Friday 31 January 2020

A Postcard A Day - Friday 31 January - Friday smiles

Hello lovely people, 
It is Friday again and time to share what made me smile this week.
I have not been writing many cards as we've been away, so I haven't received any either. But last week I started sending cards again and the first 'counter' card has arrived. It comes from Germany. I love maps and map cards so this lady from Munich has sent me this map card of Bavaria.

She has put lots of fun stickers on the back and two lovely stamps:
 On the left the Greifswalder Oie lighthouse.
  (Greifswalder Oie (literally "Greifswald's isle") is a small island in the Baltic Sea, located east of Rügen on the German coast. The island covers an area of about 54 hectares.)
And on the right the Falshöft lighthouse on the Baltic coast. The Falshöft Lighthouse is located directly at the border of the nature reserve Geltinger Birk and is a textbook example of a lighthouse. With its red-and-white colour and constructed from cast iron elements it towers 25 metres high.

Any more smiles? Of course. On Saturdays we always have pancakes for breakfast. We like the little fat ones and use this special gadget that I bought very cheaply at one of those Chinese super websites. We can buy oat flour here so we  made oat pancakes. Very nice too.
Sunday could have been a sad day as it would have been my dad's birthday. Either my sister or i try to be with our mum for that day. This year it was my sister. We Skyped of course and it was just quality family time with a lot of laughs.
My friend brought me a bunch of oregano, so that is now drying. That evening I made arepas (south american corn pittas) and I roasted some of those lovely little peppers and we had a wonderful supper.  The breads open up like a pitta bread and can be filled with whatever you have lying about in the fridge.
Tuesday was another day that could have been sad but wasn't. Our pastor's wife has died after a long battle with cancer. But her funeral was a celebration of her life in the knowledge that she is now in a better place.
As we were in town, hubby went to the ironmonger to find a piece that fitted a chimney pipe. We have these fabulous ironmongers that have absolutely everything! We have been coming to this shop for 14 years. Even in the beginning, when we didn't speak Spanish, they always seem to understand what we wanted.  
There was a lovely red sky as we drove home that evening. That evening I made a tasty potato soup in my new pan. 
Yes, I have a new pan. I bought it this week in a local shop. I saw it and had to have it, if you know what i mean...

I love it and have used it every day since I bought it.

That is it from me today. Have you had a week to smile about? Tell us about it and link up with Annie at A Stitch In Time and Virginia at Rocking Your Week Friday.
As usual there will be some funnies at the end. (Cats and dogs this time.)

Have a lovely weekend,

This one translates as: Lets just recharge.

Tuesday 28 January 2020

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 28 January 2020 - T for books, pancakes and maharadjas

Hello lovely ladies and T-Party goers.
Today I only have one postcard. I am so much behind! Over the Christmas period I have not sent a single card, only last week i sent about 7, but I haven't had any back yet, so this card is the last of the December cards. It comes from India and shows the Lal Mahal (Red Palace).
The Lal Mahal of Pune is one of the most famous monuments located in Pune, India. In the year 1630 AD, Shivaji Maharaj's Father Shahaji Bhosale, established the Lal Mahal for his wife Jijabai and son. Shivaji Maharaj stayed here for several years until he captured his first fort. Wikipedia
Shivaji's father Shahaji Bhonsle , established it for his wife Jijabal and son (1630 AD). Shivaji's first marriage with Maharani Saibai took place here.
Shivaji was an Indian king. I found this in Wikipedia:

Shivaji Bhosale I was an Indian warrior-king and a member of the Bhonsle Maratha clan. Shivaji carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire. In 1674, he was formally crowned as the chhatrapati of his realm at Raigad. Wikipedia
On the left: Subhas Chandra Bose was an Indian nationalist whose defiant patriotism made him a hero in India, but whose attempt during World War II to rid India of British rule with the help of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan left a troubled legacy. Wikipedia

On the right: Pratap Singh I (1540-1597)  popularly known as Maharana Pratap, was the 13th king of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan. Wikipedia

But we are here for the T-party, hosted by Elizabeth and Bleubeard, so without further ado I will show you my drink. It is a cup of tea because the photo was Sunday morning breakfast with oat pancakes with maple syrup (behind my grapefruit juice, barely visible). 

The pancakes are lovingly made by my dear hubby, with the help of this little gadget, which I bought online at one of those Chinese mega sites where everything is so cheap.

Erika did some book reviews a little while back. I would like to tell you about the books I read these last few months.
I will add them at the end, so if you are not interested, you don't have to scroll through them.

That is it from me today. I'll wish everybody a wonderful T-Day,
Take care,

 Harry Barnett is a middle-aged failure, leading a shabby existence in the shadow of a past disgrace, reduced to caretaking a friend's villa on the island of Rhodes and working in a bar to earn his keep. Then a guest at the villa - a young woman he had instantly and innocently warmed to - disappears on a mountain peak. ..
This was really a book that kept me up late at night. It is set partly in Rhodes and partly in England.  Beautifully written and with twists and turns in every chapter. Loved it!
 A man has been mutilated and left to drown on the incoming tide, handcuffed in his van. With the murder bearing a striking resemblance to a string of sadistic killings carried out with surgical precision in 1990s gangland Manchester, it can mean only one thing: the killer is back.
This book is number 7 in the series and I have read all of them. The attraction for me is that it is set in the area around Bridgewater, Somerset. An area that I am familiar with. Add onto that a likeable detective and a very realistic plot and you get the sort of book I love. This particular story was partly set in Manchester, but I liked it nonetheless.
 Classical archaeologists Valentina Vella and Erika Simone are tasked with advising the newly-elected Pope on the historical legacy of women in the early Christian period. The women stumble across an ancient parchment buried deep in the Vatican archives, a document that has clearly been altered.  They find themselves on the trail of a woman who may have been the first woman Bishop in the Catholic faith. To reveal Julia’s legacy will put them in the cross-hairs of a venomous Vatican battle for power and supremacy; to stay silent would make them complicit in an ancient heresy and would betray the teachings that Julia sacrificed her life to defend.
I enjoyed the story which is an interesting subject. The story alternated between ancient Rome and the present. Unfortunately it wasn't that well written. I was a bit disappointed. 
 Passerina Fowler just wants to be a professional fighter. She has struggled for years to make a name for herself. But then her life abruptly changes when she's discovered by a recruiter from SafeTrek Bridging, a company that transports clients to alternate versions of Earth. With nothing to lose, Passerina accepts a job as a bridger, an elite fighter who protects clients on excursions to alternate worlds. However, on her first day she witnesses a horrifying event and realizes bridging can be downright deadly.
This is book one in a series that has many good reviews. But it was not my cup of tea. It was badly written with a lot of clichés. More suitable for teenagers who like to read about 'cool' and 'badass' girls.
 In 1866, tragedy strikes at the exclusive Windfield School. A young student drowns in a mysterious accident involving a small circle of boys. The drowning and its aftermath initiates a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many loves... From the exclusive men's club and brothels that cater to every dark desire of London's upper classes to the dazzling ballrooms and mahogany-paneled suites of the manipulators of the world's wealth, Ken Follett conjures up a stunning array of contrasts. This breathtaking novel portrays a family splintered by lust, bound by a shared legacy... men and women swept toward a perilous climax where greed, fed by the shocking truth of a boy's death, must be stopped, or not just one man's dreams, but those of a nation, will die...
This is definitely the best of the bunch! I absolutely loved this one. Ken Follett is such a good writer. Well researched, this book taught me a lot about the origins of banking. The book also has an unscrupulous female 'baddie' as well as a bit of romance. It has intrigue and mystery. A winner.
 When a new NASA satellite detects evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory...a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election.
With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Arctic to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable
This is another good one. Although it has been classed as science fiction, it is a very believable story set in a not too distant future. The only science fiction lies in the sort of weapons used by the 'baddies'. Lots of action, a real page turner.
The world runs on ARCs. Altered Reality Chips. Small implants behind the left ear that allow people to experience anything they could ever imagine. The network controls everything, from traffic, to food production, to law enforcement. Some proclaim it a Golden Age of humanity. Others have begun to see the cracks. Few realize that behind it all, living within every brain and able to control all aspects of society, there exists a being with an agenda all his own: the singularity called Adam, who believes he is God.Jimmy Mahoney’s brain can’t accept an ARC. Not since his football injury from the days when the league was still offline. “ARC-incompatible” is what the doctors told him. Worse than being blind and deaf, he is a man struggling to cling to what’s left of a society that he is no longer a part of. His wife spends twenty-three hours a day online, only coming off when her chip forcibly disconnects her so she can eat. Others are worse. Many have died, unwilling or unable to log off to take care of even their most basic needs.After being unwittingly recruited by a rogue singularity to play a role in a war that he doesn’t understand, Jimmy learns the truth about Adam and is thrown into a life-and-death struggle against the most powerful mathematical mind the world has ever known. But what can one man do against a being that exists everywhere and holds limitless power? How can one man, unable to even get online, find a way to save his wife, and the entire human race, from destruction?

This one is science fiction. And a bit dystopian. I was intrigued by the concept of people living their lives online, and it doesn't seem so unrealistic either. Aren't we heading that way? I didn't exactly understand what Adam was. He seemed so human, but was introduced as a 'singularity'. (Whatever that is). But the story flowed fast and is mostly about Jimmy set in the real world. It's not a long book. I can recommend it, if you like the genre.

Friday 24 January 2020

A Postcard A Day - Friday 24 January 2020 - Friday Smiles

 Hello lovely ladies,

Here we are again with the smiles of this week. Yes, there were many.

Of course my postbox always makes me smile. Here is a card from Belgium. It is the city of Dinant in the XIXth century, painted by C.C. Stanfield.

 The stamp is beautiful. It bears the name Wouter Jan Strietman. I found out he is a marine researcher at the university of Wageningen (Netherlands) and he is known for his ecological projects like
 The Arctic Marine Litter project. There is a link if you are interested.

The second card comes from Germany, from a little island called Reichenau. I received a card from Reichenau a couple of months ago, and now I have another one. (They are not the same).

 Reichenau Island is an island in Lake Constance in southern Germany. Reichenau is connected to the mainland by a causeway, completed in 1838, which is intersected between the ruins of Schopflen Castle and the eastern end of Reichenau Island by a 10 m (33 ft)-wide and 95 m (312 ft) long waterway, the Bruckgraben. A low road bridge allows the passage of ordinary boats but not of sailing-boats.
The island was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000 because of the Abbey of Reichenau. The abbey's Münster (minster church) is dedicated to the Virgin and Saint Mark. Two further churches were built on the island consecrated to Saint George and to Saints Peter and Paul. The famous artworks of Reichenau include (in the church of St George) the Ottonian murals of miracles of Christ, unique survivals from the 10th century. The abbey's bailiff was housed in a two-storey stone building to which two more storeys of timber framing were added in the 14th century, one of the oldest timber-frame buildings in south Germany.
There is a lovely Christmas stamp on the back of this card.
So, what have we been up to this week. It has been an unusual week. On Sunday morning, going to church we found a strange sight at the back of our house:
Goodness knows how that happened. Luckily the Guardia Civil (police) moved their car for us and we could get through. My smile? Nobody was hurt.

Then on Sunday night it started snowing. I posted some photos on my Tuesday blog. There was really a lot. My smile? I took a lot of photos.
All the trees were white.
 These poor palm trees are struggling under the weight of the snow.
 Our little park is completely white.
 Here is the snow plough, operated by the local fire department.
The snow on the roof was even higher than on the streets. Eventually it damaged the receptor dish so much that we lost the internet on Wednesday! (we have internet via radio signal) The engineer came to replace the dish and establish the internet only hours ago. Coincidentally my phone in broken too. It won't charge anymore. So I couldn't use that for internet either. They were a quiet couple of days. What did we no in the evening? (remember, we don't have TV). We watched a DVD:

My smile? We enjoyed it immensely. It was about the making of the film Psycho.

It's past midnight, so I shall go to bed. 
Of course there will be a few funnies at the end. Not many as I haven't much time. I need to go to bed.
Have a lovely weekend,
And... keep smiling,

Tuesday 21 January 2020

A Postcard A Day - Tuesday 21 January 2020 - T for snow and sushi

Hello lovely ladies, 
Another week has passed ever so quickly!
So without delay I will show you my postcards.
The first one comes from Belgium. It shows a painting by Camille Corot (1796-1875). The work is called A Girl Reading (1845).

The stamp is amazing! What is Belgium famous for? Of course, it is chocolate! They couldn't have chosen a better stamp!
My mouth is watering as we are on a detox sort of diet and I really fancy chocolate....
 The second card comes from Malaysia. 

 Genting Highlands is a high-altitude hill resort in Malaysia, situated in the Titiwangsa Mountains northeast of Kuala Lumpur. Developed since the 1960s, the site comprises hotels, a shopping mall, restaurants and the Casino de Genting. Its Chin Swee Caves Temple sits on forested acreage with mountain views. Genting Skyway, a cable car, connects the resort with the plateau town Gohtong Jaya.
Here are two images from the Internet:

The stamp is beautiful. It has a lovely yellow hibiscus on it. Wilayah Persekutuan means 'Federal Territories'.
The federal territories in Malaysia comprise three territories: Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan, governed directly by the federal government of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital of Malaysia, Putrajaya is the administrative capital, and Labuan is an offshore international financial centre. Wikipedia
So, what is happening here in sunny Spain? Well, it's not so sunny at the mo. It started snowing last night and this morning we woke up to this: (It is our back door)

 We went for a walk and saw much devastation. You guys in Minnesota and in Canada are used to this sort of thing but here it's more unusual. 
We went for a walk to the little park behind our house. A tree branch had broken off:
 A bit further down in the village, a whole tree had fallen and was blocking the entrance to the village: (My friend Jose Ramon Samaniego made the following two photos):

 When we got down ourselves, they had cut most of it already.

This was our terrace this morning (Monday):
 And some fun selfies during our walk. Had to get the palm trees in for our host Elizabeth.
 It was still snowing lightly, that's why we are well wrapped up. It isn't really cold.
As today is T for Tuesday, I need a qualifier. I know that any drink or drink reference is allowed. Let me take you back to our recent trip. 

When we flew back into Spain, we arrived at Alicante airport. We got a hotel just outside Alicante, near the airport in Elche. That evening we went out for dinner and we decided to go oriental. Here is hubby with a glass of red wine and his spring roll. I had sushi.
One of my sushi thingies:
The interior of the restaurant. It was very quiet being Monday night.
A few more sushi. It was more than I could eat really, but I managed it!

That is it from me today. I wish you all a very happy T-Day!