Friday, 26 February 2016

More improvements..

We had another day of improvements to the electric supply scheduled this week.  On Monday they came to inform us that we would be turned off yesterday from 8am till 2pm, 

then early on Tuesday morning a lorry with 5 new transformers came up and off loaded one at the base of the last pylon,  obviously they were going to change the transformer to a new one but we don't know why.

A nifty 3 point turn on the bend,  actually it was more like a 6 point turn, but well done that driver.

The power went off yesterday as they said at 8am,  at 8.30 a lorry with a lifting arm/crane plus 2 vans and workers arrived,  the transformer was changed over and half an hour later they went.  Midday,  and 2 vans came back,  men,  ladders and lots of chattering going on, and within 10 minutes we were switched back on. 

Some signs of Spring in the last few days,  the first  hyacinth orchid that I've found this year,  and what looks like catkins and flower buds on a large shrubby thing that grows near the fuente.

But it may be a false start as the forecast is saying strong gusts tonight of up to 58km/h plus rain turning to snow,  with possibly more snow on Saturday.  Time to stock up with firewood, bake cakes, watch rugby and stay in the warm house.

A long weekend ahead of us because...

The Día de Andalucia ("Day of Andalusia" or "Andalusia Day") is celebrated February 28 and commemorates the February 28, 1980 referendum on the Statute of Autonomy of Andalusia, in which the Andalusian electorate voted for the statute that made Andalusia an autonomous community of Spain.

And if a holiday falls on a Sunday then it's always a day off on Monday to compensate.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

A new bus route.

Many months ago,  more than we can remember,  a bus stop appeared in Yátor.  But that was it,  no notices,  no time table,  nothing.  Until last week that is.  When  we came back from the mechanic,  John stopped so I could check the mail box and he pulled in by the empty bus stop,  that's when we saw this...

and at the end of the pista there is another notice..

which says "forbidden to stop and park .....due to new bus route"

From Yátor to Granada bus station is about 1 hour 30 by car,  about 25 euros return in fuel.  The bus as you can see takes over 3 hours,  then 4 hours later you have to get the bus back.  Unless  you are staying  overnight  in which case it's good value.  The bus is 8 euros per person each way,  so 32 euros return for 2 of us,  but parking for a 24 hour stay in the city centre  can easily cost 20 euros.  Add that to the petrol and the bus makes sense.

Will we try it?  Not sure.  The nice thing about going by car is the flexibility  and ease of shopping.  The bus station is a little way out of the centre and not that close to the big stores we go to on our occasional overnight stays. 

Options though -  that's what it gives us all.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

A trip to the mechanic.

When a warning light comes on the dashboard of your car as you're going shopping,  a light you've never seen before,  it's a bit worrying....  it happened recently on our Polo but the car was driving fine.  We stopped and looked in the handbook and very helpfully it said ' go directly to your main dealer, do not pass go, do not collect £200'  ...or words to that effect.

We'd had a light that came on once before,  with the same recommendation,  but after John had read the car manual it turned out to be a fuse that needed replacing at minimal cost and which we bought from the local petrol station.

So we weren't unduly concerned this time,  until after much reading and research on his part,  it turned out that this light was not anything specific and it needed a mechanic with a computer and the diagnostic software to 'read' the car.    We took the car to Ugíjar last Friday morning,   where there is a  mechanic who advertises as being a specialist in VW, Seat and Audi cars.  Yes he had the software,  and  he plugged it in to see the problem.  Or problems.  It said 2 things,  one was with the air intake and the other with the brake pedal switch.  He took out and cleaned up the air filter and air inlets,  while the bonnet was up he topped up the oil and power steering liquid,  then removed the panel above the brake pedal, accelerator and clutch,  and adjusted the brake pedal switch.  He took the car once round the block then re-ran the diagnostic software and all problems were cleared.  That didn't take much writing but was almost an hours work. 

Then the bill.  No charge for the oil or power steering liquid and only 20 euros for the diagnostic stuff and his work. 

He ordered a new brake pedal switch and we went back today so it could be fitted.  While he was working we went and had a late breakfast....

2 coffees, 2 tostadas,  5 euros.

Lovely blue sky but cold,  we ate inside.    

Back round to the garage to pay today's bill and it was  a grand total of 25.70 euros.  Amazing!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Fridays food.

We stopped on Friday for a quick beer and tapas for lunch although there was less available than on other days that we have been to La Vidaña.

From the top..

An assortment  of vegetables - usually aubergines,  red peppers and onion - chargrilled or slow roasted.

Beef with tomatoes.

Fillet of fried fish.

Mexican fajitas

Tripe with spicy chickpeas

Home made chicken croquettes


Dog fish aka rock salmon,  adobado is marinated,  usually in pimienton dulce,  a mild paprika.

Meatballs, usually pork,  with almond sauce.


Bacon and cheese

Jamón serrano is Spanish dry-cured ham.

A good choice though for 2 euros including your drink.
We had the croquettes,  a beer each and they also bought us a dish of garlicky green olives.


What a windy week!

This has been yet another windy week and it's getting worse.  Monday was glorious,  but since then although the sky is blue and the sun is warm,  we have had very big gusts coming - literally - out of the blue!  Despite the winds, it has been warm.  Around 17 or so most days.  But cooler weather is coming.....

This is today's forecast - just look at the wind speeds!  And tomorrow is the same...but it's not just here,  there are warnings for wind, rain and snow for almost every region of Spain.

So these photos are quite deceptive.  Tuesday afternoon we went up to the fuente,  round the deposito,  and back out through a fairly flat area that we call 'boulder park'.  The area is surrounded but high rocks and so is nearly always calm.  What you can't see are the high speed clouds hurtling past!

Clouds, what clouds?  I said they were moving fast!

What we didn't know till too late was that Tuesday was pancake day,  Shrove Tuesday to be exact,  so we had pancake Thursday instead.  I don't know where I found this recipe, I tend to google and make notes and then it's sometimes trial and error.  This must be a made up recipe by me as the weights are a mixture of grams and ounces.

5 fluid ounces of milk, whisked together with 1 medium egg till frothy.
Add this to 120 grams self raising flour, 30 grams of sugar and a pinch of salt.
Whisk thoroughly and put tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto a hot oiled (I butter it) griddle or heavy based frying pan.  The top of the pancake bubbles quickly,  flip over and cook the other side.

The number of pancakes seems to vary!  This week the egg was a large one, the mixture runnier than normal,  and it made 27 small pancakes which we ate over 3 days, buttered and with home made grape jelly.

Enjoy!   Happy weekend.  And happy Valentines Day too.

Not surprisingly with this wind around we are going to stay in and watch the rugby later on. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Spring flowers

An earthquake update... on the 31st January at 5.30 our time in the afternoon,  I was sitting outside reading in the sunshine when the chair trembled....  there were ripples on the pool but also a slight breeze which might have caused that..... and then I looked at the website and yes!  Another tremor off the coast near Almeria and felt all the way up to Granada - and by me here in Montenegro.  John was indoors on a much sturdier chair and in an old solid house - he didn't feel a thing.

I must say though that if you  look at the website,  there is always activity,  we've never felt anything before though.

Another fiesta over the last few days, San Blas this time, celebrated this weekend in Cadiar, 
he is patron saint of lots of things such as animals, builders, veterinarians,  throats, choking, infants, stonecutters, carvers and woolworkers.  (Note the comma between choking and infants please!!)

We have friends who live in Extremadura and  they celebrated San Blas in their village.  Take a look at the photos on there and also there are some wonderful examples of hand embroidered clothing - and shoes!

Yesterday and today have been very windy,  our hatches are well and truly battened and we've been watching the 6 Nations Rugby. 

But outside we have some early spring flowers, 

This tub of freesias has lots of buds and the first flowers.

Also the grape hyacinths are coming up.

In the vegetable garden the Inca berries or Cape Gooseberry is still producing fruit.  The parsley has never stopped growing,  we are picking baby spicy salad leaves as and when we need them and I saw some small strawberries yesterday.  More water and a bit more sun and maybe they'll be pickable.