Archive for the ‘These Things are Sent to Try Us’ Category

Thick Toilet Paper or Thin Toilet Paper – that is the question.

I don’t ask a lot of life and the smallest of things give me pleasure and that’s why, when I started paying a little more for toilet roll, I felt as though I had cone up in the world. Mmm, cushioned toilet paper and with a design I liked but, alas, a programme on UK television last week (The Wright Stuff) had a discussion on the aforesaid necessity and it seems that buying the thicker stuff means more trees have to go the journey. I’m still trying to get my head round how the thinner paper will be a more friendly option, as surely I will have to use more (squares) to achieve the same result ….. .

I think I’ll go and have a look at that bidet in my bathroom, to see how it works …. .

What My Dog has Taught Me!

One of the wonderful things about being retired is that you don’t have to get up early for that day job so now, instead of getting up at 7.30 a.m., Hubby and I get up whenever. It’s usually around 11.00 a.m. or even later and, as a result, we don’t go to bed till maybe 1.30 a.m.. And the strange thing about this slightly alternative clock is that we seem to come alive at 11.00 p.m.. That’s when we decide to do a little research on the internet, strum the guitar (we don’t have any immediate neighbours), or watch some backdated TV programme.
But everything changes on holiday – not by choice but by dog. And loyalty seems to change too. I put it down to the fact that, during the day, I am usually stowed away in my attic office, so I’m inaccessible to Jack, who spends his time with Hubby, either in the garden or near that strumming guitar.
So, on holiday, it’s me who Jack wants, which is rather unfortunate, as he seems to always want to get up between 8.00 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. and it’s therefore me who is sporting a jacket over my pyjamas, as we tread the streets of the holiday resort.
And, in December, I may be torch in hand, as Jack and I investigate the new routes at our disposal …. any we’ve found some pretty interesting shortcuts as a result!
He he.

2014-09-15 21.10.23

And, you know, I quite like this hour of the day ….. .

I Don’t Know How to Turn on the Telly


And it seems I’m not alone.

I was watching a series on television last night and the man, whose wife had left him, asked her if she would come back to him, as he didn’t know how to switch the television on.

Oh dear, I better start being extra nice to my hubby, as I could find myself with the same problem.

You see, we  live in Spain, in an area where you can’t get Sky TV but we’ve come across a nifty little device which, via an unlimited internet connection, will allow you to see all of those wonderful UK programmes, as well as US, Turkish and many more.

And it’s not easy.  Okay, it’s called streaming and I understand the principle but, when you find yourself accidentally back into your stand alone Spanish channels, it’s not easy to get back into the streaming system.

Mmm …. I’ll cater to his every whim …. .


Do Clothes Maketh a Man / Woman?

I am sure you will have heard the phrase the ‘clothes do not maketh a man’, implying that you can’t make yourself important simply by dressing so. Then there’s ‘you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’ and ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ etc. etc.. So, we are who we are and I can live with that. Yet, I’ve just had the strangest of experiences over the last week, which remind me of a similar experience I had around 1990 and, in both of these, it was the clothes that made the memory important.

In 1990, my partner was a man who proved to be incredibly jealous and, in my job as a supervisor in a civil service office, I had responsibility for both men and women. Now, this didn’t go down well with (let’s call him) Chump, for want of a better name. As time passed, jealousy raised its head and I realised that, if I wanted to talk abut my day, Chris(topher) was going to have to be Chris(tine) and so on. I hate anything close to my neck (I always say that I must have been hanged in an earlier life ….) but ‘v’ necks were ruled out in favour of round necks, while skirts became about ten inches longer (knee-length to maxi).

When I eventually saw sense, and called a halt to that stressful and, indeed, dangerous, relationship, it dawned on me that I had indeed changed my wardrobe for clothes that I didn’t feel good in. Needless to say, when I realised this, I went back to wearing what made me feel good about myself.

Well, last week, something happened. After almost nine years of living in Spain, I now realise that I need to live in England again. When we came here in February 2006 to live in the countryside of Spain, Hubby and I said that we hoped we would never find ourselves dressing the same. Our neighbours work in the fields, old women push wheelbarrows and herd cows and, naturally, they wear old clothes day in and day out.

Well, somewhere along the line of time, I think Hubby and I both lost the plot. We stopped dressing up, my trusty high-heel steeds were laid to rest and flat shoes and baggy trousers became the norm for us both.

I think that, for me, realisation that I am in the wrong place has been happening for some time, maybe three years or so. Anything that used to seem good about living here is now cast as a negative, things I want can’t be got her in the backwater of Spain and I miss people.

We were in England last week. We bought twenty kilos of goodies to bring back to Spain, I got myself into any conversation I could possibly find, just for the pleasure and, I am pleased to say, Hubby and I started singing from the same hymn sheet as to where our future should be.

Since getting back to our home in Spain, I’ve started dressing differently, I’ve started fastening my hair up and I sought out and polished up (I chore I hate) my trusty steeds. Then, and only then, it dawned on me that my change of dress sense made me feel much more positive about the future.

So clothes might not maketh a man or woman but the right ones can definitely make you feel good about yourself.

Come Dine with Me? Would I Dare?

Do you watch Come Dine with Me? I don’t set out to watch it but, if it appears when I am flicking through the channels, I might just leave the programme on. Like I said in an earlier post, why do the, shall we say ‘contestants’ bitch so much? I have several questions for consideration:-

• Is this what the British people like to view (a Come Dine with Me mingled with a little bit of bitching)?

• Is the show about learning new recipes, or about watching how people can rip each other to shreds for as little as one thousand pounds?

• Does the bitchy contestant, who awards only three points or so for what seemed a perfect evening and a one with good scores from the other people present, not realise that they will be found out when the show is viewed by the other contestants and, no doubt, the contestant who would have won if everyone had marked fairly?

• Are the contestants asked to show shameful behaviour by the camera crew, so as to keep viewing numbers up? I suppose this reason could be put into by the contestants, when they watch themselves on television and realise what damage they have done to themselves.

And still I watch.

So maybe it’s about the pleasure of being able to grumble safely in your own home, releasing all of that pent-up stress that built up during the working day (several gentlemen have told me that this is one of the benefits of watching football) and allowing you to remain ‘sane’ to all those outside your sitting room …. .

Hmm ….

The Future is Ours to Change!

For those of you who don’t already know, I am a UK lady of sixty one now living in the north-west part of Spain. I always refer to this area as the outback because, unlike most people’s ideas of Spain, which is usually of the southern tourist areas, Galicia in the north-west is countryside, it’s lakes and rivers and this area is indeed known as ‘the land of a thousand rivers’. For population and for services, I would liken this area to the Lake District. In a triangle of three villages very close to each other (Hubby and I live in one of them), so close that we can shout to each other, the population is ten. If it wasn’t for the fact that our postman’s mother lives in one of these villages, we wouldn’t necessarily get our post the day it was due to be delivered. There is no post box, no public telephone, no shop and no bar and anything I haven’t mentioned which you think we might have, we haven’t.

Public water? No. Ours comes from the hills, via a hosepipe, after having first been cleaned via a plastic pop bottle which has holes in it>

Gas? No.

Electricity. Yes but a very low potential, so we can’t do the washing and boil the kettle at the same time.

Public telephone lines? No. We would have to drive eight miles to find the nearest public telephone box.

Well, after eight years into my change feom England to Spain, I can officially confirm that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. While I was busy in the first four years, I didn’t really notice anything but, in the last four, I have.

I’ve been writing a monthly column for my local newspaper in England and, today, it dawned on me. After thirty two columns, in which I give a point to either Spain or my home town in England based on the content of my article, the score is currently at ten for Spain and twenty two for where my heart obviously still lies.

Need I say more?

It’s a strange feeling and, I suppose (and I speak through experience), rather like divorce. You put your heart and soul into it, it starts off feeling very good indeed and then, after time, that good feeling goes but without your realising that things have changed.

After a (longer) while, you start to notice things that don’t suit you. Maybe, blinded by the pleasure, they never did suit you but, after a long enough period of experience, yes, there it is, staring you in the eye.

Now, you either ignore it and hope that it will go away (that was my first reaction in the divorce), or you start to analyse what is going on (my reaction, this time). I can now liken the feeling of discomfort to what it must feel like to have a near death experience; you’re looking down on yourself and you can see what is happening but the choice for what happens next doesn’t seem to be yours. You fear an unhappy end.

Well, we’re off to England next week and, who knows, we might just look at some houses ….. .

That’s life!

The House that Jack Built

It’s like anything new. Take a new job as an example. First, you have to learn it, then you know how to do it, then you find you can criticise it, before moving into your thoughts for the future.

Is the really the job for me?
Can I do better?

Well, the same is happening for me about living in Spain. Hubby and I have passed through the interesting moments, the realisation times and now the what have I done feelings and, while he still sees a pleasure here, I am feeling not so good.

Our current situation relates to the fact that there is a ruin attached to our beautiful home and no-one will accept responsibility for the fact that it call fall down at any time and, God forbid, take a part of our house with it. We asked the local council about it seven months ago and we have heard nothing.

Yesterday, we spoke to the local police and, within two hours, we received a phone call to say that nothing will be happening as regards to the ruin. Why? Well, it seems that the sketch for the ruin appears on our land registry papers, even though we are not the owners. That means it looks like it’s ours, the council knows it isn’t ours and so we can’t do anything about it.

The heavy rainfalls we get in this north-west corner of Spain has already caused one of the (and I say this loosely) supporting walls to begin to tumble. This happened in February and the rains that are now due could help this wall on its way, meaning that the rest of the house will come down.

Our bedroom is on the other side of the wall where the houses join …… .