Archive for September, 2011

A Pilot – and After Only Two Lessons!

Apparently, on the day I had returned my hire car to Liverpool airport ready to return to Spain, I received a speeding fine (and points) one hour after the aeroplane had taken off.  Now I know the company I was flying with is a low-cost airline but really, I’ve only had two flying lessons, and the first one counted for nothing, as it seems I was the first person to be sick in that little aeroplane.

I handed the car back at 4.15 p.m. and the points were accrued at 7.15 p.m. in some place near Warrington.  One hour in the air, I think I would have more likely been flying over the big blue water than Warrington, so who was responsible for those points?  My guess is that the car hadn’t been hired out that fast, though a Polo Blue Motion is to die for (I just loved the way it cut out every time I knocked it out of gear and then kicked back into touch, the minute I dropped the clutch).  So, that means that someone must have nipped home for their sandwiches and thought I wouldn’t notice the time difference.  As it is, the customer service representative couldn’t have been more helpful – I just hope she put the wheels in motion (excuse the pun) to kick some butt, so to speak.

What an Experience .... .



The Lesser of Two Evils …. .

Bread - It Looks Good, Doesn't it?


Well, in my case, two weevils (and more).

 It was my fault, really.  I had a little of the two kilos of strong bread flour left over and, when I bought the next two kilos, I poured it into that waste-no-want-not small cupful of flour from before.  Well, a few small amounts like that soon mount up.

 Scenario – I measured the amount of flour that I needed, then saw a little black something in there and, worst of all, it was moving.  Then I saw another.  Weevil came immediately to mind but the problem was that, if I didn’t use this flour, I would have no bread until the next time I drove the twenty kilometres to the nearest supermarket.  Russell Crowe didn’t seem perturbed in Master and Commander, so I thought that I would have a quick look on the internet as to the best thing to do.

 Yes, it was a weevil and it seemed that, unless I was vegetarian, the odd weevil or two wouldn’t kill me.  I sieved the flour I had weighed and removed a family of ten or twelve. I made the bread, shoved it in the oven, then went back to the computer.  The website went on to say that if the wheat was milled more than six months ago, there is a possibly of weevils in the flour, the point at which I openly accepted the blame, as I don’t make bread very often.  Further reading said that not only will there be weevils but larvae too.  I went back to the remaining flour and there they were, white wormlike creatures, wriggling helplessly in that yet un-sieved white bed, leaving me with the clear answer of throwing the flour away.

 The loaf in the oven?  When it came out, it looked beautiful.  If we were vegetarians before, we’re not now, though I do feel a little guilty about my friend who came to supper that night .. .

 I’m going to be much more careful with that bread flour in future, though this occurrence does leave me with the dilemma of whether the self-raising flour sporting the date of August 2012 is safe in my cupboard until then.


He Took my Tin of Salmon!

An English woman now living in Spain, a week in my home country always does me a lot of good.  There may not be much sunshine and the cost of living might be more expensive but the friendliness and manners of the locals in the north-east of England is to die for.  Simple things like holding the door open for a stranger, stopping mid-track so as not to spoil someone’s photo, friendly crack like ’I won’t start calling you until you’ve gone’, I love and miss it all.

Just how much play is there in that fifteen kilos baggage allowance?  I left one packet of sausages in my son’s fridge, as I knew it would make me go over and I split the massive bag of teabags between case and backpack, just to get it right.  Yet there’s always a difficulty in getting it just right, which led the baggage checker to allow me my tin of corned beef in the backpack but not the tin of salmon (liquid, you see ..).  Bless his cotton socks …… I hope someone else had a loaf of bread or some bread buns that couldn’t go through …… .

Keep Away ...!


Does Changing Country Change the Person?

Changing countries brings about a lot of changes – language, customs, culture, attitudes and, as time goes on, other things that we may not yet know about.  So, we’re talking about lifestyle – but what about the changes that take place, inside the individual?

Arriving in a ‘foreign’ environment can be very stressful, at first.  Even the simplest of things (buying the right mobile, asking for directions, or trusting the car salesman), can add to that immediate feeling of disorientation.  At the same time (and because of all of the things already listed), changes happen to the individual.  The immediate question that may spring to anyone’s mind is ‘have I done the right thing’?  What people might not realise is that, by moving to a ‘foreign’ environment, you yourself are a different person.  In your own country, you knew exactly what you were doing, your diary may have been ‘set in stone’, you knew how to get quickly to any place within your comfort zone (and you weren’t afraid to widen it), you knew who were your friends and who weren’t, you knew you.  All of a sudden, that comforting control you had over yourself, no longer exists.  The guards have been forced down and anyone can get in, without you having the ability to give ‘off the cuff’ retorts, or argue your corner.

In England, I felt as though I was a ‘somebody’, with all the pressures that came with it, all over which I had good control / understanding.  On arriving in Spain, it eventually dawned on me that I had (in my eyes) become a ‘nobody’.  Wow, was this difficult to accept (though the feelings were inwards, rather than outwards).  I didn’t need a diary (as a result, I struggled to know what day it was), my comfort zone had shrunk to a tight box, I didn’t know if I had any friends and I was now in a re-active situation, rather than an ‘all-knowing’ advancing lifestyle.

So, what goes on in the head?  Time allows you to develop new knowledge but this doesn’t happen overnight.  Even the slightest thing, like being able to give someone directions, means so much (part of your new and developing comfort zone).  Knowing the best place to park in town, again increases your confidence.  Recognising someone in town (even though you may never ever have spoken to them), gives a warm feeling of belonging.  When people start asking you to help them with something, it’s a good feeling – and maybe you’re starting to be a ‘somebody’ again.  BUT, the strange thing is, becoming in demand as a helper has its pressures, a sure reminder of the country you left behind!  If you find work, even if it is only for a few hours a week, it does feel good… yes… and then out comes the diary, to keep track of things.  BUT the good old brain then starts to compare – ‘before’ versus ‘now’ versus the ‘pending future’.  Mmmmm…..  DO I REALLY NEED TO REMEMBER WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK IT IS?


I Definitely Agree with That!




 It is better to remain silent and look a fool,

than to speak and put the matter beyond doubt.