Tuesday, February 6, 2018

January - Sangria and drilling

In January I mostly tried to run away from the cold and rain......

La Gomera with Tenerife in the distance
Poinsettia tree
Lovely Palm tree

Oh, and I did - well for a week anyway.  A week in the Canaries to top up the vitamin D levels, see blue skies (for more than 5 minutes) and feel some much needed warmth.  We stayed in Bournemouth for a night beforehand and it was so cold!  But we investigated the pubs and sampled the local ales.  Quelle surprise.....

The Brewhouse and Kitchen pub is also a microbrewery and has a beer menu - a good start!

The Goat & Tricycle pub was cosy and friendly - This is Finley

We got to know the locals quite quickly!

Here we are on Monday (5 degrees) 
- A fast, short walk on Bournemouth Beach.  

and here we are on Tuesday (22 degrees) 
- A slow, leisurely stroll on La Gomera!

Playa de Santiago - without thermals

We did the usual - strenuous walk up a mountain in the morning so that we can enjoy a fattening Barraquito for coffee then sit on the beach (moi under a brolly of course) all afternoon with our books.  I also brought glue, scissors and colouring pencils. Quick change and then out for a meal in one of the half a dozen restaurants washed down with dos Sangria or a Mojito.  

Candelabra cactus

Yellow Bird of Paradise - strange

One of our strenuous walks

Banana plantations below

Bougainvillea near the golf course 
- Sarah played 9 holes without the need for a balaclava and sheepskin boots

The bananas on La Gomera taste like - bananas!

Prickly Pear

I also brought my knitting - no wool shops here though

One day we caught the new ferry service to Valle Gran Rey for a day trip.  Valle Gran Rey is not as barren and is greener than Playa de Santiago.

Playa de Santiago from the ferry

Lovely views from the ferry as we zoomed around the coast

Barraquito on arrival - of course.  
You can have one sin licor (without alcohol) but where would be the fun in that?

Valle Gran Rey

I do love a good palm tree with a pale English person in shorts to hold it up

I think this might have been sugar cane.  Whatever it was, it was very large.  I look tiny!  
I like sugar cane.


We have done this walk up the valley towards Los Reyes before but it still took my breath away.
The rough cobbles are really hard to walk on so we deserved our chips and alioli that night!

Paddle time and not a Mr Whippy to be seen

Hibiscus - how dull


Lovely walk back along the beach as the sun goes down before getting back on to the ferry

Back in Playa San Diago we found a beautiful park called the Parque de Las Eras.
Aloe vera - I think these look like Red Hot Pokers

The very spikey Silk Floss tree (or Chorisia) from South America.  Now I've looked it up, I wish I had seen it in flower as it is a mass of amazing pink flowers.  You wouldn't want to be a squirrel though.  Ow!

Yellow Hibiscus - I've never seen one this colour before.  Apparently, it is the state flower of Hawaii

Looking down in to the harbour 
- Mount Teide on Tenerife in the background.  I noticed it had snow on it when we were flying in

Hiding from the sun are we?  A good spot to eat our banana and crisps

Everything grows so big here!

Where's my horse?  Yee Ha!

Can we squeeze another Barraquito in before we go home?  I think so.

Back to drilling aluminium in a cold and noisy factory and getting swarf in my bra.  I know how to live.


I also smell of oil a lot of the time

I drilled holes in all these aluminium cleats - proud

and then stacked them neatly - OCD or what?

Frames waiting to be put together 

Glue drying on the battens

MDF panels

Still, I have consoled myself with playing with my new sewing machine, sitting as close to the log burner as I can without getting chilblains, keeping busy and trying as many ales as I can before Esme picks us up from the Winterfest.

And even though it is minus 2 tonight, plants are starting to appear (all hail the Hellebore!), the evenings are getting lighter - we are heading in the right direction.  Yippee!

Snowdrops in the front garden

I must go and put my brightly coloured summer clothes back under the bed for now and go and put another chair leg on the fire.


Bungalow Sue

'I like the image of ruined old women, sitting in their last mink in a cafe, smoking a cigarette and drinking a small, appetite-suppressing cup of coffee.....Even if the lipstick bleeds into the cracks, at least we're seen.  In a recession you cannot allow life to turn beige'.

                                  - Linda Grant 'The Thoughtful Dresser'

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!

What will 2018 bring?

Home made Yule log
Wintry walks
Eddie in the sun
New charity shop purchase for £1

Brrrrrr......  How long until Spring?

This winter (so far):-

- We have finished gardening for a few months. It is not physically possible to get more than 3 pairs of socks in my wellies.
- We have been temping.  This is new to me but I am strangely enjoying trying different jobs.  Sarah has even been a dinner lady serving up Christmas dinners!
- I've been trying more craft projects than I can possibly complete.  Who cares?  It's winter for goodness sake and what's the alternative?  Yes, eating.
- I have been keeping warm with Port + Log burner + blankie
- I have discovered that the slow cooker is most excellent for making huge batches of soup.
- We have been regularly emptying the washing up bowl in the loft during the gales and torrential rain.
- We have become addicted to our recent period drama discovery - 'Victoria'.  
- And there were no tears or breakages on Christmas Day.  Yahoo!

Mother and son quality time in Grovely Woods

Eddie loves the woods

It was a glorious autumn day

Another family walk with the girls and Louis

We had fun trying to find our way to Dulwich Picture Gallery to see a Tove Jansson exhibition in London one day.  25 stops on the top of the bus from Clapham Junction! 

Sarah discovered that she liked my mulled cider in The Great Exhibition pub in Dulwich.

What's not to like?

The quirky Great Exhibition pub

Doing a bit more knitting in my dungarees - happy

Reading a bit of Dickins to get in the Christmas mood

I have been dressing like an elf in my temping factory job, helping to make display panels for art galleries.  One lot went off to the new V&A in Dundee which is opening next year.

Using a pillar drill.  Should have sucked my belly in.  Oh well.

Festive drinkies in (one!) of our locals, The Queens Head, Broadchalke

Making Christmas cards

The panto this year was Jack and the Beanstalk.  I got over excited during the audience participation.

Why have we not made yule log before?  It's just chocolate swiss roll with real chocolate icing.  It turned out well for Maisie's birthday cake.  Should have made a bigger one though.

I've discovered a new charity shop 'Wilton Emporium'

It's massive.  I could stay overnight I suppose.

Frozen puddles are quite interesting if you have lots of time on your hands.

I'd like winter if it was like this for more than one or two days a year.

Ed and I had a leisurely stroll 

Looking for 'stuff'

Imagining we were little miniature people living in old tree trunks.  No, that's just me.

Beautiful soft light

Pretty frostiness


Even our soggy garden looks nice when the sun comes out (stop moaning)

Leaves in the wheelbarrow

This winter has been a 'Moominland Midwinter'.  What with the fantastic Tove Jansson exhibition in London, Esme bought me a Moomin mug and Oliver a Moomin book for Christmas!  With all the extra choccies, trifle, mince pies and cheese and crackers I'm beginning to look like Moomintroll!  Resolution - must eat less......


'The sky was almost black, but the snow shone a bright blue in the moonlight.  The sea lay asleep under the ice, and deep down among the roots of the earth all the small beasts were sleeping and dreaming of spring.  But spring was quite a bit away because the year had only just got a little past New Year.'

                                                                  - Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson 1957