Just another week in Spain

The biggest disaster of the holiday was undoubtedly the lack of chips.

Driving up the N340 from Gib, we planned to stop midway at Marbella to have a leg stretch for us and the dog, and grab a nice ración of freshly cooked chips.

It was a bit chilly with a nasty cold breeze, so we agreed to eat inside, although normally we would sit out by the Landy and Pippa would let us have a few chips share the chips with Pippa.

I walked around to enter the restaurant and order the chips. I looked at the door perplexed. Not only was it locked, the iron grille was in front of it and a chain was through it and padlocked. I shut my eyes, shook my head, opened my eyes and waited for the doors to be open. Open Sesame?

It didn’t work. Still closed and very firmly locked. I looked at the opening hours. Yes, winter hours were ten until something or other. Kitchen hours 12-4.30. That means full meals, you can always get a toasted sandwich or chips if you don’t mind waiting for the fryer to heat up.

This was so not good. I desperately wanted chips. I had spent the last hour and a half fantasising about chips. We agreed to stop off elsewhere and get chips but by the time we got there I didn’t want chips. I had wanted chips earlier. We pressed on home.

The next biggest disaster was the freezing cold wind that seemed to be gusting all over the Costa. For those who don’t know the Costa del Sol used to be called the Costa del Viento until it was renamed. After all, the Windy Coast isn’t quite the same incentive for tourism as the Sunny Coast.

It’s nothing like as windy as Tarifa which has to take the prize for mind-numbing wind (hence the high suicide rate in the town), but days of cold winds in winter is no fun at all. It means no sitting outside, no gardening, no external maintenance, and no cycling. OK, some idiots go cycling in the fierce cold winds, but I’m certainly not going to when there are plenty of nice warm calm days to cycle.

But when the sun comes up, and the wind drops, life is good.

The good life?
The good life?

I am NOT asleep - A good life for dogs too?
I am NOT asleep – A good life for dogs too?

However it’s not so good in the rest of Spain. We noticed some of our neighbours, who have/had a construction firm, had fallen back to the staple living in our area – growing veg. No idea whether they are growing it to sell or just to live on, but if you have enough to rent a bit of ground, at least you won’t starve.

Broad bean coming along nicely in my garden
Broad bean coming along nicely in my garden

The best trick is to try and sell your produce directly. The local corrida (wholesale veg market) not only takes commission (obviously) but also takes a minimum of six weeks to pay out. Although our village is small, we are at the centre of a big agricultural area and our local corrida is huge, with massive frigitrucks coming from all over Andalucía, and further afield, to buy and sell.

In fact, many of the local veg shops both in our village and in the nearby town, only manage to survive because they grow some of their produce themselves or their families do, or their neighbours do, etc etc. Quite a few of the veg shop owners in town come from our village, and the others come from other villages where crops are the mainstay of the economy.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the approximate unemployment rate in Spain is 25%, and that rises to 50% among young people. That obviously doesn’t include all the stay-at-home women who have never registered for employment because they spend all day cleaning, shopping, and cooking.

Does the high unemployment among young people explain the horrific incident in Valencia towards the end of last year when a dog was burned alive? Nothing better to do with their time? Want to victimise something, someone? Amazingly it survived and was treated – and then died. I’ve not included the link as the photos are very distressing.

But what about Fat Cats in Spain? Gatos Gordos literally, but for some reason the Spanish have Fat Fish – Pez Gordo!

While half the nation’s young people are out of work, and a quarter of all adults are unemployed, the royal family has managed to claw back a salary reduction they took in July last year. Or to be precise, Juan Carlos (king) and Felipe (his son), have recovered their previous salary reductions of 20,000 euros and 10,000 euros. That was a really significant gesture eh? ‘We’ll drop our salaries by seven per cent for six months, and then go back to the previous rate in the new year.’

Readers of this blog may recall that any respect I had for the Spanish royal family went out of the window last April when Juan Carlos cleared off on a private hunting trip to kill elephants in Africa (Botswana) while most of the country was suffering from the economic depression and imposed austerity measures. That’s before I even start on Felipe’s comments about Gibraltar. Hello royal family, don’t dabble in politics, there are enough idiots doing that as it is.

Naturally in the spirit of equality, Sofia (queen), and daughters Elena and Cristina, have had their budgets cut by 55,000 euros leaving them with a mere 260,000 euros to spend on their appearance expense budgets this year. The men get their money back and the women take a bigger fall.

The royal garage has taken a bit of a hit too, with the number of offical vehicles now standing at a mere 45 (!!!) from a whopping previous 72.

However, overall the budget has been cut by four per cent and for the first time is under eight million euros. ‘Twould be interesting to compare with other royal budgets, but I have better things to write about. And it’s a shame Juan Carlos and Felipe couldn’t quite manage on that tighter budget. Families live on that sort of money that they have clawed back – and less – all year.

Meanwhile, I should also add that the household budget does not include:

• royal trips – paid for by the foreign ministry
• security – paid for by the interior ministry
• vehicles – (all 45 of them) paid for by the finance ministry
• palace maintenance and other royal residences – paid for by national heritage

It must be good to be a taxpayer or on the dole in Spain, knowing that the king and heir to the throne couldn’t manage on a pay cut, and that the public is also funding their trips, personal security, cars and accommodation.

What about Iñaki Urdangarin? Royal son-in-law, married to Princess Cristina, who has been under suspicion of fiddling funds for nearly six years now. Tax officials are investigating alleged fraud and say that he used a ‘ghost’ company with his wife to conceal a million euros in earnings and avoid paying tax on the money.

Then there is the former Popular Party (Partido Popular) treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, who is under judicial investigation and just happened to have an undeclared 22 million euros in a Swiss bank account.

The PP is currently under fire regarding allegations that party members have received huge illegal cash bonuses on top of their legitimate salaries. The PP, is of course, the party currently in power in Spain. If you can call bailing out the banks, wrecking the economy, and leaving the average person on the street without a job, ‘in power’. Or perhaps they are indeed in power, a clear-cut case of ‘Yo estoy bien Juan,’ (I’m all right Jack) so stuff the rest of you.

Meanwhile, the PP wasn’t too happy that Spanish TV company Telecinco had the audacity to host a programme on the topic and threatened to take legal action against the company.

Surprised and stunned, several commentators on the show suggested it might be more appropriate for the PP to bring legal action against Bárcenas rather than a TV show.

[El Pais]

How about convicted criminals being allowed to head up Spanish banks? The government started a consultation this week reducing the requirements for people wanting to be in charge of the country’s banks. The banking chiefs don’t seem to have done a brill job so far, but let’s open it up a bit wider for even more irresponsible people to get their dedos in the till.

For the first time ever, having been convicted for criminal offenses will not be sufficient cause to stop an executive from taking a senior role in a bank.

Good news eh? Let’s have a few convicted crims running the banks – rather than unconvicted ones – or those who have been pardoned like Alfredo Sáenz, head of Banco Santander, initially sentenced to three months in jail but later let off.

Meanwhile the Catalunyan parliament has approved a sovereignty declaration. Not surprising really is it? given the brief summary of news above. Whether or not it will get anywhere is another matter as Madrid is not too keen on Catalunya – or any of the other more bolshie communidades – leaving Spain.

All stories on this post from El Pais which tends to be my preferred Spanish source of news, there is an English version, although the Spanish one gives more info.

Some very different perspectives of life in the real Spain this past week.

But back to the Costa del Viento.

Wandering onto the terrace one morning at sunrise I was surprised to see the clouds on the horizon looking remarkably like the view I see from Gib of Morocco. For a minute, I thought it had floated up the coast!

Is that Morocco I see?
Is that Morocco I see?

We played at identifying cloud images. Before they quickly drifted off and floated away into nothing.


By sunset the cloud had moved around again and Morocco was now in the southwest.

Morocco at sunset?
Morocco at sunset?

And Ensalada de Axarquía, a local salad named after the area where we live. The key ingredients are radish, orange and avocado, all of which are currently in season. Wonderful combination however strange it may sound. My neighbour adds the inevitable Little Gem lettuce hearts, but my taste is for something a little greener. Doesn’t matter what you add, so long as you get the three basic ingredients, usually a little onion as well, fresh green cebolletas.


47 comments on “Just another week in Spain

  1. Bad news about those chips. Once a week I walk into Grimsby just to have fish & chips on the way back and I’d be so annoyed if the shop was closed.
    Talking about selling your own produce I have sold two driftwood boats this month so need to go on holiday now to get more raw materials.
    Poor old Royal Family but I expect they would justify the cost to taxpayer by arguing that they bring in tourist revenues – that’s how the QE2 inc. works!
    Hope that wind drops soon – if the temperature here wasn’t hovering at just about zero I’d almost feel sorry for you!
    I am going to Catalunya (Girona) in July so I will look out for Separatist sentiment and report back!


    • I tell you, I was sunk in a depression for at least an hour. Chipless in Andalucía :D

      Didn’t know you had set up in the boat-building business, thought it was just a hobby thing. Impressed.

      I don’t know that the Spanish royal family does bring in tourism actually. Not quite the same as QE2 inc. Not got the same cachet in my opinion. Whatever anyone’s view of royalty I think she gets top prize in the medal rankings for royals.

      Bit of rain today (here in Gib). Not much. I’m inside with cold feet :(

      By July anything could have happened. I hear there is a bus to the airport at Girona now. There wasn’t back when I went. Girona is nice I think, have you been to the Dali museum in Figueres before? Whacky.


      • It is on my ‘to do list’ Probably miss Barcelona – I’ve been there & been robbed so there are no more tourist experiences, so will take a look at Costa Brava and then drive inland for a few days!
        Last time I went I was ignorant of this separatist thing so I will be more attentive this time.
        Sorry to hear about the bit of rain – it must be awful!


        • I really like Dali, but I got an overdose in the museum with the spooky dead body in the car, or something like that.

          It’s worth going though.

          I think we went to Roses on the costa. Can’t remember much more. A wasn’t keen on Barcelona so we didn’t really get the most out of it. Didn’t appeal to me as much as some of the other Spanish cities anyway.

          I planned a good (bus) route around some of the inland towns so I’m sure you will have a good time there.

          It’s no coincidence that Catalunya – and Pais Vasco – the biggest proponents for independence, are also the most industrial and richest communidades, followed, to a lesser extent by Asturias and Valencia. I have some sympathies with them. And yet that would leave the rest of Spain pretty poor. However socialist/communist Andalucía is, the blunt truth is everyone knows the communidad is too poor to go it alone, even if it is geographically the biggest. No wonder Spain wants to get their greedy little mitts on Gib :D

          I like the rain. Especially when I am inside, and I can see it watering my parsley plant :)


          • I think Scotland has a valid claim. Silly, but valid. You only have to look at the health bung they (used to) get (not sure now) but they had more health expenditure per head than English people. It’s always about natural resources and industry. I used to agree with Home Rule for Yorkshire, before the pit closures, the death of the steel industry …..

            A was into Welsh nationalism (coal, steel etc) but really, the Welsh never really do anything in a particularly demonstrative way do they? Apart from the odd game of rugby or a bit of Cwm Rhondda. I’d actually like to see some separitism/independence that would work. Not much else is working :D

            I’ve left some in Spain, brought a plant back, and have some more seeds to plant. Nightmare to germinate though. Only problem here will be lack of light. Outside but six floors down in the patio :(


  2. Chip deprivation! I sympathise. Travelling down to home in France there was a superb chip van just before getting to Bauge….the best.
    So you can imagine how I felt having slathered in anticipation from Le Mans to find it had closed.

    Worse…the van was there for years afterwards…raising hope.


    • LOL!! I always thought Belgium was meant to be good on chips too. But basically all European countries rattle together the fastest tastiest driest pommes frites. And we get free salt and pepper and tiny cartons of vinagre de modena. I mean I prefer vinagre de jerez but still, presents are not to be sniffed at.

      I feel your chip pain. I think we are both coming from the same chipless place :D


  3. Sorry but I don’t identify with your no chips distress. I like them but rarely eat them so I when they aren’t available it doesn’t phase me but reading that introduction did amuse me.

    My history lessons re: Gibraltar and Spain were long ago and taught from distance. I’m enjoying the up close and personal education I receive when reading your posts. The unemployment figures are heart wrenching. The fact the highest unemployment rates are among youth points to the roots of political cynicism and perpetuation of the brokenness. It appears the corruption governance model that gives rise to the tax dodge mentality will prevail through yet another generation. When there is no work there is an increase in crime no matter where one lives so I assume that’s the case there. The contrast between lives led by the unemployed and underemployed and the monarchy is painful to read.

    From what I can ascertain by scanning documents on fiscal consolidation & reform of the public sector, structural reforms, funding and debt management, Spain’s dependence on external financing, due to the corrupt political/economic model and resulting huge deficit, meant the banks have have had trouble raising this external financing since in August 2007. It seems the funds that went into fueling the housing industry were not well spent or that the focus on only that sector was an error in judgment. I’m no economist but don’t think that will be changing any time soon. It a conundrum. There needs to be an attitudinal shift between the ears of Spaniards before a much needed political/economic shift can happen. Unless this generation of youth mobilizes, becomes militant and becomes the change they want to see, it seems the same old broken model will just go on and on.


    • You’ve changed your avatar! I never think about chips normally but it is a sort of ritual, stop, stretch legs, walk us and dog, have chips and sometimes a sandwich. Sometimes we don’t bother with the food. Depends. I just happened to want some and couldn’t have them :D

      I never had any history lessons re Gib, only Spain in the 15/16th centuries, Ferdinand and Isabella basically. Interesting to see it from a totally different perspective. Isn’t that always the case on the ground though?

      I find the unemployment and abuse in the workplace (for another post) horrific, compared with the lives of the rich. Society no longer seems to have a conscience.

      Spain’s economic problems started many years ago. The country has always relied on a construction boom and investment in housing from northern europe. It couldn’t last and anyone with half a brain could see that.

      There could be a problem with militancy in Spain as it could go either way – fascist or communist once again. Who knows?


  4. Nothing worse than setting your stomach for something and then not being able to get it after all.

    I saw on the BBC website today that the unemployment rate among young Spaniards has now reached 55%. With that level of helplessness and lack of hope some aberrant behaviour is hardly surprising, however much we rightly deplore it. I wish I thought the economic clouds would drift away like those clouds in your lovely photos.


    • well, it is an occasional splurge but when it didn’t happen, the life and the journey moved on :D

      I see I am out of date on the figures :( but terrible however you look at it.

      Those figures don’t even include the young people like my neighbours who are on local courses (catering) and will they find a job at the end of it?

      The mismanagement of the economy should be laid squarely at the feet of politicians, bankers, and everyone else pulling the strings that make the life of the ordinary person totally wretched.


  5. About the chips. As you may know my brethren in Quebec have raised the whole thing to a high art through their development of the delight known as poutine (chips, gravy and cheese curds). It’s definitely ‘up there’ in terms of awesomeness. What’s less known is that we here in Newfoundland have also developed our own specialty: chips dressing and gravy. The dressing is actually turkey stuffing made from bread crumbs, onion, butter/margarine and mmmmm savoury. Recipe: get plate, dump a large mound of large-cut chips on the plate, (cook them in much-used deep fryer fat for extra flavour) pile on some dressing and drown the whole thing in gravy. Catsup: optional. EVERYTHING you felt outside those locked gates is known to us here who have been deprived–even for a few minutes–of our treat when the urge happens. Oh, and don’t get me started on the royal Shenannigans. Part of the reason we became a separate state… Honestly–those Privileged bunch of ____. Ok, down off the soap box, Maurice…


    • I have actually read about poutine courtesy of the wonderful internet thing.

      Probably a bit rich for my taste these days, but I understand it is delicious for those who choose to partake.

      In fact, your stuffing recipe sounds wonderful. My mother made a mean stuffing for pork, onion, sage, breadcrumbs, butter – sounds pretty similar. Er, but no ketchup.

      Loving your local recipes from across the seas.

      In terms of royals, I’m just writing about Spaniards for now. Interestingly I think it seems to be the men who are the biggest idiots in the royal families. I do think QEII tries to do a good job, although struggles with her family. I thought she was quite fond of Canada too :)

      If you want to get on a soapbox, please visit Clouds which is my ranty blog. All soapboxes welcome over there :D


  6. NOthing worse than thinking and thinking about a special treat, traveling all the time thinking – then not being able to get it.
    Dreary enough about the economies world wide and those in charge trotting in their own little atmospheres, so depressing and discouraging
    So instead: Pippa – such wonderful pictures! And those clouds were intriguing. And anything with oranges, avacado and a touch of green onions is a real winner.
    Enjoyed the post and commenters


    • Mmmm, yes, I was looking forward to my chips. An hour and a half on the road and I get hungry, which is why we sometimes take sandwiches. But we had both agreed chips would be good. Pippa also agreed of course.

      Right now we are all living in very different worlds. So sad. And, so not good.

      Pippa demanded to be on the header as he feels his blog is being neglected. After all, Spain time is gate time. Molly – do you have a gate? A dog needs a gate to sleep at guard.

      We spent more time looking at and identifying clouds than I did taking pix of them. It was such fun.

      I got such a huge bag of oranges from the neighbours, they have appeared in every salad. Yum.

      Thank you. Like you, I have some great commenters, that really add that extra je ne sais quoi to whatever I post. Makes it a seriously worthwhile effort when people take the time to add some different insight or perspective about whatever takes their interest.


  7. I’ve tried to read through your post to the end, but each time I start I end up looking at the gorgeous Pippa at his gate. :-) and don’t get much further.
    He looks so relaxed and serene lying there……beautiful.
    A looks very relaxed too :-)


    • Is that the header photo, or the ‘I am NOT asleep’ one :D Or both ? As he doesn’t get to post on his own blog very often, I thought I would sneak a gratuitous pic or two in here. His expression on the header does remind me of Jasp at times.

      I think A was looking relaxed because he was watching me working in the garden :D


  8. sorry about the chips. how insensitive of them not to be open when you were planning on being there! and poor Pippa had to do without, too.
    i thoroughly enjoyed the Pterodactyl cloud. i must have slept in class years ago when it came up, so thanks for filling in the gap now, LOL. seriously love that sunset sky – and your salad sounds so delish. am a big avocado fan, and oranges and radishes are on my fave list, too. will have to try it out one day.


      • They are always open, so I don’t know what the problem is. The one on the other side was open too, but there is no connecting footbridge :( And, it was still closed on the way back, so there must be a staff problem or maybe a structural/equipment issue?

        The pterodactyl clouds typically occur in the evening before sunset floating around from the north to the west, often occurring above the Morocco formation.
        Hope that helps :)

        I remember now, salads are among your repertoire are they not? I’ll get round to adding it to my salad section in the recipes page. some day.

        Pippa barks haroo :) He moved faster than normal this morning, when next door’s father was carrying out the cat for it’s daily perambulate around the roof. Our door was open as A was revarnishing it and he thought there was a doorway of opportunity, but sadly they had gone up the stairs too quickly.


  9. “Apart from the odd game of rugby or a bit of Cwm Rhondda”. Now be reasonable. What more is there to life than rugby and a good chorus of Cwm Rhondda? We sang it when we said farewell to my father, then my mother and lastly my brother. Best funeral song there is. I want Max Boyce singing Hymns and Arias at mine. Harry’s got a horse. ROTFL. If Cymru did do a UDI then I might take up residence as a tax exile and claim my Domicile of Choice as Llanbradach. Bad news about the chips. There used to be an Enrico Ramsdens in Wanchai once but I think it closed. Moral of the story is to take a primus and chip pan with you. There is a Dutch birder who is alleged to have have made porridge whilst driving his car to a twitch. Claimed he was hungry and didn’t want to stop in case the bird disappeared before he got there. May be apocryphal but knowing the cloggies, I doubt it.


    • Haha! Never thought about you reading the Welsh comments above :D Nothing wrong with rugby (although I’m more of a league woman coming from Yks) and I actually do like Cwm Rhondda. We were at a pub one night in Pontnewynydd one evening and suddenly the whole bar erupted in song. Not drunken singing, just beautiful gentle tuneful voices. Can’t remember what got sung at my father-in-laws funeral in Pontypool but it wasn’t Cwm Rhondda. The church was full though and the singing was lovely.

      I can’t bear Max Boyce. But I don’t like Billy Connolly either. Probably because I can’t understand either of them :D

      Not sure where A would choose for his domicile. Must ask him. Maybe Pontypool (for the rugby!), but other options where he’s lived would be Newport, Usk, Tintern, doubt he would pick Cwmbran.

      Enrico Ramsdens :D I used to live not far from the original. There was a much better, smaller (and nearer) one a few miles away so I think I only ever went to Harry Ramsdens once.

      I often do take sandwiches, but like the luxury of the freshly cooked chips (by someone else) to go with them. It would just take too long for me to cook them and would turn a 20/30 min stop into at least an hour! Bit risky cooking when driving although porridge would be safer than chips.


  10. Sorry about you not being able to get chips. That is awful there is such a high rate of unemployment in Spain. How can anyone burn a dog or any other living thing alive…I just don’t understand acts like this. Here a few years ago a man skinned a dog while it was alive. Just makes me sick to hear things like this. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. Yes, that is a male cardinal in my front yard. Hugs


    • I’m over the lack of chips now :D The unemployment here is just getting worse.

      There are a lot of animal cruelty stories out there, I mentioned this one because it was Spain. Your cardinal is lovely.


  11. Know the feeling about the chips as we have also often driven over to Cleethorpes, supposedly to take the kids to play on the beach but actually to sit on a bench overlooking the sea and eating a bag of proper chips from a chippy. You can’t beat chip shop chips eaten in the fresh salt air. :-)

    The spanish political situation makes our lot in the UK look good ;-)


    • Did you get bits/scraps in your bag of chips as well? Used to love those. Chips here are pommes frites style of course, but they are yummy and we get lots of vinegar with them too. Must cost them a fortune when we visit as they usually give us two or three little containers of balsamic vinegar. We do hand back the ketchup and mayo sachets though.

      Hey, Spanish politicians are doing a great job, I read yesterday we are now at the top of the European league for unemployment!


      • Ah, ‘scraps’, my wife LOVES them and will always ask for some on her chips but I’m not a fan. I prefer to have a nice saveloy and a curry sauce with my chips if I’m too skint to afford a decent piece of fish. Fish and chips from the chippy is not the cheap meal it used to be though.

        BTW my wife is now hankering after some chips and holds you entirely responsible ;-)


        • We used to call them bits but my partner called them scraps which is why I put both up :D When I were a lass, the only options at t’ chippy were haddock and chips. Exotic extras consisted of pickled onions and mushy peas. Times have changed muchly.

          I am not responsible at all. You can however tell her that we have just brunched on burger, sausage, tomato, mushroom, toast, and a little leftovers from last night’s salad – potato salad, and greens/tom/cuc/fresh onion and olives.

          Not a chip in sight!!


    • Pippa says he wants to know what has happened to his blog. Again. And hopes BDR is well.

      Don’t forget the avocado though. In fact we are having a salad tonight with just orange, love the slightly tangy, slightly sweet, citrusy flavour.


        • I wish at ten cents, or even ten centimos. I did buy one today, and some wonderful radishes, to go with the oranges left in the fridge. Just nearly burned the pimiento which I’m adding to the salad. No good for my virtual dinner party ;)


  12. Aah, totally empathise with the chips fiasco, not so with the diminished budgets of the Spanish royals :-) As for criminals heading banks in Spain, we are quite ahead with convicted criminal in our legislative assemblies!!


    • The chips, ah, I will learn to raise my expectations in future.

      Shame the Spanish royals don’t have lower expectations.

      Don’t tell Spain about your crims, they will be copying you tomorrow. Gib won’t be far behind either :D


  13. What a sorry experience to be craving chips, particular chips and find the restaurant closed. I hope it’s not closed for good, which happens to many places we develop an affection for, despite our best efforts at patronage.
    Travelling food is topical in my house at the moment. In the 600 kms between Sydney & TA there’s not much that from long experience we found is worth bothering to stop for if you just want something quick, not a relaxed lunch after which you’d not be inclined to get back in the car & continue the journey. We have a bag of emergency food, packet chips [crisps], muesli bars, chocolate sometimes [for the G.O.] and always water in case of a breakdown [unlikely] or hold up on the road [possible].
    On our way back to Sydney yesterday the G.O. suggested a pie stop… and most of it went to a poor, thin local dog hanging out on the park who didn’t even mind my spinach & cheese pie…
    I like hot chips well enough with a pub meal or proper fish & chips but I’m not a stand alone chip eater… sometimes the G.O. will ask randomly “do you want to get some chips” to which I’ll look at him like he’s mad, and respond “Nooooo… but you can” at which he looks disappointed and doesn’t bother. He was also incredulous to find out the other day that I’ve never eaten a chip [or crisp] sandwich.
    It may be though you’ve hit upon a solution other than home packed sandwiches or snacks for our travelling food options. The bonus is the G.O. will think I’m being lovely when I suggest it :)
    Sometimes I wonder how different a monarchy where financial wellbeing is routed from the citizens is to a dictatorship… Fat cat greed in any guise is appalling, more so in proximity to escalating poverty and economic downturn for those less privileged. Snouts in troughs… baahhh.
    Not all is lost… I do think the fat cats miss out despite their riches, cars and perks on a quality of life found in vegetable gardens, cloud watching, celebrating life simply with beers or glasses of wine on the terrace, and food prep such as the wonderful Ensalada de Axarquía supper you shared visually.
    I am comforted by fat cats also have as well as ordinary human and day to day life issues to deal with that no-one no matter how rich can absolve themselves of – some things money can’t buy. As for “rich people’s problems” when I have to hear about them… all related to over consumption… I have no sympathy or time for it.
    It’s interesting… In my late 20’s I thought I was doing well. I had a good job, enough money and was building a modest 4 bedroom brick veneer house courtesy of a government stimulus first home buyers package incentive. At the same time I found myself working for people who were very very rich – the descendants of the Yellow Pages business empire – and who had incredible lifestyles. I had to give myself a little shake to remind myself no matter how rich they were, it didn’t make me any worse off, I was happy with my lot and had more than enough.
    I do wish the extremes were more balanced though… the very poor could do with being a little more better off. And really the fat cat lifestyle is all about status and being seen… they could survive adequately stylish with far less.


    • I tell you I will not be getting myself excited about chips on our next trip. I shall report back. It was closed on our return journey because I specifically looked.

      Now 600 kms is a nightmare. I would need at least two meal breaks! And a nap!! Spinach and cheese pie/spanokopita sounds good. I would have accepted your hand-outs too. My memories of Aussie pies were always meat pies with chips and ghastly gravy. I avoided them like the plague. Don’t remember any spinach and cheese ones unless I was a Greek part of town. I did live on them when I went to Greece though. Totally yum. I do have a recipe for a similar Italian thing which apparently is a traditional Easter dish, although I haven’t made it for years.

      It’s obviously traditional in the UK to just buy a bag of chips. It’s the sort of thing you do as kids, go to the chippy, buy a bag (with bits/scraps) and then sit around eating, chatting, and just generally hanging out. That sort of delinquent behaviour would probably be banned these days on the grounds it would lead to obese kids (never did me any harm) and is socially irresponsible just to sit and chat :D

      I don’t remember ever having a chip butty though, although again it certainly used to be pretty common. My sandwiches tended to be more on the lines of smoked salmon or prawns so chips weren’t really any competition.

      I’m not really a sandwich fan at all, they never seem to taste so good after they have been made for a few hours. That’s one of the reasons for buying the chips, makes the sandwiches more palatable! I’ve bought crisps in the past for the same reason but they actually taste more greasy than the chips, probably because you can’t soak them in vinegar. If I buy a sandwich out our standard fare is a tortilla sandwich (Spanish potato omelette rather than French omelette). I had the same meal in Málaga bus station and I was absolutely stuffed afterwards. It wasn’t as well done, and it was just too much for one person, even though I thought I was starving. So, if you know a place that does decent chips – go for it and the bonus points too.

      My issue with the Spanish royal family is that they dabble in politics. To be fair to Juan Carlos, he was groomed to be Franco’s successer ie to continue the Spanish dictatorship, but he went for democracy instead. But I think if you have a monarchy, they should rise above politics and find something better to do. If they can’t they shouldn’t be there. I do admire the queen (British ie EII) I think she works very hard, takes a real interest in the Commonwealth, and does a good job representing all her people (ie not just UK). She’s made a shit job as a mother though! if you look at her arsey kids.

      We had ensalada de Axarquía again last night. Couldn’t resist a beautiful bunch of radishes at the market, so then I got an avocado too (should have got more than one). No green leaves with it, but I made some potato salad.

      There is a fine line between jealousy, ambition, contentment and satisfaction. One that we all have to find at some point in our lives. It’s about judging ourselves on what we have done/achieved without going down the insidious road of comparisons.


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