The two youngsters were practising singing Happy Birthday to you. Lucas
seemed to have got the hang of it better than Roisin, but Lucas had picked up Spanish quicker than any of us and has turned out to be the darling of all the old ladies in the village because he speaks to them. We have a huge number of accents here in Andalucia and no two villages pronounce words the same! Anyway the kids kept singing and then came the bit of who's birthday it was...........Feliz Culpeanos dear Alfonzo Juan Carlos Jose Fransisco.......'Hang on a minute', I butted in, 'You can't lump five kids birthdays in one heap like that.' 'We're not Dad,.....thats Alfonso's name!!! At that point I left them to it, they had already caused confusion earlier in the day when I found them washing their feet in the Bidet. 'Why are you covered in mud?' I dared to ask. 'We have been over the river and met an old woman. She said unless we come back by next week she is going to eat the kittens as she can't afford to keep them!' Roisin joined in, 'She's very old and squashy and looks as though she's shrinking, and will probably be dead by next week so that would solve the problem, wouldn’t it Dad, and can you pass the towel please.'
Helen has increased her total of Grooming customers from 2 to 3!!! so you
can tell how hard pressed she is. Two Westies and Black Jack, a Japanese
Akita who is so fat she has to groom most of him lying down and the rest of the time he is suspended on chains!! The bit he enjoys the most is being
hosed down in the stable yard with the kids having a shower with
him.........it gets hot here. We had 16 hours rain in total from May until
last week, when it chucked it down all week...much to the delight of the locals. The temperature during the summer can be extreme and grooming takes on a different technique. The pavements are so hot
you could fry an egg on them if you were daft enough to go out during the
afternoon, and if you had clipped all the hair away from a dogs feet, you
could produce a very unhappy hound, hopping from foot to foot!
The builders are slowly driving us round the twist and it looks as though
another 2 weeks at least will be needed to complete the conversion of the
old farm house to our super dooper Guest accommodation and new bedrooms for Christy and Lucas. We are looking forward to completion before we take to the drink (at 45 cents a litre)and become Alco's!
And finally............We stood in the queue at the Supermarket, along with
about a dozen other people. The couple being served were English with a very Oxford type accent...'Can you tell us if this jar of jam has any
preservatives in it as our daughter is allergic to them?' The girl on the
till was trying her best to keep a straight face whilst the ladies in the queue were almost having hysterics. PRESERVATIVO IS SPANISH FOR CONDOMS!!!
The Tripple H.
I was cutting two caulis and a cabbage as Danny appeared out of the bushes. “Did you get an invite”? he was always quick off the mark and I told him that we had. He called my caulis, criticised my cabbage and then having said he”d see us there, disapeared as quick as he”d arrived. Weddings always seem to effect him that way . Our main concern when we are invited is have we got 150 Euros to accept.! That’s the main problem with wedding invitations...they are going to cost you. Its not just the cost to the Bride and Groom its all the drink that adds up over the day. This wedding is at 3.00pm at the church....................that means 1pm in the bar. The church will take a 2 hour lump out of the day and if you decide not to attend but wait for after the church then you have another 2 hours of drinking to get through before going into the reception. We tried the route via the church service...just the once. It was in July and as the service finished the organist played Jingle Bells as we filed out!! We all reckoned that the organist was in the Bar before the church.
Sorry to be so long winded but we are buried over here with dogs!! the Spanish are weird in so far that they expect us to be on hand 24 hrs. a day. Today I was out at the back of our house applying the tenth coat of varnish to a 200 year old Cortijo window frame, intended to be a new cabinet for the extended kitchen. All hell let loose as someone wrung the bell at the front gates and our Alsatian and the back up crew of Porcea,, the sausage dog belonging to Lucas, fronted the charge. The Spanish bloke standing on the other side of the gates was not concerned as he hung onto his Alsatian cross. i eventually arrived to greet him with the usual "Kaypassa" which has so many meanings its ridiculous. On this occasion I meant "what do you want?" Sure enough he had arrived on Dec, the 23rd and wanted a kennel from today to the 26th......and "could we do it cheaper as it was a long stay"? Cant beat the Spanish for cheek .!
Anyway, that has Naff all to do with why I write to you.
Andalusia in the rain is absolutely no difference than Ireland in the rain, except that it might just be a wee tod warmer.....like 23 degrees!!! A bit like having a shower in the garden. We found out that the best way to get the two young ones to have a shower before school, is to ask them to clean the car. Half an hour of trying to drown one another turns them out quite clean!
At this moment, (2nd week of April) Andalucia is looking rather beautiful. The crops for this year are now showing their colours and the land is looking like a patchwork quilt. You can have a choice between the cotton fields, the wheat, garlic, onions, melons, carrots, swedes and any other veg you can think of. The crowning glory are the fields of Sun Flowers. These are really beyond my feeble efforts to describe to you the beauty of this very special land. We have chalked up our first year now and feel quite at home. The villagers have made us feel very welcome, and Helen and I have a few Spanish friends that we go to lunch with at weekends. The three kids, Christy (Cristobal) Lucas (Luca) and finally the cheekiest one of all, that has Dad around her little finger, Roisin (Rosea) are all doing well at school and learning the language better than Helen and I.
The property boom continues in rural Andalucia with little 3 bed houses fetching ridiculous prices. It would seem that everyone is trying to escape the coast, due to the violence and robberies that occur on such a regular basis. We are an hour and a quarter from Malaga and in this rural area only peace prevails......long may it continue. It does have it's drawbacks in as much as the locals don't speak any English.! We have all had a very urgent crash course in Spanish and it seems to be working. Horse riding. Perhaps some of you know that we have spent quite a few years Endurance riding and we brought 3 of our Arabs with us (That is a 2 page story on it's own!). In Spain there is no 'Law of trespass' Providing you are not causing damage to a crops, you can ride anywhere! Sounds good? It is good! We can ride for 50 miles without any problems and the trail from Osuna, 25 miles away, can offer you 375 kilometers of continuous riding without a gate or a fence in your way! There is a hell of a lot of bars that you will have to drink your way through.......at 45 cents a liter for a good wine it might take you longer than you had planned!!!!! For anyone reading this on Inishturk, (how is my dog Sophie doing?) or Clare Island, (Bernard are you keeping well? how's the B&B doing, have they finished that dammed harbor yet?) Inishmore and Inishman are distant memories that Spain will never remove.
We had Paddy's day in Spain! Would you ever believe it? The kids were asked by Pepe, the Head, if they could come in Irish dress for St. Patrick's Day! Lucas and Roisin wore our Endurance shirts as they were the only things we had that looked anything like a St. Patrick's day dress! The two kids left as usual at 10 minutes to nine for school, they only have a little way to byke. I found it hard to keep the tears from my eyes as the two green terrors rode off to school wearing the Irish colours so proudly. Roisin rides away shouting 'Bye Dad, see you later, love you. St. Patricks Day for ever!!! The Tripple H...in Espana! xxxxx
Some where in the bowels of the ship one or two large engines stated to
growl, and as the boat moved from the quay Ireland receded into the misty
and rainy distance. (Please God we have got it right). The whole family
stood at the rail until there was nothing to see. As we opened the outer
door to be welcomed by the heat of the ship and the smell of food I had a
feeling that we had got it right and to start a new life in Andalucia in
Southern Spain was as right as it could get. We had loaded a 40ft. Horse
lorry with 3 Arab horses and everything else we could cram into it. We were
going to follow it down for 2500km. with the Jeep and trailer, with 3
Hamsters, 4 Cockatiels, 6 Pigeons, 2 Dogs and one Cat!!......3 kids and a
Nothing exciting happened until we arrived in Pamploma......snow, and lots
of it. Driving through France was only expencive...nothing else realy made
an impression, Pampaloma was about to change all that. The Jeep was
strugling with the weight of all behind. The occupants of the trailer had
suddenly had a huge temperature drop and the water bottles had started to
freeze up. Ireland might have been cold and wet....it was'nt freezing and
getting colder. The kids started making known their concern. ' Dad my
hamsters wont be happy in this cold, they wont die will they? and what about
Christys pigeons'? (Please God can I ask one more thing? Can you please
send a snow plough as I'm running out of ideas?).........Ten minutes later a
snow plough arrived and we followed it over the mountains and 2 hours later
into an area that at least looked as though someone lived there. The
temperature rose and we breathed a sigh of relief. Within minutes the
waterbottles at all the cages started to thaw out and we drove into a part
of Spain that was'nt snowed or frozen up. The three kids went to sleep.
We arrived in Madrid at the same time as the mobile rang. It was the lorry
with the horses and our belongings on board. 'Hi this is Mandy from the
Horse Transport, we are at your house and there is nobody to meet us!!!!!!!'
At that point I thought that all things spiritual, mistical, magical and
otherwise had deserted us. They had arrived a day earlier than us and had
nowhere to off load the horses or the thousand and one things that make up
our sole belongings. Iit was one in the morning and once again I was running
out of ideas. ( God......) no, he's had enough of this lot, must think we
are all bloody mad. Then the thought of the century came to mind........who
got us into this mess?......the estate agent! Lets ring the git and ask him
to solve the problem!!!!!!!....at 1.00am on a Sunday morning............he;d
love the idea as he was always a miserable git and now he'd have something
to be miserable about!! The same pillock that showed us a Water pump house
in the middle of a 10 acre Ollive orchard and said it would make a lovely
house with a bit of imagination!.......and it was a bargin at 180,000
Euros.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!silly git must have thought we came from England!.
He did'nt sound very delighted when he answered the phone, and sounded even
less enthusiastic when I told him the real problem..........the lorry wanted
to off load now and be on his way back to France to pick up 2 race horses.
It was at that point I felt he went off us.
Monday in Spain was different. The temperature rose to 25. The month was
Feb. and things were looking up....at last.
Love you all, THE TRIPPLE H.
This months Andalucian Recipe............from Helen Louise.
This really quick Tapas is for as many people as you have with you. Allow 4
Peppers per person, get out the deep fat fryer and a plate large enough to
hold your peppers and put 2 sheets of kitchen towel on the plate. The
peppers should be the green, long and twisted ones, not the hot ones!
Wait until the fat fryer is up to full heat and then tip all the peppers
straight in. Don't take off the short stem or cut them in any way...they
just go in whole. They usually keep floating to the top so push them down,
and keep doing it for about 2 minutes. Lift them out(holding them by the
stem) and onto the kitchen paper then sprinkle them with sea salt. Serve
with crusty bread and a wine you like...enjoy.
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