Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Eye eye... Another hospital visit

Get yourself a cup of tea or something stronger, it's a long one.....
When we watch television, which is nothing like the amount we watched in the UK, it's a little diddy one. So when I couldn't see the planner very easily I thought that was why.  I was starting to think however that maybe I would soon need glasses for everyday things and not just reading.  Blast, I'm falling to pieces!

A few days after, we had some friends over, and Alan called out to us all “Look at that eagle”  They were all ooh and ahhing at the eagle soaring high above us, and I couldn’t see it.  Immediately I was aware that something was not quite right and I saw silvery lights. Something weird was going on in my right eye.  Luckily one of our Spanish friends here, David, is an optician, so I went and had a chat to him.  He tested my eyes however he knew within seconds something wasn’t right, especially as my pupil had changed shape, and he said I had to go to the doctor, soon.

The plan was to make an appointment to the doctor and hope it was nothing too serious. Meanwhile  I was having the bad nose bleeds and the fainting episode.  I told you all about that palarva and the hospital visit in the previous blog post.

I couldn't see the doctor immediately after this, as we had holiday guests plus one of the alpaca boys had suffered a bite on his ear by Santa... our naughty boy.  Alan was doing his best to corner poor Eduardo, get hold of him, plus bathe his ear and put cream on it, whilst I was in bed before I could help him.  A few days later I saw my doctor, luckily David came along with us so there would be nothing lost in translation, this was all pretty important stuff!  Regarding the anaemeia, I’ve got what is like little bottles of blood to have every day for 3 months, he looked at my eye and said there was a serious problem going on and it needed looking at by an opthamologist.  I had to go to the receptionist and she would organise an appointment there and then for me.  However if it was any longer than a couple of weeks wait we had to inform him, and he would give us a letter to take to the Spanish equivilant of accident and emergency. In fact it was only a months wait, but he wanted me seen as soon as possible.

We were show into a different waiting room this time, and it seemed to be full of people with bloody noses or banged heads.  We waited our turn and a one point a scary looking lady doctor came out and walked past us, in high heeled shoes a mop of blonde curly hair. She had an air about her and we hoped we wouldn't be seeing her.  Sods law of course we did, and she couldn't have been nicer.  As usual we stumbled through and we even brought our Spanish - English dictionary with us. Half way through the consulation as she was asking us questions, a voice from behind a door was translating and shouted the question in English. After a few minutes a friendly head popped around the door and apologised for her interruptions.  Of course we were extremely happy for her help. The lady doctor was unhappy that it hadn't been looked at when I had my 'collapse'  as she called it and I was sent straight to the eye department to be seen. 

This was on a Thursday and I was seen by a doctor but not a consultant.  First I had to read the letters projected onto the wall, then he looked into my eyes with a slit lamp.

From Wikipedia - The slit lamp is an instrument consisting of a high-intensity light source that can be focused to shine a thin sheet of light into the eye. It is used in conjunction with a biomicroscope. The lamp facilitates an examination of the anterior segment, or frontal structures and posterior segment, of the human eye, which includes the eyelid, sclera, conjunctiva, iris, natural crystalline lens, and cornea. The binocular slit-lamp examination provides a stereoscopic magnified view of the eye structures in detail, enabling anatomical diagnoses to be made for a variety of eye conditions. A second, hand-held lens is used to examine the retina.

After this examination he told me I had a condition called uveitus, and inflamation of the eyeball.  That made sense as my eye hurt, rather like a toothache in it.  I had been watching television covering my right eye as it had been painful and also everthing seems so bright.

He gave me two types of drops, one was a steroid drop and the other to keep the pupil dilated, and gave me an appointment to return on the following Tuesday. This we did, this time we saw a younger and extremely good looking doctor.  He also did the same tests performed  previously, plus he also examined my retina by an instument that throws strong lights into the eye.  This was a bit uncomfortable!  He then suggested we come back the following morning and see the consultant, which of course we jumped at the chance. 

The same young doctor was there, that was good as he could explain his thoughts to the lady consultant, who was a very sweet lady. Once again all those tests were performed and also I had Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT).  The OCT gives a cross-section view of the retina. Swelling of the retina, collection of fluid beneath the retina, and blood vessels can be seen well with the test. 

I was told to continue with the drops and she wanted to see me again a week later. All the previous tests were perfomed again plus another.  The next test was FFA which stands for fundus fluorescein angiography. This is a special test to check out the structure and health of the blood vessels within the retina by injecting a special dye into a vein in the arm. Both of my eyes were dilated with eye drops, and I had to sit in front of the Fundus Camera and a series of photographs of the retina were taken whilst a nurse injected the dye into my arm.  It was quite uncomfotable and handsome doctor had to hold my right eye open throughout the procedure. That particular test can have some pretty strange side effects, maybe it was a good job the consultant gave Alan the paperwork to read and translate what he could. The most exciting side effect was that my urine was a fantastic neon colour for about 24 hours. Skin, and the whites of your eyes may also turn yellow. Also the repeated camera flash during the procedure can in a few people cause nausea or vomiting. I remembered whilst having the test feeling a dryness and strange feeling in my mouth, but nothing else apart from the exciting trips to the loo! 

After the results which can be can be seen immediately, I was told I have acute uveitis (inflammation of the eyeball, front and back) pressure in the eyeball and an inflamed retina.  With that they said they wanted to give me an injection under the eye.  I was petrified!  My big fear is that I may at some point have to have an injection in my eye! To be honest this was only in my skin and it wasn’t too bad. Although she apologised as she was withdrawing the needle, because she knew immediately she had bruised me.  

A month later I was back again.  All the tests were done once again apart from the FFA (injection in the arm)  Yes even the injection under the eye.  As yet nothing has changed, but she said it's early days.  She now want me to see a doctor about my sarcoidosis, as uveitis is a sympton, and she is sure that's what has caused it. Whilst in the queue making the next appointment, would you believe a lady fainted on Alan. It's the best place for it to happen!  The nurses all rushed around, one lifted the ladies legs, another took her blood pressure and one seemed to give her an injection in her stomach.  Most of the other ladies in the queue stood around fanning her with their fans... never a dull moment! 

P.S. I'm really not highly intelligent, and I have looked up what these tests are called!

After the injection.  Can you spot the strange shape of the pupil?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Oh So this is the Recovery Position?

Another long gap between blog posts, I'm so sorry, and this is the reason why!

I hadn't really been feeling 100% towards the end of the summer.  We had been busy thank goodness, very hot and we were looking forward to having the place to ourselves.  Don't get me wrong, I love having holiday guests, but when the weather is really hot and you are here on our own, you can take some clothes off! 

The last week in September I started having nose bleeds, bad nose bleeds.  That's unusual for me. For 5 days I had 1 or 2 every day, it would just pour out for about half an hour, sorry, not very nice.  On day 6, I was in our apartment and Alan was in the big kitchen, where we tend to live in the hot summer months, when it started bleeding profusely again.  I noticed we had hardly any toilet roll downstairs, so I ran up to the big kitchen holding what little I had to my face.  When Alan saw me he said "No, not again?" whilst he grabbed me a new toilet roll.  I rushed back down to the bathroom, as it was bad.  A couple of minutes later Alan came to see if I was ok.

"I feel awful!"  I said, as I sat on the toilet seat with my head in my hands.  At this point the bleeding was slowing down.  I felt very dizzy and sick.  As the feeling waved over me even worse, I stood over the bathroom sink, splashing cold water onto my face.  I was sweating but I felt cold, it was strange, a horrible feeling.  I remember hearing an involutary moan that came from me.  Then I woke up on the floor!  

I was very lucky Alan had come to check on me.  He was in the bathroom when I passed out, and caught me.  It's a small bathroom with floor tiles and it could have been nasty if I had banged my head on the floor.

Alan was on the floor beside me when I woke up.  I didn't know why I was on the floor, then I realised what must have happened.  "Don't move" he said.  "I need to get you to the medical centre.  I'm phoning David." David is a very good friend of ours.  He's Spanish, his parents own one of the pharmacies in town, and he is a pharmacist and optician too.  Alan phoned him to ask his advice regarding going to the medical centre in an emergency.  After a few minutes I got my bearings and lifted my head up and leant on my elbow for a few minutes.  Luckily my nose had stopped bleeding, that was one good thing.  I sat on the floor whilst Alan spoke to David.  

"Right" he said, "let's get you up slowly"  I was still feeling rather woozy and disorientated., so I got as far as the sofa, and sat there for a few minutes.  "David wants us to pick him up on route"  Alan said.  That was great he could do the talking, as Alan had explained everything that happened.  I was helped into the car like an old lady and given a kitchen roll and a carrier bag in case the bleeding started again, and we made our way into town.  I was very grateful Alan went slowly on our windy track.

Our registered doctor wasn't on duty but we saw another very nice gentleman.  David explained everything so I wouldn't have to talk too much.  They took a little blood and checked my blood pressure, and the doctor said I was very anaemic and I had to go to the hospital in Cordoba as I may need a blood transfusion.  David also explained a problem I had with one of my eyes, which he also checked.  He waved his arms around profusely after shining the little torch in my eye, and said I had a serious problem, and I needed to see an opthalmologist.  But that will be for the next blog post.

David went back to work and Alan and I set off for the hosptital.  If anyone has been into a Spanish hospital it's a tad different from the A&E in England, well certainly in Brighton.  In Brighton it's a small waiting room and you sit patiently waiting for hours to be seen.  Usually wondering what is wrong the the person sitting beside you (or is that just me?)  The waiting area in the Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba is huge. Half of it has reclining chairs, some normal chairs for those not want to be seen making a fuss, and an area for trolleys.  Obviously emergencies go through to another part, but if it's not too serious you are in with the rest of us.  It is also a room for waiting between tests and treatents.  Anyone needing a drip will be taken back there whilst it is going in, and you wait in there until you are called to your next step of treatment, x-ray etc. 

Alan certainly has got a chapter for book number 3 from the waiting area.  Spanish ladies fussing around their husbands or parents on the trolleys.  Making sure their feet are tucked in and covered with the sheets, and stroking faces and heads.  One lady's grown up daughter must have been feeling extremely hot as she fanned herself continuously with an adult size incontinence pad.  I also couldn't believe how much kissing was going on.  Anyone going out of the room for a couple of minutes would of course do the double kissing when they came back to their loved one.  

Eventually it was my turn to see a doctor.  My name was easy to recognise when it was called as everyone else seemed to be Maria, or Pedro.  The young doctor initially looked horrified when he realised our Spanish wasn't great.  Between us though we managed.  He seemed very pleased with himself as he found English words he probably hadn't used since school, and of course we would also answer back in Spanish.  A real Spanglish conversation.  We were at the hospital for hours, in fact 8 very long hours.  I did however have a pretty good overall check up.  More blood tests, blood presure, even an ECG and they also checked I hadn't suffered a slight stroke.  Having asked about my medical history and informing him of my sarcoidosis I was then sent off for a chest x-ray.  

After all the tests and checks were done he was happy to let me go home without a blood tranfusion.  He did however say I would need to be on medication for a while.  Unfortunately even though the doctor in Montoro had made a note on the letter for my eye to be checked, the young doctor said I needed to see my own doctor, as I needed to be referred to a different department for that.  So that will be the next post.

The following day October 2nd was my birthday.  Alan popped into town and brought me a lovely box of chocolates and some flowers.  He made me promise only to get up if I needed the toilet and if there were any nose bleeds I had to be on the bed.  I obeyed the orders of course!   I spent most of the day in bed, getting up to chat to my daughter Frankie on skype, and Mark my son phoned me whilst I was in bed.  That was awkward as the signal in our bedroom is very bad, so I had to hang off the bed to chat to him.

That was a month ago now, and the week after I would sleep before lunch, AND after lunch and go to bed about 7pm.  Now I don't have a sleep during the day, although I still feel very tired sometimes.  I'm usually in bed about 10pm, which is very early for me.  I have my medicine, it's little vials of what look like blood, and I'm on them for 3 months.  Apparently that's how long it will take my blood to return to normal!  Crazy eh!

I'm so lucky that Alan was there to catch me on that day, thanks Alan, and also that once again the Spanish health care has been excellent! 

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Swimming Pool Nightmare!

We are well aware that if we are lucky enough to be someone's choice of holiday destination, they have picked us out of many other countries, towns and varying styles of holiday destinations.  If you want a relaxing, peaceful time, where the children, and you, can enjoy participating with the animals, velvet navy skies with amazing starry night's, all wrapped up with a private pool then we are your perfect place.  After that choice has been made, flights and car hire need addressing, then of course money saved, and counting down the months and weeks for that perfect holiday in the sunshine!  We so want that holiday to be perfect for you.... you deserve it!  So imagine how we felt when it all went terribly wrong during one family's stay.

A quiet, private family with two boys, one a teenager and the other little lad loved to spend time with Alan and I.  Actually no, he adored spending time with Arthur and Blue who happened to be in the same room as us.  After a few days the young lad came up in a rash.  None of us were too worried at first, as apparently he suffers a little from prickly heat every year, however it didn't get better.  We bought a new pool testing kit, plus the chemicals needed for the results either way.  We spent two days struggling to get the balance right with the chemicals, and Alan wasn't happy.  We were very disapointed for them and neither of us were sleeping properly knowing their holiday was not the perfect break they had imagined.  We decided the best thing we could do was to empty the pool and refill it.

We knocked on the apartment door and we sat with the family explaining that we could not get the ph balance correct and we thought we should empty the pool.  We explained that with our water system, it's not exacly like turning on a tap in a UK town or city.  We could run water into the pool for about two hours, but then as our water comes from a spring in the hill, the water deposito would have to refill prior to us filling the pool any more.  We explaned that in 24 hours the deep end would be about a metre deep.  We all decided that was the way to go.  We offered to pay for them for a trip to a water park for a day or unlimited paid trips to the local town pool, however they only wanted a private pool, that of course they had paid and looked forward to!

We immediately set about pumping the water out of the pool, by 1.30 am the pool was empty.  First thing in the morning Alan and I got in, and hosed it all down ready for the big refill.  The water ran through the hose for about two hours then we had to stop or we were risking no water for showers or even toilets later.  We had to patiently wait for the deposito to refill.  The family went out to a trip to Cordoba on that day.

Empty pool.  Final clean

The following day, beautiful clear water!

When our guests returned, they were upset that there was no water running into the pool.  We again explained that we had to wait for the deposito to refill but later that evening we would run another two hours worth of water into the pool.  It was also 40 degrees every day, so I must admit we hoped they would still use the pool for cooling off in, but they wanted it full, we did understand that, to a certain extent however we felt that some water was better than none!  Unfortunately they didn't seem to understand the concept that although our water runs continuously it has to be pumped to another water tank before it makes it's way through the taps.  I must admit we had a rather awkward couple of days.  They told us they had informed the children they wouldn't be able to swim in the pool again for the rest of their holiday!

The following day when we were out shopping I said to Alan "What on earth would we do if we lived in an area with limited water?"  "We would have to buy it in I guess" he replied....  Decision made!  We went straight to our Spanish friend and explained what we needed and a phone call was made.  We would have 12,000 litres delieverd that evening.  They knew our house, the one of the little bridge with the llama's. Nearly right, we must be famous!  With one more couple of hours worth of filling we should be full!

A huge tanker full of water turned up with 20,000 litres on board and of course a deal was done.  "Had we got a hose of 25centimetres diameter?" The men carrying the water asked "Errr no!" Tthey needed to find one.  So they piled into Frank our ole car and did a tour of the neighbours.  Usually a hose of any length or diameter could be found, corrugated sheets, wood, you name it they keep it.  You never know when it will come in handy!  No such luck with our hose though.  They made a phone call, and before we knew it one was on route from Montoro.  That gave them time to dismantle some fencing to enable them to get the water into the pool, via the hose.

The hose arived and was taped on with gaffer tape and the excitement was building soon we would have a full pool, happy guests and we would sleep well...... until!!!!!

We could not believe what was coming out of the tanker.  I joked to one of the men and said "is it from the river?"  He looked at me seriously and said "No!"  Of course we were not very happy with the water but we guessed it would settle over night and we could hoover it up the following morning.  Could we heck!  Although we say that typical phrase, we can get by, with our Spanish, it's times like that we realise we really can't if there's a real problem.  There was no way we could refuse to pay.  We had our pool full of water, now we had to make it look like an inviting swimming pool again.  We began by filtering the pool for a couple of hours during that evening.

The following morning after yet another sleepless night, we were up early.  To our horror very little of the dirt had gone to the bottom, but Alan set to hoovering the bottom of the pool and filtering it for hours on end.  We then felt we had made a huge mistake by buying in the water.  We just wanted the pool to be fit for use for our guests, as soon as possible.

We had already spent around a week of the family's holiday payment on two ph tests, chemicals, petrol for the genny, plus of course petrol for every trip to fill the genny, and the water! We still were no closer to having a pool fit for swimming in.  I asked my Spanish friends on facebook if anyone could help.  Two people from our local town suggested the same man. We found Tony on facebook, a very smiley Portugese man.  We met him at the bull ring and he came armed with chemicals.  He put in a magic potion and we were told in 48 hours it would be perfect.  Sure enough it was.  In time for our guests last day.    It turns out that Tony looks after 3 local town's municipal pools, so he really knows his stuff!  Alan and I went in for a clean around the water line 48 hours later, and the ph balance was perfect.  Our guests had popped out so when they returned we told them the good news, the pool was perfect!  The boys of course wanted to swim on their last day.  Alan checked on them when he could he playful squeals coming for the pool.  He stuck his head rund the corner..... "Everything ok?  He called out, "Not really!" they replied, "It's just made us realise what we have missed!"  We were so sad to hear that, we thought they would have been thrilled to at least have their last day by the pool.

We were very happy when the family agreed to have a bbq with us on their last evening and their was no awkwardness.  They also said had it not been for the pool problems it would have been their perfect holiday.... gutted!

Monday, September 30, 2013

An Evening at the Alcázar in Cordoba

Thank goodness the only evening we planned to have a late night, little Kaci decided she would allow herself to have a siesta.  She slept for a good two hours and was as bright as a button as we drove into Cordoba about 8pm, normally her bed time!  We had an excellent meal in the Jewish Quarters near the Mezquita then made our way to the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Spanish for "Castle of the Christian Monarchs")  for the 10pm show.  The castle is pretty interesting, personally I don't think it's the prettiest around though.  It was the music sound and light show we had planned to see.  Alan and I have seen it before and enjoyed immensely.  We knew my daughter Frankie would enjoy it, and hoped it would keep Kaci interested.  It's difficult to know if a 3 year old will be kept entertained!   

The good news was that it certainly did!  The first part is a bit of a history lesson, however with a projector screening it makes it more fun than just being lectured to. 

From there we walked through the little courtyard gardens down to the beautiful fountains and fabulous gardens.  The fountains dance to the music, and the colours are pretty spectacular.  Kaci being a dancer, like her mummy and nanny of course, loves to dance at any opportunity and she had a little dance alongside the fountains..... she even gained a small audience at one point.  Sadly I could get the camera on video quick enough to video her dancing.

My beautiful girls

Me with my gorgeous girls

She was an absolute star that night!  Let's hope we can do it again, sometime soon!

A little snippet of one of the fountains

My little dancer, but she needed some prompting this time!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Zooooo!

Imagine during a spell of temperatures in the mid to high 30's, that for some strange reason it dropped for one day to around the mid twenties.  A tad strange for August, and we were extremely grateful!  What a perfect day to go to the zoo.  Kaci at 3 1/2 loves the zoo, and Cordoba being small,  and usually fairly quiet means she can run around, and also not get too bored.   Alan and I pay regular visits to Cordoba zoo and there are always new babies something's being born, and we have seen the facilities improve during the time we have been visiting.  Which is always good to see.  The weather being cooler meant great opportunies to see the animals out and about, as they also enjoyed a cooler day.  Enjoy the photos!

Flavia the elephant, in the background!

He's behind you!

I just love this photo!

A lolly before home time!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Frankie and Kaci and the baby bump, come on Holiday!

Well I must start with a grovelling apology.  It's been a hectic few weeks since my last blog post.  I was all ready to tidy this one up and post it, and the beeping thing had vanished.  I have no ideas where it is.  It was typed, photos in place, but the grr@y% 7 8*£&""! thing has gone.  So there was a slight delay, whilst I rewound my sun drenched brain back a few weeks, to when my gorgeous daughter and scrummy granddaughter Kaci were here on their little holiday.

They arrived on time, and thanks to skype and me not being a stranger, little Kaci ran into my arms for a big cuddle.  At 20 weeks pregnant Frankie had a suprisingly big bump, although it was indeed all bump, lucky girl!  The hormones were well and truly hovering near the surface as Frankie burst into tears as she hugged me. Naturally I joined in, it would have been rude not to!

Now I'm sure Kaci's mummy and daddy won't mind me saying, but she is a real Jekyll and Hyde character. The most adorable sweet little girl one minute, floating around showing off her ballet dancing and singing one minute, and then something clicks and she turns into a right little monkey.  Like all proud grandparents I of course claim to have the most beautiful and clever grandgirlies in the world, however I do think this is possibly part of the frustration with Kaci.  We therefore decided to plan our days, and fill them with plenty to keep her occupied.  

Sometimes it worked perfectly, especially with a trip to the zoo, and the fabulous Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos in Cordoba, so more on that in later posts.  Frankie and Kaci really enjoyed spending time in the swimming pool, although possibly the most fun Kaci had was helping us with the animals.  The highlight of her holiday, I do believe was collecting the chickens eggs every night.  Needless to say, scrambled eggs were her breakfast every morning, along with some beautiful Spanish fruit, that she would eat until it almost came out of her ears.  

At the beginning of the holiday Kaci was understandably a little nervous of Blue

Awww and especially Big Arf

Doing her night time chores


Tomorrows breakfast.  One for mummy too!

Fun in the pool

"Granddad Alan" was one of her best friends

At the Nearby Lake

Flowers for Nanny Lorna!

As the week continued Kaci got so much braver with all the animals.  Especially Blue and Arthur.  What a really lovely time we spent together.  Especially with my Frankie.  Real quality time.  I love and miss them very much!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Barb has Disappeared!

Barb the cat has lived here at the olive mill longer than we have.  She came with the house, along with Marybelle the huge potbellied pig.  Every spring without fail, Barb has delivered a beautiful litter of kittens.  At first we were worried we would be over run by cats, but Barb seems to call some sort of meeting to order and eventually they all move on to pastures new.  We never know where they go, or even exactly when. They gradually become more independant and will miss the occasional meal.  This happens for a period, and then we realise we haven't seen one for a week or so.  Sometimes they return and but often we never see them again.  It's sad at the time, but I guess it's nature.  Barb is the only female allowed to stay, so they others will make their own lives, and hopefully have their own litters too.

It's amazing to watch Barb educate her kittens.  She will give birth to them in the strangest of places, where of course she feels the safest.  The last 3 years, after having them, she has come and actually shown us where they are.  If we get close to them though, she will growl at us.  That's fine, she want's to keep them as safe as possible.  We have watched her move them, if either the alpacas are getting too close, or the weather changes for the worse.  What is obvious is that we are watching Mother nature at her best!

This year for the first time she had had 4 kittens.  Eeny Meeny Miny and little Mo. They were born at the beginning of April, and all thankfully doing well.  They were only about 8 weeks old when we realised we hadn't seen Barb for a couple of days.  I feed the cats to keep them healthy, although they still hunt.  We have never seen a rat on, or near our land, and very rarely even a little mouse.  We need to keep that instinct in them.  Barb, feeding 4 kittens needed her energy, and the kittens had started enjoyed dried cat food too. When we hadn't seen her for a couple of days Alan suggested that maybe she had gone away for a few days to allow her milk to dry up.  I must admit I had never noticed her do that before, although as she was feeding 4, possibly it was getting too much for her.

That was the beginning to the middle of July, and we still haven't seen our beautiful Barb.  She was looking a little thin, although she seemed fit and well.  Possibly she did disappear to allow her milk to dry up, and maybe she has found a new home.  Of course maybe she was ill and took herself away, bless her.  

Who knows what the outcome of this years kittens will be.  At the moment they are dependant on us for food and water.  They have not been taught to hunt.  Barb would normally take them out with her.  She would also gradually teach them where they should and shouldn't go.  They are used to the chickens as they met them when they were very young.  They just met the alpacas whilst following me just a couple of nights ago.  They are also very inquisitive about the dogs.  Our dogs have never been great cat lovers, although, touch wood, none have ever been hurt by a dog.  When it is dinner time 8.30 give or take 5 minutes they start scrambling up the door to look for me, or should I say food, and they run in as soon as the door is opened.  Thank goodness it takes Blue and Arthur a while to go from horizontal to standing, on a slippery floor.  Alan and I have usually managed to round up the kittens and launch them back outside again.  

Hopefully they will in time learn what is and what isnt such a good idea.  I guess next year we will have another dominant female, and let's hope Barb is having a lovely time whereever she may be!

Barb, feeding her little family.  
Nervous Mo is making a run for it!



And little Mo, hiding as usual!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

La Noche Blanca del Cordoba

Many the major cities in Spain celebrate a night of fabulous flamenco called La Noche Blanca del Flamenco (The White Night of Flamenco).  It is a stunning extravaganza with stages set up all over the city, where you can watching flamenco dancing and singing.  We are lucky enough to have this fantastic night in Cordoba. Last year we also went and seemed to arrive half way through everything, whilst trying to watch as much as possible, then running onto the next plaza.  This time we went just with our Spanish friends Pat and Pedro.  Pedro, the name gives it away, is Spanish, so he was able to understand exactly what was going on, when and where, which enabled us to go for the quality as opposed to the quantity.  

There was still a fair amount of walking involved so P and P came to us early as siestas were certainly on the cards.  It was going to be a fun all nighter!

We left home about 11 pm, as is quite usual for a night out in Spain. The first show we came to were flamenco dancing groups, all ladies, plus a group of men also.  It was wonderful!  The ladies danced with fans, and also with the beautiful shawls.  I had never seen that before!  Pedro loved it.  He's a very emotional man, he had tears in his eyes as he became totally absorbed in it!

The men were extremely macho, and danced beautifully.  Unfortunately the photographs I took of the men were all blurry.  It was my raised temperature, I think!  Luckily I did manage to video a part.  Maybe my mind was too much on that!

We moved onto watch some singing.  Personally not my favourite although the fact that many of it is made up on the spot astounds me.  I find it a tad depressing though.  The crowds however loved it, and it is still a great entertainment!

The hightlight for me, I think, although I loved the group dancing was the four ladies photographed below.  I have never seen such passion or soul put into a performance. Pedro explained to me their dance was called a "Duende".  Lorca the famous Spanish poet wrote 'The duende, then, is a power, not a work. It is a struggle, not a thought. I have heard an old maestro of the guitar say, the duende is not in the throat; the duende climbs up inside you, from the soles of the feet.'  Yep I can understand that! It was so powerful one of the dancers was crying at the end of the performance.  All I could say was 'WOW!'

At 5.30 we were going to watch the last show, but there were still so many people around and our feet and backs were aching badly so we decided to call it a night!

The setting for the last show

Our lovely friends, still wide awake!

Me and him!  Alan is trying out a new photo look... it's not working!

We arrived back home just as the sun was coming up!  What a great night!

Ten minutes from home!

For you flamenco lovers, some videos I put together.  Enjoy!