Friday, December 30, 2011

A new challenge in my life .....ZUMBA!

Well when you are writing a blog, unless you get feedback of course you never actually know if anyone reads it, although thankfully my stats say you do, so thank YOU very much. I must admit it can be incredibly therapeutic although I'm not sure how interesting a read it is. Anyway of course whoever is reading this now may or may not know, I used to be a dance teacher in my past life .... BS (before Spain) A bit of a health problem meant I could not give my pupils the energy they deserved from me, so now, four years later, I was in need of a bit of a "fix" for want of a better word.

Our life in the summer here enables us to earn a bit of money to tide us over, although without a lot of luxuries. We often say how if we were still living in Brighton, I am sure we would have had the latest in phones, possibly an ipad, whereas our poor old pay as you go is now held together with duck tape, and our very basic laptop thankfully keeps us in contact with family and friends! However apart from, of course, missing the family, I would not change it for the world. Anyway, I am digressing as usual, but we could do with a bit of an all year round income if I'm honest, plus I was needing a bit of dance, exercise, plus choreography challenge in my life, and I was considering teaching some style of dance or fitness style in our local town. I have to admit when I saw the zumba media hype I felt it was just what I needed, especially having a background it Latin American as a style taught I was champing at the bit, desperately wondering if I could make it work, in our sleepy little traditional town.

We decided I should give it a go, and I managed to book into an instructors course whilst I was in England for Kaci's birthday. I was so concerned that I would be twice the age of the majority of others on the course I decided to try and get as fit as I possibly could leading up to it. This did mean buying a wii zumba game, and shutting myself away in the casita when it was not rented out and jigging about in temperatures of sometime over 40 degrees. I told myself if I could do that I would keep up with the "youngsters" fairly well! I don't mind admitting having done very little apart from the odd wii fit sessions and walking the dogs I was extremely unfit. My first attempt of a 20 minute session did not even last the full 20 minutes.... oh the shame! I stuck a it though and now can do an hour every day, if I wish to.

Mark very kindly gave me a lift to Billingshurst at some ungodly hour in the morning of the course, and I immediately met up with a shy little "girl" and we went in together. I sat waiting for the other "zumberies" to arrive and was so surprised to count approximately 50 of us! The instructor was Naomi, and she was such a star. Straight away putting us at our ease and yet within seconds on beginning to warm up I realised I had a huge smile on my face, due to her infectious attitude and the great music. The course lasted the day and I staggered out with a huge smile on my face and my hair very unflatteringly stuck to my face.... haha, I loved it. I had done the course, it was now up to me to try and make a go of it in my sleepy Montoro.

With the help of my good friend David who helped with my website translations etc I ran 2 free classes in December. This classes were great with 20 - 25 in each class. Since them I have to admit I am struggling rather. I don't think the Spanish put Christmas onto a credit card, and very sensible too, from what I have been told, no one does anything in January, apart from stay and home, keep warm, and save money, and hopefully it will pick up again in February.

Fingers crossed they will be flocking in soon!

My very first class!

Kaci is 2 !!!

Back to sunny Brighton for my gorgeous granddaughter Kaci's second birthday. Well ok it was November and certainly not sunny, but sunny in my heart, if you know what I mean! Frankie had planned a little party for Kaci in a local hall, with a great little soft play area, so the day of her birthday was kept for a few close friends, little cousin Maisie, and a fun time with her daddy!

Maisie and Uncle Marky came over in the morning, they had a little lunch , sang happy birthday, scoffed cake together and played with great imagination as you do when you become the wonderful age of two!

Nothing like a good chocolate cake!

Maisie cheeky and full of chocolate cake haha!

Kaci was in her element with all her little friends around her at her party, they played on the soft play equipment, and danced too. Smiles all around. I was so happy to be there!

Kaci looking so cute in her party outfit Jordan bought her

Tea time!

As always when I go back I can only ever meet up with a small handful of friends. It was wonderful to catch up with my dear friends at the stroke club I used to volunteer at, and a close friend or two. Of course my main priority is to spend as much precious time as I can with the family. I know you all appreciate that!

What did help to make my trip special, was spending a couple of nights with Mark, Callie and the gorgeous Maisie too. I so can't wait to do it again in March for Maisie's 2nd birthday!

Good friends birthday bash

We had an invitation to have lunch out with great friends. It was Pat's birthday, and Pedro had suggested we try "El Tomate" an extremely well known bar/ restaurant in nearby Bujalance. Woooo what a feast haha! I will try most things once although we all know Alan can be a fussy bugger but here in Spain, there is always meat, and plenty of it. I'm not really sure if I can remember everything we had, we ordered it as tapas dishes, rather large ones, and all tucked in. A meal here usually starts with cheese and ham, which you drizzle local olive oil onto, with bread, often that be stale, but not today! The first course was followed by a cold soup, garlicy (of course) and tomato'y, mmm very good, whitebait followed that! A Spanish dish called flamenquin was served up after that, with chips ....... then the main courses came along, pork, chicken, more chicken in a sauce and rather a lot of chips too! The wine flowed although I'm not very good at drinking, one glass does me for hours, cheap date I am!

The atmostphere in Spanish restaurants are loud, bubbly and full of laughter, and you find yourself having to shout to the person closest to you, to be heard! When we had finished all all went back to our local hostel in Montoro and Pedro bought some bubbly. We all raised our glasses to Pat, what a lovely day, with great friends!

The comings and goings of our cats!!!

We have this wild vision of our cats sitting down for monthly meetings and Mummy Barb discussing who should leave home right now, and who can stay for a little longer. At the beginning of the year we had living with us, Barb the mum, R Denise the dad (I know, I know) and the 3 kittens Sergio (Ramos) Andres (Iniesta) and Fernando Torres (Fern) who were the litter of 2010. In the spring we were delighted with the new arrivals Messi (Lionel) and Xavi. According to Alan his other name just is n't important! Sergio disapeared, tail between his legs no doubt, just before their arrival. R Denise seems to appear every two or three months to check on his family, and to make sure there have been no new butch felines hanging around. Soon after the kittens were born Fern also disappeared. This was very strange as she was extremely tame. I guess Barb feels the home can only sustain one female at a time, and she was packed off with a little stick with a tied up handkerchief attached to it, to pastures new too. At the moment Andres appears every two or three months like R Denise.

Which means of course at the moment we only have Barb and the two kittens. We have however seen two rather large tabby and white cats hanging around and howling trying to attract Barbs attention. Im pretty sure this springs kitten will be made up of the tabby kind. We shall see. Say goodbye to the litter of 2010 bless them, that have all sadly moved home now!




R. Denise

What a season

After coming back from Brighton we had two or three more guests before we hibernated for the winter. What a year we have had. Sadly just one unsatisfied guest who had booked through an agency we tried. We were not really sure if this would work, as we like to explain to people how remote we are, and the fact that we have animals, and we live in an old olive mill. Sadly their complaint was that our furniture was old fashioned. Personally we don't think ikea furniture works in an olive mill, but hey 2 unhappy guests in 3 years probably is nt too bad. As as the saying goes, "you cannot please everyone!" This year we have opened our home to another wide variety of people, which we really love. We have enjoyed the company of two Dutch actors, and American actor and actress, a bank manager, motivational speakers and a gentleman that worked in the house of Lords, to list a few. We love getting to know our guests whilst of course giving them the privacy they want and need, during their much awaited holiday!

This year we have realised that our holiday apartments are in fact perfect for children. Originally we felt we would attract more couples, but this year we have encouraged the children, and adults if they wish to come and walk the dogs with us, and of course feed and spend time with the alpacas. This summer very often we have got up and had children waiting for us as they were so eager to walk the dogs! We also introduced a "paint a pot" morning and asked the children to paint a ceramic plant pot for our small courtyard. This went down very well and more often than not the parents would want to "help" too, it was extremely therapeutic. One particularly guest comes to mind, Callam who asked for Bruno Mars to be played whilst he painted, and he sung with great gusto whilst painting his pot. When ever I hear Bruno Mars now I think of Callum.

Now it is December and we have just taken out first booking for next year which is great, we are looking forward to making new friends again!

Callie and Maisie having fun feeding the apacas

Kaci and Frankie concentrate on painting their pot!

My special treat trip!

After having Frankie, Kaci and Jordan here at the end of August, it was a lovely feeling to not be leaving the airport and them, a sobbing wreck, as I was going back with them! Mark and Callie had very very kindly paid for me to go back and look after their gorgeous Maisie for a week, wooo hooo it was like Christmas! Mark works long shifts, and Callie was away on a course for her new job. In actual fact Mark did manage to get a few days off too which was so lovely. Its not very often we get to spend quality time together these days. I had such a great time. Maisie and I went out a few times and met up with friends, and we had a great day out with Frankie and the big cousin Kaci, and we went to a great little farm in the country.

The farm had a little animal show that Kaci adored and was shouting out at the animals, bless her, where as Maisie was quite nervous, and cried a little, but she was still very young. After the animal show the girls spent hours on the swings, slides and their favourite was the trampolines. There little faces were a picture. Sadly for the first time ever I forgot to take my battery for my camera and I have no photographs of this lovely trip. Oh well I guess it means we will have to go back to the farm again!

Thanks so much Mark and Callie, it was so kind of you, and you know how much I loved it by the amount of tears I shed on leaving.... I wonder if it will ever get any easier!

Is sooooooo behind!

Ok today is the day I get my backside into gear and try hard to get my blog up to date before the new yea. My dear mum always said to me never have a pile of ironing that needs doing before the new year...... sorry mum, now its a back log of blogging, but that's much more fun!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The family arrive, well half of them!

I was so very excited for Frankie, Kaci and Jordan, Frankie's boyfriend, to come for a holiday. The weather was just about perfect, although possibly a few degrees cooler would have been even better. The decision was made that they would come up on the train, from Malaga to Cordoba as we have no air con in our car, as we thought it would be far more comfortable for them, and we met them there at the station. I waved excitedly when I saw them get off the train, and rushed around to the exit, that they would come up the travelator to. Kaci had obviously been prepped to say "Ola Nanny, I've missed you!" However when Frankie gave the cue and said to her "What are you going to say to nanny?" What came out was ICE CREAM PLEASE! Bless her, it did make me laugh!

I had such a lovely time, spending time with Kaci, and "Grandad Alan" and I took her out a couple of times on her own which was great. We had long walks up the track looking for "horsey's" and also over the dam of the reservoir, where we saw about 20 "horsey's", drinking from the lake and just soaking up the sun by the track. One was particularly friendly and Alan and I both managed to stroke him, we called him "Mr Tumble" after one of Kaci's favourite TV program.

Now my Frankie is not very brave when it comes to getting into the pool, even though it maybe 40 degrees outside, Frankie is, I am afraid to say a big wuss. It did take Kaci a few days to get in, but once we were all in together playing she absolutely loved it. When she was n't right in the pool she just loved sitting on the side with her little watering can and bucket playing with the water.

As the weather was so hot we did not go out very much. We did meet up with friends one day, and had tapas in town, and Kaci ran around outside playing football, with the boys, and we popped into see our good friends Tim and Susi, and of course a trip to the zoo. We spent quite a bit of time with the dogs, especially Blue, who Kaci adored, I think Jordan rather fell in love with her too. We all walked the dogs most days which was lovely, and all fed the alpacas most nights too.

Kaci and Jordan painted a pot for us and wow Jordan was a a bit of an artist! This year we have really brightened up our small courtyard, with ceramic pots that the children that have come here on holiday this year, have painted for us.

I don't think it was quite the total break that Frankie would have hoped for, those toddlers certainly know how to keep a mummy on their toes. Hopefully they all enjoyed a different lifestyle and some gorgeous hot sun for 10 days, I know I loved having them all here!

Kaci concentrating on her pot!

Football with the boys!

Alpaca dinner time

All walking the dogs, including the lovely family here on holiday with us!

Lunch time, enjoying the zoo!

Fun in the pool with "Jordi!"

My favourite photo!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Hooray for some exciting news! On 27th July we had a Canadian film crew here to film our home for a TV show, called "Live Here, Buy This!" The show asks Canadian and American home owners where they fantasize about living, and about what kind of lifestyle they imagine themselves living in, in these places. The film producers chose our house as one of them :-) The crew also filmed in Cordoba as well as the surrounding areas near our home too, as part of the show. The program is aired in Canada in spring 2012, and then sold on to America and other countries after this.

The exciting day arrived, and an estate agent came along with her daughter who was to be discussing our home with the presenter of the show, the lovely Shantelle Canzanese, on camera, who was gorgeous in every way, I guess Canada's answer to Kirstie Alsop, although younger and prettier.... sorry Kirstie (I'm sure she does n't read my blog!) The morning began with a very quick hello, and the crew were shown all around, where they quickly made up their minds which parts they wanted to film in. The mornings filming got off to a quick start and filming began outside the casita, and far too close to the adolescent boy alpacas! As the camera started rolling they thought "action" was a sign for them to all start piggy backing around the field, orgling at the top of their voices. Ohhhhh the embarrassment, I had to put the hose on them, and luckily they soon calmed down.

The first part of the morning was taken up by discussing our home, whilst they walked around it, and the temperature just got hotter, and hotter, and hotter. The poor sound man had a touch of "man flu" when he arrived and would n't even shake our hands, and the poor guy felt worse and worse as the day went on, eventually he jumped in the pool and cooled down, and seemed to feel much better for it. I think it was possibly the hottest day of the year, certainly up to aproximatly 46 degrees!

Lunch was discussed prior to the day, and we were all going out for lunch together, until of course everyone realised on arriving that we are not a short walk to the nearest restaurant, so Alan and I drove into town and bought some lovely salad etc. and we made a lovely lunch for us all. It was too hot to eat outside, even in the shade, so we ate in the big kitchen with fans on us.

Of course the kitchen had been cleaned to within an inch of it's life, and had to be done again as there were still the "beauty shots" to be taken. We were told our house would look "beautiful and sexy" fantastic, so we all got stuck in. Shantelle tried to wash up but that was Alan's department, and then she wanted to mop the floor for us! In the end we both allowed Ken Seeback the director of the filming to mop the floor bless him. He has certainly been well trained! The filming recommenced after lunch, phew I did feel sorry for them as the temperature went up and up!

After lunch Alan and I were told they wanted us to do a 10 second piece to camera, stated why we liked living in Spain. If any of our friends asked us that, we would ramble on for hours, I'm sure, but the fact that we had to do it in front of the camera was a whole different story. It took about four takes and of course were encouraged to smile and look happy whilst talking to the camera. I'm pretty sure a lot of gobble-dee-goop came out of my mouth, and it sure was n't Spanish. However any of my dancey friends will be very pleased to hear that although I was only being filmed from the shoulders up, I was standing in an excellent third position.

It was a great day and the film crew were all lovely. Even the sound man gave us a big hug on leaving. In fact if any of you are on facebook you can "Like" the page of the show "Life here, buy this!

Lunch time!

Cassandra and her lady bits!

Having had the awful worry with Cassandra and flystrike, we are as you can imagine extra vigilant with all our animals at the moment. We were still putting cream on Cassandra and then noticed another swelling, the "ladybits" again, but on the other side, we did nt know what it was, so the first thought was to phone our vet. It was nearly 10pm on a Saturday evening, plus we knew he was very soon going on holiday, if he had not already left. Luckily he had not gone, but we suggested we took a photo, and emailed it to him, so he could have a look and see if he could diagnose the problem. He said sure no problem. We got there and him and his wife were all dressed up to go out, but as ever he was more than happy to help. He felt she could have been stung, or just had an inflamed area. Nothing too much to worry about. he gave us a prescription for a steroid cream. So off we trot to the out of hours pharmacy, As we turned into the main high Street, we were met with a policeman, blowing away at his whistle, directing the crowds away from the town centre, and the away from where we wanted to go. It must have been a religious festival that we did n't know about, and there was a beautiful effigy being carried out of the church, with the locals all in their finery watching . We followed the road round in the direction we were hastily pointed to, and found and got stuck in a wedding party,just as they were coming out of the church. Weddings are very often held during the late evening here as the temperature tends to reach at least 40 degrees most summer afternoons, so the locals enjoy the slightly balmy evenings. Nightmare upon nightmare we then had to take the tiny roads around the town. When we first moved here we had a little drive round some of the tiny streets, and after driving round for about half an hour, we were approached by a man on a motor bike and shown the way out... how embarrassing! We had actually had guests do the same thing and been guided out too! Well surprise surprise we came out at the first church and the effigy had hardly moved, so we decided to call it a night, and make our way home. Cassandra's cream could wait until the following morning. This we did and got caught up in a local cycle race, never a dull moment here hahaha!

Our lovely little town of Montoro

Rafas poorly foot returns, with avengeance :(

All our alpaca problems all seemed to happen within about a month, and seemed to flit from one problem to another so I am sorry if this part of the blog seems a little disjointed.

Well the grey boys had been moved and caused a mini orgy, but the other three boys Rafa, Galaxy and Santa missed the other boys so much, we moved them very soon afterwards. On reflection we should have given Rafa's foot a little more time to heal, however obviously we thought we had. So the boys all had access to a huge open space, basically three paddocks, where at least we thought they could have space. Not on your Nellie they are all still joined at the hip, and still as blooming frisky!

Of course we kept an eye on Rafa's foot. We made up a small pen to feed the boys in at dinner time, to we could keep an eye on it, and for a couple of days it seemed fine, it actually looked like it was healing nicely. He was n't limping, just bouncing along with all the others, usually first, when we came in through the gate, shaking our bucket to let them know it was dinner time. A few days past and we thought we should get hold of him and have a good look, when to our horror we saw a little maggott between his toes. FLYSTRIKE AGAIN! We were devastated!!!

Alan had watched Andres deal with Cassandra's flystrike problem, and was confident who could deal with it, and he did, extremely well. Poor Rafa was obviously in a lot of pain and discomfort whist Alan one by one removed the pesky little blighters! At one point Alan had gone to get fresh water and Rafa tried to jump a hurdle and I got a rather nasty bruise and scratch from his nail as I think I may have caught him, mid jump. Poor little fella. For days we checked it two or 3 times a day and treated it with antibiotic cream. A few days later you could tell it was feeling a lot better as he would let Alan lift his foot, and have a good look without him struggling. I was very proud of Alan, I'm not sure I could have dealt with it!

Rafa going for a walk one day!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alpaca Orgy!

As you may have read, in my last blog, because of the fighting due to being a little frisky we decided we needed to move the boys, that have been in a rather small area since shearing, hence the fighting I'm sure, so we walked Marcus and Eduardo around on leads, having of course penned the girls in through the girls paddock, and another small paddock to a large area with some grass and weeds, and our plan was to give them a few days on their own then bring round the other three boys. So we did that and went shopping. A couple of hours later we drove up our little track and turned the corner where we can see the girls, usually sunbathing and we were faced with a bloody alpaca orgy!!! There were the three girls sitting in a row all facing the same way, the two outside girls Cassandra (typical) and Lily with a male on top and Bermuda sitting in the middle of them waiting for her turn. BLOODY HELL! So who knows, we may have babies next year. Never a dull moment here eh haha!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rafa and the start of a poorly foot!

After shearing at the beginning of May, the boys were in a small paddock closest to the house, and the girls nearby, although not too close to cause any excitement or to be able to see each other. It was just the way they had finished up after the upheaval of shearing, besides we like to move them around a bit, musical alpacas, and it stops them from being bored. In time they would all be back in their normal places. Meanwhile it was great to have the boys near us again. They are far more sociable than our girls, and particularly like to come to the fences and have a sniff and a good look when we take the dogs out for a walk. Only a few days after the incident with Cassandra I happened to notice Rafa lying with one leg stretched out in front of him, and he had blood between his two toes, he had probably caught his foot on a stone, although now we are on high alert, always on the look out for blood. Luckily the boys being in the smaller paddock meant we could keep an eye on him easily. For three days at least we cleaned it thoroughly and put the same cream on it that Cassandra had and sprayed him 3 times a day with the same insecticide spray.

The boys had been in the smaller paddock for a couple of weeks and as much as we loved having them there, they needed to be moved, it was just too small for them and they were getting a little frisky, there was a lot of piggy backing around then green spit flying through the air. It seemed to be that our two handsome grey boys Marcus and Eduardo were causing the friskiness so a decision was made to move them round to a larger paddock, just for a couple of days, to give the others a little more space, then we would take Rafa, Galaxy and little Santa round to join them. That was the plan. The plan however did not quite go to plan. Dum dum dummmmm! The next instalment to come... possibly tomorrow!

A slightly younger Rafa, loving Arthur!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dreaded Flystrike! An alpaca owners nightmare!

We were feeding the girls one morning and for some reason noticed that Cassandra's tail was slightly raised, luckily it allowed me to see she had blood around her bottom and vaginal area. My first thoughts were that maybe she had suffered a prolapse. It was around 8.30 am so I phoned our vet. I asked him if Alan could come and get him, you may remember he does n't drive, he sounded a little hesitant and said errr around 11 am I can come. That was fine with us, Cassandra did not seem to be in any pain or discomfort and she was tucking into her food.... nothing new there, so that was fine. As summer here can be particularly flyey, (how on earth do you spell flyey?) we decided to spray around the area with an insecticide, that we always keep in case an animal gets a cut or graze. One of the fears when you are an animal owner is the dreaded flystrike!

Alan collected Andres at 11 as arranged he explained he had been watching his little daughter in her end of term show of Grease, we now had his full attention though! Whilst we were checking on Cassandra, spraying her with insecticide etc we did notice the infected area seemed very swollen. We could not understand what she had done, if it was an internal problem or a cut on the outside, we just knew there was a lot of swelling! We could also see some minute white things, our fear was that they were fly eggs that would turn into maggots!!!

OK it get's nasty now, put your noodles down! I held Cassandra, as now when we do treatments on the alpacas sometimes I struggle with doing injections, their skin is like a tight drum and some antibiotics are very thick and I have to admit there are a few jobs in life that Alan can do better than me and so I do the holding/ cuddling. Andres knew exactly what he was dealing with and as he went to his Black & Decker box, also known as his medical box, I did n't want to look in case a scalpel was involved. A scalpel was not involved but a blooming big pair of tweezers were. Sadly what we thought may have been eggs were in fact the tails of maggots that were already inside her. We were totally devastated, although Andres was not at all perturbed, I guess he is used to dealing with it. I learnt a lot about maggots during that morning, whilst he took about 20 out of the cut, and the swelling seemed to reduce with every one he removed. He explained to us that the maggots were only 2 or 3 days old, which he could tell from their size and all from the one egg as they were all the same size too. We also learnt that as they eat dead and infected tissue or skin whilst they are inside the body they actually breathe out of their rear end, so what we could see was their tail which they breath of out. I still hate the little blighter's but it was interesting to learn about it.

To this day we don't know what Cassandra had done, she could have sat on a sharp stone or caught herself on a branch, we just don't know. However she healed remarkably quickly once the maggots had been removed and she had a course of antibiotics, plus an antibiotic cream too. Thankfully she is fine now, but we are always keeping our eyes open for slightly raised tails, as I'm sure you can imagine! Poor Cassandra!

Our gorgeous Cassandra

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A sneaky weekend in Brighton

My beautiful God daughter Miss Jenna Avenall now Mrs. Stringer, was due to be married in June, this was a wedding I dearly wanted to attend. Luckily for me, even during a busy time with holiday lets, I scarpered off leaving poor Alan to hold the fort, whilst I managed to get in a sneaky weekend, and see my best friend in the whole world's little girl, tie the knot.

It did of course mean I managed to spend time with my lovely kiddiwinks and their babies too. For once I had made arrangements for Frankie to pick me up at the airport and I was going to have my hair done, straight from there. Sods law I had a delay.  To cut a long story short the pilot was given three different gates to stop at, and I think he got in a huff and braked exactly where he was. About a mile away from where we wanted him to be! We got ferried out to him by buses, and we had a hysterical mum getting extremely cross as her "Baby was going to die, in the heat!" "Errrr hello, you have been in Spain, I really don't think five minutes in a bus is going to do too much harm."  The poor cabin crew!  I'm sure it can be an pleasant job when everything is going smoothly, but crikey they took some stick, that day! After we were all in, doors closed, seat belts signs on, out came the co-pilot.   He was very apologetic and said someone had nipped into their stand. A little like someone nipping into a place in front of you, at your local NCP I guess. Well he apologised and told us as we had lost our take off spot we would have to wait two hours. there was a chorus of "OHHHH NOOOOO's!" including from me. Frankie would be preparing for work, and to pick me up, and Louise was booked to do my hair. We were allowed to make phone calls to change plans, and settled down for a long wait. After all of about ten minutes, out came the "co" again, with the great news that we could be off in 10 minutes after all...... Hooray!!! He was now the hero of the day? Panicy phone calls were all made again, rescheduling for the second time! We landed approximately 45 minutes late. My hair appointment was cancelled. The lovely Louise however, did some juggling and fitted me in later that evening. We drove straight to Frankie's work, and I went off to the hairdressers from there.... phew!

Saturday 11th June, and we woke up to a glorious day, beautiful temperatures and sunshine, just perfect. I was luckily enough to be invited to the whole shin dig and Mark, Callie and Frankie were joining us for the evening celebrations. What a beautiful bride, there were of course a few tears shed, as she walked down the aisle with her very proud dad beside her, Jenna looked stunning. Jenna plus 4 out of 5 of her bridesmaids being in event management, meant the day been planned down to the final detail, in fact the weeks leading up to the special day had all been meticulously planned!

I was honoured to be sitting with the family and we had such a wonderful time reminicing, in fact I travelled up to the reception with Mandy, Wendy's sister and I don't think there was a break for a breathe for more than two seconds. Is n't reminising wonderful! We all had such a wonderful time at the wedding. I had a rather lovely rosy glow after having five alcoholic drinks in 9 hours, and boy did I dance, I have n't danced like that for years. In actual fact the dj said I was a good dancer haha. How good was that!

Wendy and Jenna, my beautiful friend and gorgeous daughter!

Oopsy after a little drinkypoos

The following day we were hoping to have a lovely family day out, sadly the British weather played havoc with that so Mark and Callie coped with a house full of us, for the whole day. The babies had a great time playing together, and we finished off the day with a good old Chinese take away.... one of the few things I do miss here in sunny Spain!

"I WILL kiss my little cousin!"

My gorgeous grandgirlies - Maisie

and Kaci
Fun with balloons!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Callie and Maisie come to Spain

Just typical, Mark my son was starting training for a new job and could n't come over for a holiday, however I was over the moon when Callie said she would still bring Maisie over. That's Marks gorgeous lady and my beautiful granddaughter aged 15 months. Like Frankie had done at Christmas Callie did the journey on her own, with the cases, buggy and car chair. It sounds a nightmare, but I am so pleased they have both done it, and all for for me!

It was a hot and rather humid day, and we were indecisive as to whether or not we should stop off about 30 minutes from home, to get Maisie out for a breathe of fresh air, and a cool drink, but she seemed quite comfortable and so we continued our journey. Thank goodness we did as the moment we arrived at our gates, the heavens opened, and stair rods fell. Alan got simply drenched just opening the gates, we drove in and sat in the car for 40 minutes, whilst we waited for it to stop, even just a little.

Eventually we got out of the car and made a dash for the big kitchen, on route we noticed our gorgeous nectarine tree battered and broken from the storm In the kitchen we found flooding from the roof, nothing new there, although it was the end of May. The casita that Callie and Maisie were staying in was also saoking and sadly too so was Maisie's cot. Alan ran around like a loony and battened down what he could whilst Callie and I, and little Maisie just sort of sat in the kitchen, waiting for it to pass over..... for quite a while!

Our poor nectarine tree
The pool was in a state
and as for the track .....

The track being in this condition meant we were unable to get out for a couple of days.
Eventually a tractor came down and flattened it and scraped the huge boulders out of the way that fall from the steep sides, if the rain is torrential. When we did manage to get out, the first trip was breakfast in Cordoba, where they do this lovely "toast" or "tostadas" which is like a large flat roll, toasted with butter or as the Spanish have, and I do occasionally, with olive oil and tomatoes. Maisie was able to toddle around with nanny chasing her, to keep up with her, and then off to the zoo we went.

Our trip to the zoo was almost identical to when we took Kaci at the same age. The interest in a particular animal would last from zero seconds to possibly 30 seconds, then we were on the run again. Cordoba zoo is lovely and quiet and it so safe for little 'uns to toddle freely around. However the donkies were a major hit, Maisie loved them and stroked them without any fear what so ever.

The gorgeous Maisie and I

Maisie and a lynx rather liked each other

Throughout the holiday, Maisie met and interacted with all the dogs and alpacas too, showing absolutely no fear what so ever. Our large dogs Arthur and Blue do I accept look rather scary however they truly are gentle giants.

Callie and Maisie with Big Arthur

One of the reasons Mark and Callie were hoping to return this particular week is because it is the week long Cordoba feria. Each town in Andalucia, and probably Spain no matter how tiny has a feria, and the Cordoba one, is pretty amazing, and the highlight of their year. Of course Mark could n't be with us, but we still dressed ourselves up and had a lovely evening. Maisie looked so beautiful in her little Spanish dress.

The gorgeous entrance to the Cordoba Feria which takes months to complete, and then months to disband again.

Two of my gorgeous girls, Callie and Maisie

Maisie meets a little Matador at the feria!

Flamenco dancing in a bar

Maisie loved the lights and music

Love it :-)

and with "Grandad Alan" (he's not really, but!)

We took Maisie out onto the big courtyard one day, where the dogs live. Immediately Arthur came and lay in front of Callie and Maisie as if he was guarding little Maisie, probably from the nightmare that is Miliko! Bless him!

With Blue

The day before we left with a tearful goodbye, we thought it would be nice to take the alpacas for a walk.