Until next year…

This is my last post for 2016, and there’s just a couple of things I’d like to say.

Have a good one. See you next year. Photo by Christinaesteriero

Firstly, thanks to all the new subscribers to my blog and email list. If you haven’t signed up to my newsletter already then I send one every two weeks and add links of my latest two blogs, plus details on book deals, and a short anecdote on what I’ve learnt in Spain recently.

Secondly, just to let you know that I’m working on my third and final edit of Falling for Flamenco, which should be out early next year. I’m aiming for before Easter. To get more of an idea about my novel have a look at this post title A Novel Spain is nothing without a novel.

Finally, have a great Christmas. I’m looking forward to having a break as usual. I’ll be back in January with some more posts. Have a good one!


Gas canisters don’t cry

This is quite an embarrassing story, but sod it, I’m going to tell it anyway. If you live in Spain then you’ll probably be familiar with the old-fashioned way of getting gas (and I’m not talking about eating lentils).

Maybe I should just get a van, photo by Daquella Manera

Unfortunately, we still use the traditional method of the butano. Which means we have to call up the local gas company and get a bloke to bring round a new orange, or sometimes silver, gas canister.

We probably should have changed to natural gas by now, where they come round and install a new boiler and fit in gas tubes somehow, but we haven’t got round to it. After this little episode, I think it might be time.

Anyway, the problem with my local town is that the company who deliver the gas canisters only come to where we live on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Since no one has worked out a way of putting some sort of indicator on the gas canister to tell how much gas is left, the only way you know when it’s running out is when the boiler makes an extra loud bang when it ignites, as if it’s sucking out the gas a little bit harder.

So, last weekend, confident of having a shower as I hadn’t heard much banging with the boiler recently, I jumped in before nipping off to work, on a Saturday, and found that the gas had indeed run out. As it was the weekend, I had to pop up the road and get a new canister.

Easy, for anyone with a car, but we don’t, and the petrol station is about a ten minute walk away. The canisters weigh about 15kgs, so the only way I can get an emergency one is by using an old double pram we have lying about in the patio. It’s one of those huge ones which can carry two babies. It’s perfect for propping a gas canister on. So, off I went, not the first time on a Saturday, with my orange gas canister in the pram.

I was about halfway on my journey, when I heard someone shouting behind.

Killo,” he said, in the Andalucian way. (Mate, in English).

I turned round and nodded as a skinny guy whizzed past on his bike.

Esta no llorar.

Como?” I said, confused about what he’d said.

Llorar killo, no llorar,” he added, laughing to himself. Then it clicked. “Mate, that one doesn’t cry, does it?” he’d said.

I laughed, it was about time someone made a comment about me travelling with a gas canister propped up in a pram. It didn’t stop there though.

As I got to the petrol station, and it must have been the 5th or 6th time in recent months, one of the younger guys working there greeted me.

Killo,” he said, nodding to the pram. “Where are you taking the baby?”

“Just getting some air.”

He laughed and shook my hand. I left the buggy outside the shop and walked in. Inside I stood in the queue, waiting for more comments to come. As I got to the till, I greeted an older guy I’d spoken to on several occasions. We both looked out the window and saw the younger guy pushing my pram, with the canister, over to replace it with a new one. The older guy winked at me and picked up his walkie-talkie.

Killo,” he said to his mate outside. “Be careful with the baby.”

The younger guy looked over, laughed,  and waved. I spoke with the older guy about the rise in the price of the gas canister, as usual, and watched my new baby appear outside.

Outside, I shook the younger guy’s hand.

“My house is over there if you fancy dropping it off?”

“Nah, you’re all right,” he replied. “Take care of that one, she’s quiet at the moment, don’t wake her up,” he added.

As I walked home with the new canister, I started to wonder if maybe it was time to get a car, or just sort out the boiler to get natural gas, like we used to have when we lived in the centre. But I think I’d miss those walks with the pram and chatting to the petrol station blokes. At least it gets me out of the house at the weekend, away from the real screaming babies.

Do you use gas canisters where you live? What do you do if it runs out at the weekend?

Culture Shock

Top 5 Spanish Christmas songs, with videos…

Not long now till Navidad comes along and wipes us all out with loads of jamón, packets of turron, and powdery mantecados. Are you excited? Can you feel those jingle bells running down your leg?

There’s no way that Spanish Christmas songs are better than British ones. There’s just no comparison with quality, quantity, and romantity. Saying that, there are a few that I’ll sing along too, mainly when we’re putting up our Christmas tree, which we’ll be doing in this puente.

It’s a bit of a tradition here that we get the in-laws round, ply them with wine and anis, and see who can throw the most amount of balls at the tree without it toppling over. Now with my kids running around, I’m sure it won’t be long untill the balls are on the floor, the tinsel is round the dog, and the Star ends up in the washing machine.

So, if you want to get some Spanish festive spirit in your home while you put up the tree, or any time this Christmas, then chuck on these songs and have a happy Navidad. These are in my order of favouriteness, ending on my mostest favouritest.

5. Feliz Navidad

Make sure you don’t missay the año without the ñ…and confuse it for a simple n.

You see what I mean about how English songs are better though, even this Spanish all time greatest hit has English lyrics.

4. Rodolfo the Reindeer

Poor little Rudolf gets the mick taken out of him no matter which country he’s in. Worth having this on, just to scare away the real one.

3. Mira Qué Bonita – Cameron de la Isla

There’s just no escaping flamenco in this country. They can even squeeze it into Christmas somehow. I’m suprised one of the wise men isn’t playing the flamenco guitar in this video.

2. En Navidad, Rosana

Got fond memories of this song. Prancing about with funny Christmas hats and trying to sing along. The only part I can normally get out is the bit about the donkey. That’s why I’ve put the one with lyrics.

  1. Bell on bell action…or Campana sobre campana..

Whoever dares to name their child Belen after hearing this song is just cruel. Whenever it gets near Christmas and I have to ask Belen, whoever she may be that year, a question in class, I normally end up whistling or humming this tune.

So, Feliz Navidad, have a prosperous año, and all that malarky. Next week I’ll no doubt be blabbering on more about Christmas too. Have a good one.