Monday, 10 December 2018

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 11 Dec 2018 - T for Tuesday - T for babies, trains and quinces

Hello lovely people, Buenos Días! (Good Morning)

Here we are again. It's Tuesday and I would like to show you some postcards.

The first one is one that I sent yesterday. It is an image by photographer Anne Geddes, who specialises in baby photos. Here she has a little one wrapped up as a Christmas present!

The second card is one from Cordoba. When I went there in the Spring, I bought lots of postcards. Again, this is the famous mosque/cathedral. I shall never forget the first time i went in there we had a tip-off that if you go early, it is free entry. The entry price was quite hefty, so my friend and I got up early and walked over (our hotel was 5 min down the street). The place was empty apart from the cleaners. Absolutely wonderful experience.

The new postmistress has heard my pleas for stamps and now has new ones in regularly. These are the ones I got recently: 
This is a mail train. It celebrates the 25th anniversary of the last itinerant postal expedition (don't ask me what that means, I'm just translating)

And the one below celebrates the Spanish built high velocity train between Mecca and Medina.

Are you all getting ready for Christmas? I can imagine Christmas trees and decorations in and outside. My house has no decorations at all. We are going away next week so I don't see the point. The only festive thing is my duvet cover which looks quite chrismassy don't you think?

I am going to link up with Elisabeth and Bleubeard, even though they are away (I think). All she wants is a blog post with a beverage in it. Well I have some beverages, but not tea!

This was our Intercambio, Spanish/English conversation group. We meet every Saturday and this time we had asked people to bring typical Christmas goodies. Last Tuesday I showed you the mince pies that I made. Here are a pair of the other things people brought. The mini muffins in the box on the left are made with almonds. Very yummy.

The photo below shows these cookies with a hole in them. They are called 'roscos', in the box on the right are cookies called 'polverones' which means, 'dusties'. They crumble to dust when you put one in your mouth. They make a mess (or I don't know how to eat them properly)
Inma (short for Inmaculada) has brought some cider bubbly (like champagne) and is pouring it in small plastic glasses, and Andy is taking a photo on his mobile. Cheers! 

One of the fruits we see a lot of are quinces. There are many trees and most people will have more than they can handle and we get given loads of these ugly fruits.

 In Spanish they call them 'membrillo' and they make this typical jellyjam with it that one eats with cheese. I decided to just make compote. So I cooked the unpeeled fruit (I do core them) in water with sugar and spices (star anise, cinnamon and vanilla pod, plus a couple of whole cloves). Sometimes I add half a lemon. It all depends what I have lying about.

This is what they look like cooked. The lovely orange colour comes out and I serve them usually with a dollop of greek yoghurt or quark. Ice cream goes well too with a bit of the syrup drizzled over it. They are really very delicious.

There we are, that's it from me today. Have a good week everyone,
and a very happy T-Day to all,

Friday, 7 December 2018

A Postcard A Day - Friday 7 Dec 2018 - Friday Smiles

Hello lovely friends,
I'm posting late this morning as I hadn't realised it was Friday! Yesterday was a Bank Holiday here in Spain and today feels a bit like Monday. A lot of people have today off as well. They call it a 'puente' (bridge). They take or have the Friday off and that results in a super long weekend for those that normally work. 
But today is Friday so I will tell you about my smiles this week and link up with the lovely Annie at A Stitch In Time and with Virginia at Rocking Your Week Friday. And at the end I will add a few funnies that I dig up from the internet.

But first of all my postcards. That is after all what my blog is all about:
The first postcard is very obviously from Ireland. It is a map card and I do like map cards, so this one pleased me no end. It has all the things on it we would associate with Ireland: sheep, leprechaun, castles, luck (horse shoe), the colour green and the four-leaf-clovers. I don't know what the hat and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow represent. Does anyone know?

The stamps are absolutely gorgeous. The images are flowers. The names of the flowers are in latin and in the Irish language, so I don't know what they are without looking them up. The stamp on the right is hexagonal. Very beautiful.
The next card comes from Germany. It has a cross on it. A person called Dagmar sent it to me. The cross is a relic holder from the chapel in Kevelaar in Germany.

Like the irish stamps, these stamps also have a floral theme:
OK, what have I been up to this week. Saturday is the day I go to our Spanish/English conversation group. You can see me on the left.

I made mince pies last week and I still had some mince meat left over. So I found a roll of puff pastry in the freezer and hubby had the idea of  making a roll.

It was a success. 

The weather this week is warm and sunny. So we don't have to have the heating on and we can eat and sit outside on the terrace. Yesterday it was so hot, we couldn't sit outside as it was too hot! But this photo was taken during the week. I think I might have posted it on Facebook, but I had cooked a courgette gratin (zucchini for those across the pond) and we had our dinner outside. 
But winter is on its way. There is snow on the Sierra Nevada, which is visible in the middle far distance in the photo taken from the cave kitchen window.
The trees are changing colour and losing their leaves.
That's it from me. A quickie as it is already 11 a.m. and Annie will be wondering where I am. 
Of course here are some funnies for you to giggle at. My personal favorite is the Adam and Eve one. 
Have a good week, 
and keep smiling!

update: Please read Virginia's comment, where she explains more about the images on my Irish postcard. Thank you Virginia!

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 4 Dec 2018 - T for hopscotch, mince pies and sunshine

Good Morning! The image says 'Happy Tuesday!' It's not a postcard but it is one of those images that get sent to me on my phone by well meaning friends to say good morning or good evening. It has a beverage on it so I thought it would be appropriate for the T-party. Elizabeth and Bluebeard host this T-party and anyone is welcome with a post with a beverage (or two) in it.

My first postcard comes from Canada:

It is a beautiful photo of Prince Edward Island National Park in the evening sun. I didn't know where that was, and had to look it up. 

Prince Edward Island National Park is a National Park of Canada located in the province of Prince Edward Island. Situated along the island's north shore, fronting the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the park measures approximately 60 km (37 mi) in length and ranges from several hundred metres to several kilometres in width. Established in 1937, the park's mandate includes the protection of many broad sand beaches, sand dunes and both freshwater wetlands and saltmarshes. The park's protected beaches provide nesting habitat for the endangered piping plover; the park has been designated a Canadian Important Bird Area.
The Prince Edward Island National Park also includes Green Gables, which was the childhood inspiration for the Anne of Green Gables novels by author Lucy Maud Montgomery, as well as Dalvay-by-the-Sea, a Victorian era mansion currently operated as an inn.
In recent years, environmental and conservation groups have identified Prince Edward Island National Park as being the most endangered in the national park system, based on human impact. The park also experiences severe coastal erosion as a result of winter storms and its vulnerable shoreline.

My second postcard is a bit of nostalgia coming to me from Germany:
The mature ladies playing hopscotch! I love it! 
Did you play hopscotch as a child? What was it called?(in Holland we called it 'hinkelen'). Did you sing a rhyme with it? Can you remember that rhyme? Do children in your neighbourhood still play it?
Of course I had to look up a bit more information:

Hopscotch is a game we all know as it is played all over the world. Here in Spain, and in most south american countries it is known as Rayuela (In Cuba it is called Pon) .
Wikipedia: In GermanyAustria, and Switzerland the game is called Himmel und Hölle (Heaven and Hell) although there are also some other names used, depending on the region. The square below 1 or the 1 itself are called Erde (Earth) while the second to last square is the Hölle (Hell) and the last one is Himmel (Heaven). The first player throws a small stone into the first square and then jumps to the square and must kick the stone to the next square and so on, however, neither the stone nor the player may stop in Hell so they try to skip that square.
The popular rhyme is the following:

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss

A much older version of that rhyme is this:

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth
Three for a funeral,
Four for birth
Five for heaven
Six for hell
Seven for the devil, his own self

There are many variations The photo above is from Morecamb pier in England. (Jo will have seen it), the stones there use the older rhyme but don't mention 'hell', only 'heaven' and 'Earth'.

Here are the stamps on that German card
The face on the stamp belongs to the theologian Schleiermacher. I have noticed that I inadvertedly cropped off half the stamp... sorry.
Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher November 21, 1768 – February 12, 1834) was a German theologianphilosopher, and biblical scholar known for his attempt to reconcile the criticisms of the Enlightenment with traditional Protestant Christianity. He also became influential in the evolution of higher criticism, and his work forms part of the foundation of the modern field of hermeneutics. Because of his profound effect on subsequent Christian thought, he is often called the "Father of Modern Liberal Theology" and is considered an early leader in liberal Christianity. The neo-orthodoxy movement of the twentieth century, typically (though not without challenge) seen to be spearheaded by Karl Barth, was in many ways an attempt to challenge his influence.

Yesterday was a gloriously sunny day. I immediately put my washing machine to work. I washed my fluffy long dressing gown, knowing that in this weather it would dry in a couple of hours. We don't have tumble dryers here. (I suppose they are for sale, but why should we buy one in a country with so much sun).
Anyway, I was leading up to the fact that we had lunch outside. Our drinks (water) are on the table too and the meal is courgettes provencale gratin (courgettes are zucchini).

On Saturday I went to our Spanish/English conversation group. We had decided to talk about Christmas traditions relating to food. We would all bring something typical. I made an attempt at mince pies (in the fore ground) . The mince meat turned out well. I had made it without suet as I can't get that here and I don't particularly like it. On the left is a plastic container of mini almond muffins. Made by the girl in red. They were delish. As you can imagine, we had lots of fun. One of the guys had raided his liquor cabinet at home and had brought all sorts of drinks for us to try.
Now for my last photo: One of the tea jars that I have. I bought this mix at the medieval market a couple of months ago. It is called Rooibos Kalahari. I can't remember what is in it, but it tastes spicy with some citrus in the background. We like it a lot and drink it weak without milk. 

That is it from me today. I thought I wouldn't have a beverage reference, and I ended up with several. Oh well..

Have a very happy T-Day,

Stay safe,


Sunday, 2 December 2018

Second on the second - Sunday 2 Dec 2018 - a repeat post from 2014

Here is a post from December 2014. We were invited to one family when they killed the family pig. Quite an experience...

Matanza (=killing): 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. (I'm the one wearing the orange scarf)

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.