Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fairies live here

Hello again. We've had a busy week geting on with the unpacking, but I'm glad to say we are nearly done now. The boxes have all been emptied and flattened. I advertised them on the Arboleas forum and two people have been to collect them now, so it's someone else's turn to have some fun. Amazingly I have found a home for most things. On Friday we went to a charity day held by the church near here, to raise money for a couple from the congregation to take to an orphanage in Cambodia. Having seen first hand the appalling conditions that these children live in, I was eagar to help. So I took along a few ornaments and kitchen items that I couldn't find a space for, and one new item that they put in their auction, so hopefully we added to their total a little. On Sunday afternoon Chris said he would help me with the last big task - unpacking and hanging all my flower fairy items. First we put together two sets of shelves which each hold a dozen plates. That left me with thirty more which we decided to put up high, on the three main walls, much like they were in Oswestry. So we measured the walls and marked where each one would hang. I got out all the picture hooks and then we hit the first problem. The walls are so hard that we couldn't hammer a picture hook in! So each one had to be drilled, plugged with matches and then have a picture hook banged in. Then Chris had to drill and plug the fixtures for the shelves, the mug stand and the clock, plus a small cabinet to display the smallest items. Finally he hung a lovely 'oriental style' branch with mother of pearl 'flowers' on it, beside the chimney breast. I fell in love with this when I saw it in a flower shop window in Oswestry just before we went to Thailand. I helped Mike cater for a party at the Oak and with my wages, I went straight to the shop and bought it, and packed it away. So I have not seen it actually hanging before, but I am very pleased with it. My last task was to arrange the rest of my ornaments, mostly fairies but a few old favourites too, on the set of shelves built in beside the fire. I expect some of you think it is very cluttered, but I can't bear to part with these things, and it's no use having them if they are tucked away where you can't see them. So the sitting room is now a fairy grotto, and a room where we both feel well and truly 'at home'. The bedrooms are also sorted. We have used the guest room to display our souveniers from Thailand, with a bed spread, lamps and pictures all fitting together well. Chris' study is well organised with his computer desk on one side and some more comfortable seating on the other. So now there is just my room to do, and I have to admit, I don't really know where to start. But I am sure it will all be sorted out soon. To give me a bit more space in there we have moved the two fold-up beds into the garage, along with a sofa-bed from Chris' room. I worked hard to tidy it all up in there. We've even put a spare rug on the floor. So now we have an over-spill guest room to use, just in case hoards of visitors all arrive at the same time!
When I was on the phone to someone, they suggested I put some photos up so you could picture our house as it is now. It's rather different from the original ones I posted, but the previous owner was a bit of a housework fanatic, and I'm afraid I am not! Still they will be on my gallery by tonight. Maybe you will be able to imagine us in the various rooms, and hopefully, one day you will come and see them for yourselves.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Critters !

Having done my bit on the local flora, I thought I'd move on to the fauna today. A couple of days ago I had been sitting out on the porch, drinking my mid-morning cup of tea, when I felt a little tickle on my arm. Looking down I found a small, brown, praying mantis walking round my wrist. He was only about an inch long. He is a welcome visitor as he lives on gnats and other nasties, so I gently put him on a plant, and told him to stay around and get eating. Then yesterday afternoon, while I was bringing in the washing, I heard a noise, like something hard hitting the bamboo fencing, and there at my feet was a huge grasshopper. You can see in the photo that he was as long as my index finger. He was quite friendly. I picked him up to talk to him and he walked around my hand without making any effort to escape. He had been 'in the wars' as one of his antennae was half the length of the other. When you look closely at his face you can see where the early sci-fi film makers got their adeas for aliens! I thought he was rather fine. He eventually hopped away but he came back again today. I had to include this photo because in it, he has found a 'virtual' friend. Click on the image to enlarge it and see what you think. I think it looks as though he is talking to a little green parrot. Of course it is actually the deformed and spotted leaves on my poor little lemon tree, but when I went out to look at the tree where he had been sitting, I couldn't see a parrot at all! I wonder .....

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Forget the Peter Kay song, Amarillo (said am-a-rio) means yellow in Spanish, and amarillo is deffinitely the colour of March in Spain. After a day of bending over boxes so big I can't reach the bottom of them, by teatime yesterday I felt the need to stretch in a different direction, so I took myself off for a walk around the outskirts of the village, and everywhere I went, it was yellow. The fields in this photo are covered with the harsh yellow of wild crysanthemums and marguerites, which are so beautiful close up, and they are offset by the more acidic yellow of the oxalis which thrives everywhere. It carpets the ground under the citrus trees and pops out of every crack and crevise in the pavements. Then there is the usual coltsfoot type of daisies, various 'pea' flowers like the ones we used to call 'egg and bacon' as children, and on the scrub land there are masses of small mounds that ressemble heather except that the flowers are yellow. Soon it will be the turn of the broom which is smothered with buds and just the first few of its flowers. Trees aren't exempt from yellow fever either. Gone is all the pretty almond blossom only to be replaced by mimosa in great abundance. We went back to the flat on Tuesday and I took a photo from our verandah of a neighbouring house where every tree in the garden was dripping with fluffy yellow balls. And they don't only grow in gardens; the roads are lined with mimosa bushes and trees, so you have to wonder where all the trees have gone that were covered in pink blossom when we went away! Even the lemon trees play their part in the colour scheme. Oranges need to be picked or they fall and rot, but lemons can stay on the tree until they are needed, even when the blossom forms for the next crop, so there are plenty of them, still to be seen. I took photos of the flowers, but there were too many to show them all so I have made up a composite collage picture of some of them.As for the unpacking, it is progressing well. I have opened all the boxes though some will not actually be emptied yet. For instance, my Flower fairy collectors plates will remain safely in their bubble wrap until we are ready to hang them. I have to say, I did a good job with the packing. There are no breakages so far. I have kept all the bubble wrap for future use. I'll advertise the packing cartons on the Arboleas forum next week, and anyone who wants them can have a box of bubble wrap as well. I think I must have used half a tree's worth of kitchen roll as well, but I have smoothed it all out and put it in a box. I won't need to buy any for the next few months, but at least it won't be wasted. I spent today sorting out the kitchen and larder, and surprisingly most things have found a home. It will be the spare bedroom next before our first visitors arrive. Now I'm off to cook tea. Such a nuisance having to stop for food, but I guess we have to do it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Off went the van with my home in it ....

We followed on ..... We had just one week and two days after we arrived in England, to complete our packing. This meant sorting through the parcels I had ordered on line to be waiting for me at the Punchbowl, and repacking them into one large carton. Then I went shopping and bought a few little bits from the craft store, and several items from the supermarket that I know aren't available in Spain, plus some underwear and tee-shirts, and packed them up in another box. On a last minute decision we bought a chest of drawers and two bed side tables as they were much cheaper than the Spanish ones, and we arranged for them to be delivered to our container the next day. So armed with black bags, some strong sticky tape and a pair of scissors, we went to the container with the new boxes, and waited for the furniture to arrive, which it did, right at the time promised. We opened some boxes and used their contents to fill the new drawers, then sealed everything up and left it. On the Sunday morning we had to be at the depot ready for 'Jimbo the Scot' to come and collect everything. The container depot is usually closed on Sundays but he opened up specially for us. It took most of the morning to load up, but everything went in well. It was mostly in boxes and we had bought them from a removal company so they were good and strong, and the three sizes were designed to stack together. We only had a few bits of furniture to take, and as this house was left part-furnished, we were able to leave an arm chair, a table and a computer desk for Mike to have in the flat. I was surprised to find that the lorry was just under half full when it left. Jim was off to Gloucester then to collect enother complete house move and three scrambler bikes, before he went to the ferry. He does the Plymouth to Santander crossing as he gets a good long sleep before he drives again. He does the trip once a month and usually has a full load each way every time.
We then had one week left in England to spend time with the family and relax for a few days. On the Wednesday Chris and Michael joined a group from another pub, and had a day at Cheltenham races, so at the end of the week I had my day out. I went to Birmingham on the train where Ben met me and took me out to lunch. Then he showed me around Birmingham town centre which I had not been to before. I spent the night at his house and in the morning I went to the craft show at NEC. It was strange to be there on my own as Jean has been with me for the last few years, but I had a lovely day, and made the most of this last chance. I don't suppose I'll get there again.
Sunday soon came around again and Mike got us to the airport in plenty of time for our 7.00 flight. That gave us half a day at home and a chance of an early night which we needed, becuase soon after nine the next morning, Jimbo was outside with all our things. We all lent a hand with the unloading. Fortunately I had written the contents on all the boxes so some were taken to the relevant rooms. Even so our garage was bursting at the seams by the time all the boxes were off the van. Now I am gradually getting them all unpacked and wondering where on earth I can put it all. The house isn't too much smaller than the Oswestry one, but the kitchen is very small and has very, very few cupboards. Fortunately there is walk-in larder so a lot of things like the big casseroles and pans can go in there, but I will have to lose some of the bakeware. I was spoiled for cupboard space in my last kitchen and like mum, I do like my gagets. But of course, for nine months of the year I will be doing only the minimum of cooking, so I won't need so much. My craft room looks like a disaster zone at the minute but it will be wonderful when it is all sorted out. I expect everything will be moved around a few times before it is finished, but it will be lovely when it is all done. We have our first visitors in a couple of weeks time, so I need to get it sorted a bit before then. The best bit right now is having our own bed back. It is so comfy. In fact I think it's time to go climb in right now. Good-night!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Perrys have landed!

Hello again. I said I'd be back on the fifteenth and I thought I would be. Unfortunately we weren't connected to the internet until yesterday, and a series of disasters on my part meant that this had to wait until today.
However, we were up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning when Mike and Oliver got us to Manchester airport for 5.00 a.m! We had a very good flight. The view was amazing, especially over the snow covered Pyranees. My camera was packed away, but as my mobile has 'flight mode' I was able to turn that on. But I am not used to using the camera on it and by the time I had sorted it out, I had missed the best views. Then when I transferred what I had got onto the computer, I found I had been in video mode, so I have no pictures to show you! Never mind; we landed safely in sunny Spain and we were back home by mid-day, where we found everything as it should be. The climbing plant on our front wall had exploded into a mass of very pale pink flowers, and the air was heavy with the scent of orange blossom from the trees in next door's garden. Even my very sad, tiny lemon tree has a few flowers on it, so I shall be talking to it nicely every day, and you never know, it may reward me with a lemon.
I shall tell you all about the 'move' next time. Suffice to say that we will be unpacking and rearranging for some time yet!
We appreciated the lush green of Oswestry, with the white of new-born lambs, and the lovely daffodils that line so many of the roads around there just starting to open, but Spain has its own beauty, and we were happy to return to the hazy mountain views, and mass of wild flowers that are everywhere right now.
I took some photos of the boys and our grandchildren while we were there, so I will post a folder on our gallery for the benefit of the more distant family members who don't get to see them. I'll label them so you know who they are. They are growing up so fast I hardly recognise them myself!
Now we are off to check the post office box one last time, (hopefully all our mail will come straight here now), and visit the supermarket to stock up on essentials. I will continue my saga tomorrow. Hasta luego!