Wednesday, 31 December 2014

WOYWW 291 Happy new year!

Hi deskhoppers! Better late than never!

I have no photo of my desk as there is nothing on it. Sorry, next week there will be something I expect.... all those New year’s resolutions about things I intend to do.....

Have you all had a lovely Christmas? Here in Spain they celebrate Christmas Eve and we were invited by friends for the late night meal.

On the way to their house we got stuck and had to wait until the sheep had cleared the road. Yes, it’s an unpaved road but we have a 4x4 car so no problem.
Our friends have a huge kitchen, and had a nice fire roaring. The table was laid and this was the centre piece. 

All married couples here in Andalucia have one as it is tradition to give this ‘ornament’ at the wedding. People then put money and trinkets in it for the newlyweds. It takes pride place in every household and each one is unique as they are handmade. (I’m sorry but I’ve forgotten what they are called).

Traditionally people eat fish and seafood for Christmas Eve but the economic situation being what it is, not many people can afford it, so we had seafood soup for starters and chicken as a main course. Very nice!

Here are my hubby and I just having a bit of fun by the fire.

We both wish all of you a very happy and healthy 2015.

CU next week, God bless


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

WOYWW 290 - chocolate.....

Good morning bloghoppers! Happy WOYWW!

There’s nothing on my desk but my computer. I’ve been busy doing other things, like harvesting olives and slaughtering pigs! Well not literally, just watching and helping where I could. You can read about the pig slaughter in my previous blog.

Actually last night I was in the kitchen preparing a delicious chocolate dessert.
It’s called Tarta Tres Chocolates. It’s made with chocolate, milk and heavy cream. Yummy! It’s useless giving you the recipe as it uses an ingredient called ‘cuajada’ (curd) which apparently is difficult to find outside Spain. Certainly not in Europe.

This is what the finished product looks like.

We will be taking it to our friends where we have been invited to celebrate Christmas eve with a big family dinner. People celebrate Christmas eve here rather than Christmas day like in the UK. I will be able to tell you all about it in a future blog.

I wish all of you that celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ a very blessed Christmas. And if your thing is winter solstice... then I wish you a very happy holiday !

Have a very special week,


Matanza: not for the squeamish

Not for the squeamish!
December is a busy month in Andalucia. Yes, I know it’s Christmas.... but here people are busy with other things: there is the start of the olive harvest and of course the fattened pig has to be slaughtered. It's called 'matanza'. The whole family gets together and helps (more or less). It’s a real family gathering. The children are all there every year and when they are adults they have seen it so many times that they can do it themselves.
I was privileged to be invited to such a family affair, and here are some photos:

This is one of the unfortunate pigs to be killed. (There were two one-year old pigs).
When the pig had been killed, all it’s hair had to be scraped off. Boiling water gets poured over and then everybody get his turn. Here is my husband reluctantly taking his turn.

We were at our friend’s parents’ farm. They have a little ‘cortigo’, and this is part of their patio (patio they call it, which is confusing as in UK a patio is outside the house but here a patio is inside the house although it has no roof. More like a court yard)

I helped preparing the parsley and the garlic for the sausages by the fire. 

We started quite early in the morning and it was still cold outside. As soon as the sun is high enough it gets lovely and warm and we can all go round in our t-shirts.
The kitchen is brick built. I took a photo of it because I will probably have a similar kitchen in our new house.

The water jars are now obsolete as there is running water. But not long ago this was where drinking water was stored and most people still have them.

Look at this beautiful piece of furniture. (Not a Christmas decoration in sight! They don't do this here. They have little Nativity scenes somewhere, but no decorations as we know them).

The men drink wine from wine skins. They squirt the wine in their mouth. I’ve tried it once and promptly had wine all over me! An acquired skill I would say....

There are turkeys....

And chickens. And a beautiful cockerel.

Here is the pig (now pork) hung up and the nice cuts of meat on show.

I helped with the preparation of the gut (for the sausages).

Look at those tiles. They are typical Andalucian tiles. I love them. They have them in the shed!!

Towards the end people began preparing the communal meal. Here is an uncle preparing ‘migas’. A (poor man’s) dish made with olive oil, garlic and flour poured in, as you see here. It ends up looking like fried breadcrumbs.

The meal was liver and onions with these ‘migas’ washed down with home made wine. Oh I love it here. This is the back yard of the cortigo. Isn’t it a beautiful view!

 I hope this was not too much of a culture shock. I really enjoyed my day with this family.
Thanks for visiting and reading this far. You're a trooper!
God bless and CU soon.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

WOYWW-289 weddings and funerals

“What’s on your workdesk? Wednesday”

Hi Deskhoppers,
Thank you for visiting my desk again this week. I must apologise for not visiting many of you this past week but we have had the devastating news of the death of one of our grandchildren and we are still reeling from the shock and very understandibly not in the mood for anything really. Our son and D-i-L in the UK are finding strength in their faith and are getting a lot of support from their pastor and church friends.  The same goes for us. Our church friends are wonderful.

This is what’s on my desk at the moment. 

It’s the beginning of a large wedding card. One of our young friends in church is getting married this Saturday and I’m preparing a pressie and a card. I’m struggling a bit to concentrate on a wedding but ‘life goes on’ as they say. The lace is a roll of Scotch tape that I bought at Lidl’s (European supermarket) last week. I found some rub-ons in a box that were many years old and sometimes rub-ons don’t ‘come off’ when they’re old, but I held my breath... and they did!
Here is another photo of the card. (The front)

This box on my desk I also bought at Lidl’s on the same day as the Scotch tape. It’s a rhinestone applicator. I haven’t played with it yet but when things are back to normal I will.

We are decorating the church for the wedding and as it’s Christmas we thought we’d make these paper stars which are so easy and cheap to make, and non-crafters can cope with that. One of my friends came to keep me company and we made quite a few stars. I think they're great! (This is my friend from Peru. Sorry for the bad focus)
No news on the house build front. We have finished the roof completely and the builder is doing the main stairs as it’s too cold to work outside. (We’re having a cold spell). I’ll post more photos when there is more to see.

That’s it for today. I can’t promise, but I’ll try to visit as many of you as I can. God bless you all and give your grand children an extra hug today if you can.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014

WOYWW 288 (Such a mess - not worth looking)

Hi peeps!

This is my terrible mess! You have been warned! So you can still turn round and walk away.....

Alright, if you insist, here we go:

I have no project on the go at the moment. I’ve finished my embroidery (cross stitch on my linen hand towel), but that’s not what you want to see I guess.

Last week we spent the week in Valencia. We felt we needed a little holiday. (Have a look at the photos at my previous blog). The city map is still on my desk and I think I might use it for scrapbooking at some stage.
My first Christmas card has arrived and takes proud place on my desk (top left). Further to the right past the punches is a postcard with an image of a medieval lady. It was sent to me from Russia through

In front of the card are two rosettes, which I made for my latest scrapbook layout. I made three and only used one in the end.

The green/black/white thing in the foreground is my laptop, on top of which lies a dark green gadget. This is an ‘e.dentifier’ which I need for online banking. I have become a grandma of a little grandson in Italy and I’m going to send him some money.

The two plastic bags on top of the laptop are a lovely surprise. They contain gorgeous charms and were sent to me (all the way from Australia) because I was voted ‘Star Witness’ at CSI Color, Stories and Inspiration. They came in these sweet little bags. I was really chuffed! (Is that a terribly British word? OK: it means ‘very pleased’)

That’s it for today. I’ll try to visit as many of your desks as I can over the course of the week (Yes, I like to take my time)

Have a great week!


PS If you’re wondering what WOYWW is all about, have a look at Julie’s website at  



Last week the builders had a week off and we took the opportunity to go on holiday. We took the campervan and drove to Valencia (took us 6 hours in our ‘slow coach’).

I’d never been to Valencia and we were pleasantly surprised. The Camper Parque was outside the city but next to a Metro station, so we did not have to drive into Valencia.

One lovely feature of Valencia is the (dry) Turia river that runs through the town.
In place of 120 hectares of dry riverbed, the city centre has a lush green garden split into twelve parts and full of native and non-native plants and Spanish wildlife, ponds and a zen garden, all developed by the Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill. As a real park for the people, it is also home to an athletics track, artworks, climbing walls, football pitches, cafes, ponds and flowers. Traffic is diverted over the top of the 11km-long park via bridges at several intervals.

(Funny to see palm trees grow through a hole in the bridge!)
Children can explore the Gulliver Park; an adventure playground featuring a large fibre glass model of Gulliver tied to the ground with ropes. Children can climb on it. Gulliver’s clothes make a network of slides and ladders.(Adults not allowed...)

There are beautiful buildings in the old part. We liked the train station. Estation del Nort, a modernist building, built in the Arts and Crafts style.

And we liked the National Ceramics Museum, which is housed in a palace that dates from the 15th century and was refurbished in 1740 in rococo style with a magnificent alabaster entrance. Inside, we found 18th century carriages, the 19th century rooms, medieval ceramics and an important collection of tiles.

While window shopping in town, I really liked the shops that sold beautiful fabrics that are used for making traditional costumes. In the photo you can see shawls, hair combs, a fan, beautiful fabric, and cotton under garments.

The modern part of Valencia is architecturally just as spectacular as the old part. The Opera House, 

the Science Museum, 

the Oceanografic and the Agora and the surrounding park are worth more than one visit. 

We spent a day in the Oceanografic, a huge aquarium with a dolphin show and whale and shark tanks.

There is a very interesting covered food market 

and of course I must mention that Valencia is where paella comes from. 

There are loads of lovely restaurants. Most have outside seating which in winter have heaters. The food is great and so are the people.

I heartily recommend Valencia as a city break if you ever have the chance.

That's it for tonight, thanks for visiting.