Friday, 16 November 2018

A Postcard A day - Friday 16 November 2018 - Friday Smiles

Hello lovely ladies,
 Here we are at the end of the week and I'm going to link up with Annie at A Stitch In Time and with Virginia at Rocking Your Week Friday. 

What have I been up to and what has made me smile this week?
Well, I visited the hospital. No, not for me but my friend has had a hysterectomy, so hubby and I went to visit. Our village is just outside the town of Baza. It is pronounced 'batha'. That is funny as in the UK we lived in a town just outside Bath. 
Anyway my friend is healing well and the biopsy held no bad news so smiles all round!

Then I didn't receive any cards this week, but I did write a few. This one was posted this week. I sent it to a girl in Russia who wanted to see the sea.
It's one of those cards from a Christian calendar. The verse on it is from 1 John 3:20 '...For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.' I made an effort to find the verse in Russian. You never know... it might touch her.

 And then there was this one, which might confuse the postman a wee bit....
 My friend Nadia in Italy had made biscotti and had posted a photo of them on Facebook. I got all nostalgic for these lovely dunking biscuits that I asked her for the recipe and that same afternoon I made a batch:
They are called biscotti because they are baked (cotti) twice (bis) = twice baked. You make a dough with 500 gr flour, 300 gr sugar, 4 eggs and a quarter cup of oil. Then fold 300 gr of whole toasted almonds. I have used the ones that still have the skin on as I get them straight from the tree. I also add a few drops of almond essence and a tsp of vanilla extract. Make two logs of the dough and bake in the oven until the colour looks right. Then, after they have cooled down a bit, cut them slightly diagonally in slices (about thumb thickness). Turn them on their sides and bake them again. They will be quite hard when they cool down. You are supposed to dunk them in hot chocolate or coffee. I actually like the crunchyness and will nibble on them given half a chance.

Yesterday we went into town again to go to the notary.(No photos of that I'm afraid) Hubby had to make his will again as the rules have changed, so our (English speaking) lawyer met us at the notary's office. They checked through the will to make sure it was all tickety boo, then sign it in front of the notary (a lady in our case), then we paid the bill and asked when our copy would be ready. That was at midday, so we had an hour and a half to kill. That is always going to cost money. We had coffee, then we ended up buying another gas stove, a pair of black suede boots for me and a bottle of Kikkoman soya sauce (Kikkoman is difficult to find out here in the sticks). But we had a productive morning and it was nice to be out and about.

I will leave you with a quote and some funnies.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend and a good next week ahead of you.


PS: Virginia, I know comments need to be moderated and are not visible  for a while, but my comment from last week from last week is still not visible...

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 13 Nov 2018 - T for a Russian illustrator, Bilbao and an Indian curry

Hello lovely girls,
Are you all ready for the T-party? Elizabeth and Bleubeard are waiting for you and your beverage at Altered Book Lover. By all means join us.

Let me show you the postcards I have sent this week. The first one is a fantasy 'warrior' girl (as I call her). Actually, it is called 'Shanna, the heiress to the sea' by Elizaveta Kazakova. She is going to Italy, to Raffaella, whose birthday it was on the 9th of November. The day that I wrote the card...
The next card is from a whole series of cards that I have of New Yorker front pages. This one is of a couple obviously used to sunnier climes arriving in a cold country. I'm sending it to a Spanish (Catalan) couple who live in England. They can probably identify with that when they come back from the warm sunny Catalan coast and arrive in cold and snowy England.
This cover was designed by Constantin Alajalov in 1941. He was an American painter of Russian origin. I love his work. Look him up on Google images to see his other paintings. An interesting career too. Wikipedia writes:
 Constantin Alajálov was born in Rostov-on-Don, Russia in 1900 and died in New York in 1987. In 1916, the Red Revolution broke out, interrupting Alajálov's time at the University of Petrograd. Unable to stay, Alajálov joined a government organized group of artists. Traveling the countryside, they painted large propaganda murals and posters for the revolution. After this, Alajálov emigrated to Persia and again started painting for a revolution until no longer safe.
After his stay in Persia, Alajálov headed to Constantinople, his last stop before he emigrated to America at age 23. Getting a job was hard, but he finally landed one, painting wall murals at a restaurant about to be opened by Russian Countess Anna Zarnekau. Within three years, Alajálov was selling his paintings to The New Yorker magazine, where his first cover appeared on September 25, 1926. He went on to create more than 70 covers for the magazine. He also designed rugs for New York artist and entrepreneur Ralph Pearson.
Alajálov's first cover for the Saturday Evening Post appeared on October 6, 1945 (unusual in that he was also doing covers for The New Yorker at the time, and both publications ordinarily required exclusivity of their artists). His final cover was for the December 1, 1962 issue. 
Now for some more photos of Bilbao. Bilbao is on the north coast of Spain, and it is the port where we arrived on the ferry from the UK. It's an interesting city and we decided to stay a few days to see the sights.
As we were sightseeing, a young, foreign looking man shoved a leaflet in our hands. It was advertising an Indian restaurant in the area. We hadn't had a decent curry in years, so our mouth was watering. 

The restaurant was within walking distance so we went there. I ordered a lamb rogan josh and hubby a madras of some sort. It was delicious.
We had garlic naan bread.
And of course Indian beer!
After that enormous lunch, we had to walk it all off again. I had a map so we took a pleasant route through the park.
This was some street art we saw under a bridge. The pillars of the bridge unfortunately hide a lot of of the mural. 
And as I am interested in architecture, I spotted this unusual building which I liked a lot. We didn't get close enough for me to find out what it was.
There you are, I hope you enjoyed the postcards, Bilbao and the Indian meal.

Happy T-Day everyone,

Friday, 9 November 2018

A Postcard A Day - Friday 9 Nov 2018 - Friday smiles

Hello lovely girls,
It's Friday and time to share those things that made you smile this week.  I will join Annie at A Stitch In Time and Virginia at Rocking Your Week Friday with my smiles and funnies. Why don't you join us?

My first smile this week really is the abundance of  harvest. It is 'count your blessings' time. So much goodness here in the village. I have a pile of quinces and pomegranates (I showed my pomegranates on Tuesday) but I forgot to photograph the quinces, so I'll share this photo from a friend:

 And this is my fruit basket on the table with kakis (the orange things) that need maturing a bit more, and the smaller fruit I have no idea what they are. My neighbour gave them to me.
 The weather has been very varied. One day we have rain and cold, and the next there is sunshine and the temperatures shoot up again. This is a photo of the entry road into our village.
 And here is the breakfast we had earlier in the week. It is overnight oats with raspberries, beer yeast flakes (I don't know what that is called in English) and quark. Very nice indded. We have this once a week at least.
 Here is my pride and joy: The Christmas actus.It is full of buds and doesn't seem to want to stop flowering. Gorgeous.
I haven't received any cards this week, but I have sent a few:
This fantasy bird in autumn colours, and a cartoon card for someone who wanted something funny:
As usual I will finish with some funnies I found on the internet. Again, a few statues. 

Have a great week, and...
Keep smiling!

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 6 Nov 2018 - T for Camino, pomegranates and a football stadium

Hello Tuesday girls, here we are again. Today I am going to join the T-party with a fruit drink. (but more of that later). In the meantime, if you would like to join me, saunter over to Altered Book Lover  with a beverage, where Elizabeth and Buebeard will welcome you to the T-Party.

But first a postcard that I received from the north of Spain. It features the Camino de Santiago known in English as the Way of Saint James, and it is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Wikipedia writes: Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups. 
 Today, hundreds of thousands (over 300,000 in 2017) of Christian pilgrims and many others set out each year from their homes, or from popular starting points across Europe, to make their way to Santiago de Compostela. Most travel by foot, some by bicycle, and a few travel as some of their medieval counterparts did, on horseback or by donkey. In addition to those undertaking a religious pilgrimage, many are hikers who walk the route for travel or sport. Also, many consider the experience a spiritual retreat from modern life.

The scallop shell, often found on the shores in Galicia, has long been the symbol of the Camino de Santiago. Over the centuries the scallop shell has taken on a variety of meanings, metaphorical, practical, and mythical meanings, even if its relevance may have actually derived from the desire of pilgrims to take home a souvenir. Of course there are legends relating the scallop:
 After James' death, his disciples shipped his body to the Iberian Peninsula to be buried in what is now Santiago. Off the coast of Spain, a heavy storm hit the ship, and the body was lost to the ocean. After some time, however, it washed ashore undamaged, covered in scallops

 This is the stamp that was on the card. And no, it is not the cathderal of Santiago de Compostella. The writing says: 12 months, 12 stamps. Cathedral of Léon (Léon). The girl that sent me the card lives in Léon.

Here in Spain it is pomegranate time! They grow here of course. I live in the province of Granada and pomegranate means 'apple of Granada'. I have been taught the trick of cutting them and we had juice every day this week.

I opened them, then beat them with a large wooden spoon until all the seeds have fallen out:
 Then I put them in the juicer and with two pomegranates we each had a glass full of lovely juice.
Very healthy too they say.

I still haven't shown you all the photos from the trip. The following photos are from our visit to Bilbao, where we stayed a couple of nights in a delightful hotel (just outside the city but with a metro station nearby):
 It was in the foothills of the mountains. Beautiful.

We took the metro from the large Exhibition Centre, a short drive from our hotel. It had a huge car park, which was almost free for metro passengers (0.70 eur). We travelled to Bilbao city and this is the first thing we saw:

 It is the footbal (soccer) stadium in the middle of the city. Very impressive. The man at the hotel reception had told us that there was a cafe/bar inside, so we went in for a coffee.

The Bilbao team is called Athletic Club

All the players are represented by their shirts behind me.

Above the bar there were huge screens to watch the matches I suppose.

 And from where we were sitting we had an excellent view of the pitch, which was being watered and I don't know what else.
Finally the sign in the underground car park which is written in Euskara, the language of the Basque country. It is their official language and most signage will have Spanish as well, but not everywhere! I obviously cannot make head nor tail of it and it can be a bit disconcerting at times seeing a 'weird' language around me all the time.

This is what Wikipedia says about Euskara: A language isolate, Basque is believed to be one of the few surviving pre-Indo-European languages in Europe, and is the only one in Western Europe. The origin of the Basques and of their languages is not conclusively known, though the most accepted current theory is that early forms of Basque developed prior to the arrival of Indo-European languages in the area, including the Romance languages that geographically surround the Basque-speaking region. Basque has adopted a good deal of its vocabulary from the Romance languages, and Basque speakers have in turn lent their own words to Romance speakers.

I hope you enjoyed my little outing to Bilbao. More about Bilbao next week.

PS The pay machines in the large car park were not working and we were issued a ticket to lift the barrier without having to pay! Hurray! (Well, I think we saved 0.70 eur)

Wishing you all a very happy T-Day,

Friday, 2 November 2018

A Postcard A Day - Friday 2 Nov 2018 - Friday Smiles

Hello friends, 
Sorry I am late in joining you this morning. Normally I prepare my blog on Thursday night but I needed to make some cards that had to be posted last night. A birthday card for my grandson in Italy, and sadly two sympathy cards. So I spent all night making those. 
 I found this frog pop-up on the internet and copied it by hand. Then I cut the large 4 and continued the theme there. I hope he likes it.
 These are the two sympathy cards:

And I also made a birthday card for my daughter-in-law. I don't think she reads my blog, so here it is:
As you can see I am not an accomplished or arty, trendy card maker. I make cards because I can't buy them here. Out of necessity really.

My week has been busy. We are moving from downstairs to upstairs as the weather has definitely turned. It goes from warm and sunny to positively icy winter! This was the view from our house the other day (not my photo, but the same view):
Snow on the hills. (4000 ft).
We have no heating in the downstairs flat so now we are toasty and warm with a woodburner and an almond shell burner.

Also I have my nice big cooker and oven upstairs, and am happy as larry cooking nice things in my kitchen. I found a recipe for meatballs with gravy, trying to emulate the Ikea meatballs in a low fat way. (we are trying to lose weight). This is the result:
They were delicious. The recipe is from Slimming Eats, a blog that I follow. This is the link if you are interested.

I have no postcards to show you, but here are a few Spanish stamps that were for sale last week. 
 We pay 1,35 eur for post within Europe.
 The C tarif is for the rest of the world and at the moment costs me 1,45 eur.
 The B tarif is the Europe tarif, see above. The stamp below with the bridge on it is very unusual in that the white bit is cut out. And it is very large so I have to put the stamp on before I start writing otherwise the will be no room left.
I will be linking up with Annie's Friday Smile at A Stitch In Time and with Virginia at Rocking Your Week Friday. My smiles are at the end of  blogpost.

That is it from me this morning. Have a lovely weekend, and...

Keep smiling!