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Showing posts from March, 2013

Because he'd have looked silly with French Letters

In my formative years those French went in for that kissing each other thing. Britons on the other hand, shook hands. I know; we were all repressed. I am aware that nowadays if we don't hug our kids, high five at the least pretext or perform a mutual back massage on everyone we meet there is a real risk to our self esteem and general mental well being.

Personally I don't really care if someone I hardly know wants to slap me on the back or give me a bear hug. Well apart from thinking that it's hypocritical tosh that is. It's a bit like "I love you" at the end of a phone call. Fair enough, nice sentiment and especially when said with feeling. But as a sort of Christmas cracker motto substitute for goodbye?

I don't like the hugging though for a very practical reason. I have no idea how I am supposed to do it. As vague acquaintances move into my personal space in their attempt to hug, kiss or exchange bodily fluids with me I usually end up treading on their …

Another tapas trail

I've told you about tapas trails before. The idea is that lots of participating bars and restaurants offer a drink - wine, beer or soft drink - and a little snack for a fixed price. Usually they are run as a competition to find the best tapa chosen by popular vote.

This year the Cartagena trail ran from the 20th February until yesterday. The price was 2.50€. Seventy seven establishments took place, well 76 really as one of our favourite restaurants seems to have gone bust between signing up for the competition and it starting. There is a little leaflet listing all of the participating eateries and when you buy a tapa the bar or restaurant stamps your list. Providing you visit at least six places you can then vote for your favourite tapa and there all sorts of prizes for the participants most of them depending on a draw from amongst the returned leaflets.

It's a really nice idea in that you get to see the inside of restaurants that you might never otherwise visit either becaus…

Steep in a light broth

My father used to complain that having a bath was like soaking in a tub of soiled water. His heavy water use compromise was a soak in the tub to relax and then shower to clean up.

In our house we still wash up by hand. At school there was a poster explaining how it should be done properly. Fill the bowl with very hot water then wash by turn first the glassware, then the crockery and finally the pots and pans. Cutlery can be added at any stage. By the time you get onto scrubbing the pans the floating grease and food is quite noticeable. Afterwards air drying or tea towels were both acceptable.

The Spanish system has, traditionally, been to swill the debris from the plates under running water then to use a soapy cloth/scourer on the stubborn stains again under running water. Generally they go for air drying rather than tea towels with lots of kitchens having neat drying racks hidden in what look like kitchen cupboards.

We were talking today, in one of my classes, about using less water.…

Swilling about in my head

Today, as we walked past a church in Cartagena, La iglesia de Santa María de Gracia, Maggie commented on the number of people coming out of the building. "Very religious.... in Cartagena," she said. I wondered if there was so much toing and froing because of the Pope's retirement.

As we passed the door there was a notice "Entrada Besapie" - foot kissing entrance. Neither of us had the faintest idea why. We were on our way to lunch. As we ate, on the telly in the corner, the Queen was kissing the feet of a statue which, with a bit of Googling, I found was the Cristo de Medinaceli. The Medinaceli Christ is a carved wooden figure which was crafted in Seville sometime before 1650. It fell into the hands of the Muslims some thirty years later when a Spanish garrison in Morocco was overrun. The Spanish got it back about a year later. It is now in a church in Madrid. On the first Friday of March people queue up to kiss the feet of the statue in the hope of having thr…