New aloe aloes?

Two of the worst jobs in a newspaper office arrive together at the year end: the new year’s honours list and the annual review. You have to be very unlucky – or very unpopular – to get both of them.

The annual review on a weekly newspaper isn’t too bad, there are only 52 weeks a year after all. But on a daily, you are looking at wading through more than 300 newspapers to try and summarise the exciting and noteworthy events of the year.

Blogging isn’t much different. While the old training kicks in and I feel compelled to review the year, the idea of reading a year’s worth of blog posts is not exactly appealing. Last year ie reviewing 2013, I chickened out and went for what I could remember with: Best of Both Worlds.


This year (2014), to be utterly frank, I can’t remember what happened between January 1 and April 30. It was as though my year started on 1 May and I spent the rest of the year encased in a very small bubble.

I broke my ankle. It hurt. It needed operating on. I was out of action for months. I’m still not very mobile. That basically sums up my year, although glancing at a few blog posts before 1 May, I seemed to be out and about and taking an interest in life around me. Until. The Ankle.

The old adage is true. There is always someone worse off than you. And worse things happen at sea too. But it was a hell of a shock to fall and break bones so badly that I needed surgery. It was nearly 40 years since I had been in hospital as an in-patient. Sure I’ve had bad sprains, but they get better. When you can’t even stand up, you know you have a big problem.

Perhaps having sprains and recovering from them lulled me into complacency. All I can say now is, treat your balance, legs and feet, with the utmost care and respect. Being unable to walk, and confined to bed or sofa, is dire. Yes it’s manageable if you have a personal carer. But it changes your world. Being unable to go out is mentally debilitating both in a physical and intellectual sense.

And the long road to recovery is paved with things to trip you up and make you fall all over again, resulting in a type of paranoia about attempting to negotiate that big outside world.

Just a quick reminder for anyone who missed the glorious technicolour of last year …

But let’s have a couple of other – very different – views on the same subject.

Having dutifully informed my few real life friends in the UK of this, I was immediately outdone by both of them.

Friend 1

This one told me her broken ankle had been caused by her mad horse running into her, rather than a small Podenco like Snowy, and she had LOTS of pins and plates which she later had taken out. They told her she would never play tennis again but she proved them wrong and is now skipping around the courts again. Bully for her. I haven’t a skip in me. She also told me that the key was lots of sports physio and rehab which will also help to stave off the arthritis. Yeah great. Not all of us have private health care, can afford sports physio and rehab, or married into one of the biggest land-owning families in London.

Friend 2

On the other hand, my friend who hasn’t worked since I first met him ten or more years ago, told me he’d broken both ankles three times. Each. That means a total of six broken ankles. I can only manage two breaks (one just had plaster, no op), a ripped ligament (op), and the average handful of sprains (plaster). He did however give me some gloomy news which sounded far more like the average person in the street’s experience of broken ankles compared with my high-falutin’ pal.

‘I suppose you will have been told that your ankle will heal and be as good as new. BOLLOCKS!! … Your ankle will remain weak, you will go over on a stone no bigger than a pea [already done that last week] and did they not mention the guaranteed arthritis that will come a few years down the line?’

So there we have it, proof positive that money does indeed buy health, or lack thereof, doesn’t.

Here endeth my review of the ankle year.

I have no recall of any major world events in 2014, they just didn’t enter my bubble world. The year that passed me by ended peaceably in Spain where we spent the traditional construction christmas shutdown.

Bye bye 2014 from Spain

Even when you aren’t in a full-time job, a holiday passes all too quickly, and suddenly you only have a couple of days left out of the 15-day break. Naturally Partner suddenly decided he needed to so something (apart from decimating some of my shrubs as usual) to show results, so promptly bought some paint and sprayed the garage doors.

Apart from gardening and falling over a piece of loose cement on the terrace (qv above), I attempted some extensive walking practice ie up to the post office the day after we arrived. It was closed. A sign of the times? It no longer opens on Saturdays and the half days it was open during the week has been cut down to half an hour a day, 1.30-2pm.

I was not in the best of moods when I returned from the major expedition, especially as I worked out half way there that I should have taken a crutch to negotiate stepping on and off kerbs.

“I’ll go on Monday,” said Helpful Partner. Come Monday he wasn’t quite so keen and we narrowly avoided major warfare, settling instead for a nasty skirmish. I won, he went.

I had another practise at walking up and down the street but it is sooooo boring. And therein lies my problem. I find exercise for the sake of it utterly boring. Not helped by the fact that limping takes twice as long, and vain Roughseas doesn’t like to be seen looking ungainly with her clumsy gait and ugly crutch.

The garden, on the other hand, was a much more interesting diversion. The artichoke was standing proud and rampant, dwarfing the dwarf peas that gave up the ghost as the artichoke blocked out all their sun. The not-so-dwarf peas, different variety, were flowering and podding nicely. Towards the end of our stay, the broad beans started flowering. Rocket and basil were all over the place. Some lettuces were ok, others seemed to have given up like the peas. Still, keeps our darling cockerel happy.

Next doors were short of money. Not so short that they didn’t give us something (including the Christmas tapas tray above), and Partner spent a pleasant late morning round there over a beer, discussing bikes, the economy, unemployment, and how Spaniards wouldn’t dream of offering their cast off furniture to their neighbours. And of course, Pikey Partner found himself a decent couple of garden chairs one day at one of the street rubbish bins.

And next-door-but-one offered us some lemons. First time in … er … 12 years! Apart from anything else, it meant we could share the haul with some Gib neighbours, Ramish upstairs who gave us some very hot chillis before Christmas and our neighbours over the road just because.

New Aloes


Let’s end with one of Gib’s upmarket properties, currently for sale, and the proud winner of the ‘Best International Property Single Unit’ in the world in the International Property Awards competition.

The property, New Aloes, initially won best single property in Gib, then went on to take the European award, and at the finals in Dubai last month, came out as the global winner.

So, if you have £10.9M spare, and want a pied-à-terre in Gib, maybe this might suit? All photos from the new aloes website, which has more details and plans of this seven bed, eight-bathroom, parking for ten cars, residential staff unit, sauna, jacuzzi, fitness suite, revolving bed (I’m sure that would make me ill), and its own quaint Tahiti-style bar next to the pool. Or is that pools?

And from my north-facing, unsunny, unreformed one-bed flat, I wish you all a happy 2015.


85 comments on “New aloe aloes?

  1. Happy New Year, Roughseas! I do hope this year is better than last.

    Exercise? Don’t think of it as just for the sake of it. Think of it as taking your life back. It’s to improve your quality of life and mobility. Can you listen to music while you walk? Or do you have a nice, scenic, route you can take?

    Love all your photos! Welcome back!!! You’ve been missed.


    • Oh, and when I get home I’ll be checking the cushions on the sofa for the chump change needed to purchase “new aloes”. We can be neighbors! :/


    • Thank you Ruth. Well, not the best of years, but we’ve had differently bad years too, so I’m not sure it classifies as the worst tbh. In spite of the moaning, I think I was in shock for weeks/months, and, I did get help, and did get mended.

      Ruth, I love walking. That’s partly why it’s so frustrating. But right now, I can’t walk far enough or fluidly enough. I planned to walk down to the beach over Christmas but it was just too far. I need better balance and shed loads more confidence. And the blunt truth is, when I have work to do, that gets priority. Hey, I’m better than I was, so that’s a plus.

      Thanks again. I can’t catch up with everything after nearly three weeks so I’ll be getting by blogs poco a poco. It’s nice to take time off, but it’s also nice to dip back in again, a bit like Sonel did with her lovely vervet photos and then gradually catch up with people.

      Very best wishes to you and all your pack.


    • I bored for Britain and Gibraltar on it earlier this year, but people have been remarkably patient. I thought one last summary pictorial review would see it off, and you’ve just validated my theory, not everyone has seen them. I’m hoping it will. It is easing up, just very very slowly. Thanks Rod.


  2. Happy 2015. Hope this year is less trying — accident-wise — than last. The photo of the peas is art you could sell. And as always, glad to see that the furry ones have started the new year looking healthy and happy.


    • Thank you, and to you. These days, at least seeing another year is a bonus!

      Should you be able to sell the peas photo I will happily give you ten per cent.

      The furry ones seem good. This time last year, Pippa’s arthritis had kicked in, but I currently have a stack of unused tablets for a very lively old dog. I’d rather it be that way though, as I know you’ll understand.


  3. I am not bored by your ankle. I care. It matters. I am sorry to hear you still need a crutch, eight months later. Mourn the loss of walking, and value the walking you can do.

    I quite fancy the house. My only chance of living there would be the staff quarters. Oh well.


    • Thank you Clare, and as I care about you too. What I wanted to say in wrapping it up was that it can happen to any of us and it isn’t always six weeks in plaster and off and walking again, or in the case of the ex-para who told me he broke both legs (parachuting) but was running jumping flying whatever again after 12 weeks. We are all different.

      Th crutch is literally and metaphorically a crutch. If I limp without it, I use the wall. When people are around, I need it to create breathing space, safety space.

      I hadn’t thought of the staff quarters. A good idea. A living kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom are what we live in so would probably suit us. Although I would probably be found abusing my staff privileges by living in one or more pools when the boss wasn’t around. I dnt like all the glass though. No place to hide.


  4. Here’s hoping that 2015 is better – at least health-wise – than the past year.

    I, too, find exercise for the sake of exercise dreadfully dull. On the other hand, I’ll ramble all over the sides of mountains and through briar patches looking for critters, old structures, graveyards, etc.

    Glad you’ve got a garden to manage. I do love growing things. No matter how suburban my whereabouts, having a garden provides an excellent opportunity to spend time with the soil, which has always proven rewarding.


    • Thank you CB. I hope so too. Who can tell as we age though?

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. Yup, I’ll swim, cycle, walk, whatever, but doing repetitive monotonous exercises …

      I probably grew up gardening, even a tiny square can reap rewards. I fancy a window box in the flat but it would interfere with the washing line so it’s just the two cactuses inside until I can work something out. Tried parsley in the patio. Think the seagulls ate it all, so needs protection if I try that again. Garden/soil should be a compulsory element of any property like a kitchen or bathroom.

      Hope your 2015 is good for you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So . . . in a bit of a mood, eh?

    First off, best wishes for 2015. That includes getting the motivation to do your own version of physical therapy. These days there is enough information on the Internet to work out a rehabilitation regimen. I’ve always looked at PT visit as more of a way to ensure the exercises get done than to actually provide any more than one could do on their own.

    In all the instances I have gone (including the three times for my recent leg injury), they could have just handed me the exercises on a piece of paper, and I could have done them at home.

    Of course, that’s just my case. I’m sure there are cases, perhaps yours, that do require more extensive interactive workouts. Still, PT is usually an hour every few days . . . if that is all one does, it’s not going to be much help. The key is to get up and do stuff whether one wants to or not, and do as little or as much as one can, but always to the limits of one’s capability.

    But, yeah, I agree . . . never going to be 100%. It can get to where for the majority of activities it’s not a major hindrance. I still can’t walk more than a mile or two without severe pain to the knee and foot (weird because the thigh has the injuries) and associated limping, but it’s improving. No timetable, but by the summer I plan to hike again. Never going to run again, though; my hamstring rip in the early 2000 ensured that. Then again, I was never really into running for running sake.

    Aside from your ongoing injury, it sounds like the rest is regular life stuff, so I repeat my wishes for a better 2015.

    As for the house for sale . . . I don’t recognize the currency; is it even real, or more like Monopoly money? What is that; like $150 or so?

    Honestly, I would not want to live in that kind of house even if I had the money to afford it. Different kind of people, with different views of life and different views of their relationship to other humans. Not something I admire.


    • Mood? Me? Never! Joking apart, I couldn’t think past The Ankle in terms of what happened last year. As for PT, they did hand me the exercises on a piece of paper. I think the only point of me going was to cover their back for a month or so and record my lack of progress.

      Confidence is a big issue, I felt safer staggering up to the post office in our Spanish village than I would tackling Gib Main Street and the hordes of tourists. I’m happy to do things I need to, eg working in the garden, the PO stagger, but I have a mental block against exercise. I did look up Internet exercise and it’s pretty similar to what I was given, I’ve added a couple to the list of rarely undertaken exercises. The one I should really work on is the heel raise ie tiptoes standing. That’s the biggie.

      I hope you achieve your summer goal. Your bruising was quite stunning. I’m getting knee pain too though, apart from a stupid fall when I twisted it, I figure it’s because of the incorrect/unnatural way I’m not walking that’s putting undue pressure on my knee. Not sure why yours is a problem there though. Maybe because the whole leg was affected and out of kilter?

      It’s not my choice of house either. The pool and the sauna might be ok. I have another post coming about silly money. Amazing how people do spend their money. Still, mine not to judge … (well, not very much).

      Let’s hope we both have a healthy 2015 with no unexpected injuries. I caught a few cruise trip pix on yours so hope you enjoyed that, but did you ever post the end of the story?


    • My bad . . . end of story was put on hold because of the trip, and the post-trip catching up with stuff held it off. I’m back writing now, and hope to finish it shortly.

      I did write some on the trip, but it really was not conducive to writing, and it might have actually hurt because I went down a lane I don’t like much. I’m scrapping a lot of what I wrote, and attempting to take up the thread and carrying it to a new path to the end. We’ll see.

      This is the second novel that got interrupted because of travel, and both were tough to get back to. I think this year I’ll do NaNoWriMo in October or September, or anytime when I am more than a month away from any travel.

      As for the leg, I think the knee and foot problems stem in part from the injury (while the thigh was the main injury, the calf also seemed affected), but like you said, I’m probably modifying my gate, especially since the swelling is just now almost completely gone, and while it was still swollen it hurt to put a lot of weight on the foot.

      Still, nowhere near what you are going through. Honestly, for the severity of the injury, I’m surprised how little I’m affected. Aside the walking restriction, and being careful going down steps, I am fairly unencumbered.

      And I hear you about repeated exercises . . . I usually force myself for a week or so, and then it becomes just something I do. Actually feels wrong if I don’t do them.


      • Well whatever you do with the story, I look forward to reading it. I read two stories in November, it’s good in a way to have that imposed timescale, the reader knows when the story (should) end, and there is the excitement (!) of another instalment every day. I thought both stories were good, and like you, the other author posted the last few sections later—and yes—I nagged him too to post the ending, which wasn’t what I expected, so that was good. When I did NaNo, I started with a few thousand words in advance, it just made it that much easier to have a kick start. The real issue is getting those 50,000 words down and not worrying about endlessly self-editing as you go along, which is a good technique to learn I think.

        I’ve still got swelling, not sure where my ankle bones are or if they have disintegrated into fine powder. As I said to another commenter, there’s been hardly any pain, well not what I call pain anyway. Twinges, nags, soreness etc aren’t pain, they are inconvenient. In fact that sums up the whole episode: inconvenient. Going down steps is bad isn’t it? I did try to put the good foot on the step below the bad one and it sort of worked but only by twisting slightly to the side. Plus my worst fear is losing my balance and going head over heels and tumbling down like Jill. Going up steps is easy and I’m confident enough to do that alone.

        I suspect you are more disciplined than I am. Even the washing up and cleaning looks more attractive than exercises. I have a burnng urge to tidy up the place while I am doing exercises. I may have a long recovery time but at least it will be done in a clean flat :D


  6. I wasn’t keen on the reminder of all the pain you went through as well as all the difficulties operation wise.I’m glad it’s healing and that you can walk a little. No reason you shouldn’t have a crutch with you for the sake of confidence or for making space. Do what you have to, just get better.
    If you can’t manage the physical walks at least start the mental ramblings again, you’ve been missed.
    I love the pictures of the veg and of the animals, I’d buy the house but ,like you I’m not attracted to that much glass so someone else can have it. Anyway, I like something with a bit of age and character.
    xxx Sending Hugs Galore xxx


    • Actually David, there was very little physical pain apart from when I fell and tried to stand up. That was a big OUCH! moment. Apart from that, ripping off the first plaster which was stuck to my leg with blood wasn’t much fun either. Otherwise it’s been more a matter of discomfort and inconvenience. Pain has been the least of my issues.

      The only worry I have about a crutch is that if I fall again, they are too difficult to detach yourself from. I’ve brought a walking stick back but I’m not sure that’s a good idea, crutches are nicely obvious. Well, to some people, not all.

      Mental ramblings. Thank you. Perhaps I will start a new blog – Come for a mental ramble with me 😀

      Thank you, the garden and the dogs are a big part of my life. I should probably have added our cockerel too, but I haven’t seen him for eight months as I’ve not been in the chicken shed/run.

      I’m not actually into new houses. Our first was Victorian and we gradually got newer as we kept changing houses through Edwardian to Thirties and now we’re in a Fifties flat. Still got big windows and high ceilings though. I mixed with architects at university so I’m well used to their design ideas … I’m more interested in traditional housing built to withstand the elements but also use them as best as possible eg our house in Spain.

      After all, age and character are the best aren’t we they?


  7. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

    The ankle was very bad, no doubt about it and your blogs on your treatment and after care made familiar noises to me, reminding me of the broken elbow which put me out of one of the best jobs I ever had. ( Metro train driving) Not being a weight bearing joint, the NHS prescribed only an hour a day of fairly mild excercise. This proved to be utterly useless. Fortunately there existed at the time a one time NUM sponsored facility in an old stately home near to us by the name of Hartford Hall. There, I spent a vigorous 6 weeks, at 8 hours a day in sometimes violent movements designed to permanently improve the strength, flexibility and pain free normality of the joint. It worked and after the six weeks my arm was sufficiently strong enough to control the Metro trains again. I worked a further six months until fragments from the original break began to try to regrow between the ball and cup and cause me intense pain. I had to call it a day and retired soon after.

    I have been trying to pin point your home’s approximate position on the Rock but did not want you to compromise your security / privacy so if you could give me an area, say within sight of the Moorish castle, I’d be content. That new development looks to be very posh and could be, judging from the familiar views, be where the old South Barracks or even the Garrison Officers’ Mess were in the 60s. The view was almost the same as I woke up to at Buena Vista barracks for about a year and then swapped for the view from the terraces of the Army MSQs at Calpe up alongside the said Moorish Castle


    • Gracias, igualmente. Feliz Año.

      Newcastle metro eh? I used South Gosforth mainly, sometimes Regents Farm or whatever it was called. Something to be said for old Union values looking after workers. Not a chance of that now 😔 Hartford Hall sounds delightful, I looked it up, Bedlington way, yes? I think intensive rehab would be good, but as you say, you really need to put in full days and no existe on the NHS. Ironic they could put me up for two weeks doing nothing just waiting for the fracture blisters to go down before the op, but there was no chance of similar accom to start off with some good physio once I was weightbearing. No idea if they even have a pool, but swimming would be such obvious exercise for strengthening all the muscles. Eso va la vida.

      Stones throw from Referendum/southport Gates, the Governor’s gaff and Angry Friar, and John Mack Hall. Oh, and the tax office.

      I think I’ve taken a pic of those quarters you’re talking about, private flats now, look classy if they are the same ones. I’ll look up the blog post later and add the link to these comments. I think that new house is off Europa Road. There was an MOD property for sale, quite nice, a while ago, and it looks like the right location. Obviously I’ve not been up there for a while. I could be totally wrong though! It’s not South Barracks, that’s been a school for a while, just by Vineyards Estate yes?


  8. Just today as I was perched on a footstool taking down decorations, your ankle injury came to mind. And I was very careful. OMG, Kate, how can this year be anything but an improvement after such a ghastly injury? Are those dates on the tapas tray? And what will you do with those lovely lemons?


    • Listen, if me moaning on about my ankle makes everyone take more care, especially as we all get older, then it will be worthwhile and I am very pleased you were careful. Now, having said that, I am going to give you a severe telling off for perching on a footstool. 😡 Very bad practice Barbara. This is a combination of me having worked for the UK Health and Safety Executive and my partner’s 40+ years of working at height. Seriously, it is technically unsafe working practice, whether it’s home or not. Get a step ladder out. /lecture

      In a way, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Well, not walking after eight months isn’t too good, but as there was nothing to be done once it happened, it’s just one of those things to live with. As I said, people are worse off than me or have had worse years. We’ve had the usual run of not-so-good years that people seem to hit in their 40s and 50s, after the riotous good years in 20s/30s, and this was just one of them.

      Figs. I think dried figs are quite expensive too, we never buy them. The olives were my favourite as they were hand produced and preserved with just thyme and salt.

      Out of the 25, I left seven at the finca for next time, and brought seven back. I like lemon juice for salads and dressings, sometimes I drink lemon and hot water, I’ve got an Indian pickle/chutney recipe for lemons, they soon go, and because they’d been freshly picked they’ll last a while. I also use them when I make olive pâté, actually adding a few pieces to the mix really adds a zing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I stand properly chastised, Kate. You are, of course, absolutely right. I have been adding splashes of lemon into everything lately. do you like Brussels Sprouts? I made the most delicious BS “hash” over the holidays with loads of lemon. So good!


        • I figured the chastisement now was better than the one you migh receive if you ever fell off the footstool! Which I hope, never happens. I’m lucky being tall, there’s little I can’t reach, so anything out of reach is stepladder work anyway.

          I do love BS. I did a great meal once with them, must find the recipe, even an ardent BS hater said they were wonderful (mind you his girlfriend couldn’t cook). I think lemon goes with pretty much anything if you like it, works well with brassicas. I’ve got broc and caul on right now so may treat them to a squirt.

          Do you ant to write up your hash recipe? Would be interesting. I’ve put sprouts in a veg curry a few times, I like it although I guess others wouldn’t …


          • Here you go:

            Assuming you have a Cuisinart or some other shredding device, process about a pound or so of stemmed brussels sprouts into a nice little chiffonade. Core included.

            Zest a lemon (reserve for later) and squeeze the juice over the BS.

            Heat a tablespoon of butter and of olive oil in a wok or large saute pan. Toss about on fairly high heat until they start to change color. Add two cloves of minced garlic and 2 T. of mustard seed, black or yellow and 1/4 cup of dry white wine. Salt and pepper to taste. When done to your taste, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve with authority. It is so simple and so good. Enjoy!


          • Ha! I’ve been planning a BS post on my blog with two other excellent recipes for ages and it never seems to happen. So in the interest of timeliness, I thought it best to zap this one off to you!


          • Ah yes. Know the feeling well, the planned posts, or the bright idea that still sits partly written …
            Damn! Just realised I forgot to ask Partner to buy some when he went shopping today :(


  9. that really was a brutal break, wasn’t it? and a long haul in the recovery process. that lack of mobility can’t be fun. i do hope you continue to mend and that this time next year it really will have almost been forgotten. do continue to take care.
    your garden harvest looks beautiful, and i quite enjoyed the lettuce and the rose side by side, looking rather similar despite being so unrelated. a nice artistic touch :)
    and those peas… beautiful!
    the gardens here are finished for the season. even the ever-bearing raspberries had enough after the one and only snowfall of late November, followed by a number of days of below-freezing temperatures.
    housing prices are rising here every year, too, with very few detached homes (as in non-apartments or condos) in Vancouver assessed at less than a million dollars, if at all. some of those same houses were purchased by home owners 40 years ago for about 17,000. it’s sheer craziness – although for the city coffers it means that they can charge more property tax if the value has increased. so it seems to be a business decision more than anything else.
    do take care, you and all the boys in your household. all the very best to you for 2015.
    Timmy sends purrs.


    • It was a terrible break. I know my consultant endlessly told me so, or in his words ‘that was a VERY nasty fracture …’ The recovery is the drag, but small improvements are encouraging.

      I can’t claim credit for the artistic touch, I put some of the galleries on random to see what mix it throws up, sort of my Duotone hit on here 😀 The peas were good, just not enough of them. We bought a couple of kilos from the local veg van, there was no way I even had a pound of peas let alone one or two kilos. Interestingly the broad bean harvest a couple of years ago was much better. This is our growing season in our area, fields are full, not too hot, no freezing cold temperatures, some rain for natural watering, plus heavy dew, and sunshine during the day.

      Vancouver prices sound a nightmare. Not sure what detached houses here start at, there aren’t a lot of them. The one we worked at a few years ago went on the market for £1.4M, and it wasn’t a very nice house either, plus the gardens were a nightmare to keep up to, a lot of them were raised and needed to be done off a ladder. It wasn’t very well planned.

      The same to you and your household and the (four-legged) boys send sleepy snores to Timmy.


  10. Funny how some things seem to dominate and “flavour” an entire year. It seems that almost everyone I know had a really difficult 2014 and was glad to see the back of it. Including me, notwithstanding the “put–your-best-foot-forward” demeanour I was brought up to present. I do hope that you soon find yourself more comfortably mobile. And on the subject of Aloes (the plant and not the property) if you want a balm that will help the healing and moisturising process for the skin on your ankle and leg, aloe gel is fantastic. Although A vera, A ferox and A arborescens are the ones traditionally recommended (and I won’t bore you with how I know, etc.), virtually any aloe leaves will do – you can simply cut them off the plant and then split them in half, and smear the gel on. Not sexy, but it does work and it doesnt leave too much of a sticky residue. Avoid getting the gel and particularly the bitter sap in your mouth and eyes – it stings and tastes vile. Of course, you could avoid all that drama and simply buy a tube of gel – just be sure that it contains 90% aloe…. Be well and happy in 2015!


    • Hi Fiona. I know what you mean about the year thing. One of our other notsogood years was 2010, our silver wedding year. That wasn’t the reason for it, we had a lovely day, but 2/3 weeks before that we’d had our bags stolen in Spain with ID, passports, money, cards, all the usual. There was the hassle of making the report at a spanish police station and then the worry of how to get into Spain without ID (hence the need for the police report). The vehicle was newish, we’d bought it a few months previously after someone smashed in all the windows on our old one … A costly year dogged by bad people.

      Best foot forward would have been a bit difficult for me this year! Fractures mean you end up putting the bad one first and bringing the other to meet it. Having sad that, what else do you do when things go wrong? You can’t turn back the clock, so it is a case of moving forward, however you can.

      Thanks for the aloe tip, it’s a good one. I learned it on my first trip around Gib’s botanical gardens where they do free guided tours once a month. Must go on it again, see if they have changed it at all as they’ve been doing up parts of the garden. I’ve been using it ever since for just about any skin problem, dry skin, insect bites, itchy rashes, whatever. The hospital gave me some horrid cream, silver Mercury or something evil-sounding, so after a feeble attempt to smear it on a few times, I grabbed some aloe when I got back to the finca and used that and chucked the cream. I used body oil too in the later stages, almond/sesame base with essential oils added. Don’t know if you can see on the photo of the aloe, but there are distinct signs of cut off leaves. The coloured one blows up in the gallery.

      I hope 2015 is better for you and brings whatever you wish for.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, the wonderful healing properties of Aloes. Glad you already knew about them. And of course, those essential oils. Wouldn’t be without them! 2015 is going to be a good year, I have decided / decreed. The husband harrumphed and muttered something about the power of positive thinking. Thank you for the good wishes and look forward to reading more of your bits and pieces during the course of the year!


        • I have a great book called ‘Healing Plants’ ie the ones that heal us, not how to heal plants. In fact it doesn’t look at basic plant uses but does have a lot about herbal extracts, essential oils and something else. I mainly use it for the essential oil section. I used to have a fine collection of oils but gradually used most of them up. I’ve bought a few again since but nothing like I had before. Lavender is such a good all-purpose one, I hate being without it. Another good one for scratches and bites etc.

          Then I am sure you are right. In fact it doesn’t need to be a good year, just not a bad one. I’ll be enjoying your writing and photos too and am pleased you have enjoyed your foray into blogging.


          • I am never without either lavender or tea tree oils! I, too, have books on herbs and healing plants :) and a garden full of them, selected for their culinary uses as well as for the medicinal ones. Don’t actually know where that interest comes from, except that Mum was a nurse (but only into allopathic medicine) and Dad, a Kew-trained horticulturist…

            Thanks for checking in on Fiona’s Favourites – as I said, it’s been such fun. And I’ve met such interesting people :)


          • Tea tree wasn’t particularly big when I first started dabbling in essential oils. Can’t remember whether I have any in now or not. Probably lavender and eucalyptus at a guess, which reminds me I must use some for a snuffly nose.

            I’m pleased you wrote that guest post on TimeThief’s or I doubt I would have come across you otherwise.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Easy to forget it all though, so I’m pleased I took the gruesome pics! especially the crazy fracture blisters. The shock was totally mental, on the lines of ‘Why is/this can’t be happening to me! Operations are for kids, I’m a grown-up now.’

      Thank you, and the same to you too. When I can manage a hop, skip and a jump, I’ll be sure to tell the world.


  11. Happy, happy and all. Really holding thumbs that 2015 is a better year for your ankle! Have watched an elderly relative loose mobility recently and it sucks! Lots of food for in the first half of your post in this regard. Garage doors look great as does your lovely patio and family. Sending good wishes from the South.


    • And to you too in the sunny warm South. Watching older people in hospital frightened the life out of me when I saw how dependent they were. But, can’t be worryng about that for now.

      It’s a small bit of space but we all like it, thanks.

      Hope your 2015 is good.


      • Staff can be a real pain in the…I think I might almost prefer doing the windows unless you can outsource to agents and make sure that you are out having tea when they come …but now that just feels like too much planning and for what? Cleaning? Nope. Not for me. I also have a huge issue with just how much space one really needs in the world. When is enough, enough? Old argument. You possibly share a similar view. But it is always interesting to see what folk come up with in the world of building and architecture. What I find as interesting is what some folk do with almost nothing. Especially this side.(And I guess all third world countries). Small and simple. Yes indeed.


        • The only domestic staff I ever had was a once a week cleaner because we were both chocka at work. Except, usual story, the day before she turned up, Partner went round the house on a cleaning frenzy, just like my mother used to. What the hell’s the point of a cleaner if you clean the house beforehand? I neatly stopped the service the next time we went on holiday.

          We’ve had bigger houses. Just means unused rooms and more cleaning. I admire the Spanish use of space, especially outside space. Very ingenious. And yes, I’m sure we share the same view.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Your ankle photos have certainly made me more careful when walking (I never got round to commenting when you first posted them, as my 6 month old granddaughter was recovering from open heart surgery at that time). A walking mad neighbour broke her ankle badly whilst marching through the woods near where we live, though her experience wasn’t as grim as yours. I have osteoporosis, so I am aware I’m more prone to breaking bones than most but it’s easy to forget that silly accidents happen with disastrous results.

    That massive house in Gib would not be for me, even if I had the crazy asking price to hand. All those windows to clean was my initial reaction, & then I thought it was far too big. And it doesn’t look, well, cosy. It’s a house for show, not a home.

    i hope this year is disaster free for you & partner & that eventually you can throw your crutch away, although it could be a handy implement to keep – you could use it to prod partner (gently) if he needed encouragement to make you a drink/meal/fetch something from another room.


    • Walking is so basic we never think about it. And as I said in my post, I know there are people far worse off, we know two people who have had heart by-pass surgery recently.

      It was only when I’d had the op that I discovered I’ve got osteoporosis. The worst case of advanced osteoporosis in the western universe according to my surgeon. *Shrug*

      I can’t do with vast open space. Looks like a business property investment to me. Somewhere in which to entertain and show off.

      The crutch is useful for reaching under the furniture to retrieve toys that little dog has sent underneath. Trouble is, at the moment, both crutches, and the walking stick are in the vehicle! The only walking aid in the flat is the unwieldy frame. I’m thinking we should cannibalise that for the wheels.


  13. Great post and pix!
    The garage doors look great, AND you got up your gumption and walked to the P.O., no matter how p.o.’ed it made you to find it closed.
    Your plants all look healthy and well – proving you’ve got green fingers.
    As for the multi-million dollar property, I’ll just go get my cheque book, okay?

    Best wishes for 2015.


    • Thanks Cynthia. Laughed at your two POs, very witty. 😀

      I’m pretty good in the garden, I believe in the less is more policy, although I’d be lost without my neighbour stepping in to water for us.

      I wouldn’t recommend keeping 10.9 mill in a current account, think of the lost interest, even at today’s low rates!

      Thanks, and to you and yours. Hope you have a much more tranquil year.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. In the early, nearly dawn hours, (0730) I’m wide awake and sharing a desk with Monty our tortie cat. He’s stretched out between the iMac and the remote keyboard snoozing mightily and no doubt dreaming of the past glories of the summer just gone,when he cleaned out one by one, a nest of tiny field meeces.(!) They had been squatting ‘neath the plant pot into which Marjorie had rooted a ‘Nelly Moser’ clematis and whilst that flourished up the trellis upon the garage wall ,we decided to feed a few more pigeons and collared doves by placing a seed container on the adjacent trellis.

    The “Dicka Boids” were overjoyed at this largesse and ceased their quarrelsome feeding from the central pole in the middle of what I laughingly call the back lawn and took it up again upon and around the trellis mounted bowl, scattering the bird seed around with careless abandon. The Mice were inundated with their cast out seeds and they flourished accordingly, They were of course good Catholic Mice and did not allow such modern ways of thinking as far as population control was concerned :-)

    Enter stage left ” Wor” Monty… a cautious slither through the uncut grass, a twitch of his tortie tail and a greased lightning pounce and off he triumphantly carried his wriggling prize… back into the house again through his ‘own” Micro chip controlled cat flap ( a ‘Snip’ at a mere £90 at your local pet store!) Carrying this microscopic creature at the high port he trotted through the kitchen, into the dining room and dropped it in the small vestibule / entrance hallway behind the front door. Mousey then was encouraged by a sharp set of claws to ‘Play’ until either Marjorie or I would ensure the the living room door was closed and we then opened the front door and with a firm, authoritative voice, commanded Monty and Mousey to GET OUT!

    Amazingly they did! Another sharp pounce and off skipped Monty through the open doorway with Mousey between his teeth onto the front lawn, where the ‘play’ continued but with the odds of escape for the little creature vastly improved. This continued throughout the summer and mice were unceremoniously grabbed and transported through the house to eventual terror stricken death or glorious freedom, depending on Monty felt at the time! Most mornings we would come downstairs to play “Lewis’ or “Morse” and view yet another tiny corpse stretched out on the doormat.

    We decided to call a halt by cutting off their bird seed supplies at source and within a week ‘Wor Lad’ had polished off the remaining survivors.


    • That would be our 8.30 and we’d been awake for at least two hours. First dog walk is 6.30 ish, or earlier depending on work.

      Although Snowy is technically the ratter in the household, he’s described as a perro de tierra by lots of Spaniards, he’s yet to catch a rodent, although he was trying to torment a cockroach but it ran under the bed. Idiot dog. Pippa on the other hand, is a rat catcher par excellence. Caught one in the trastero and stood there proudly swinging it around. And I won’t even get into his cat tally! No mice though, although we did have some at one point, as they left the usual trail of evidence. A doorstop seemed to solve that one though.


  15. Wishing you and yours and those gorgeous beauties a wonderful 2015 Kate and wishes for better health and no more accidents. :D

    Gorgeous photos and it’s always wonderful to see Snowy and Pippa. They are just so adorable!

    The Aloes looks great there on your beautiful terrace. I can only imagine how peaceful it must be there at night.

    What a gorgeous house indeed. Makes me wish I had that money to buy it. Love those swimming pools and what a view!

    Stunning header as well. Love it! ♥


    • Thank you Sonel. Loved your photo comments. I was going to reply to them all but you can’t do a ‘reply’ thing so you wouldn’t have known. Just one in response to the Snowy/Partner pic, he can be adorable, that’s why I married him 😉

      As I’ve abandoned poor Pippadogblog, I add a few on here from time to time so people can see they are both alive and kicking. And I like to post photos of my dogs top, it’s my blog after all 😀

      It’s very quiet these days as there is no money. When I was there looking after baby Snowy and waiting for him to be jabbed and chipped before he could come to Gib, I would often take him out every two or three hours at night (puppy yes?) and sit on the terrace waiting for him to perform. Or not. But it was lovely at 3 or 4am or whatever.

      Not my sort of house. I guess someone will like it though. The pools are the best bit!

      I was fiddling with the panorama selection. If you notice there are two snowies on there :D

      Liked by 1 person

      • Glad you enjoyed it Kate and you can reply to them but you have to go to the attachment page and from there you can reply, but that is way too much work and I don’t expect any replies, so never worry about it. :D

        I agree. It’s your blog and you can post whatever you want and you know I adore Pippa and Snowy, so it’s always a wonderful treat to see them.

        Sounds familiar and I still do that with my little man when he wants to go out at night. Sometimes I just go and lie on the grass and look at the stars while he is doing his business. It’s so quiet and peaceful that time of the night. :D

        The pools sure are. If I had the money I would buy it only for those pools. LOL!

        Only because you mentioned it. I never saw the twin Snowy in the corner, but I still love it. :D


  16. You really have had a crap year, the reminder of your ankle with those photos sent shivers down my spine as how easily something as simple as walking the dog can totally change a way of life.
    I’ve had the ‘bubble’ experience, the feeling that everyone else is busily living their life around me and mine had stood still…..its not nice.
    Hopefully now you’re getting about more, your muscles will get stronger and then your confidence will improve.

    You’ve got some great photos there of your finca, they really give an insight into your Spanish life. I love the pea pics, far bigger than the ones I grew, though mine were sown very late.
    As luxurious as the new build apartments look, even if I had that sort of money, i doubt I’d want one, i much prefer something more rustic.


    • Well, I wouldn’t have chosen to break my ankle, but other non-health things that happen are often worse. As you know too well, deaths of family and dogs cast a gloom over the year. I do need to spend more time exercising but oh … there are better, more interesting things to be doing, or what I consider I should be doing.

      The finca is what it is, small, nice location, quiet, and, as you say, rustic. Many of the others around have been reformed beyond all recognition. When A was next door, Marcy said their reformed house was too big. It was the first time A had had the Grand Tour, I saw it when I was in Podenco exile. They have a HUGE new sitting room. Where did they sit to chat? The small old one where we always used to sit and chat with them. Much cosier and friendly.

      I was thinking if I had 10.9 mill what would I do? The words Tiree and Sanctuary came to mind.


  17. WordPress celebrated the new year by eradicating you from my reader….but having caught up again i can only hope that no Podencos run into you in 2015 and that you will be more mobile soon.

    Exercise for exercise’ sake…no…not at all. Mooching about in the garden…much more the thing.

    Loathe the house….not at all my style.


    • I’d feel victimised but I noticed they eradicated themselves from my reader (daily post and the WP blog) so it’s clearly incompetence rather than deliberate. Or maybe not, perhaps my occasional comments/questions on there don’t go down too well.

      One can always find something aimless to do in a garden while still looking busy. Quite the the thing indeed.

      It’s not me either. Partner would have nothing to do in a new house. Got to keep him busy in a nice run-down old property.


  18. Hope this year is a much better one, Kate. Seeing your ankle pics again, also sent shivers down my spine. You’ve had a really torrid time with that injury. As for the friend who has suffered throughd 6 broken ankles, I just shudder to even contemplate such a thing. Your terrace is lovely, and I think it’s wonderful that you and the neighbours can barter produce with one another. ‘New Aloes’ wouldn’t be for me. I’d hate to have 8 bathrooms to clean. :(


  19. I read this the other day and meant to comment at the time but, since I was using the phone and my phone-typing is so wretched I decided to wait fro a better time. This is it!
    Ohhh, that sutured up picture still gives me the heebies! You and I are almost exactly 4050 km apart and that image effectively transmitted the pain right to me. Did you notice it gone for a few seconds? yes–that was when I was looking at that image. I am glad to see that you are making improvement and not having too many complications. Of course you will encounter them from time to time long the way–with a break such as yours it’s to be expected. Fortunately, for you, that incident is mostly in your rear-view mirror.
    Hopefully that means 2015 will prove to be a much better year.


    • I often read and comment later.
      Wasn’t mean to freak people out. Just, what happened. Pretty crappy though wasn’t it? 😀
      We’ll see. Wishing you a good one too. So far, not too bad here. Stepping gingerly though!


  20. Ah, now that’s a wonderful terrace. (and header) But hey, how nice would it be to have that waterfall to sit by and splash feet in….dogs might like it, too. (I am tying to write with one available hand as Molly is awake, very bored, and wants me to hold one end of a toy. which is better than her trying to nibble my shoe…bored. did I mention that?)
    Walking is highly undervalued, as I found out when I broke that toe. That year was so annoying as I couldn’t move without pain for so long.( Luckily I was distracted by the investor pulling support for the start-up .com paying my bills.Fun city) It finally healed, but not the same and shoes just don’t fit the same.
    Now I’m worried about if bloggers are being left off my Reader scroll….too many little details to keep up with. Why can’t stuff just work?
    See…really need that soothing waterfall…should we try cloud sourcing for a mental health retreat for bloggers in need?
    (Pippa’s blog can stay sleeping as long as pix show up here!)


    • It’s nice. We like it, so therefore it’s good enough. I am trying to type while Snowy is doing unmentionables to my leg. Scratching too. Little Rat.

      Until you can’t walk, you don’t realise how precious an ability it is. As a kid it was novelty to go to hospital and have operations and plasters. As an adult? Not so.

      I’m just not around sometimes. But yes, bloggers do disappear at the whim of WordPress.

      There are so many clouds these days I’d end up on the wrong one.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Happy New Year Kate!! Your card arrived on Friday, just in time…we are moving next Thursday after six years in this spot on the bay :) We’re attempting the first stage of downsizing and going to move nearer the city and my husbands job for the next few years or so. I didn’t break any bones in 2014, but I think a bit of something broke in me and I’m glad it’s behind me; it was not a great year but I think I’ve got my head back in order now…sort of! I wish I had half your dedication and discipline to writing but just couldn’t keep up my ‘wordy’ blog and even the photo one is gathering dust as I’ve discovered a little micro blogging photo app called Steller which is super quick to load content on. I may never write long form again (apart from my over long comments of course!!). Good to see a splash of blue and white here, my favourite Mediterranean colours, and the all the fresh home grown produce looks wonderful. It’s the simple things like good food shared and conversations with friends that is enough for me, they can keep that fancy nancy homestead! Dawn x


    • Dawn!! The much missed former blogger!!l

      Oh good, I’m glad it arrived in time for something if not Christmas. I’ll scrub your address then. Downsizing is good. Less space to clean and less assets tied up is how I see it.

      Seems like 2014 was one of those years, like, 2010. Why weren’t there mediocre/bad years when we were young?

      I enjoy blogging and I have a lot of decent readers. I need to write too. Maybe you need to have a blog rest. If you have no enthusiasm, no point, but you know I’ll always miss our chats. It’s my preferred social media, but we all differ.

      Age is good in one respect, it’s nice to be happy within ourselves and what we have. Breaking bones is another issue 😀


  22. I’m just back from our break… 23 days gone in a whoosh… and I’d quite like to be spending some time on your terrace [seven bed, eight-bathroom sounds like far too much work, even if subbing it out to Staff!] :) The G.O. like A, had projects which he felt he must do as well as spending time with the neighbours. Their offerings and your garden look wonderful, as well as your peaceable year end in Spain… thank goodness for construction shutdown.


    • We had the same feeling. After 15 days and setting off back, I said, those two weeks went so quickly, I could have stayed another two. A bit later, it takes a while to process, he said, yes, I’d have stayed two more weeks too.

      Your construction shutdown is so much longer though. Better in summer I guess too. The down side is what if you don’t want to take 2/3 weeks compulsory leave? I used to work most Christmas breaks. Quiet in the office, get backlog cleared, and time to chat too with the few colleagues in the office.


      • Shutdown period depends I’m think on company and site. The core period for both of us was Christmas to New Year but as this is our main holiday, we took the extra time.


        • That sounds the same as ours then, and the UK one, this year, last working day was Fri 19, through to Mon Jan 5. Very difficult to work over that period if you don’t have materials in as all suppliers are closed too 😀


  23. Hope you have a much better year in 2015 my darling Roughseas… You certainly went through the wars in 2014, Bless ye! Well, you’ve joined a new club. The “Let’s do the twist & get down on down” club! :D (Ducks in case something gets thrown at him)

    Great job on the garages A… I’m pretty useless when it comes to DIY stuff, although I do paint pretty well… doors and stuff. Anything beyond that… forget it!

    I love Aloe Vera, had lots of it in AZ. Food looks nice and fresh too. And doggies… doggy pics! :D

    You know, it’s easy to forget how tiny Pod is… He’s not that much bigger than his tongue, bless him! My favourite pic… the one with snowy and Pippa necking, followed by the one with Pippa smiling and then snowy on table… looks like he’s about to howl or something.. calling in the reserves to take on Pippa. :D


    • Thank you. Can’t see me doing the twist again in a hurry. You should (not) see me trying to retrieve pod’s toys that he throws under furniture.

      Everyone is good at painting, just like everyone can write. Odd that A and I chose craft trades that everyone else thinks they can do. P

      Doggy pics are lighthearted and cute 🐶


  24. For some reason my naval ancestry kicks in when I learn of misfortunes (The Spouse hates it when I go naval on her, she prefers to be serious about serious matters)(but what else can you do, sometimes?) —

    Did you hear about the man with the legless dog?
    Took it out every day for a drag …

    Those ankle shots look unbelievably painful. Hopefully now all history; and here’s wishing you all the very best for the New Year. And the future awaits, hop to it~!

    Ouch …


    • There’s a similar joke about a dog called Woodbine but I can’t remember it.

      Thanks, and haha. Not up to hopping yet. I asked physio about more advanced exercises back in August, and he said, ‘well, there’s hopping, but I don’t think you’re ready for that.’ He was a bit dead pan. I’m still not ready for hopping although I can jog on the spot for five seconds :D


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