Sunday 29 March 2009

El Refugio del Burrito

Well I've been trying to renew my sponsor of Erica and Leon, two adorable donkeys at El Refugio del Burrito, but unfortunately the payment link does not seem to be working again!

You may ask why I don't just sponsor a couple of donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary in the UK but we've been sponsoring these two for a little while now and I don't want to desert them now just because technology is letting me down!

We first came across El Refugio when they were featured in a Channel Four programme and as I love donkeys and Spain it seemed only right to support this particular cause.

So I've sent an email once again for alternative ways of sending them the required sponsorship fee. It's always a bit fiddly and last time we had to send it via the Donkey Santuary in the UK but marked for El Refugio account.

One of these days the online payment link may actually work!

Feng Shui Day

Well I took a look at my house today and decided to give it a bit of a Feng Shui makeover.

By no stretch of the imagination am I an expert in these matters but having read about it on and off over the years/done a course on it and generally just toyed around with it and watched the results I have to say that there is definitely something in it. So every so often I have a look around and see what has been misplaced or needs a bit of a smarten up.

First thing that I noticed was a section in my front garden where the winter and cats had created havoc! All it took was about 45 minutes and it was looking spic and span and my cat was really grateful for nicely turned over ground!

A bit more work done on the indoors and I think that's helped the energy flow :-)

Let's see what happens now....

Saturday 28 March 2009

Scaremongering or not?

Don't know if that is a real word but that appears to be what is going on at the moment.

I try not to voice my opinions too much on my blog about political/world issues but as I work in London and there is a lot of press about the forthcoming G20 protests and marches I feel I need to comment.

Whilst understanding the basics of these protests and the freedom of speech aspect what I do find both worrying and concerning is the amount of press that is causing a fair amount of 'fear' amongst normal every day workers.

After all we are not the ones that are 'targeted' in these protests, yet according to the press, we are going to be the people caught up in the middle of all of this while we are trying to get to and from work.

With the worry of 'rent a mob' violence outbreaking it is the normal every day worker - who incidentally don't earn the type of money that these protesters are against - who are at risk. The 'targeted' people will no doubt be either far away and working from home or have plenty of protection around them.

I, for one, am unable to stay at home and work; I have to travel by public transport and have to be at the office for my contracted hours. I need to work to pay my bills.

So will I take the day off or call in sick? No definitely not. I agree with freedom and rights and it is my right to be able to work and my right not to be controlled by others.

So although I may have personal opinions that may agree to some degree with what these people are protesting about I will just say that they should also realise that some people do have to work to pay their bills and keep their jobs and it is their right to do so safely.

Saturday 21 March 2009

If you love them let them go

Why is it that when life gets really bad you turn away from those you are closest to?

One of those that I am closest to has turned away and gone within themselves. They are either “working all the time/very busy with the animals/children/need some time to themselves/found new (old) friends etc.”.

To begin with I thought I was imagining it but when it takes at least two days to answer a text message and phone calls and visits are kept to a minimum then I have to acknowledge that there is definitely something going on there as ‘the shoulder to cry on’ now appears to be the shoulder to avoid.

Well I should recognise the symptoms as I’ve been there! So I had to search the back corners of my memory to recall how it was when it happened to me – because to understand what this person is going through I had to remember what happened to me and not to take this present situation personally.

So what happened?

Well when I was a very young married woman coping with two young children and a husband who drank too much and became – well shall we say a little aggressive after alcohol – I reached the stage where I knew that my marriage was no longer a loving relationship and had become a battlefield of hate; resentments; jealousies and violence and I knew that breaking point was getting closer.

At the beginning I confided in a small degree with friends and family – but only on the smaller problems like money worries, work etc whilst skirting round and totally avoiding mentioning the real problems. Then life provided me with the help and assistance I needed without me realising it. I started to meet up with new friends – mothers from nursery school who I never knew before and who would eventually be the help I needed in the middle of the night; an old friend got in touch who lived a fair distance from me who I could confide a little in and who eventually gave me the shelter I needed and others who I met who would give me the mental ‘prop’ that I would need in the days ahead. All of these – in hindsight – came along at a time when I would need help and friendship and were only around for the time that it took for me to recover from that ordeal and then gradually they would fade away into their own lives.

To me these friends were my friends in need – to be part of one another’s lives for a short time only and then to move on without animosity to our new lives.

So I guess I can understand what my friend is going through because sometimes those closest to you are just that – too close – and you need the unbiased help and friendship of those that know nothing much about your past. You need the advice and ‘counselling’ of someone who can see the whole picture without the emotions involved. So that when and if crunch time comes they will be able to advise and help you to go through these extremely emotional and critical times without being emotionally involved and blinded by such.

That is what happened to me – those closest to me were the most surprised when the break up came and the truth came out for I had hidden it from them.

The difference with my friend is that I’ve been there and done that and I can read the signs; recognise the symptoms – and do nothing about it because that is my role in this part of their lives – to sit back and wait and allow them to live out that part of their lives knowing that I am always here for them and always will be and knowing that one day they will come back.

It doesn’t make it any easier, but then who said life was easy….

Sunday 15 March 2009

Where has the weekend gone!!

Well it's now Sunday evening and the weekend has flown by. A bit like all of life at the moment - it just flies by in a never-ending pattern with no time to rest and recuperate.

So what have I been doing for these past 48 hours? Well Saturday I got up with the intention of popping into town first thing to buy some birthday cards etc but I was first confronted with a flat battery on my car! After lugging a spare battery from the shed I managed to get the car going and proceeded with my errands.

The afternoon was quite relaxing and fun as the sun was shining and I decided to re-organise the motorhome so that I would get an idea of what else was needed before we go off to France at Easter.

Saturday evening was movie and have a drink time.....

Sunday was devoted mostly to sorting out my mp3 files and putting my Spanish music onto disk for my friend who I am teaching Spanish to. She had been after some Spanish music to listen to in her car and to help her to get an ear for the language but she had been having trouble with her computer and so I volunteered to do it for her. I didn't realise it would take practically all day!!!

This evening so far I've watched Dancing on Ice; have looked at facebook; had a chat on the phone with my daughter and grandaughter and now it's nearly 9pm and it will soon be time to get ready for bed and a return to work early tomorrow morning.

So that's it - another weekend over. Oh and inbetween all the above I've coloured my hair; made my packing up for the week; cooked the dinner; fed the birds; fed the cats; gone into hysterical laughter while trying to take a passport photo of my husband; done the washing; changed the bed clothes; cleaned the bathroom and a hundred and one other little things....

Somewhere along the way I would like some time out to just sit in the sunshine, listen to the birds singing and contemplate about "love, life and the universe".....

Thursday 12 March 2009


Well tonight Cuentame really got me thinking. I don't know if the programme is still running on normal TVE but TVE International has it on 5 nights a week and now we have got up to the 1960's and I had never really fully understood the history of Spain but watching the day to day living of a normal family really brings it home to you what the Spanish went through.

I won't go into detail about the content of tonight's problems but growing up in the 60's in England I was totally oblivious to what was going on in a country not too far from me.

I have now bought a history book on Spain because I want to understand more about the background of the country that I love.

I just never realised....

Sunday 8 March 2009

Facebook & Myspace

Having been a member of facebook for a while I've noticed recently that there are less people online than there used to be. It made me wonder if they had deserted and had gone back to Myspace.

Well I've always found facebook to be an easier site to handle than myspace but I popped across to see how things were going on myspace.

The problem I find with myspace is the amount of 'friend collectors' that appear on there. Within minutes of browsing around I got a message from someone wanting to be a friend :-)

Don't get me wrong I don't mind making new friends but it does make we wonder just what a 20 year old male would want with a 55 year old female???

Oh well guess I'm just getting too cynical in my old age....

Friday 6 March 2009

France v. Spain

As I come to the end of another book about living life in another country I realise again just how much me and my husband’s personalities can be described as France and Spain.

Generalising (please do not take offence France or Spain) but if we were countries I would be France – reserved but friendly, private and quiet, loyal to my family and friends, but happy on my own, a little bit anxious about doing the right thing, whereas my husband would be Spain – outgoing, confident, laid back, an open book to everyone, unconcerned totally on how he is perceived.

Which makes it rather interesting when considering where we eventually want to spend our retirement – or does it?

One thing we are both in agreement on is the way that England has gradually deteriorated in the past few years – or perhaps it is that we have grown older and look at life from a different angle?

Whatever the reason behind the change one thing is certain and that is when financially we are able then we wish to live in a country where family values and morals are still important. For Mick, of course, Spain is where he wants to be but I don’t know if financially this would be possible for us as Spain’s property values have increased so much that it might make it out of our price range. France on the other hand is closer to England and therefore closer to our family and in some rural parts it is still affordable.

However I have lived all my life being of a ‘French’ disposition and I feel I would fit in quite easily (once I had learned more of the language of course) but in some ways I have cursed being so reserved and admire the personalities of people like Mick or the Spanish people.

Mmm, I guess it will all boil down to what fate holds in store for us :-)

Meanwhile it is back to learning Spanish in the morning and French in the evening while commuting.

Oh and an added bonus with our new satellite dish is that we now have access to 5 Spanish TV channels and about the same amount in French! I therefore have no excuse for not learning the languages….

Thursday 5 March 2009

France is getting Closer!

Not the country - just our week away in the motorhome ;-)

I really must try and get round to sorting out some kind of route, but work has been non-stop again and by the time I get home in the evening I am too tired to do anything apart from eat my dinner and then relax for an hour or so and then go to bed ready for another day at work!!!

I roughly have an idea of where we are going. To start with we are going down the west side of France which I believe will take us through the Contenin area. We have not travelled west before (having always driven down the Centre or Eastern side en route to Spain) and I have heard such good reports of the welcome you get within these areas.

I have also continued with my Spanish/French lessons. I listen to Spanish in the morning en route and French in the evenings on my return journey. I'm beginning to get the hang of it and not get confused between the two languages. Unfortunately I have to admit that level-wise I am probably intermediate with Spanish but definitely beginner with French! I learnt French at school and had hoped that by some kind of miracle it would all come flooding back into my memory - some hope; guess my schooldays are too far in the past!!!

Five Spanish TV channels

Hooray, after 4 days of battling with the satellite dish on the roof; twiddling it around to find the best signal; and paying out for a new dish/motor/receiver we now have it back in action.

Mick has spent more time on the roof these past few days than he has on the ground! But it is working brilliantly now with a signal strength and quality much better than we had before.

Not only have we been watching Cuentame again but we have found five other Spanish stations that we could not pick up before - wow a choice of channels, that is a first :-)