are to move out for the entire month or live with people coming in and out to do their work, ugh!

Sunny day, shops not open due to Constitution Day, so I packed a picnic of egg salad sandwiches and Schweppes lemonade and we had a picnic in the Museo Plaza.

Jugglers in the plaza, or should I say attempted...
Shawn and Peter walked by so stopped to talk for a minute, they were on their way to a newly opened bar in Triana, for research, of course, 

There were some artists out, they’ve lost the last two Sundays, after all, with the rain.

So that's been our week, dodging raindrops and enjoying the sunshine when it finally appeared.

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat