Friday 30 November 2018

A Postcard A Day - Friday 30 Nov 2018 - Friday Smiles

Hi everyone,
We are in the last month of the year now and it always makes me reflect over the past year. Hasn't it flown by! I found this image last week and thought it was quite appropriate:
I do thank everyone for sharing their smiles on Annie's blog A Stitch In Time, and we will continue to do so in the new year, God willing.

A card through my letterbox always makes me smile. This one arrived recently from the Ukraine. It is  the Shrine of the Holy Dormition, one of the largest orthodox shrines of Ukraine which was added to the World Heritage List in 1990.
The stamps are colourful and have heraldic images on them.
And this lovely lady with her bicycle comes to me from Russia. It was sent to me by Inna, who tells me her hobby is scrapbooking. She did a photo album for her son, and she tells me she now does 'custom work for others'.
 So what have we been up to this week. Well, the weather got better from Tuesday onwards, so I have been catching up on my washing. Body warmers and work jumpers for hubby and other thick stuff that needs a good sunny day to dry. 

I have just found some money in the washing machine! Notes! Must have come out of hubby's pockets. I found a 20 eur note, a 5 eur note and a 1 euro coin. Well I never! So now they are drying by the window in the sun. They don't seem to be damaged at all.

On Saturday we went to our Spanish/English conversation group 'Intercambio'. The people that run it have gone back to the UK for a few months and have asked me to be the key holder (and lead). We had a good session on Saturday. The theme was 'Christmas traditions'. Weended up talking about food a lot so next week we will continue the food theme and we are going to bring some treats. I promised to bring some mince pies. But of course mince meat is not something we can buy here, so I have to make my own. My daughter-in-law has a food blog (Gourmet Mum)and she has a recipe on there. (This is her photo)

It is without suet as that is another thing I don't know how to get hold of (although I'm sure they have it here as most people slaughter a pig around this time of year).
I had a go this week and this is what mine looks like:
 I realised I had forgotten the apple, so here is the mixture with the apple. It is now maturing nicely in the brandy and I hope that I can use it on Saturday.

This we also went to get more fire wood. The last lot we bought were root type wood. We liked that very much as it was dry and burnt slowly, so we need very little. We thought we'd get some more before the supplier runs out.
Sure enough the yard was much emptier so it was good we came. Hubby put the trailer behind the car (they can deliver, but we prefer to get our own) and the owner gave him permission to load.
 We pay by the cubic meter. The chap calculates the size of the trailer. I can't remember exactly how big our trailer is but we pay 50 euros for a trailer load.
We had our first frost yesterday, and in the day when the sun doesn't shine, it gets mighty cold.

So that was my week and my smiles. I will leave you with some funnies as usual.
Have a wonderful weekend and a very good week ahead.

PS If you haven't spent money on a bargain on Black Friday, here is one last bargain for you:

Translation: 'Black Friday 50% off Adidas trainers, plus free nail clippers'. (Bargain!)

Tuesday 27 November 2018

A Postcard A Day- Tuesday 27 Nov 2018 - T for Finnish, pelota and an anniversary

Good morning, (In Spanish 'buenas días')

This image is not a postcard but one of those things my girl friends send me on my mobile to say good morning. That is very sweet of course, but I get about 20 a day and I moan because I have to spend a quarter of an hour every day deleting them from my phone.
My first postcard is an old advert for plimsols or sandals. I bought it in Basque country when we traveled through there, and now it is on its way to another Postcrossing member. 
The sport you see in the picture is called 'pelota', it is the national sport of the Basque country. 

It is played against a wall (I imagine a bit like squash).
There are more than ten different disciplines with different rules and ways of playing (one wall or two, having a net or not etc). It can be played with a bat or a glove or characteristically with a basket:
This one is called a long xistera. 

Here is a link to a three and a half minute video about pelota.

That was the card I sent and this is a card I received not long ago:

Can you guess what language this is by looking at it? I haven't yet google translated it but I know it is a recipe for chocolate muffins. Perhaps you recognised the Moomin character... Of course it is Finnish. A language not related to any other European language. Total gobbledegook!

Have you not heard of Moomins? They are very recognisable. Wikipedia says this:
The Moomins (SwedishMumin) are the central characters in a series of books and a comic strip by Swedish-speaking Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson, originally published in Swedish by Schildts in Finland. They are a family of white, round fairy tale characters with large snouts that make them resemble hippopotamuses. The carefree and adventurous family live in their house in Moominvalley, though in the past, their temporary residences have included a lighthouse and a theatre. They have had many adventures along with their various friends.
In all, nine books were released in the series, together with five picture books and a comic strip being released between 1945 and 1993.
The Moomins have since been the basis for numerous television series, films and even a theme park called Moomin World in NaantaliFinland.
And this is the stamp on the card:

It looks very yummy but I have no idea what it is....

I have to let you down on the next picture too. It is a pretty tapa, but I don't know what it is.
It is the poster for the 6th annual tapas festival in our village of Caniles. Some of the participating bars specialised in coctails, others in tapas. Here in the province of Granada we always get free tapas with every alcoholic drink (a tapa is a little snack). But once a year they have a special event where the tapas are a bit more special and the public can vote for the best tapa. It brings customers to the bars in a month when there is not much going on and it stimulates the chefs to create new things.

Last week was also our wedding anniversary. We celebrate it twice as we got married for the law in August and the big 'do' was when we got blessed in the church. This didn't happen until November as my parents were on a long holiday in New Zealand, (amongst other things). So the 22nd of November was our 26th wedding anniversary. I cooked pulled pork in the slow cooker in an oriental sauce. We had this with a bit of rice. Very nice it was.
Our drink was what my mother calls 'municipal pils', meaning it is beer provided by the city council i.e WATER.

Don't think that we had a very romantic evening. Hubby fell asleep by the fire cuddling the cat, lol!

That is it from me today. I hope to see you all at the Bluebeard and Elizabeth's T-Party with you beverage.
I'll leave you with a wise word from Joyce Meijer (my namesake. That is another bucket list item, to go and hear Joyce Meijer speak (live) one day.) 

Have a very happy T-Day,
and a good week ahead,

Friday 23 November 2018

A Postcard A Day - Friday 23 Nov 2018 - Friday Smiles

Good morning!
Have you had a good night? Have you had a good week? My week has flown by. I don't know where the time has gone.

This week my hubby has made a lot of progress on my 'walk-in-wardrobe'. It is the only part of our house that is still a cave. Until now it had a metal lockable door and hubby kept tools and building materials in there as he was building. Now the flat is finished and we have lived there this past summer. The cave is next to the bedroom, so we decided that instead of housing power tools, we would make it into a walk-in-wardrobe. It is actually very big for a wardrobe and could accomodate a double bed. So we are making a toilet in it and putting sockets and powerpoints where a bed could go. Here is hubby showing me how it would go and did I like that.

Yes, I did like that. (Of course there is going to be a wall and a door before the toilet). I'm excited as I have never had such a large wardrobe. 

We are now back living upstairs with the fire that we light every day as the weather here in southern Spain has been wet and dreary, damp and dull for weeks. We had to dig out my old lightbox, which I used to use in the UK to combat my SAD syndrome. Yes, it's that bad!

Our cat has been living indoors more than out. We have covered the settee with a throw, but he is no trouble really. Likes to sit by the fire on top of hubby's old messenger bag.
Our puss is called Precious. When he was a kitten (and we thought he was a she) he had such big eyes, that he reminded us of Gollum,  that caracter in the Hobbit that says 'My Precioussss'. 

Well, now as an adult cat we ended up calling him Boodles or Puskins. Boodles usually.

I have been active in the photo club and the theme for November was 'tree'. This is my entry which I called 'Surprise'.
The surprise being the squirrel sitting there without me really realising when I took the photo. I didn't get many points for it as they said the subject wasn't really the tree but the squirrel stole the limelight. 

I have been sending some postcards as well this week. I sent this one to a lady who asked Postcrossers in the UK to send her photos of the royal family. Well, I don't live in the UK but as our son and D-I-L live in Windsor, I bought some postcards the last time I was there. Here is Prins Harry, with his new wife Meghan when they got married in Windsor recently.
 I also sent this card to someone who plays board games. I wonder if he plays backgammon?
That is it from me. 
I'm going to link up with Annie at A Stitch In Time, and with Virginia at Celtic House. By all means join us there with your smiles for this week.

Have a lovely weekend and a good week ahead.

Are you ready for some funnies? Here are mine:

 This translates: When your addiction to chat is so great....that you don't care losing your job as a blind beggar.

Monday 19 November 2018

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 20 Nov 2018 - T for museum and giant spider

Good morning T-Party-Goers! 

I am joining the T-Party with a typical Spanish treat. Churros and hot chocolate. Here in Spain the chocolate is like a thick sauce. You dip the hot churro in it. If there is any left after you've eaten the churros, then you can spoon it out.
The text translates: "Good morning; come on, you lazy ones, the chocolate is getting cold!"

One of my postcards last week came from Singapore. It is a map card (which I like). 
Has anyone of you been to Singapore? (I haven't)

It was sent to me by Kay, who says she works for a shipping company, likes to travel and collect stamps and play badminton.
The stamp is very interesting. I can't quite make out what it represents but it looks like fishermen on a pier.

Now I'm taking you back to Bilbao:
There might be some information overload as there is so much to say about each building/structure, but if you are not interested, just skip those bits.
Here is a giant version of the Rooster of Barcelos. (Hubby posing underneath) We found it outside the Guggenheim museum.

We have a Portughese daughter-in-law, so we thought it fun to send her this photo.
The rooster of Barcelos is the most important identity icon of Portugal and is related to a medieval legend. 
One of the several versions of the legend has it that the inhabitants of Barcelos, a small town in the north of Portugal, were alarmed by an unpunished crime. A pilgrim, who was one day passing through Barcelos, was reported as the criminal to the judge. Despite claiming his innocence, the pilgrim was arrested and sentenced to the gallows. Before being hanged, he asked as a final wish to be taken to the judge who had condemned him. At the judge's house, who was about to carve a roast rooster, the pilgrim prayed and said: 'It is most certain that I am innocent as the rooster on the table will crow before the day ends!'. Everyone laughed, but for great astonishment, before the end of the day the rooster stood up and crowd. The judge ran to the gallows and released the poor innocent.
The rooster of Barcelos is nowadays the most popular piece of traditional Portuguese pottery. It represents honesty, integrity, trust and honour and is believed to bring luck and happiness.
 Beijing hosted the sculpture on March 2017 to celebrate the Year of the Fire Rooster of the Chinese calendar. In 2018, it travelled to Bilbao to be part of Joana Vasconcelos's solo exhibition I'm your Mirror at the Guggenheim Museum, from 29 June to 11 November.

And here it is, the Guggenheim Museum. Such a beautiful building. I have wanted to see  this for a long time. I took this picture from the bridge.
Wikipedia writes: The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a museum of modern and contemporary art designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, and located in Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. The museum was inaugurated on 18 October 1997 by King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Built alongside the Nervion River, it is one of several museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and features permanent and visiting exhibits of works by Spanish and international artists. It is one of the largest museums in Spain.
One of the most admired works of contemporary architecture, the building has been hailed as a "signal moment in the architectural culture", because it represents "one of those rare moments when critics, academics, and the general public were all completely united about something." The museum was the building most frequently named as one of the most important works completed since 1980 in the 2010 World Architecture Survey among architecture experts.

Below is a close up. so you can see the material. It is titanium. Again quoting from Wikipedia:

Architect Philip Johnson described it as "the greatest building of our time",while critic Calvin Tomkins, in The New Yorker, characterized it as "a fantastic dream ship of undulating form in a cloak of titanium," its brilliantly reflective panels also reminiscent of fish scales.

Outside the museum stands The Puppy by Jeff Koons.
Although it was October, the flowers were still beautiful. It must take some maintenance!
I searched for some info:
Since 1997, Jeff Koons’ monumental sculpture Puppy has stood sentinel before the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. More than 40 feet tall, the West Highland white terrier is carpeted with flowering plants, referencing the formal gardens of the 18th-century European elite while nodding to pop culture imagery and objects like Chia Pets.
Puppy is a permanent installation, but twice a year, in May and October, all of the plants that make up the sculpture’s exterior are replaced with fresh seasonal varieties, including pansies for the fall and winter, and begonias, impatiens, and petunias for the spring and summer. The museum recently undertook this complex job, which requires 20 people and 9 days to complete, and freshened up Puppy’s coat for the summer with approximately 38,000 new flowers in hues of red and pink.
This whimsical exterior also hides a clever feat of engineering. Anchored to a concrete base, a colossal stainless steel substructure is covered by a layer of turf, wire mesh, and geotextile fabric that secures the turf and stimulates plant growth. The structure also contains five levels of scaffolding and a network of pipes that water and feed the plants every 24 hours.
Walking along the side of the museum on the river side we came across this gigantic spider. Looks like it came straight out of 'War of the Worlds'.
It is called 'Maman', which is 'mom' or 'mummy' in French. The artist Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) is quoted to say: “The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestryrestoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.”  
Bourgeois' mother died when she was 21 years old.
Underneath is a sack of marble eggs. Although the spider is an unusual symbol for motherhood, I felt strangely protected when I stood underneath.
The bridge you see in the background is the La Salve bridge, but the red part is actually a sculpture called Arcos Rojos by Daniel Buren.
Although it is known as La Salve Bridge, its official name is the ‘Prince and Princess of Spain Bridge’. It is made of green concrete and was the first bridge in Spain to be built with the cable-stayed system and one of the few with a steel deck. It was built in the early 1970s to connect the heart of the city with the suburbs, and now it also links up with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. In fact, on the tenth anniversary of the Museum, a great red gate by the French artist Daniel Buren  was opened on the bridge.

A little further we found this foot bridge called the Zubizuri bridge, a work by the architect Santiago Calatrava. It is a white arched structure which symbolises a sailing boat in the estuary. I liked it a lot and we walked across it several times and I took pictures from all directions. A fascinating structure, and intensely beautiful.

I think this is more than enough for today. Well done if you are still with me. I think our day in Bilbao was the most interesting and exciting day of my holiday. I can recommend it to everyone.

Have a great T-Day all,


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...