About Us

My photo
Now living in l'Olleria, south of Valencia

Friday, 27 June 2008


Ah, a day at the seaside. We haven’t actually been for ages! We took Jess and Tim to Javea, where we had a lovely paella lunch and then a lounge on the beach. Unfortunately, Ed chose the bit of beach that was large and small pebbles, not the sandy beach ½ mile further on! It was fine to walk on with sandals, but terrible with bare feet. Jess Tim and I went for a swim, but it was agony getting in and out of the sea!

There was a pontoon near the harbour, which Jess and Tim swam to. It had a slide and a diving board and was evidently the hang out for the youngsters. The water was so clear, that from the pontoon, they could see the bottom ~ a little disconcerting, when planning to dive off the board! The sea wasn’t really cold, and the weather was so hot, that we all soon dried off again.

Friendly BBQ

On Tuesday evening, we were invited to a friend’s bbq. For once, there were ‘young’ people there, so Jess and Tim had people to talk to. They had a pool too, and by the end of the evening, there were 9 people in it. (I can’t wait to get ours finished, but it will be a while yet!)

Xativa Castle

At last, we have taken the opportunity to go and visit Xativa castle. It’s only 10 kms from here, but the only time I’ve been before, was with (brother) John, and it was closed (every Monday)! We wound our way through the tiny back streets, and found the way to the top of the mountain! To my surprise, there were only about 5 cars there. Entrance fee was only 2€10 each, unlike the normal UK prices. We had a lovely time wandering all around. There were beautiful gardens as well as the normal ancient buildings, and we had also been given an English leaflet, so we knew what we were looking at, as well as its history. Needless to say, the views from the top of the castle were outstanding.

To my surprise, there were even public toilets there (very rare in Spain) and a lovely restaurant. We had a quick cold drink before exploring the rest of the castle, but managed to resist the usual gift shop. (How many key rings does one really need?)

Chilling Out

Jessica and her boyfriend Tim have come to stay with us for a few days. Wonderful to see them again, and thankfully the weather has finally got hot, in time for their visit. Sadly only a few days, so we’ve crammed some trips in, and also given them time to chill.

Some neighbours of ours were good enough to give us exclusive use of their pool for a day. We only stayed for about 3 hours, but it was lovely to chill out and play in the pool.

Monday, 16 June 2008

La Luna

Wow. Ed has set up the telescope and tonight we have a really clear view of the moon, right off the terrace. Not a bad photo for something 238,855 miles away.

Friday, 13 June 2008

El Sol...

At last, after the wettest September in 50 years, then the wettest May on record, topped off by the wettest June, we finally have proper sunshine. Check this out... Top line is outside temperature (in the sun, it was actually 27 in the shade) next line is the temperature in the house, then the time and date. He he.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

School Play

Ha ha. I’ve been a bit stressed for the last 2 weeks, trying to learn my lines for the end of year school play – in Spanish of course!!

We classmates put our heads together, and came up with; The Vets. All of us were different animals, with funny ailments for the vet to sort out. There was a penguin that was 3 years pregnant which turned out to be wind (a balloon that was popped); An elephant that lost its memory; a bunny wanting a contraceptive; a lion with a tummy ache (after eating a bus full of tourists); a gorilla with a flatulence problem, whose pet ladybird had died and also, finally, a tortoise that got there so late, the vet shut just as it got to the consultation room.

It was very funny. To our horror, all of the chairs were filled. There must have been 30 or 40 people watching. (Even people standing at the back) We expected about 10. However, they were mostly Spanish ladies, who positively screamed with delight at everything funny. We had to keep waiting for them to be quiet, before we could say the next lines. Our first practice took just 20 minutes, but the actual performance was nearer 40!

This week, is ‘Cultural Week’ so the school had wonderful displays of paintings and embroidery from the other classes. I don’t think our play rated very highly as ‘culture’ but, hey, we did our bit (and had a laugh in the meantime).

Monday, 9 June 2008

Family Outing

Ed’s cousin Pat and Alan (Reid) came up from Quesada for a day out. Alan is a keen fisherman, so we went up to the river Xuquer to check out the clarity and the fish. We took them to Antella which we have been to before, and there were people swimming, fishing and having a really good time. I think I’ll wait for the water to get a bit warmer first!

Sitting Tenants

We have got squatters in the pool house. A pair of ‘barn swallows’ have built a house against one of the beams in the roof. This year I don’t really mind, as the place is not finished, but I certainly don’t want them there next year!

They have been flitting around getting little bits of wood and straw, then going to the soft soil/mud, and making a mix to hold everything together. I sat outside, very still, and they took little notice of me, concentrating instead on the work in hand.

Max sat next to the pool house watching them… out of the poolhouse, down to the ground, fetch a stick, go to the puddle, make a paste, back to the poolhouse, out of the poolhouse… His little head was going round and round!

I’m not certain how soon they will lay, but the eggs take 14 – 18 days to hatch, then we will watch mum and dad feeding the babies, before they fledge.

The Christening

We were invited to attend the christening of Alessya, the next door neighbours daughter. At least, Ed thought we were! The day before, we had no idea where we were meant to be, nor when! I rang up, and we established that it was to be at the Maria Magdelena church at mid day.

To play safe, we went to town, and went to the biggest church in town. I asked a little old Spanish lady if this was the correct church, but she said, No, it was the other church up the road, near the shops. We duly went back to the centre of town, to the other church, and I asked again. No, we needed the big church – that we had just come from! There were no signs outside the churches, so we just decided to go early, and hope we went to the right place.

Sunday arrived, and in our best clothes, we went to town, and sure enough, the first people we saw inside the church were Monica and Roberto, with Alessya. Phew! In time, 2 other babes in arms arrived, and there was a lovely service for all 3 children. The priest spoke very clear castellon, so I could follow a bit, but it was very nice to simply watch the proceedings. We took lots of pictures afterwards, and were invited back to the house for lunch. We were told to change first, into casual clothes, as this was to be a relaxing afternoon next to the pool.

We had a wonderful afternoon, and didn’t leave until 9pm! There was enough food and wine for 50 people, not just the 20 of us. Roberto is Italian, and his relatives brought wonderful red wine, and Monica’s family provided all of the traditional Spanish food. We had pâté, cheese, salami, iberico ham, salmon, pastries and crackers. And that was for starters. Next, were fresh prawns, so big, that you could only fit 2 or 3 on a plate at a time. After that, 2 huge paellas. One with snails and one without.

I was really brave, and opted for the one with snails in. I have never eaten them before. Thankfully, there were only 2 on my plate! I’ve seen it done on the TV, so, I stuck my fork in, and pulled the little blighter out of his shell, and ate him. It was ok, just like a mussel, but with a strong flavour. I pulled out the second one, but he snapped in half. Not being over-keen, I left the other half, and just ate his head! Later, I confessed that I had never eaten snails before. Roberto laughed, and said that he didn’t like them, so he had eaten from the other paella. Monica, promptly showed my how to eat a snail… pull out the head, then pull it against the shell, so that it snaps off, leaving the other half inside. Don’t eat the whole thing, just the head. Oops. I had eaten the whole of the first one. Was I destined to spend the night sitting on the toilet? Or just with my head in it? Actually, neither, I was fine. But I don’t think I will eat them again, unless I really have to!

The next day, Roberto’s brothers called around to look at the bikes, which was really nice. Only one of them spoke good English, but they all managed to make themselves understood! When Roberto got home from work, he popped around too. One of them didn’t like bikes, so Ed let him have a go on the digger instead, which made everyone laugh.

We may not see each other very often, but at least now we a little more than a passing acquaintance!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

oooh err

We had an unwelcome visitor recently! I was talking on Skype, when Ed mentioned that a bug had arrived on the patio... "Shall I bring it in?" No way!! Half an hour later, when I was free, he mentioned that the bug was still there.

I went out to have a look, and encountered this little chappie! Yes, that is my finger next to him. No, there are no camera tricks. This was a Rhino Beetle, and he was very impressive. The dogs accidentally stood on him, but he still walked ok, if a little slowly.

Apparently, in Japan, children have them as pets. Guess they don’t take up too much space in an apartment!