Saturday, March 31, 2007

I'm barely half normal- how sad is this

Found this on Mert's blog and decided to borrow it. Hope you don't mind Mert.

You Are 45% Normal

While some of your behavior is quite normal...

Other things you do are downright strange

You've got a little of your freak going on

But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

I'm obviously not maybe it's because I've got a green brain but it is balanced!!

Your Brain is Green

Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.

You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.

You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Now I like some of these qualities even though I was born in January !!

Your True Birth Month Is November









High abilities


Never give up

Sharp thinking

Thinks forward

Always thinking

Motivates oneself

Loves to be alone

Has a lot of ideas

Difficult to fathom

Extraordinary ideas

Unique and brilliant

Brave and generous

Well-built and tough

Careful and cautious

Dynamic in personality

Deep love and emotions

Uncertain in relationships

Honest and keeps secrets

Can become good doctors

Less talkative but amiable

Stubborn and hard-hearted

Fine and strong clairvoyance

Not able to control emotions

Does not appreciates praises

Thinks differently from others

If there is a will, there is a way

Hardly become angry unless provoked

Knows how to get secrets out of others

Have a fun weekend everyone and I hope you give this a go.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Spain continued

Here are a few pictures of the old part of Malaga. The inside of the old cathedral is really beautiful. There are a lot of different religious influences to be seen and the cathedral organ is enormous and I would love to have heard it playing. Link to more pictures.

The Alcabaza is an old Moorish fortress and from there you can get some good views of the city and harbour

This is a not very good view of the Roman Theatre beneath the walls of the fortress. You can just see it through the wire fence.

Harbour Views.

Picasso was born in one of the houses off this square. On the day we visited this square was being set up for a festival so it was full of marquees (so photo is courtesy of the internet). I would have liked to see the Picasso exhibition (not that I am a fan) but my friends were not keen so I let it go and I actually regret missing this opportunity.

Stopping to take photos I suddenly noticed this little bug heading towards my bare toes and I couldn't resist a quick snap. I've not been able to find out exactly what type of beetle it is, I thought it might be a cockroach (not that I've ever seen one). So if anyone can enlighten me I would be pleased to know ??

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gonna be a bear-what about you!!

A friend of mine sent me this a few weeks ago and I thought it might give you a bit of a giggle. (Hope its large enough to read).


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

My dilemma

I have a dilemma the trees in the picture form the boundary of a property on the opposite side of the road from where I live. In winter they look a bit forlorn but later in the year they provide us with a 'green view'. The council are responsible for keeping the trees pruned and in my opinion they have allowed them to grow too high. That said, I'm not sure I would want to see them disappear completely.
Last year, the owners of the house tried to get planning permission to build a house in the garden but were turned down due to limited access. My immediate neighbour whom you may remember I have mentioned in previous posts (part of his front garden is visible in the photo) is keen to find a plot to build an eco-friendly bungalow.
I think you might see where I'm going. My neighbour has tentatively discussed the possiblity of buying part of the other garden to build his bungalow. So far so good but today when I popped in to take him some soup (he had an op yesterday) he told me he had got the planning officer out to re-look at the site. My neighbour had said that no one liked the trees and has been assured that the planners would raise no objection to the trees being removed (he is of the opinion it's because it will save the council money).
Here's my problem, I told him I would be sad to see the trees go completely but I feel they need to be lopped quite considerably. For my neighbour it's the problem the roots would cause for anything built on the land.
So if a planning application is submitted do I make a formal objection to loosing the trees or do I let it go as we are friendly with both neighbours. What would you do????

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fun Monday # 10

I'm delighted to say I've been asked to follow Tristan in hosting the next Fun Monday. I'm secretly rather pleased to have been asked as I've had an idea which I wanted to share with you all. I love blogging because I'm interested (some would say nosey) in people and their lives so I thought how about a delve into our wardrobes. Before you switch off hear me out....

I would like to see a photo of a vintage item of clothes- it might be something that has been in your wardrobe for ever, that you can't bear to part with and the story behind it. If you are someone who regularly de-clutters your wardrobe every season don't worry you can tell us about any current favourite item of clothes. I hope you enter this challenge as I think it will be fun.

If you are going to wow us with your panache please let me know and if you could pass the word around to join in I would appreciate it. Thank you


Monday, March 26, 2007

Road to Morocco or Tetouan via Ceuta to be precise

On our recent Spanish trip we decided to visit Morocco for a day. Having been advised by a friend against the Tangier trip we decided to try something called " Moroccan Phantasy' which was a visit to Tetouan and a Berber Souk market, then have lunch in an old palace turned into a restaurant in the main centre of the Medina. We had another early (6:15am) start and we did not get back until after 11pm (the ferry was very delayed for no apparent reason).

The ferry journey over to Morocco was quite rough and some people were sea sick (including our guide), luckily we managed to keep our breakfast down. When we arrived at the port of Ceuta we were rather concerned at having to give up our passports to be retained in the border control office until our return. Imagine getting lost and having no identification. Some American passengers intended to consult their embassy when they got back to Spain which I think was a sensible precaution.

The coach then followed the coastal route towards Tetouan. There was a brief stop to see camels very much for tourists but fun seeing some people have a 30 second ride. Then it was a quick detour to a village where they were holding a small market. The guide told us that country folk brought vegetables to sell and then they went into the town to buy consumables. The vegetables did not look particularly fresh and other stalls were selling old electrical goods, clothes and lots of old shoes and trainers. The goods are transported by donkey and it seemed to be the women doing the work. We were marched around the village so quickly there was no time to stop and take photos and my few attempts to get a quick shot are not good enough to publish.

Arriving in Tetoun we first visited the newer part where we were shown Hassan 11 Square.
Bab er-Rouah is the name of the main gate to the Royal Palace in the Hassan II square. It's a huge and impressive gate. No entry to the public, the gate is guarded by royal guards day and night.

The palace is close to the new parts of Tetouan and is a big contrast to the Medina. The medina was dirty, neglected and stinks in some places, as there were piles of rotting rubbish lying around and hygiene seemed a bit lacking. There were scraggy looking chickens in cages (bird flu) came to mind so I'm quite glad I didn't see this until after I had eaten, as chicken was on the menu. Vegetables were spread on dirty bits of cloth next to rubbish and children were playing close by. It was easy to see how one could get lost in the maze of allyways, although we felt the guides were actually taking us the long route just to confuse. I would not want to be finding my way around in the dark.
Entrances to the Medina.

One of the guides was rushing around taking photos of our coach party to sell at the end of the day. I bought a couple of them and this one shows me striding out followed by Anna.
The men are called to prayer. This building was a big contrast to some of the others as it was well cared for.

We visited a pharmacie where we had the opportunity to buy spices, musk, tea and other remedies. I won't go into details but this is where I got fleeced which made me mad as I am usually so careful. All I will say is they are very clever. Having said that some cream and oil I bought for my psoriasis is helping my skin.

We also visited a carpet shop which has some beautiful carpets, kaftans, leather and pottery but I did not get tempted to haggle for anything. My friend Tina did come away with a kaftan which we got at a reasonable price.

The best part of the lunch was what the waiter described as a Moroccan Pizza and it was delicious and fairly sweet, not sure of all the ingredients (probably better not to know as it had some chicken)

There was some entertainment put on. I could not get a clear picture of the belly dancer but this guy was quite a contortionist.

There was also some traditional music played.

We arrived back at our appartment, at the end of a very long day feeling very tired. Nevertheless it was an experience we all agreed we would not have missed. We saw a very different way of life and it certainly made us appreciate all the things we take for granted like clean running water, clean shops and regular employment.

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Fun Monday # 10

I'm not participating in this week's challenge which is being hosted by Tristan.

I will be posting about my day in Morroco later today.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Doggy sitting

Back in November last year I introduced you to Angel my niece's Dalmation. I am doggy sitting again this weekend while they go to a wedding. Angel is very well behaved and no trouble and she encourages me to get out walking. Yesterday we went to Blaise Castle (which is not actually a castle) a favourite walk of ours and I decided to go up through the woods and have a look at 'the folly'. I actually remembered to take my camers and took a few photos.

Angel decided to investigate the daffodils.

She managed the steps with no trouble.

This is the folly you can't get inside in winter and it's not very pretty but it's built on a high spot and there are some good views (yesterday it was not that clear even though the sun drifted in and out).

This is looking down on Blaise House and across Blaise Hamlet.

It's the start of British Summer Time today and the clocks went forward by one hour so I overslept and am now running late. There is a dalmation waiting to go on a long walk (she's looking longingly out of the dining room window and I haven't even had breakfast yet. Oh and it's raining so not as pleasant as yesterday.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Super Natural Cooking

I was very excited when a parcel arrived in the post from Amazon. I guessed it was a present from Sam (Mothering Sunday) and she'd hinted that it was something not yet available in England. I was actually chatting, on the phone, to Beccy at the time the postie rang the bell. This was good because if I'd been out and missed the delivery I would have had to collect it next week. You can imagine my delight when I opened the package to see I have this super cookbook that Sam was so excited about when she was given a copy by the author. I couldn't find the the post in her archives to give the link but I did find this reference on her fun Monday post when Beccy hosted.

When I did the meme earlier I think I said I had 81+ cookery books that should now read 82+. There is such a lot of helpful information in this book and I have seen several recipes I am really keen to try as soon as possible.

Big thank you Sam :) xxx

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You are what you eat

You Are What You Eat

I was tagged by barbara to give you some insight into my eating habbits so here we are:

If you were stuck on an island and could only eat one cuisine (e.g., French, Italian, etc.) for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?

This is a difficult one and it's only the first question. I like a wide variety of food and I wouldn't mind which cuisine as long as someone else cooked it and of course marmite has to be in there somewhere.

What is the most unusual food you've eaten?

I do like to try different foods but I've had nothing out of the ordinary. I had crocodile when we were in Florida, I tried ostrich when it was first introduced to UK, oh I've had kobe beef.

What is the most unusual food you've eaten and liked?

I've pondered and can't really find an answer. It's not unusual but the calimari, whitebait and the cuttle fish I had on my recent trip to Spain were freshly caught and sooo delicious (I should probably add cuttle fish to the above answer- it may not be unusual to many but I have never seen it on a menu before).

What foods will you avoid eating (either because of a dietary choice or allergies or just plain don't like)?

For me this has to be oysters. The first and last time I tried them was when I went to Portugal with Sam on a spa holiday before she left England. They were on the menu the first day and I spent the night throwing up so this was a never to be repeated experience.

Oh and lambs tails don't really appeal to me, not that I've ever tried them and if you wonder what I mean take a look here. Just thought I don't like heart but enjoy other offal.

Do you cook (and by that, I mean prepare a meal that you'd serve to friends)?

Of course I cook, and do entertain friends and family. Lucky they are not fussy (well my friends aren't!!)

If yes, what is your favorite dish to prepare to impress someone?

My cooking is not the impressive variety, anyone who regularly reads sam's blog will know she was never impressed with my cooking when she was a child. She often refers to overcooked veg. If you've ever tried getting a faddy eater to even try food that is not well cooked you will understand my problems.

I don't have a failsafe dish I would always use but I think for a main course I would do a tradditional roast beef, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes (and parsnips depending on time of the year) with a selection of in season vegetables.

The soup that everyone seems likes is my broccoli and cheese (in my opinion this would be too rich a soup to go with a heavy main course)

Not sure about a dessert it's not impressive but fresh fruit can look very attractive or might produce a crumble or blackberry( own grown) and apple pie.

When you go to a restaurant, what's your ordering strategy/preference

I don't have any pre-concieved strategy. If I am abroad I do like to try different foods. At home it depends on the type of restuarant, I am often drawn to a steak (I can hear you saying boring person) basically I see what takes my fancy from the menu and sometimes I go on recommendation or try the chef's special.

Have you ever returned a dish or wine to the kitchen at a restaurant? Why?

I know I have and I'm trying to remember why; I can tell you when I should have complained but didn't. On my recent trip to Spain, on our last evening, we decided to eat in one of the on site restaurants. I decided to try a grilled fish (wish I could remember the name of it was told it was Thai think it began with 'p"). I was convinced it was not properly cooked and the following day I had a grumbly tummy. I know the family will be so surprised as I am usually first in line to complain when necessary.

How many cookbooks do you own?
Coincidentally my cookery books have been ear marked for a post. I started a count and got to 81, on top of this there are several large files of recipes. I don't use that many of them but I somehow can't bring myself to throw them out.

What is one food that you wouldn't want to live without?

My husband immediately said chocolate but I disagree with him, I can easily live without it but if there's any in the house I usually feel compelled to eat it. No for me it would be fresh fruit I get withdrawal symptoms (metaphorically speaking) if I don't get my daily dose.

I'm not tagging anyone so I'm looking for volunteers to give this a go.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Granada-the Alhambra

We started our trip to Granada before sunrise and I got this not very good photo of the sun, through the coach window, as it began to emerge from the sea. As we neared our destination we got glimpses of the Alhambra with a backdrop of snow covered mountains.
I found the history of these magnificant buildings fascinating and our guide made it easy to imagine life as it was all those centuries ago.

The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means "red or crimson castle", perhaps due to the hue of the towers and walls that surround the entire hill of La Sabica which by starlight is silver but by sunlight is transformed into gold. But there is another more poetic version, evoked by the Moslem analysts who speak of the construction of the Alhambra fortress "by the light of torches", the reflections of which gave the walls their particular coloration. Created originally for military purposes, the Alhambra was an "alcazaba" (fortress), an "alcázar" (palace) and a small "medina" (city), all in one.

There is no reference to the Alhambra as being a residence of kings until the 13th century, even though the fortress had existed since the 9th century. The Nasrites were probably the emirs who built the Alhambra, starting in 1238.

The founder of the dynasty, Muhammed Al-Ahmar, began with the restoration of the old fortress. His work was completed by his son Muhammed II, whose immediate successors continued with the repairs. The Alhambra became a Christian court in 1492.

During the 18th century and part of the 19th, the Alhambra fell into neglect and its salons were converted into dungheaps and taverns,occupied by thieves and beggars. Napoleon's troops used it as a barracks from 1808 until 1812. In 1870 the Alhambra was declared a national monument and it is protected, cared for and preserved and has many visitors.


This is the oldest part of the Alhambra, reconstructed upon the ruins of a castle in the 9th century.

The Alhambra contains the three divisions usually found in a Moslem palace, including a reception salon and the royal apartments Chamber of the Lions. (under restoration so no pictures)
Examples of mosaics found throughout the building.

The lions were undergoing restoration and were covered so could not get a picture. This is just one corner of the courtyard leading to the royal appartments.

This is an image I found to show what it looked like before.

The Court of the Lions is characterised by its profound originality, a harmonious merging of East and West. It has been compared to a grove of 124 palm trees, most with double columns, around the oasis of the central fountain with its twelve lions.

Four large halls border the courtyard. The reflection of the building in the water was specifically designed to give visiting ambassadors the impression of a huge imposing building.

Beautiful carved ceilings.

The gardens are terraced and specifically designed so that the palace can be viewed from each level.
Below are some of the different areas of the gardens.

The gardens are still cultivated much as they always have been.

You may be able to see the caves in this mountain are inhabited and they are now homes to gypsy families.

General views from the palace.

This is one of the many different small courtyards, most have a fountain.

I really enjoyed my visit and if I ever had the opportunity I would like to see it again as I think it's difficult to absorb everything the first time around. So if you're ever in this part of Spain I recommend you put it on your itinerary.

Whatever your plans have a great weekend. I'm doggy sitting and have just been on a last walk and Angel (my niece's dalmation) is now fast asleep. I know I'll be getting plenty of excercise this weekend so I'd better hit the sack pretty soon then I might be up bright and early even though it's Saturday.

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