The rain in Spain …

… stays mainly on the N340.

The second journey in less than a month, setting off in rain. I like travelling in soft rain though. It’s soothing. They grey light doesn’t jar on the eyeballs or give me vertigo over the nasty drops when the N340 takes the high road. The N340 is the coastal route that runs down the Mediterranean side of Spain.

The non-toll road hugs the coast closely whereas the peaje soars above the coastal plains into the hills, although mostly keeping the sea views. It has evil bridges over rivers, and horrible tunnels through the mountains, neither of which are good for people with a fear of heights and claustrophobia. Bright sunshine triggers the vertigo, but cloud or rain make the journey much easier.

Back at the finca, I was relieved to hear José call out to us not long after we arrived. With neighbours in their late 80s you can’t help but worry about the inevitable even though the pair of them seem invincible. The next day he was pottering around on his terrace messing about with his plants (as was I) and Adelina wandered outside in her dressing gown too. Of course they gave us a bag of veg.

More wretched pumpkin – but I have found a pumpkin bread recipe, so it will be that or soup, or the curry I found a while back on a blog (assuming I can find it again). Plus a couple of artichokes, (which went straight into my paella), a few peppers and three courgettes that were bordering on marrow size.

While on the subject of food, I went in to see my darling cockerel, still doodling away merrily. He did not like the vile cacis either. He’d pecked at one, obviously thought it tasted disgusting and left that one and the other two untouched. Discriminating chap, say I.

What do you do in Spain when it rains? Not much really. No TV, no internet, although I did have a book with me that got finished. Sit around, chat, drink beer/tea/cava/tomato juice, depending on your preference. Cook, eat, stay in bed.

Last time I’d forgotten to remove the yellow rose. It was still there in the glass of water looking perfectly for all the world like a dried paper rose. Bizarre. Not a single petal had fallen. Outside, the red blooms valiantly stood up to the wind and the rain.

The potatoes were doing well. One tomato was persevering despite the non-tomato weather. A nasturtium grown from seeds acquired off a plant down the street was displaying its triffid tendencies. Pretty flowers too. Must look up how to use them for salads.

As I mentioned breakfast tea, and crockery last time, here is a Spanish version. Reb said that her Twinings breakfast tea comes in red boxes. So does ours in Spain. Also, they are packed in dinky little envelopes and have a nice string on. Our British ones in Gib are just a plain square tea bag, no fancy packaging. Are the red ones for the export market I wonder?

This crockery is Tognana, which I bought years and years ago. I thought I had better add that before my observant crockery experts started guessing again.

Breakfast tea at breakfast time
Breakfast tea at breakfast time

As both Reb and Jenny were guessing at the blue crockery in the Gib flat, I had a quick search on the tinties. It’s made by the Churchill company in England, and comes from the famous potteries area in Staffordshire.

Jenny and Reb had the right idea as it is Scandinavian inspired, the crockery is called Finlandia. Bread and butter plates seem to be going for $10.99 on ebay, I could have me a nice little earner there. In fact, on closer inspection, I suspect mine is a salad plate which goes for a very pretty $25.99. Even better. Trouble is I like it, so it won’t be going anywhere in a hurry. Now I’m beginning to wish they had given us the full dinner service, lock, stock, and smoking barrel.

The Churchill company dates back to 1795. On my hunt around to find out more about Finlandia, I discovered the crockery was originally made by Myott Meakin, which was then bought by the Churchill China Group in 1991.

This firm was a young upstart compared with the Churchill Group, as it was only founded as Meakin in 1875 in Tunstall, Staffordshire. Most of the tableware was made for export, particularly to the USA.

Their products were used on the Flying Scotsman, and they were employing between 1000 and 2000 workers in the 20th century. In 1976, they were bought by Myott, Son and Co to become Myott Meakin. No idea when Finlandia was first designed and produced.

I am a sucker for The Potteries (the area of the UK where the famous firms were located eg Wedgwood) and can always be found browsing around the ceramic section of any museum.

After that crockpot diversion, back to the weekend in Spain.

Partner insisted on olives with his evening salad. Off I went down to the shops in the village. Who should I meet? but Paco the van man.

Hola, como estas?

Bien, bien, etc etc

My marido told me you had work last time he spoke to you.

Yes, he said, but only for four days. Sad face.

(The going rate in the fields for a day’s work is €40)

Better than nothing, I said brightly. Yes, he agreed.

How about you? he asked.

Nobody wants me, I said. Nadie me quiere. Sad face from me this time.

Suddenly I was enveloped in a big bear hug ‘Yo te quiero,’ he said. I want you.

I couldn’t be offended, he’s a nice man and it just seemed like a friendly gesture.

For non-Spanish speakers, the verb querer is an odd one. Primarily it means to want but it can also mean to love. So te quiero can be either I want you or I love you. Presumably to Spaniards the two are interchangeable anyway :D

We saw him again on the Saturday. Days of rain had started to make their mark on the river bed when we went for a walk down there. I love the way the water course changes from time to time, with the water always choosing its own way regardless of how the bed is levelled by tractor or filled with rubble.

Rain erosion in the river bed, the actual water course is currently running to the left where the greenery is
Rain erosion in the river bed, the actual water course is currently running to the left where the greenery is

Leaving the river bed and wandering up the railway track, we heard loud music coming from his van. In fact he wasn’t there, he was busy cutting down cane at the side of the track, hoping to sell it to other agricultural workers who were too busy or disinclined to cut their own cane. I’ve got a lot of time for someone who is trying to survive as best as he can, and who has such a neat and tidy plot where he lives – even if it is just out of the back of a van. (There are pix over on Clouds on the link above of his plot)

We stayed in bed on Sunday. ‘We’ll get up when Manolo comes,’ said Idle Partner. There are two bread deliveries in our street, the half seven/quarter to eight one, and Manolo who, over the years has come anywhere between 8am and half nine. These days he comes pretty early. Shorter round maybe? Still, he had the presence of mind to open up a shop when a large new housing estate was built so that must help supplement the delivery income. He’s a nice bloke. We used him when we first came, although I cringed as he would sit in the back of his van, dispensing bread with fag ash falling everywhere. He has one day off a year – Christmas Day.

After we had both dozed off again, I wondered if we had slept through Manolo’s visit (he toots the van horn). Then I remembered it was Sunday and his Sunday delivery is usually around 12.30. I asked Partner if he was planning to stay in bed until midday? I got up to take out Snowy.

Not only was it a wet weekend, on Sunday morning, it seemed cold. I glanced up at the sierras that form a border with Granada province, running from the highest peak Maroma down to Nerja. Ah yes, that would explain it, topped with snow. And even as I watched and tried to take a pic, the cloud dropped rapidly over the top of them.

Snow over the sierras
Snow over the sierras

José and I agreed that we were having a little of everything – un poco de todo – regarding the weather. Sun, rain, cloud, wind, snow on the sierras. Looking for things to do in the garden, I decided to take down the shelter over the veg plot. It’s there for a number of reasons, sun protection, cabbage white and other veg hunting predator protection, and more recently Snowy protection. But in winter, my veg need light and sun. And obviously rain too, on the rare occasion it happens.

Snowy supervising the dismantling of the casa de Bolivianos
Snowy supervising the dismantling of the casa de Bolivianos

So down came the casa de Bolivianos. And the name? It refers to one of our neighbours up the street. A number of houses have their basement garages converted into living space. Selina is one of them, and has always rented it out. With an eye to the main chance, she decided to build a second rental property on the front terrace which is NOT big. It was sort of garden shed sized, presumably with a subterranean level as well. She promptly installed a couple of Bolivians. First they had one child, then another, and on the arrival of the third, the casa de Bolivianos obviously wasn’t big enough for five people so they went elsewhere.

But ever after, whenever we see a tiny space, we wonder how many Bolivians we could rent it out to. You could certainly sleep two in our veg plot. If you haven’t met Bolivians, believe me they are very short.

And suddenly the weekend was over and it was back to city life and work on Monday.

Hurry up. We're ready to leave, what's keeping you?
Hurry up. We’re ready to leave, what’s keeping you?

No queue. We sailed back across the frontier.

The pikies – part 2

It’s a good thing Partner and I don’t go out in public. He definitely fits the category of ‘if it isn’t nailed down…’

Busily working away on Friday before we left for Spain, scrounging tea and biscuits or whatever else, Partner was chatting to a woman who had 12 umbrellas. Who on earth has 12 umbrellas? She was throwing two of them out.

‘I’ll have those,’ he said, almost snatching them out of her hands. Luckily she was quite happy for him to acquire them.

Umbrellas don’t always last long here. OK when it is downwards rain, but when there is a gale-force wind, they are ripped to shreds.

So, a couple of new brollies came in handy. One each no less.

Nice red brolly - he's taken the other one with him!
Nice red brolly – he’s taken the other one with him!

Wandering out on Monday to the supermarket, I encountered a couple of pikies of a different type outside the block.

As I’d emptied the rubbish bin, I helpfully threw the bag at the monkey. He didn’t look impressed. Clearly no tasty food inside, and he totally ignored it. (I know he was a he because I got a glorious eyeful of his rear end)

Down Main Street, one of the shop attendants was waving a brush at encroaching monkeys to keep them away. Poor monkeys.

Monkey espied my Morrisons bag. Morrisons bag means food. Junk food for monkeys. Not in empty bags, silly monkey.

He grabbed my bag. This, I can proudly state, is my very first sort-of monkey attack. Attack is too strong a word.

‘There’s nothing in there sweetie,’ I said, in my best nice dog voice. ‘Go on, leave it alone, fuera.’ (I figure monkeys speak llanito). And off he went. No harm done.

‘Are you all right,’ asked one person standing in a shop doorway. ‘Yes,’ I said puzzled. Perhaps I knew this person. ‘How are you?’ I asked quickly. ‘I’m fine but the monkey attacked you.’ ‘No, he didn’t, it was nothing.’

But therein lies the problem. People ARE frightened of monkeys attacking them. What is cute to tourists is frightening to some Gib residents. The little ones aren’t frightening but even I wouldn’t be too happy if a big alpha male decided to have a go at me.

The one sitting on the rubbish bin outside my front door was a big alpha male. Luckily he was busy finding tasties from inside the wheeliebin. As I was walking down Main Street, locals were warning each other that there were monkeys further up the street. I rang Partner in case he was going to take out the dogs.

Personally I think tourists – and taxi drivers – feeding monkeys should get an on-the-spot fine.


Almost forgot the book I finished over the weekend. ‘The Shakespeare Curse’ by J L Carrell. One of those books about a possible unfound manuscript by famous person of the past. I’ve read one before about Wordsworth. This wasn’t any better. They always involve murder because the manuscripts are worth so much and the manuscript always ends up burnt. Yawn.

The only promise seemed to be the ex-boyfriend who was former Special Services so I was expecting him to kick the shit out of everyone. He didn’t. To cut a boring story short – not recommended.

Rating, a generous two and a half out of five. Style was ok, but plot was not good.

Tightrope, on the other hand, by Antony Melville-Ross was a cracking read. It’s the usual MI6 type tale, with naturally, the odd traitor or two within the department, baddies to hunt down, a smattering of sex, departmental politics, and a few good people getting killed too. If you like that sort of book, it’s highly recommended, even Partner couldn’t put it down and polished it off in a couple of evenings.

Rating, four, or four and a half, out of five.

Indigenous pikies:


66 comments on “The rain in Spain …

  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend and were quite relaxed. I’ve found if you buy the normal boxes of tea bags they come plain and without individual packaging, but if you buy the small packs of 20 which are often with the speciality teas, ginger, lemongrass etc, they seem to come in the individual wrapper. Having bought my way through a selection of the small boxes this weekend I now consider myself an expert. I’ve been looking for one of the glass lidded boxes you keep the specialty teabags in but the ones Twinings do are a horrendous price. Maybe I’ll have to buy one of the balsa ones and deco-patch it. This is as a gift for someone I bought Twinings Christmas tea for and haven’t been able to find it since ( or remember where I got it from), this is by way of a substitute.
    The yellow rose does look as though it’s been crafted from paper. It’s amazing the leaves haven’t dropped.
    I agree with you that people should stop feeding the monkeys as the more they do the bolder the monkeys get in search of human food and Morrison’s bags certainly offer promise.
    Halfway through a new week so your next weekend isn’t too far away to give Snowy and companion another outing maybe.
    xxx Huge Hugs xx


    • I think my blog post has just morphed into one of your diary ones, and I only covered half a week!

      Our tea bags are 50, although I would buy 100 if they did them. The Spanish ones are 25 in the box. Same for green teas. I do have a proper tea caddy, I think it has some tea in it too, but I’ve not used leaf tea for a while.

      ‘you didn’t get rid of the rose,’ he said. No interest in the fact it was perfectly preserved, but there again he doesn’t like nasty spiky roses.

      I love to see the monkeys in my street, or anywhere really. I think it is fine if they come down the town for fruit, eg nisperos, figs, olives. But feeding them rubbish just to take photos isn’t good, and they have developed a taste for human rubbish :( The bins outside our block have just been replaced and have lids on. And monkeys can’t work out how to open lids??!! Plus, they get over full every day so rubbish gets piled up around there. Monkey paradise.

      I suspect next weekend is Varnish The Bed Weekend :(


  2. I think you should just get rid of the monkeys but I suppose that is out of the question because doesn’t no monkeys mean the end of British rule/citizenship (whatever)? Apparently, during World War II the population of monkeys fell dangerously low and Winston Churchill ordered that their numbers be replenished immediately. So you have WC to blame for all your monkey attacks and irritating visitors that feed them!
    Tea in Spain is a mystery to me. Ask for it at breakfast and you get offered luke warm water and a selection of herbal, fruit or mint teas. I always take the precaution of packing my own supply of Yorkshire tea bags. Last year in Siguenza I sent the hotel owner into a panic when I asked for black tea to the extent that he telephoned someone and had a box immediately delivered from somewhere.
    Shame about that rain – it’s a bit damp here today!


    • Ah yes, I did see that over on ADIP’s post. And I do remember those anecdotes although not from the time, obviously. You may, however :D WC is not to blame for ignorant selfish tourists though. And I don’t care about monkey attacks on my shopping bags, only when my older fragile neighbours are frightened.

      Tea and the Spanish is indeed a mystery. I asked for manzanilla (sherry) and was offered manzanilla (tea). So not what I wanted. But manzanilla is probably one of the better offerings, preferably manzanilla con anís. Camomile tea with anise. You don’t get the anís out of the bottle but the tea is flavoured with it. And even then you have to get the right brand. Tea is not Spain’s strong point. Café is better. You can’t got wrong. Yorkshire tea is vile, says the woman from Yorkshire.

      I like the rain. We see it so rarely. No golf then?


      • I’m an Earl Grey man myself and going to Newcastle at the weekend so will try and pop by and see the statue.
        To be fair it isn’t all of Spain that is bad at tea, Galicia is excellent and Portugal are good too but then they claim that they knew all about tea even before the English and that it was introduced here by Catherine of Braganza when she married Charles II.
        No golf – my crazy days of playing in all weathers are behind me now.


        • I used to drink Earl Grey, but the last time I had it (at a customers on a paperhanging job) it tasted vile! Where are you going in Newc? I want to know! I expect a travel post! And photos! Ten years of my life there, nearly as long as Spain.

          I’ve never had tea in Spain. The coffee and the beer win out every time.

          Soon be sixty eh? :D


          • Not 100% certain. It’s a child minding weekend. Jesmond I think. Kim has some plans to show me around. Tynemouth and the City Centre I think. Ashamed to say that I have never been to Newcastle.
            On the other hand I am 100% certain that I will soon be 60!


          • Hm. Jesmond is Ok but not as good as Gosforth, she says ostentatiously. Castle in Tynemouth is ok. Try a rip-roaring night out in the Bigg Market. Note to Kim, wear very short skirt and skimpy, very skimpy top (you don’t count because no-one looks at men). Do avoid the shops, so boring. If I can think of anything interesting I will add it. At the moment, I’m running on low :D


          • Staying in Richmond on the way up, its one of my favourite places, I’d like to live there again one day.
            Any travel tips gratefully accepted.
            Oh dear, I hope you are ok!


          • Richmond is good yes? Done all the bits, the castle the theatre etc? Bet you didn’t stay in the YH?

            I meant running on low on useful info for Newc! Oh, Wallsend of course. Start of Hadrian’s Wall. Now that is a good one. Then you can gaily follow various bits of the wall. There is a good castle with an old one and a new one somewhere northwest but I will have to rescue the name. And then Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh and all those cute places. Chuck the baby out of the window like Eric Clapton did/didn’t.


          • Belsay, that’s the one. A good mix of everything, gardens, often has exhibitions, tiny sort of quarried out garden and olde ruines too. A bit like Hardwick on a lesser scale. Morpeth. Rothbury. Cullercoats and Whitley Bay if you like Dire Straits and The Animals. And fun fairs (WB). The new bridge over the Tyne that my university pal designed :D The mining museum up at Ashington I think. End of tourism lecture for now.


          • If they aren’t going to leave Gib they won’t need it will they? But I’m sure they’d get it if they applied. Born in Gib of Gib parents etc, they would be entitled to the prestigious red ID cards too.


  3. Sounds like you and partner had a very laid back kind of weekend. Your monkeys are very similar to the ones we get in South Africa; such opportunists. As we’ve invaded and built on their territory, I guess we can’t begrudge them though. Those Twinings tea bags here also come in a fancy red box and are individually wrapped with strings and tags. I’m sure the packaging costs far more than the tea.


    • Yeah, it was nice. It’s an effort to go because Gib weekends are also nice, but once there it is so chilling. I don’t think you can blame the monkeys either, any bad behaviour has been brought on by us :( I do like the fancy teabags, but cringe at the packaging cost every time. So then I wonder why the difference?


  4. Mercadona is selling PG tips now :)
    I love the querer/amar equivocation. It’s a fascinating insight into the culture. Compare it to the French love/like (aimer) which are used as the same word. The French version is non-committal, you can keep people wondering where you are on the scale. The Spanish version jumps in head first, there’s no way out of I Want You.


    • And that is such a wicked new avatar. Smoking, I might point out, is not good for one’s health. But you know that. Obviously.

      Anyway back to Jane Birkin, or whatever. I was waiting for you to pick holes in my understanding of querer. And yes, the French comparison is a good one. Unless you are singing Je t’aime of course. Where it is pretty clear.

      I had ti amo in Italian once, not much different to te amo. I was most confundida.

      In a way, I like te quiero. As you say, it doesn’t mess around. I like simple. And after all, what is wrong with I Want You? And later, you can drift into the softer meaning of te quiero. Or maybe not :D

      Somewhere I think I have written what my partner first said to me, and it certainly wasn’t as subtle as any of that.

      I don’t like PG Tips. And Mercadona’s breakfast tea is not as good as Twinings (bought from Supersol).


  5. Oh my, the monkeys. A problem of sorts. I’d be scared out of my wits it one got too “friendly” with me. I love all wild animals but of course these are sort of semi-feral now and there-in is the problem as you have written that people continue to feed them.

    Love the info about your dishes. I could look at old dishes and never get tired. So much history and all are so pretty – in my eyes.

    Back to back cars on a rain slick road. That is frightening. I try not to drive when it is raining. There is always an increase in accidents for fools often do not slow down, no matter the weather.

    Snowy is growing so fast and my favorite pic of this post is of Snowy and Pippa Dog in their crate in the Rover. Too cute.

    The succulents are thriving and are so pretty. You really do need some large containers for veggie growing. Yes, roses will dry of their own accord. They are still beautiful in all of their faded glory.


    • The poor monkeys are only a problem because people make them one. They aren’t frightening. Just see three young ones now while out with Snowy, and made sure he did NOT bark at them. They were just scampering around a kiddy play park. They are semi-everything now, semi-feral, semi-civilised, semi-town monkeys- semi-wild monkeys. Bad mix.

      I think the history is interesting too. As with many issues, I could have written a whole post on it. Perhaps for another day when I run out of subject matter (!!)

      My mother in law was the best. She picked us up at a railways station and shot down the motorway at max speed virtually up the bumper of the car in front. Partner had taught her how to drive originally and pointed out she was a little close. ‘Don’t you tell me how to drive!’ Oh well.

      I think Snows has reached a sort of plateau for now, although he is certainly getting heavier when I carry him down the stairs in the block. Or when he jumps on my stomach :D

      I would have left the rose to see how long it would stay like that, it fascinated me, but sometimes, I accede to his wishes. Never mind containers, I need a HUGE finca with lots of ground :D


        • Ground was the original plan, not just for growing but for a few goats, lots of dogs, maybe the odd donkey, pig or two. I think what we have is more practical tbh although if we do sell the finca for somewhere nearer Gib, we might go for more ground and less house. The good thing about Spain is that you truly learn how to make less into more.


  6. Well I must say I appreciate the lengths you went to regarding your china identification! Very satisfying – this so called tongue in cheek crockery expert is well chuffed. Have vague memories of a breakfast set with very shallow, rather attractive cups – checked with the Oracle (mother) and she has a couple of saucers left. The blue is slightly paler than yours, but almost the same design and they are so old that the markings on the back have been obliterated, so don’t have absolute proof of name although Oracle thinks it was Copenhagen. She acquired it in a house clearance amongst other stuff when Dad was in the antique business. As it wasn’t the kind of merchandise he would sell, we had it at home.


    • Even I can occasionally manage the odd internet search so long as too much eBay doesn’t come up, although in this case it was for once helpful.

      While I admire ceramics of all types, especially back to roman times and Samian ware, I have no knowledge of current brands/designs/companies blah di blah. ie My mother had Wedgwood, her pal had Royal Albert, and I hated willow pattern is about the extent of my knowledge. However delving into the history and tracking something down is far more interesting.

      Myott Meakin, interestingly, according to the link, started getting pots made in – where else? – China, but stopped that after only a couple of years. Ironic. British pottery made in China in the late 20th century. Is there nothing that can’t be manufactured in China I ask? China (although not technically) from China no less.


  7. Hmm, another post WP chose not to tell me about!
    I too have been doing a lot of travelling recently, but unlike you, I prefer travelling in the sun, perhaps because my journey is all motorway and the spray from rain is horrendous.
    The road skirting the coast sounds idyllic, though I’m not fond of tunnels, they make my ears pop.

    Your yellow rose is fascinating, it looks like it’s come off a Munsters film set, how odd it didn’t drop its petals.

    Oh the days of elegance when pottery was used on the railways instead of plastic cups.

    Snowy is getting bigger each time you post a photo, he doesn’t look like a puppy anymore, and oh so white too (better not speak too soon if he starts gardening).

    The monkeys’ coats look in lovely condition, I’d be so tempted to bury my fingers in them, probably the last time I’d see my fingers though.


    • Hah, I thought you were signed up to emails?! Just do what I do, and check on fave blogs from time to time.

      Our toll roads are quiet. Hence no spray :) The benefits of being time poor and – currently – cash rich. I like the other road, but as A does the driving, he prefers the quiet toll road. I’m not sure I could manage it. The last time I drove up a steep hill in Spain, it freaked me out, I had to turn round, I couldn’t handle it! Weird.

      You get decent china in first class :) Or at least did last time I travelled.

      Six months (approx this week). Still acts like a puppy though. Mix of playtime, feisty and wanting cuddles. The white is amazing – if I see a speck of dust on him, I’m sweeping it off, shame I’m not as efficient with the furniture!

      Little ones are ok, must find my pix of Brig, will send you them by email or find the linky, not sure whether it is just landys or itchyfeet.


  8. That’s a super display of mother in law’s tongues…..
    We used to keep off the autoroutes when travelling through France…they were just so boring and we would have missed the drama of always getting lost by missing the invisible sign in Mantes la Jolie….though we were well aware of the direction signs which point sideways when they mean go straight ahead…
    No such problems in Costa Rica…not many roads and no signs at all once you are off the national class ones. which is how we ended up driving down a steep hill onto a suspension bridge with more gaps than slats and a river a very long way below.


    • I did wonder if anyone would notice. Can’t remember where I acquired them from – the beach maybe? or one pot thrown out and the rest potted on by me? – but I have a few pots. I think they are quite striking.

      We didn’t use toll roads in France either, and the roads we did use were all pretty quiet, although circumnavigating one city was quite hairy, can’t remember which one, I would have to look at the map. Somewhere between Caen and Biarritz :D

      I think that would have freaked me out somewhat. I would have started freaking at the top of the steep hill. There aren’t a lot of roads in Spain considering the size of the place but the maps are appalling, part of the problem is all the dirt tracks that are used, and all the hills. You can’t say – we’ll head that way it’s the right direction, because they often turn round on themselves. Oh for some OS maps.


  9. I knew they were in there, and you made me wait right till the end! (Ad in paradise- yes, I really think she is :) ) Trying to get a grip on your nomadic lifestyle. And the monkeys.


    • I did have an alternative monkey header, but the frontier queue in the rain fitted the title better. Saw some more yesterday afternoon two, but thad the dog with me so was concentrating on him not barking at them.

      Nomadic? Not as much as it once was. Should really call this blog Tale of Two Cities, or rather Tale of a City and a Pueblo, which doesn’t have the right ring to it. Anyway, hard to pin you down, if you’re not in the Algarve your gadding around elsewhere in Europe or the UK!


        • Yes, however small it may be (30,000 people approx) it is technically a city and has been for hundreds of years. Apart from anything else we have city walls and I live inside them, which is always much safer in case we get invaded!


          • We do have a drawbridge at one of the entrances :) it’s down in Casemates Square (which also has a second entrance – without a drawbridge)

            Near us are Southport Gates, two separate old ones which still have their doors, and the newer Referendum Gate which is quite ugly and has no gates, I think they should add some!


            You wouldn’t be alone in thinking of Gib as an island, many people do. I’ve even said it as well, because it does feel like one, and driving down the coast from the north east, it looks like one too.


  10. I can’t believe nobody has taken the opportunity to point out that when it rains in Spain the answer is to head for the hills so as to get away from the plain? :)
    Your reaction to the monkey was exactly the right one – no fear, and no aggression. It is a pity tourists encourage over-familiarity.
    To those who say get rid of the monkeys – sorry, but monkeys aren’t the problem; people are! And, actually, the monkeys have far nicer personalities.


    • Nice one, although when it rains along the coast, it rains in the hills too. It usually rains in the hills first, and the coast often escapes it. My pueblo has one of those odd micro climates. It can be raining all around us, but the rain carefully passes us over.

      The monkey reaction was an automatic one. I had nothing in the bags, so he would lose interest pretty quickly anyway, hence no need for fear or aggression. I used my soppy dog voice because it is the one I use for all animals, whether my dogs, stray dogs, other peoples’ dogs, feral cats, my cockerel, donkeys, horses, the list is endless. It’s not about the words is it? It’s the tone. The difficulty comes if you do have something they want – in which case if you are local, you know to walk another way round.

      I did find the shop woman waving a broom at them particularly annoying. Why not shut the shop door? One minute the monkeys are being treated and feted by tourists, the next locals are shooing them off. How confusing must that be?

      Most animals have nicer personalities than people, but that’s hardly saying a lot is it?


        • I’ll give you the first three, but the jury’s out on cockroaches. Although I suppose they don’t do any harm, just freak the shit out of me when they scuttle around. Best time for dog walks, 6am and middle of night = no people. They should all stay at home instead of cluttering up the streets.


          • Poor cockroaches have a bad press. They are actually quite clean and fastidious creatures, and did you know that they are edible for humans?
            Unpeopled streets are much better.


          • They might well be. They just freak me when they scuttle. For years we had one in the bathroom. I referred to him as My Naked Lunch creature. And then I remembered what Naked Lunch was about and worked out he was a cockroach. Shame really, as I thought he was a cutie until then.

            As I’m vegetarian not an issue for me.

            Yes, get rid of people and life would be great.


    • it just fitted the theme of foraging, scavenging, taking other people’s cast offs/rubbish, whatever you wanted to call it. I like the odd exercise in lateral thinking. My vocab tends to extend in the direction of colloquial Spanish, and what they say down here isn’t always the same as they say in my pueblo, although accents aren’t too different. And then there is ‘proper’ ie Castilian Spanish, which is like ‘Queen’s English’. That’s before you even get into llanito (what Gibraltarians speak ie a mix of mostly Andalucían Spanish, with English words thrown in, plus the odd bit of Italian, Maltese, Jewish ….)


  11. If I visit Gib I promise I won’t feed the monkeys. In Malaysia the monkeys were quite bold and several of them scared me. I’m glad the “attack” was minor. Is it wrong to say that I still think they are cute. But scary at the same time.


    • OK, that’s good, thanks for that. The monkeys will be disappointed although they are perfectly adequate at finding their own food. I think they are cute, saw such little ones today and Snowy wanted to go and play with them :D Only the big ones are scary.


  12. So many adventures. Traveling in grey skies is rather soothing – less bright glare, more noticing stuff. Snowy is 6 months? Envious how Pippa tolerates company in crate. Currently the German is back for a day or two while Person out of place and unable to be certain of getting home for dog walks. The German hates a lot of cuddling and lumping together. She likes a few pets and hugs then wants to go over there and lay down and observe…along. Molly is really pack oriented – always bumping and wants to snuggle sleep with the German…who gets tired and hates to be touched …”if you do that one more time…” They are napping now, Apart, but Molly gets sad at the rejection.
    History of pottery and ceramics is intriguing. Well designed useful things.Of course , the UK made is/was considered the most desirable. We have an old Wedgwood plaque from my great grandmother bought when she was young and traveling – it was one of those “don’t touch” pieces. I’d love to visit the factory. Clay is cool – but I can’t throw a decent looking pot.
    Poor monkeys – with such a variety of treatment, no wonder they get annoyed. It is pretty cool they are around. The big males could be a bit intimidating.I didn’t know WC watched after them.
    Spain and GIb. Ready to travel…especially today with the weather…and wild dogs. Pippa and Snowy: help!


    • I love the cloudy travel. I can gaze out of the window for ages. Happily.

      Yup, Snowy is six months now, the little rat. Pippa is so calm, he occasionally plays the bitey face game but mostly ignores S. Mirror image of the G.

      I have a hoard of Wedgwood, no idea what to do with the damn stuff. Really need to sell it somewhere. Trouble is on ebay shipping costs.

      I like monkeys, it is serious monkey time right now, see them every day, the cuties. Yes, WC did, obviously believed the old folklore about no monkeys no Gib.

      Good luck with weather and travel, we’re staying put apart from a few (ie a lot) of dog walks.


      • I know what you mean about having “stuff”. Victorian china, cut glass, furniture. Too good to toss. But would like to lighten up. Perhaps an auction house…ebay is much to iffy/crime and fraud ridden for me to deal with.
        With luck tomorrow will be clear and we won’t have a repeat snow/ice storm – temps dropping. Have taken plenty of jaunts with Molly today just in case – but they’ve already shut county offices and some schools for Tues, so it will probably be sunny!


        • Aaagh, I have the whole lot, cut glass, two sets of bone china, most of the furniture is in Gib flat but I’ve still got boxes and boxes that I need to get rid of. Too good to throw out or give away. Lots of people I know seem to love ebay. Perhaps the Brit one isn’t too bad? Don’t know as I can’t bear scrolling through it.

          Wicked weather your way. I set off with Snows after lunch for his regular walk, and decided to go further, whereupon it started to rain. Not much, but as he doesn’t have a coat yet, I didn’t want it to turn into a downpour and the poor little mite to get soaked. Paws crossed for sunshine for you.


          • A snow flurries(big ones right now) and drizzle. Not as bad as last Friday here – it ‘s going north of us then up the east coast. May clear shortly, but cold a few days…as long as there’s sun.
            One thing about smaller dogs – you can grab them up in a pinch and run for home..did that with our rescued Westie…his little legs just windmilling – his dignity was injured…he was a real prince – with short legs…he refused to acknowledge.


          • Oooh, I used to love big snow flurries. So lovely. Not much of anything here, windy, cloudy, sunny, warm, chilly, typical Gib day. Snuck a couple of off-lead runs for Snows. His little legs go like there is no tomorrow. I pick him up to go into friendly shops, and if I stop to talk to people. Little dogs are so funny. And demanding, still not caught up on yours. BARK! you will come and sit with me….


  13. “So te quiero can be either I want you or I love you… “
    Sorry to correct you here. “Te quiero” never means in Spanish “I want you” when referred to a person, but always “I love you”.
    “Querer” as “to want” always refers to a thing, not a person.


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