Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is here again, help for Japan, rest in peace George K, a trip to Santa Pola, Norah on Facebook, war with Libya, a super full moon, and more.

Me on our lovely natural beach called Carabasi near our flat in Santa Pola

Hello again,

I’m a day late with my blog this week which is because we went to Santa Pola for the weekend, but more about that later. Here I am writing then on Monday but it’s not just any Monday, it’s the first day of spring. I noticed today coming back from my walk that we had an excellent sign of it in the garden in these two lonelydaffodils, that glorious flower about which William Wordsworth wrote his famous poem called by the same name, Daffodils. I can only ever remember the first line: “I wandered lonely as a cloud” but the rest is easy to find out these days with internet as you can read in the link here.

Our two lone daffodils I spotted in our garden today coinciding with the beginning of  Spring

In fact with spring in mind Eladio had the gardener, Guillermo, lay fertilizer on the grass which took his South American workers some two days to accomplish. This is what the lawn looked like afterwards. Norah enjoyed the smells enormously and got her paws suitably dirty the whole time too of course.

Our garden layed with fertilizer this last week

I hope you all had a good week. I certainly did. On the work front, I’m in the middle of a well deserved lull at the moment. However, believe it or not the tragedy ensuing from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan actually affected my work. People and organisations all over the world are collaborating or trying to help the nation which is now threatened by an even worse fate, a nuclear disaster which thankfully is now under control. And Yoigo wasn’t going to miss out as we collaborate with the Red Cross locally. So we rallied together to have an text number available for people to donate funds, at 1,20 euros per sms. If you live in Spain and have a number either with Yoigo or our competition you can help too by sending a text with the text JAPON to 28077.

We collaborated with the local Red Cross to help people in Japan by setting up a text number for donations

On Tuesday I had rather sad news from my Mother’s ex colleague, Richard D. He told of the passing away of George Konzevich who had died after a fall the previous Friday. He was my Mother’s ex colleague at Leeds University, Valya’s husband and was aged over 90. I trust he had a good life but I do know the beginnings were not good for him nor Valya, both of whom were Russian refugees who came to England after the Second World War. Richard wrote this in his email: “George Konzevich died on Friday of heart failure after falling awkwardly and being helped up with difficulty and after a delay. Valya was distraught of course, but organising the funeral (next Tuesday morning) and dealing with the authorities has occupied and distracted her for the time being. Very sad indeed”. I was rather upset as was my Father, of course and immediately rang Valya to give her our condolences. I have also sent a wreath via Interflora which I hope reaches them on time for the funeral tomorrow. I have written about George and Valya before when we visited them on our trip to Yorkshire in the summer of 2009. Here is a photo of that happy moment. Rest in peace George, you will be sorely missed, especially by your loving wife Valya.

A happy moment with George and Valya Konzevitch in the summer of 2009.  Sadly George (on the left in a blue shirt and white tie) passed away last week.  Rest in peace dear George.

On Thursday I went into Madrid to supervise the final details of the shortened version of the Yoigo film. So there I was again at Iralta films with Angel and Bea and Ramón and Mariana, the team who made the film. I thought I ought to capture the team on camera as our work comes to an end. Thanks guys you have done a great job. Ah but it’s not yet finished, we still have to make some changes, introduce new music we won’t have to pay enormous rights for and of course translate the shortened text into English for the subtitles. When it is I promise to publish it on You Tube and then you can all give me your opinion.

The team who made the film about Yoigo at Iralta Films this week.

Thursday wasn’t all work though as in the evening Eladio and I visited that wonderful Swedish furniture and home accessory store, Ikea. We went to get new duvets to take to Santa Pola but of course bought many other things as you can see from this picture of our car boot. I never go to Ikea without buying some of the Swedish delicacies such as meatballs, lingonberry and cloudberry jam, smoked salmon and of course their wonderful frozen cakes.

Our car boot loaded with goods from Ikea last week.

The week had been cold and wet but the forecast for the weekend was great so Eladio and I decided, on the spur of the moment, to go to Santa Pola to stay at our flat for the weekend. Santa Pola is near Alicante and is on the Costa Blanca coast, some 450km from here. Not only did we want to take advantage of the weather, we also wanted to check the flat was ok as we hadn’t been since last August. When we first bought the flat in 1999 we used to go really often but now it’s more of an investment and we go quite rarely. Even so I was looking forward to going and decided to take Friday off and thus avoid the traffic.

We are creatures of habit and thus stopped for lunch as we always do at the Parador in Albacete, some 150km from Santa Pola.

Me having lunch at the Parador in Albacete on Friday on our way to the beach

The weekend was to be somewhat gastronomic but also all about walking on the beach, reading and generally relaxing. As soon as we had settled in we headed for the beach, a lovely unspoilt natural beach with no horrible high rise buildings, just dunes and cliffs and a view of the bay of Alicante.  The weather was nice and sunny but there was always a nip the air and we were glad at night of the duvets we had bought at Ikea which turned out to be splendid; warm, light and very comfortable.

We enjoyed walks on our beach this weekend

After our walk it was nearly time for dinner and again, creatures of habit, we went to our favourite local place called María Picola on the road between Santa Pola and Elche. Here we were welcomed by the familiar waiters and served what we always order; a salad and a wonderful dish of local rice called Arroz a banda which is much better than paella, I can tell you.

Eladio at María Picola, our favourite restaurant in the area, on the road from Santa Pola to Elche

Saturday was spent reading the papers, sitting on the sunny terrace and reading our books and of course walking.

A view of the inside of our sunny little flat in Santa Pola
We had to walk a lot to work off all the delicious food we kept eating. Lunch on Saturday was just one option for us, fish and chips at Darby’s Chippy down the road from our apartment. I have written about this place before and I can only say it as good as the best fish and chip establishments back in the UK. The jolly Scottish owner welcomed us and asked how my leg was. I only realised later that he could only have known about it by reading my blog as when we were last there in August I wrote about my bad leg in the same post as our meal at his chip shop. So Mr. Darby if you are reading this post thanks for a great portion of fish and chips on Saturday. We will be back of course next time.

Me about to enjoy a wonderful portion of Darby's Chippy fish and chips.  I have to admit I couldn't finish it!
Or course after that wonderful British food we had to have an equally wonderful Spanish siesta to sleep it off. Later we went for yet another long walk, this time on the Santa Pola promenade where I bought a Russian newspaper for my Father. He knew you could get them there so the best option seemed to be Pravda, recommended to me by the Bulgarian shop assistant. I’m glad she did as I nearly picked up a Bulgarian newspaper, unknowingly instead of a Russian one! In the evening we decided to try out a restaurant across the road from the apartment but there wasn’t much to choose from, a Scandinavian place or a Chinese restaurant. We decided on the latter called “Cocina Asiatica” and were very pleasantly surprised by the quality but also by the wonderful service of the young Chinese girl serving us who seemed to speak both perfect English and Spanish, besides her native Mandarin or Cantonese or whatever because I couldn’t possibly know which was her native tongue. Later Eladio was to watch the Spanish derby football match between Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid. I was not particularly interested but happy that the latter won 2-0.

Our time at the flat would not have been complete without several visits to the small English supermarket, Quicksave where I stocked up on lots of important British produce to take home. I got chocolates, including Turkish delight, for my Father, hot cross buns for us all for Easter, jelly babies for the girls, fudge and Cadbury cream eggs for Suzy, bacon and Lincolnshire sausages for my Father and most important of all decent birthday cards for the up and coming birthdays in our household. It is not easy to get English produce in Spain so when I am in Santa Pola I make numerous visits to good old Quicksave.

Quicksave, the British supermarket across the way from our flat in Gran Alacant, Santa Pola.

On Sunday we were up early as we are most mornings and decided to leave after breakfast but of course had to clean the flat before going which is always a bore. We were in the car by 11 and home in the early afternoon after stopping for lunch at very good roadside cafe and restaurant called La Sima some 150km from Madrid, if rather expensive.  You can see the rest of the photos of our visit here.

La Sima, where we stopped for lunch on Sunday on our way home from Santa Pola, very good but expensive.

Whilst we were having a mundane but enjoyable weekend in Santa Pola, the girls were partying it up at home as they usually do when we are away. Norah had a great time as the girls and their friends spent a lot of time outdoors working on a tan. Norah by the way now has a fan page on Facebook where you can “like” her. At the moment she only has 10 fans, so do please add yourselves and increase the numbers of her “fan club”.

Norah had a great time with the girls and their friends whilst we were away.  This is her with no table manners at one of their meals, haha.

And while we were all enjoying the weekend, violence continued in the Middle East. Libya, the next country after Tunisia and Egypt and others in the region to be in a state of revolt has turned out to be a much more difficult country for its dictator leader to be overthrown. That is because we are talking about the famous mad dictator Colonel Gaddafi, a terror to his country and the world. The rebels who have been fighting his forces in the last few weeks were in great need of international support if they were not to be totally overthrown and help came this weekend when the United Nations gave the green light for the USA, France, the UK and other countries to carry out air attacks in the hope of finally overthrowing Gaddafi. We are in the throes of war with Libya at the moment and I only hope that one day the Libyan people will know what democracy is.

Anti Gaddafi rebels who now have a helping hand from the powerful western allies to overthrow the dictator in Libya

At the weekend too, there was another phenomenon, this time a natural one and not a disaster, thank goodness. The papers were full of news about a super full moon and I only realised what they were talking about when I looked outside our bathroom window last night and was taken aback by the size and luminosity of the moon I saw. Apparently it was the closest to the earth it has been in some 18 years. I took a photo which I then mistakenly deleted so I will have to make do with one I found on Google images. This was a nice piece of news for a change. So who said good news is no news?  Not me.

The super full moon which was so much in the news this weekend because of its closeness to earth.  

And on that nice piece of news I have come to the end of this week's blog which I hope you all enjoy. I also hope you have a good week and me too.

Cheers till next time


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