Thursday, August 31, 2006

Time to go-go-go

Today I shall stop moping. No more sleeping in, nodding off, drifting aimlessly round the apartment, consumed with ennui; no more watching bland films I've seen before and grinding my teeth at commercial breaks that I know are part of the deal, doing endless sudoku puzzles, losing endless Spider Solitaire games, ignoring housework, postponing workwork, fretting about stuff I should be doing (but not doing it), and generally being a complete bore.

Back to work on Sunday (since Sunday is the new Saturday, or - if you don't live here and have no idea what I'm talking about - the new Monday, because our weekend is changing from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday - got it?). Back to the bells, timetables and structure I had had enough of in June, but now crave. Back to people - colleagues and kids - I haven't seen for weeks. Back to projects and deadlines, and all that stuff that gives focus and momentum to my life here. Thank you, that will do me.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Alcazabar, Malaga

On Saturday June 30th I walked up to the Castillo Gibralfaro, admired the view, came back down again, and went to the Alcazabar. (See Entrada 2) The two are connected, but tourists have to enter them separately, and to be honest, you need a break in between.

Here is the lovely garden on the Paseo del Parque, - first stop for the bride and groom after the ceremony at the town hall next door. That's the Castillo Gibralfaro behind it.

Gazebo: spot the pigeon!

And those are the walkways. It gets steeper further up! By the way, that view of the tower blocks and the bullring is taken from the castillo. 1116 metres up.

And the Alcazabar.

Thursday. Tech-mess as usual. Some pics won't load, and I'm respacing these because I've somehow bent the template, and my sidebar's heading for Timbuctoo. Fingers crossed.

.....and once more.....

Mostly clouds

We flew southwest over England's green and pleasant land, crossing the Bristol Channel above Cardiff, then out over the Channel from Torquay, across France from Brittany to the Bay of Biscay (which is called something else entirely in Spain) and south to Cordoba and finally, Malaga.

This little fella was as good as gold for the whole trip.

I'm guessing that these are the jet trails from other planes. I love watching cloud shadows move across open ground, especially from this vantage point.

Thank you whoever gave me the window seat.

Over the Bay of Biscay, all smiles for the summer travellers.

You have to go some to photograph a comet from an aeroplane, so I'm very proud of this. Feel free to be very impressed.

Roger Dean's Spanish Sky. I saw these sculpted towers from who knows how many miles away, and couldn't take my eyes off them, praying that they wouldn't dissipate before I was close enough for a decent shot.

P.S. That comet. It's a boat in open water. ;P

Got Pictures!

OK. Got LOADSA PICTURES! So here's The Manchester Airport Collection.

It's June 29th 2006 I've flown overnight from Dubai to Manchester via Istanbul, and I've got a few hours before the flight onward to Malaga. First we have: my backpack, my little satchel, my boots (I wore them rather than carry them.) and evidence of a rather nice lunch. Lunch was a ciabatta toastie with goat cheese, roasted vegetables and onion marmalade (I dunno: airport food...) helped down with a smoothie.

It's not just that I enjoyed the drink; I was also utterly seduced by the ingredient label (cheaper and less intimidating than a copy of Cosmopolitan).

This, my darlings, is what goes into an 'Innocent' Raspberry and Cranberry Pure Fruit Smoothie:

2½ pressed apples
½ a mashed banana
12 crushed raspberries
½ a freshly squeezed orange
62 crushed cranberries.

There! How was that for you? I saw a feature on the 'Innocent' people on the BBC last year. How fab to go from your kitchen to mass production with something like this.

Missing from picture: una bolsa amarilla (little yellow bag). Reason for absence: You can't see the runway at Istanbul from Manchester. But I'm not stressed, because I've had a sit-down and a smoothie, and some very nice guys have promised to fix the Internet kiosk so that I can talk to Habibi.

And so they did.
Thank you gentlemen.

And this is just a bunch of girls heading out for some fun. Way to go ladies.


For some reason, I can't load any of my holiday pictures onto my blog. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, and Habibi's method involves 'a little line of code' - Aaaargh! Not for me. I shall figure it out eventually, I expect, but don't have time or patience right now. In the meantime, here are some pictures of BIRDS!

The Spanish text is an extract from Guía Total a la Sierra Nevada y Alpujarras, published by Avaya Touring Club, 2003, from the library at La Molino Ratonera, but the (loose) translation is my own. Although the Alpujarras are south and east of Granada, and the Molino is in the Sierra Ojete, to the west, conditions are similar, so you find much the same wildlife. There's more to come, but I can't get any more pics into this entry. (I'm sorry I'm so completely useless with IT stuff. I do try.)

La fauna de los bosques y matorrales

Entre las aves que crían e inviernan en los encinares y marojales de la Sierra cabe destacar por su familiaridad el arrendajo y el mirlo común.Son los primeros en delatar con sus graznidos y trinos al caminante que se interna en las áreas boscosas, y suelen dejarse ver incluso al paso de los coches, cruzando las carreteras que rodean la Sierra.

The fauna of woodland and scrub

Among the birds that breed and winter in the oakwoods and brush of the Sierra, the most familiar are the jay and the blackbird. Woodland trail-walkers notice their chatter and trilling calls, but they can also be spotted beside road junctions, and crossing the motorways that run through the Sierra.

También son sedentarios en los bosques mejor conservados el agateador común, la paloma torcáz y el pito real, único pájaro carpintero de estas montañas. Con ellos comparten el habitat pájarillos como el herrerillo común y los carboneros común y garrapinos.

The treecreeper, the woodpigeon and the green woodpecker – the only wood-boring bird in these mountains - are also resident in the best-conserved woodland. They share their habitat with blue tits, coal tits and great tits.

These photos are all from the wildlife photography gallery of Josef & Lubomir Hlasek - fine clear studies rather than art or action shots. Go see! Inputting the Spanish bird names on Google Image Search also took me to some excellent Spanish language sites - often translated into several other languages - on the natural history of the different regions of Spain. Excellent detail. There were also lots of personal sites with remarkable shots by amateur wildlife photographers. I love websites by enthusiasts!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

No te preocupe

Aprendí tanto en esas dos semanas del curso. ¡Pero ya he olvidado tanto en dos semanas de hablar inglés!

Estoy tratando ser sensata, y no me preocupar, pero estamos nos preparando trasladar a España en diez meses, y no puedo hacer nada sin mi libro de texto y mi diccionario español. ¡Así, yo me preocupo!

Hice un proyecto para ayudarnos de estudiar, leer, escuchar y hablar todos podemos aquí en Dubai. En mi instituto, hay unos estudiantes españoles y de Hispanoamérica: y ellos han acordado amablamente a hablar español conmigo cada semana. Espero mi marido puede participar también. Además, cuando estábamos en España (No hicimos ni el pretérito ni el imperfecto. Argh! ¿Dónde estan el diccionario y las tablas gramáticas?! ¡Me disculpo de mis errores!) - cuando estábamos en España, yo compré periodicos, revistas, y también unas novelas familiares, en traducciónes españolas (Mata un ruiseñor por Harper Lee, Los buscadores de conchas, por Rosamunde Pilcher, Canción de navidad por Charles Dickens – ¡Y Pies de barro por Terry Pratchett par Habibi!).

Haremos nuestro mejor. (No hicimos el fururo tampoco......) Tenemos diez meses hasta julio 2007.

Por fin, conozco unos estudiantes estranjeros, por ejémplo de Corea, quien llegaran en este país sin hablar árabe o inglés, sólo su propia lengua, pero ellos estudian inglés y en el mismo tiempo estudian todos sus otros sujetes en inglés. Y tienen exito. Estupendo! No sé cómo arreglárselas. Sin embargo, si ellos pueden hacerlo, nos podemos también. ;)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Been there, done that.

Hey ho! Back again!

Curiously disorientated after such a long absence, so many new experiences, immersion in a new language, and fleeting visits to friends and family, but content to be home, and working up to blogging again.

Sorry about the long gap, but blogging in rural Spain involves long walks and careful attention to bus timetables - though you meet lots of nice people along the way.

And in Valencia, well, I was rather busy having a good time!

Going into school tomorrow to get my brain in gear for the new term.

Brain. Work. Yeah. I live in hopes!

I'll get back to you. With pics. Soonish.