Sunday, March 26, 2017

BBQ and Getting Things Finished

We bought a BBQ, exciting for us since it is the first we've had since leaving Canada! It’s a rather cheap one but will do, it came unassembled, natch, so we worked together to assemble it. Then coming down in the elevator Bruce dropped his box of drill bits into the shaft of the elevator, three bits. Couldn’t get at them so I went across to the Chinese market and bought magnets which of course stuck themselves to the elevator but using a metal spatula was able to retrieve them. Whew, we do get ourselves into a pickle once in a while.

Thursday, last minute really, we wanted to try out the new BBQ and as usual, our guinea pigs are Angela, Ryan and this time Pepe too. Angela brought Korean BBQ meat, not sure what that entails but it’s always good to try new things. There are many recipes for Korean BBQ but Angela’s is 1/2 soy, 1/2 water, sugar, green onion, garlic, and sorry, forget what else, marinated overnight, so yummy!

Angela put my camera on timer, Thank you!

Lunch was good fun and the food marvellous! Angela also brought rice to cook up in coconut milk which, oops, no eyes on it and it spilled over, luckily I caught in time before it became a colossal mess, Angela was upstairs helping Pepe, so that meant it was my responsibility, oops again. 

Pepe brought Cora but she was scared to go upstairs so she rode up the elevator with Pepe and down with me, weird to see a dog in the elevator, but wasn't fair to leave her. She is such a good dog and Lexi came out, aside from Cora wanting to make friends, i.e treat her like another dog and sniff her butt, Lexi said no to that, I’m a cat! They just co-existed together around us.

Yummy! Took a picture of dessert but it didn't turn out.

I made a Greek salad, this time though I did not put the lime juice on it, (my secret dressing, well not any more) put it in a cruet and let people pour what they wanted, worked well. 

Pepe brought dessert and manned the BBQ, cooked to perfection! 

Master BBQ guy in action!

The dessert was soaked bread in honey and not sure what else (called torrijas, bread soaked in wine, dipped in egg, fried and covered with honey) and a long thin, sweet bread with raisins and almonds. I tried a bit of both since this is typical Sevillano dessert and it was good, although since I prefer savoury to sweet, I would not buy for myself. 

We had to eat inside, a bit chilly for eating out. It was a truly combined effort, like a pot luck really where everyone brings a dish and lends a hand, Ryan did most of the clean up, we both agreed the really sticky rice pot could definitely be easier to clean after soaking overnight. 

Weather for the next few days is supposed to be rainy and cool so, Friday we went up to the Setas to a shop we’d seen before to buy moustache scissors for Bruce, obviously Bruce, luckily I don’t have a moustache thank goodness! Then we walked by the Duana Palace, Princess Alba’s residence.

While that is on my list of things to visit, we thought we were close to LinoyFino the linen shop I buy my shirts from and we were but took a bit to find. Found and I bought my annual supply of four shirts, if they had more I would have bought more. One coral, light and dark blue and white. Coral is a colour I’ve never worn before but it’s a bright enough mix between orange and pink it goes well with my complexion. Ladies, you may remember when you could get your “colours done by season”.  When was that? Mid eighties I think and wonder if it still exists as a business. Many thought it was a lot of bunk, but I did had it done before going into the big scary world of Corporate business. Actually it was a colour and wardrobe consultant I went to. I did learn that if you put peach colour next to me I looked like I’d been in a morgue, so that convinced me the system had some merit. 

Then we stumbled on the Feria Market and Bruce had a feed of oysters which you might remember, he loves. We sat outside under the spire of a church and smelled fish being fried from the Cantina. Our order was marked on the tile wall instead of the bar in chalk which happens often here. 

Those four bags hold live snails! People take them home and cook them up usually with garlic.

It was a good day of getting things done and getting out of our neighbourhood which was great to be out of our comfort zone! I’d forgotten how many magnificent churches there are in this City!

Aside, funny, more on St. Patrick’s Day

We’re all fixed up on a personal level now, mani/pedi for me and haircuts for us both - spiffy!

The lady who does my nails, Lola, also washed my hair in prep for the cut. She gave me a scalp massage too! Lovely! and she always massages my hands and feet. While we cannot really talk we communicate with smiles and thumbs up from both of us. 

Coming back to the apartment I purposely went by where Pepe’s mom has coffee and greeted her, then at the next bar ran into Ryan, Angela and their friend Winkle, who is a professional skate boarder. He has a broken wrist in a multicoloured cast. They were waiting for Pepe to join them, so I got to say hi to Pepe also, and they are off to a skateboarding competition close to Cadiz. 

Rocio was here also this Saturday and she had a major cleaning job after Juan’s efforts with carpentry, lots of sawdust. Juan did sweep up but didn’t clean surfaces and wouldn’t expect him to. She stayed an extra half hour to get it done so I tried to pay her an extra 10 Euro which of course, being her she wouldn’t take, we argued, emphatic, her “no”, me “si” (yes). But Bruce and I discussed it ahead of time and I stuck 10 Euro into her purse first and then offered another directly to her, sneaky I know but the woman works hard and needs to get paid for her work. Bruce had dried some fruit, kiwis and strawberries so we tucked a bag of those in too. Ryan and Angela hire her to clean their apartment as well and she said she ate them like candy going home on the bus, yummy! 

When they dismantled the closets upstairs they left two sets of drawers that Pepe said were handmade so keepable. We thought when we moved in that we had a lot of storage here but don’t really, or what we have is long and narrow and awkward to use, especially in the kitchen. So we are re-purposing those two four drawer wooden sets, one for the bedroom and one upstairs. The one downstairs is going to be for paper products mainly, upstairs to support a small fridge and party things, well that’s my plan, Bruce may have another.

New kitchen cabinet, not the best picture, but the three shelves are great!

Juan came and worked on the kitchen cabinet and then stained it. Pepe came and helped us rope up and down the storage drawers between floors, that guy is strong! Then Rocio came and replaced the kitchen curtain that didn’t quite fit the first time. We’re done! or as much as we will do this year anyway. Well, one thing left, to protect the new doors and windows we’ll buy blinds to hang over, as they do here, to protect from weather damage. I’d still like to get a plumber in.

I cannot say this has been fun but it was needed. Last year was more fun, choosing furniture, overhead lamps, shopping mostly online, but this year these things were maintenance issues, except the elevator. Year before that was even more fun, no responsibilities and a good deal of touring. I do not regret buying here, just was sort of innocent on how long things would take.

Saturday and Rocio comes to clean again, she gets dried pineapple, apple and beef jerky this time and seems to enjoy it. Bruce has something in the food dryer every day and is enjoying the results.

Mystery solved! We hear a melodious whistle around 11:00 a.m. some mornings and I’ve tried, and tried, to find out where it comes from and what it’s for. Today walked by the knife sharpener and he uses the whistle to let the neighbourhood know he’s around “bring me your knives!” He uses a motorbike engine to run the sharpener, totally portable and my guess is that he has specific routes each day. Today is Monday and the bodega across the street probably gets theirs done. Well my curiosity is satisfied on that one…  

We dodge the downpour that happens off and on, I look for, again, a spring coat in El Cortes for about an hour, floor is huge and all by designer, like Harrods in London, which doesn’t help much if you are looking for one specific item. A couple of them came close but then I couldn’t find them again on the floor, doh! Need bread crumbs to track my progress. 

All for now, Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat who only tolerates dogs

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!!

Here you go, direct from Dublin!
Lexi's Irish too! and being silly about it...
Short post this time...

We received the permit to operate the elevator!!!! Wheeeee! Tuesday March 14, four days short of two months from start to finish. Technician came, fixed the phone inside it, and did minor adjustments. Answered all our questions with Pepe’s help, since he was here to translate for Juan, who was also here. Wheeee again! 

I took the bus! Not very startling news really, but, it stops in two locations close to our flat and I was curious as to where it went, map on the website isn’t easy to read so I just hopped it. For 1.40 Euro it’s an hour trip that circles the Central area of Sevilla, covering all the neighbourhoods. This just opened up more possibilities to visit other neighbourhoods, some we’ve seen, some we haven’t - yeah! Bus was full most of the way and clientele were on the older side, many with canes.

Sunny Saturday and it seems all parents in Seville are out with their, sometimes massive, baby carriages, makes it a minefield of maneuvering for Bruce in his chair on the sidewalks. We found the fabric store Rocio had bought our curtain fabric from and chose a pretty patterned piece for the kitchen windows, lunch Bar Tino, Alonso not there, suspect he starts later, back home to show Rocio the fabric. Bruce wraps it around her and hums the wedding march. She was adamant and indicated she got married once but never again. It’s amazing that we can usually, not always, communicate so well.

Two important people who have made a great difference in this elevator project and getting broken things straight again, aside from Pepe and Ivan who introduced us to these two. 

Rocio: She likes to sew and said new doors, new window treatments and she sewed them for no cost, in fact, she brought back the receipt and change. She worked her ass off to rid us of dust from construction spent an entire day cleaning everything. With the unplanned destruction earlier in the year spent a weekend cleaning more. She lined our dishes cupboard with plastic. She does so many little things for us that are above her "duties", we consider her to be a friend despite the language difference, our fault. She said to Ryan and Angela she wished we spoke better Spanish because she wants to tell us so much, certainly we do too. She is an absolute jewel that I am so glad Ivan introduced us to her. 

Juan: Pepe found us this lovely man, he’s retired but has worked in woodwork his entire life and appreciates being able to use old wood to it’s advantage. He has repaired our windows/doors which were in really bad shape and he is a master! Now he’s doing small jobs for us that need doing that have been annoying us for some time: bedroom closet door fell off; reinforcing the couple of stairs that creak as you go up; replaced, what the elevator people took, a piece of wood from the bottom of the washing machine; building shelves in the new closet upstairs. He also makes use of what is available since we had a closet upstairs redone due to the elevator, there was quite a lot of wood left over The contractor could have taken it away but something in Bruce and my minds said let it stay and Juan is making good use of it. It’s stained like the rest of the place so it fits in without having to re-paint and same quality of wood.

We went to El Disparate for lunch and meet Ryan’s parents who are lovely people and we can see where Ryan’s positive attitude and humour come from. Food and service were good, really, really, good in fact. 

Ryan and Bruce foolin' around, photo by Pepe

Orange season is on the way out, as is strawberry, both have been extremely good. 

The orange blossoms have started to come out and the smell is heavenly! There are companies that bottle that smell in perfumes and lotions and it comes pretty close to the real smell. 

All for now, Cheers! But no green beer for me... Bx2 and Lexi Cat

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Domestic Happenings, Two Major Projects

The annual gathering of oranges, bring on the blossoms next!

Sorry it's been a while between posts. My dog/cat ate my homework/blog, believe it? Of course not, but my computer screen did crack which gives you a multitude of colour like a rainbow with black in-between and makes it hard to function with. Why? It seems they just do sometimes, Bruce has had it happen to him once too. While I could function, we have experienced the crack will grow until you can’t anymore, like one in a car windshield. Luckily last year, and again this, Ivan put us in touch with a MAC repairman. His name is Fermin, a name I’ve never encountered before, never mind the name, he’s just Great! He speaks some English, he’s professional, he’s reasonable in price, comes to either our place or close by at the Museo Plaza. 

Back “home” (Pepe's apartment) he contacts me with a potential carpenter for our leaky patio doors. The man has done reportedly amazing work in a Doctor friend of his in an old mansion. Met with the carpenter and Pepe, he is a retired gentlemen who had done carpentry work on the staircase for the previous owner! Kismet! 

Hadn't seen this one before, pretty!

Lunch at La Chala was lovely in the warm sunshine, much appreciated after the cool weather and rain. We turtled there for a while, as we do, after buying fresh produce from the Fruitier, after seeing the flat and other small errands. 

On the sign outside Bar Tino where Alonso works
Aside: “Churros are the Spanish equivalent of doughnuts, similar in shape to the horns of the churro sheep found in Spain. They are completely lacking in any nutritional value, extremely fattening and deliciously irresistible. The villagers often served them for breakfast with milky coffee or hot chocolate.” Excerpt From: Victoria Twead. “Two Old Fools in Spain Again.” iBooks. Still haven’t had any….

The carpenter took all the doors and a bathroom window from our flat to refurnish them, it’s Saturday and we look at the weather forecast, for rain on Sunday - yikes, so we get a large tarp, cut it up to size of four doors and put it up with tape, bit of a chore. 

Living with the tarp makes the room like we are in an aquarium and if our complexions absorb it we’ll look like Smurfs! I actually don’t mind the Smurf hue but don’t like not being able to look out onto the street, keeping the seal shut. Very noisy though and affecting my sleep. We did well actually, with the rain, until the following week, read on.

The Zurich marathon is on again in Sevilla, Sunday, an annual event that in the previous two years we’ve witnessed has always had sunny days. It was cloudy day but no rain, we went to see Alonzo at his “new” restaurant, always good to see that man. We did something we haven’t done before and ordered the menu of the day, starter, main, dessert and a drink. We shared it but the main was so large I could only eat half and Bruce couldn’t help, he had a large, tasty bowl of soup. It cost 10 Euro, a really great deal if you are hungry but I think we’ll stick to tapas again. 

Moving back to our flat after moving out for a month while the elevator was installed and so glad we did move out. We have Rocio cleaning our flat on Monday starting at 08:00, dust is everywhere, although some has been cleaned up, when they were dismantling there were clouds of it so it took her a long time to get everything back to where it was. I helped unwrapping furniture and wiping things down which my back did not appreciate, but it’s now back to being a comfortable flat again. Pictures on the walls and as clean as we can get it. Even with couch, chairs, table and kitchen well wrapped, there was dust in the cupboards, on used to be clean dishes, well I won’t go on… Ivan came and helped move the fridge and kitchen hutch back where they belong. 

Our partner’s D & E came to visit us! Get out the champers! I sent a note to them warning about the marathon and perhaps closed streets but they arrived after it’s over so no problem. We look forward to seeing them again, as always, and a further plan to get together in the Spring won’t happen since they are going back to Ottawa earlier.

We met up Monday after the major clean, had the champers and orange juice and then since I was quite tired, just went to Gourmet Experience at El Cortes. We ate at the fish stall this time and it was really good, would go back, that good. They called our dish Tempura prawns but the tempura was almost invisible and they added chilis to give it some spice, yummy! 

The Contractor comes at 09:30 to finish off the edging on the elevator, weren’t told he would be here, noisy, using a metal saw to cut to fit. Then the Architect comes, looks around, leaves. Ivan is calling, weather is thunderous and raining cats and dogs so he really doesn’t want to drive into the City but does anyway, there is paperwork to sign to get further closure on the elevator with the City. The elevator company person arrives to get me to sign even more paperwork, takes it away to take to the City. Like driving without a license we cannot use the elevator without this permission, like a driver's license, or do so at our own risk. 

Pepe called about the doors/windows and they are supposed to be done for Friday installation but it rained a lot today and I suspect the carpenter kept them outside so may not get them until we have another good sunny day for them to cure. 

Well on a brighter note, D & E came here to the flat, they leave for Malaga tomorrow, fly to Basel on Saturday. So we killed two bottles of champers and quite a few oranges to make our usual drink. Haven’t drank this much champagne ever I think in a week but it was good. Conversation with them is easy, we are all curious people, well travelled and we do enjoy talking with them. They are more than relations or partners, they are good friends.

We had a good day Saturday, lunched out with Ryan and Angela at Badulaque, a restaurant specializing in beef from Argentina. They’ve been busy with visitors and we’ve been busy with elevator installation so it was great to see them again!

Went to the outdoor art market again on Sunday, it hasn’t happened for a while due to rain and other events in the City like the Marathon. Speaking to the archaeologist lady, who sells prints, I was commenting on the multitudes of people out. She said with Andalusia Day this Tuesday, Sevilla people leave for a four day weekend and many others come to Sevilla. They call it a bridge holiday because many people take the Monday off.

The doors for the main floor arrived Monday and the carpenter did a beautiful job on restoring them! It is amazing how much they cut down on street noise. Rocio, made new curtains for us, she said, new doors need new curtains. Pepe came to translate for us and we took him for lunch at Nazca, a Peruvian Japanese restaurant, well it’s different, and the food and service are good. 

Andalucia Day and we just go out for a bite and see two women, one doing commentary, the other dancing flamenco on the street! 

Our upstairs doors have been an issue, the carpenter couldn’t get them finished by Friday because they took more work than he expected, no problem, he’s a master. Saturday though it was very windy and raining hard. I went upstairs to find large puddles in both bedrooms so started mopping. Then to secure the plastic to the doors I stretched duct tape across, Rocio had come by that point to clean the flat and helped. We used up all the tape but felt they were secure enough and rain/wind abated later in the day.

Bruce "pretending" picture for Px2

The doors arriving and Pepe and Cora (the dog)

Baby steps with these two major projects, steps we don't have much control over but gradually it's coming together. As always in Spain, it takes longer than expected, frustrating for us but that's the way it is.

All for now, Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat