Friday, October 8, 2010


No; I haven't made a typing error and put an 's' on the end of my favourite city around here, Granada. Granadas is in fact, the Spanish name for pomegranets. Each Autumn when we were little, mum used to buy one pomegranet, break it open into two halves, and armed with a pin each to pick out the cells, Jean and I would eat it. I was never quite sure if I really liked them then, but I was fascinated by the way they were formed inside. If they were bright pink, then they were usually sweet and nice, but a pale yellowish one could have a dry flavour that wasn't so good. Remembering that childhood experience, and knowing that not too many mothers would spend out on such an odd and expensive fruit, when I was managing my nursery, I bought a couple of pomegranets every year so that my children, and the children at school, could also see the beautiful pink sacks of juice, and if they were brave enough, they could taste them too. Old habits die hard, so as the new season of pomegranets appeared in our shops this year, I paid the princely sum of 55cents for one fruit. In fact they grow freely in this area, often on patches of campo land, and in gardens, so I could have picked one along the road, but some I have tried have been quite dry and sour, so I thought it was safer to spend out on a cultivated one. Then, this week, I had my first really good conversation with our next-door neighbour. She is Spanish, lives in Murcia, and only comes to the house for a couple of weeks each year, so I have had little opportunity to get to know her. We talked about the trees in her garden, and that afternoon she brought me in a big bag of pomegranets. Don't they look good? The one I have eaten tasted good too! They are huge. This pair together weighed 700g, (that's around a pound and a half if you haven't embraced the metric system yet). They make the one I bought from the market look a bit lonely and superfluous don't they? I'm not sure what I am going to do with them all, but I'll think of something. They are freshly picked so hopefully they will keep for a while. Do you like pomegranets Jean? (My sister Jean is coming over for a week next Wednesday).

The reason I was talking to my neighbour was that she called me out to tell me that she wants to sell the house. She asked me to tell all my friends, and if any English people want to view it, she wants me to talk with them for her. She speaks no English herself, but we managed quite a long conversation. She was very patient with me, and we went around the houses until we found a way of saying things that we could both understand. I also got to see around her house which is a typical, fairly old style Spanish villa, with, upstairs, a long, dining/sitting room, a nice kitchen, big bathroom and three bedrooms. The rooms appear dark because that's the way they like it, never opening shutters or windows more than an inch or two. I told her that the English prefer more light, so she opened up everything and it was lovely and light then. There are more windows and patio doors than we have, some leading on to a big verandah at the side and a smaller one at the back. The downstairs was the village farmacia (chemist) until about ten years ago, and there is still a huge empty space where the shop would have been. Behind that there is a room with a very large family dining table in it, a small sitting room, and other small rooms beyond that. None of the downstairs has been lived in for a while, so it needs some work done on it, but it has the potential to be a huge family home. There is also a good size plot of land all round it, mostly set with fruit trees at the moment, but with lots of space to put in a swimming pool if it is wanted. I rather hope it will be bought by a Spanish family as I would like to have neighbours to practise my Spanish on. I asked her the price and she did a big 'Spanish' shrug, and said, 'I do not know, becuase of the crisis. People will have to say what they can offer, but it won't be cheap!' I don't suppose it will sell easily, but I look forward to having neighbours on one side of us eventually.

I drove into Turre this morning to buy the weekend essentials of bread and milk, and I was surprised to see the road lined on both sides by a profusion of yellow flowers. I don't expect to see many wild flowers at this time of year. It is the tag end of the flowering season even in the gardens. We had lots of nice autumn flowers in England, but here they have been deprived of water for months, so we can't expect them to flower. I didn't have my camera with me so I stopped to pick this one stem so that I could identify it in a Flower's of the Murcia region book that a friend from church lent me. So I now know it is 'dittrichia viscosa' more commonly known as Arnica, and it is used in medecines and to repel insects! I believe it is quite common in England too, but I have never seen it growing quite so abundantly as I did this morning.

I now have a much improved computer system in my room. My PC was becoming prone to all sorts of problems, due, in Chris' words, to the amount of rubbish I have on there. I know I am bad at weeding out the duplicates, and files that I have finished with, and it was always telling me that my memory was low, so it worked very slowly and often crashed. So this week Chris decided that for now, he would use one of his laptops, and he has given me his PC. It is so nice after mine, much, much quieter and so very much faster. But it proved quite a mission to get it set up for me. He uses Linux instead of Windows, and is always telling me that it is a far superior system, but as I have just about mastered everything I want to do on Windows, I am not keen to start again with something new, and I also use some programs and CDs that are not compatable with Linux. So first of all he had to clear his system off it, and then I had to decide what files etc I wanted to keep and what could safely be discarded. I spent a couple of days editing all my documents and reduced them by about half, but I still have thousands of photos in files that I have to weed out the rubbish from. In the end Chris let me keep them all for now, with the promise that I would edit each folder, little by little over the coming weeks. Then he had to copy everything across from my old machine on to the new one and every now and then it would object to something, so poor Chris has had to keep redoing bits. He is a very patient man. The whole thing would have gone out of the window by now if it had been down to me. We had a couple more hiccups this afternoon, but now I think everything is running smoothly. All except for the sound card which didn't like the change, and Chris has bought a new one for me that is winging its way here curtesy of ebay. Today I discovered that I can still use my skype phone without a sound card; I just can't listen to music yet. So I am a lucky lady, a) to have a nice new computer to work on, and b) to have such a talented man to set it all up for me. I can use it to the level that I need to, but I don't begin to understand the workings of it. But then I don't really know the workings of the washing machine or TV either and I use both of them quite competently, and although Chris is always encouraging me to read books and understand the computer better, I think that is something best left to the expert in the family!

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