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!