Tuesday 29 January 2019

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 29 January 2019 - T for almonds, far east and lush

Good morning! Here is a cup of coffee for you and... a piece of cake! How are you all?
I've had a good week. The weather has been sunny and that always perks me up. Also my mailbox has been happy, i.e. I have received some cards.
Here is the first one , which came from Indonesia. It has Chinese characters on it and I have no idea what it says. I tried Google translate (with the camera) but to no avail. 
The stamp is very interesting. It celebrates the 2018 annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank group. That was held in October 2018 in Nusa Dua on Bali.  They discuss a range of issues related to poverty reduction, international economic development and finance.
I've not been able to find out whsat the statue is.

The second card comes from Taiwan, from someone who calls herself Grace (I find a lot of Taiwanese have English sounding names). The picture on the card is called 'Applying make-up' 1936 by Chen Chin, 1907-1998. Gouache on silk 212 x 185 cm.
Grace writes that she has just finished a book called The Guest Cat by Japanese writer Takashi Hiraide, and liked it very much. Has anyone read it? (I haven't but it sounds nice). The 'blurb' goes like this:

 A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo; they work at home, freelance copy-editing; they no longer have very much to say to one another. But one day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. It leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. Soon they are buying treats for the cat and enjoying talks about the animal and all its little ways. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife — the days have more light and color. The novel brims with new small joys and many moments of staggering poetic beauty, but then something happens….

At this point our cat has opened his eyes and wants to say hello to you all:
I'm getting distracted... Oh yes, the stamp! That is beautiful. I can see two pigs in this design and no doubt it is all about the Chinese year of the pig.
This week (as every week ) we went to our little bolt hole in the country side. Some of you have seen photos of it but then again, some have not. This is an image of our rank seen from the other side of the (dry) riverbed. Our house is the one on the left. If you enlarge it you might see that the houses are built into the embankment.
Here is a better view. We have built a large terrace on the top. (the view from there is spectacular)
The houses to the right of us are uninhabited except the furthest one. An elderly chap lives there with his son and daughter in law. The council have placed a street light for his benefit (solar powered) as he is partially sighted.
Here is my hubby sorting out some wood and loading it in the trailer to take home. The door in the embankment on the left is our storage. It is someone else's property but they let us use it.
This is the view. It is very difficult to see, but the little bit of white in the distance (in the middle) is the snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains (where the ski resort is). With the naked eye it is easier to see.
The stove we have here is a dual fuel burner. One side uses wood and the other side almond shells. At the moment we are using the almond shells. 
I scoop shells in the hopper,
and off it goes. Of course I have to top it up regularly.
Saturday we had friends from church over for a meeting and I did a little buffet. Great, then I will have some beverages for Elizabeth's T-Party at Altered Book Lover. This is sliced roast pork and I managed to find chimichurri, an oily dressing. The red one is very 'hot' and the other one is mild. Does anyone use that?
And what do you know? I forgot to take any other pictures. No drinks or otherwise. Sorry Elizabeth, the image at the start of this post will have to do for my beverage...

A parcel arrived today of a product that I had ordered. It is a shampoo bar made by a company called Lush. I had heard a lot about these, and this particular type seems to be beneficial for people who have had chemo therapy and have been left with very fine, unmanageable hair. (like me). I'm going to use it tomorrow morning and I'll let you know how I got on.
Time to say Goodbye and untill next Tuesday!
Have a good week,

Friday 25 January 2019

A Postcard A Day - Friday 25 January - Friday smiles

Hello lovely ladies,
How has you week been? Have you had lots to smile about? Of course; There always is. Even on a cloudy day there is a silver lining as the saying goes.

I received some cards this week so that is always a reason to smile. This one is from Finland and has one of my favorite subjects: The two naughty ladies by Inge Löök.

Here they are playing cards in the woods. 

The stamp is beautiful:
The blue is a bit glittery. Really unusual.

The second card I want to show you is one I am sending this morning. When I go to the gym I will post it. It is called 'Black Swan' and is a painting by Anna Ivanova. It is going to Russia, to someone called Julia.

I got some new stamps from the post office last month and this is one of them. It celebrates the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18. 
On the stamp it reads: "22 October 2017, Alicante port of departure".

My week has been rather uneventful. We are not big fish eaters but I try to have it on the menu at least once a week. So last Friday I made white fish 'en papillote', which means 'in foil'.

The yellow stuff is spiralized butternut squash. I add a bit of olive oil, some green olives (halved) , season it well with S&P sand thyme, place the fish on top. Then I make a parcel with baking parchment and bake it in the oven for 15 min. We have one parcel each. It's delicious.

Now for something different. Remember the lovely bag that Annie made? Well this weekend I have got some material together to make one too. It will be a traditional Andalucian stripe pattern, which is very colourful. And the inside will be orange (I am Dutch after all).
 I still need to order some of those large eyelets, but I will no doubt be able to find them on the internet.

On Saturday we had Intercambio (Spanish/English language exchange) at our house. One of the Spanish girls had brought a board game for learners, which we played with the beginners. It was fun.

I forgot to take any pictures of our gathering.

After the weekend hubby went back to doing mum's cave bedroom. God willing my mum will come to stay in June, so we are preparing a room for her. The ceiling is very rustic as it is a cave after all and he is now at the painting stage: 

On Monday night we always go to our 'weekend' house and have a relaxing evening. Last week we watched a DVD and this week we watched another one. We have a box set of  The Lord Of The Rings, which  has been in the cupboard for years and we watched the first of the four DVDs. 

We both enjoyed it again. It's a great film and it's a very beautiful box set (which was a gift) .

Wednesday was very cold and I didn't go out at all. I decided to cook a hearty meal and this is what I came up with:

Its called Devilled Cottage Pie, which is cottage pie spiced up a bit. It's a Slimming World recipe so you can look it up on the internet. Very yummy.

Thursdays is my 'play day'. It means I spend the day in the craft room. Hubby lights the stove early so that it is nice and cosy. I like to do my jigsaw, while listening to one of my play lists. This is how far I got with this one:

Of course I also did some scrapbooking. I'm still doing photos from 2016. This is a photo from when we went to Madrid on the train to get my passport done at the Dutch consulate.

And this is my sister. I have just realised that the middle fram is not quite straight. Bummer! I know it's not important, but that irks me.

I'll only make it worse if I try to un-stick it...
Never mind.

 I will leave it at that and wish you all a very good weekend and week ahead. 

I will be linking up with Annie at A Stitch In Time and with Virginia at Rocking Your Week Friday.

There are some funnies at the end as usual.



Tuesday 22 January 2019

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 22 January 2019 - T for Russia

Translates: "A little coffee for you! So that you start the day with a lot of energy and a positive attitude. Good Morning"

Good morning lovely ladies,
Are you all ready for the T-party? Lets join Elisabeth and Bluebeard at Altered Book Lover with a beverage. My beverage you will see much later, but I think the cockerel has beaten me to it. (He obviously gets up much before me)
 My T-blog has a Russian theme today (totally by accident). 
To start with, both my postcards today are from Russia:

This one is a view of the Red Square in Moscow. I think the building on the left is the Kremlin. Has any of you been to Moscow? (I haven't).

The next card is an old image from 1960. The caption reads: 'The match will take place in any weather!' Dinamo Stadium. From the Russian Photo Museum. 

Bottom left is a commemorative coin of the World Championship soccer 2018:
The stamps are gorgeous. I think the large one faetures the Kremlin again, but I wasn't sure so I used my Google translate with the camera on my phone. The words on top say: "Happy New Year!"

On Tuesday we went to our usual restaurant to have a lovely lunch. There is a nice dining room, but we always sit in the bar to eat. The staff always reserve a table for us on Tuesdays. (There are only two tables in the bar area). 
While we are waiting for our drinks, here is hubby.
Here come our red wines. The waitress/co-owner is Mahri.
Erika did some book reviews the other day, so I thought I'd do that too as I have read two really good books lately. The first one, A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles, I am about to finish but I can already say it is surprisingly good. The plot is that in 1922 a Russian  aristocrat gets sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal (because he is unrepentent) to life long house arrest at the hotel where he is currently staying. All his properties and land are confiscated. He is lucky as most of the aristocracy was murdered. He gets offered a small attic room in the Hotel Metropole in Moscow in stead of his large suite where he used to live. Well I thought that it would be boring, but not at all! Count Rostov is a a delightful, educated, wise and resourceful man and you can't help but like him. Through him and the people he meets over the 30 years, the history of Russia comes through very subtly. The rise of communism, the second WW, etc. I love it and don't want it to end really. I comes highly recommended.

This is a photo of the hotel Metropole, which still exists today. It is near the Kremlin and at the back it overlooks the entrance of the Bolshoi theatre.
Another book I was totally blown away with is this one, All This I Will Give You by Dolores Redondo, a Spanish author.
It is a thriller, but a well written one. It is quite unusual, not only because it is set in Spain, but it is written as a literary novel, while it really is a murder mystery which turns into a nail biting thriller.  It's about Michael who is a writer and one night the police have to tell him that Alvaro, his husband of 10 years, has died in a car crash. The strange thing is that the accident happened in a totally different part of the country to where Alvaro said he was going. Michael travels to the scene and tries to find out what happened. It turns out Alvaro had a secret life he had not mentioned in all those 10 years. 
I won't say any more as I don't want to spoil it, but an awful lot happens. There are unexpected twists in the story nearly every chapter. It is well written and also well translated.
This is Dolores Redondo:
I hope someone can get hold of these as they are well worth reading. I read mine on my e-reader (Kindle). The Gentleman in Moscow was a special offer at 99pence and the Spanish one I paid full price for (but that's still not a lot).

That is it from me today. 
Happy T-Day everyone!
Have a good week!
Stay safe,

Friday 18 January 2019

A Postcard A day - Friday 18 January 2019 - Friday Smiles

Hello lovely ladies,
Here we are again on Friday to share what has made us smile this week. I shall be linking up with Annie at A Stitch In Time and with Virginia at Rocking Your World Friday.

To get postcards in my mailbox always makes me smile. And one ofmy favorite cards are map cards. This week I received a map card from Malaysia:

The info on the card reads: Malaysia consists of 13 states and 3 federal territories. Two similarly sized regions, peninsular Malaysia and East malaysia are separated by the South China Sea.
The stamp is interesting too. It has the name Negaraku in the top right corner. So of course I had to look up who he is/was. Well... it is not a person, but the Malaysian national anthem!
Wikipedia says: Negaraku (English: My Country) is the national anthem of Malaysia The tune was originally used as the state anthem of Perak, which was adopted from a popular French melody titled "La Rosalie" composed by the lyricist Pierre-Jean de Béranger.

The card was sent on the 26th of November and has Merry Christmas stickers on it. But I only received it this week.

Then I also received this card from Germany. It is an image from the Burgh castle museum, and it shows the castle chapel. It's all very baroc and over-the-top  for our modern tastes, but I suppose it is very beautiful. The chapel features the Silbermann organ.  

Wikipedia writes:
Gottfried Silbermann 1683-1753 The organs that Gottfried and his brother Andreas Silbermann built show a clear and distinctive style, both in architecture and in their music qualities. Silbermann never deviated from this style. His organs are characterised by the use of strong reeds, a broad range of stops, and pipes with a high tin content, which adds a distinctive brightness to the tone. Silbermann died in Dresden in 1753, probably as the result of a tin-lead poisoning.

I like the stamps. They feature Saxon Switzerland (German: Sächsische Schweiz) which is a hilly climbing area and national park around the Elbe valley south-east of Dresden in Saxony, Germany.

So, what was my week like? On Friday evening we went out with our friends to celebrate her birthday:

 And Saturday was the inauguration of the photo exhibition in our village. All the photo clubs from the province of Granada were represented. (I'm not in the photo)

Sunday we went to church and we had a nice dinner. On Monday we went into town to do some shopping. I wanted some baskets to use in my new cabinet. So we went to the Chinese (sort of poundshop or dollar store) and bought ten little baskets.
You cannot imagine how pleased I am. I now have all the batteries in one basket, all packs of pencils and pens in one basket, all the sticky stuff in one basket etc. It's wonderful to be more organized!
I designed the cabinet myself and I purposely created a space for our two coffee machines (near a socket). Hubby has the 'grind and brew' and I have the Senseo with the pads on the left. I like Cappuccino Choco, which I bring back from Holland. I have three packs. When they finish I will go back to normal coffee.

Monday night is usually spent at our weekend cave house. There is a TV and a DVD player and a cupboard full of DVDs, many of which we haven't watched yet. We decided to watch La Vie En Rose about the life of Edith Piaf. I enjoy her singing, so it was interesting to learn of her (hard) life. It was very well acted.
On Tuesday we went and had lunch at our regular restaurant. (photos on my Tuesday blog) and in the evening we had a prayer meeting.
I can't remember what I did on Wednesday, but Thursday is my 'play-day'. Hubby lights the fire in the craft room and I spend the whole day there (apart from meal times). I did my jigsaw and did some scrapbooking. 

This is an old photo from 1976. I'm on the left in this four generations photo.
This St Ives page was one I had done before but I wasn't happy with it. So I took it apart, and rearranged it and gave it a different background paper. I've hidden the journaling behind the main bit. Much neater now.
The last one is hubby on his birthday party in the tropical bird park in the UK, two years ago. He wanted to make his 70th birthday special and we went to this bird park with all the children and grandchildren. The weather was awful but it was fun.
I'm not happy with this page either as the letters are too big, but once I'd started writing, of course I had to continue.

That's it folks. 
Wishing all of you a fab weekend with lots of smiles.

Here is a bit of street art to make you smile and after that some funnies as usual.