It was a funny old day today.  One of those  short  days, where it gets to be evening time and you wonder where the hours have gone !  The sun was shining and it was beautiful weather – a happy day, but short!  ( I compared it to the wine we but these days.  Sometimes the bottles are really really small-  They LOOK like normal-sized bottles,  BUT only last half as long … there are more and more of them around at the moment !)

” How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?

Dr Seuss “

I have been thinking about the flying nature of time.  When I was a psychology student, we learned that as you get older, time goes more quickly because there are fewer new  experiences to embrace.  Routine makes time go faster, we were taught, –  but why should this be so?

I have worked out my own theory.  I reckon I walk only half as fast as I used to .  This includes walking round the house, from settee to toilet, for example ( and there are progressively more of these trips as the bladder loses its efficiency ), or from cooker to fridge.  So that must make a dent in the available hours !  Also we pamper ourselves more.  When I working, I would stop to eat lunch and be back at the desk within fifteen minutes.  These days, I enjoy my lunch, sit and relax while it digests, potter to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, then sit and enjoy drinking it!

In the old days, if there was something on the tele which I found boring, I would get up and do something else. Now, however, I will either turn on my tablet and amuse myself with Googling, or I will simply doze off.  Back then, I would never dare to read a novel because I knew I couldn’t spare the time.  NOW – it’s great!  I have just finished a mighty read called The Seamstress, and when I tried to calculate how many hours it took to read the book, I just couldn’t do it … too many!!

Back then, I was chronically tired for years … too much to do, too few hours of sleep.  I “achieved” a lot every day – but at a very high cost.

Now, however, we have computers with all the Facebooks and Inboxes and Scrabbles they entail.  Hours of fun every day – and brain exercise all-in !!

And I have included a lot of key words in my meanderings here.  Words like “enjoy” and “relax” – “read a novel”, “amuse myself”, “doze off”.  In all my readings of the scientific studies done on why this common phenomenon occurs ( that of why time flies as you get old), I have never read anything that says that there seem to be fewer hours in the day because more time is spent indulging yourself on taking things slower and relishing things.  It takes time to stop, look at a tree in fresh flower and admire the play of sunshine on the colours.  Or to really hear a bird singing and then to look around  to see where it is. To cook good, fresh and tasty food and to think about the interplay of tastes in the mouth.

Of course,  daily grooming also takes more time !  The skin has to fed more, and a headfull  of messy hair looks just that.  Messy.  Whilst on a younger person it will look alluring and happy.

When I was in Primary school, our marvellous headmaster, J L Carr ( Later became a well-known author)   had a bee in his bonnet – that we should all learn poetry!  I remember so well …

”  Leisure,    by William Henry Davies

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.”


I love it!  In my mind  it even has a tune – a Victorian hymn which is now going round and round in my head,  and gradually the original words are coming back.

”  The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
And he is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow,
My ransomed soul he leadeth
And, where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.”


Oh – I love this too!  It’s one of those hymns with a tune that’s good to walk to, and often when I am marching along footpaths, I find myself singing away, and appropriate words pop into  my head – they may get altered a little bit in my head over the years, but the gist stays the same, – if you want food for your troubled soul, look around at wonderful  natural places..


So – I caught myself moaning away that I had not achieved enough during the day. Then I thought – “Hang about   – WHY not?”  I looked at the finished book lying on the desk, and remembered just how lucky I am to have the time and opportunity to read and enjoy such a tome.   I COULD have spent a couple of hours dusting instead of reading this book.  But it would  have left me full of aches from my dodgy back, and I would not have the wonderful memories in my head from the intriguing storyline.

It’s not at all bad, approaching my seventieth birthday!!






Typical Sunday – with the added interest of a new cat and a new computer tablet to find out about.

The Chinese supplier of my new tablet has come up trumps – he sent me a picture of the characters to look out for so that I could change the language to English.  After a lot of searching, I found something that looked a bit like his picture, and this turned out to be right, so suddenly all the words are in English.  But why did I have to go through all this??  DSC03645Surely the Chinese know that not a lot of folk know about and can decipher these squiggles ?  They went to the trouble of sending a little small instruction book, badly photocopied and translated but in English; so why leave the screen unusable?  A mystery.


Any road up, it’s a nice little light thing and should do the trick once I have got to know it.

It’s amazing just how much of a mess the house is in, after almost a fortnight of Martin’s varnishing.  Hardly without our noticing, we have accumulated odd curtains on poles standing up in silly places, things he has moved in order to do his work, and unexpected  little heaps of dust where he has scrubbed something down.  I made a start, but I suspect the task of getting back to normal will go on for quite a few days.


The little cat, still called by the rescue centre name of Dash, has been delightful.  She is hungry for fuss, and as yet has broken nothing !  She is not causing me any problems with allergic reactions, so we have decided to go and get her another cat- friend from the rescue centre as soon as we can.  She seems to be a talking cat….  is very vocal while she is doing things and when she comes for a bit of fussing up.  It’s going to be interesting getting to know her !







Rod has finally persuaded me that it’s time to have a cat.  He’s done all the arranging, and we hopped off to El Verger to look at all the cats in the SCAN rescue centre this morning.  They had loads there, but it was strange how we both were drawn to the same one, – the one they called Dash.  She is a lovely little thing and very friendly.

DSC03642After all the kerfuffle when we tried the previous cats from the Jalón rescue people , I was a little bit cautious about it, and I was afraid I was going to suffer again with a allergic reaction.  But the lady in charge, Pam, was very sympathetic.  I asked if it would be OK to give  Dash a bath, and she advised me exactly how to do it.

So as soon as we got home, I shampooed Dash in the bath and  she just accepted the indignity with hardly any trouble at all.  We have to keep her in the house for a week, but she seems to have settled nicely, eating and toileting  well. Fingers crossed then !  By the end of the day, I was feeling no reaction at all.  Happy happy!

It’s the Chinese New Year today . the year of the Fire Rooster.  It seems there’s a big responsibility on our shoulders for this coming year !!

”  Year of the Fire Rooster comes a crowing saying, Wake up! 

His crow alerts us that a new day is dawning, but we must rise and mobilize into action as we come together for the wellbeing of our roost/planet.

Set aside your emotions and focus on long term goals. Stay focused. That’s right, see beyond the current situation and keep your eye on whatever it is that you value in the long run; just keep chipping away without wavering. Apply yourself. That’s what this year is all about.”

2017 Use this One Brighter




Wow – how quickly these Fridays roll around.  No sooner is one done with, than another is upon us!  Today I felt very decadent – already we have had two lunches out this week, and now here we are set to have another.  The Friday Lunch Club is out in full force once again!  Today it was Rod’s turn, so he chose his favourite place – Susi’s in Maserof.  It was lovely up there, with little wind and with a smattering of sun.  Image result for CASA SUZI MASEROFSusi greeted us like old friends, as she does everybody, I noticed!  We enjoyed a wonderful meal for a total cost of 52€, and as we were leaving and I asked to buy a bag of lemons, she gave them to me, refusing point blank to accept any money for them.  She is such a nice lady and deserves to do well in her distinct, DSC03628Moroccan-influenced restaurant, where you never have to ask for wine – it just appears on the table whenever  there is an empty bottle.

As is usual on a Friday, by the time we have got home and Rod has treated Pepe to a tot of Soberano brandy , that seems to be the end of our productive day.  Rod always sits on the settee, finds himself a film to watch, puts it on, then goes straight to sleep for a couple of hours!

I went out to stretch my legs as usual, but by this time the day had turned damp again so I didn’t go far.  I noticed that the grape farmers had  been busy on their vines –DSC03630 this is the month when they all get out  in their fields and prune their vines down to stumps.  For days now, a cloud of smoke has been hanging over the village as the farmers burn their prunings.  The wheel of time is turning nicely.

I had a parcel to collect from the post office this morning, and it turned out to be my new tablet computer.  At last!  My other one refused to work another day after the beginning of the month.  I hate this disposable attitude we seem to have now, so took it to the repairer’s, only to be laughed out the door.  I therefore ordered myself a replacement and only realised afterwards that I had ordered it from China DSC03634and it could take weeks to get here.  So I was pleasantly surprised  to get it within three weeks of my order – I have missed it so much!  Imagine the disappointment when I found that it’s all in Chinese characters and I can’t get into  anything at all!!

I hope I can contact the seller and  get some clues as to what to do!!   Grrr.  BUT – it’s a light little thing and WILL be a great friend …. sometime.











Tennis !  Just a week ago today, snow was still on the ground, and the rain was driving down with huge force and with no stoppages.  Today, the weather was spring-like, with a warm sun and a blue sky.  It was perfect for tennis, and for playing the annual tournament which was postponed from December because of weather.  Ian organised a random series of sets, and we all played willingly, glad that someone had organised something for us.  In previous years, I have organised the tournament, but at the AGM last year, I managed to pass on the task to the next person .  We ended up with a winner and about 6 runners-up out of the 14 of us playing .

After all this fun, we went on to the Bar Tormos for lunch, and enjoyed it a lot, in spite of the food!DSC03626DSC03627Tony was great company to sit next to, even though he was very sad after very recently hearing the news that Barbara, a member of the tennis club since its beginnings, and one of his best friends, has just died in England .  Barbara was still playing with us until the summer, and was only diagnosed with cancer at the end of October.  It is all very sad, and makes us all think about how vulnerable we all are.

I was thinking this as I read my email messages  back home this afternoon.  There , in the inbox, was this post which enumerated 7 foods to combat cancer-inducing stress .  These are chia seeds, avocados, dark leafy greens, nuts, green tea, beans, and (wait for it!) ….  85% dark chocolate !!!

Now I  do know that there is no such thing in this world as coincidence.  The Universe sent me this information for a purpose …..   so I went straight to the kitchen and got a big chunk of chocolate and waited for it to melt deliciously in my mouth.  Normally I would  have felt a teensy bit guilty.  But today, – NO!  Virtuous, in fact, today !

What a wonderful thing is chocolate.  I have always loved the dark, strong bars, and until recently they were difficult  to find.  Now, we have a choice of strengths and  flavours, and are told that they do us good!!  There is a site called Authority Nutrition (sounds good!) which lists seven things that dark choc does for you …

”    7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

 1. Dark Chocolate is Very Nutritious.      Quality dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.

2. Quality dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.       Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants, way more than most other foods.

3. Dark Chocolate May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure.   The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.

4. Dark Chocolate Raises HDL and Protects LDL Against Oxidation.  Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.

5. Dark Chocolate May Lower The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. Observational studies show a drastic reduction in heart disease risk for the people who consume the most chocolate.

6. Dark Chocolate May Protect Your Skin Against The Sun. Studies show that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.

7. Dark Chocolate May Improve Brain Function.  One study of healthy volunteers showed that 5 days of consuming high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain.”


WOW!!   I obviously don’t eat enough of this miracle food.  It recommends a square or two after dinner every day – gosh that’s going to be a hardship!!




We did it!  We wandered this Wednesday !  I was SO excited when I left home this morning , with temperatures around 4 degrees and blue skies overhead.  It seems like months since I have walked with the group.  Everywhere around here is still flooded or squelchy, so Alan, the leader, had organised a walk to the lighthouse in Albir.  This was a new walk to me, and although it was a long way to go , it was wonderful up on the cliffs in the sunshine. Image result for albir faroThis Google pic of the lighthouse is better than mine – and you can see the Calpe Ifach on the very right hand side of the land mass in the background.  You can just see the fish farm in front of the Ifach too, where they grow Bream and Sea Bass.

DSC03620About 16 of us made a very pleasant group for the 6 km walk up the easy path to the lighthouse building, which is a sort of museum of old photographs now.  DSC03621There are lots of information boards along the route, and little side-paths to places of  interest such as the Roman red ochre mines. This red ochre was used as a dye, and the mineral makes the surrounding rocks of the Sierra Gelada a beautiful pink colour.

We were all in good spirits, one of the group remarking that they felt  as if  they had been let out of prison!  We all swapped stories of how cooped up we have felt during the storms.  One lady who lives alone said that one cold wet  day she stayed under the duvet all day!!



We all went into the café in Jalón for coffee afterwards, so it was 2.30 by the time I got home for a very late lunch.  I had enjoyed myself so much that I didn’t even realise that lunch was so late!

Once home, I could see that Martin had done our bedroom, so a hot bath for my suffering joints was out of the question.  Never mind!  It’s more important to get this varnishing job all finished.

Wednesday – and the new system is that Pepe comes up to us  for his meal.   Up he came at 7.30 and we all enjoyed a meal together, which I had cooked slow and long in  the oven.  Rod and I both flaked out afterwards in the warm and comforting glow of a nice day well enjoyed.






The rain has gone away!  Showers are due at the weekend, but at least those heavy downpours have finished and we can have the doors and windows wide open to let the smell of varnish out!  Wonderful.  I even did a load of washing – I haven’t been able to do any for a long time as I just had no-where to dry it.  Clothes are being made to do a longer service these days, before being committed to an overflowing washing bin.

I spent quite a long time this morning down at Pepe’s showing him how to work his laptop.  Very mediocre success!  Even everyday statements such as “Click on the down arrow”  have to be minutely unpicked and explained.  I have been using computers for well over 30 years – since we bought a state-of-the-art Amstrad for our Rugby business.  What an unreliable thing that was!  I used to make two five-inch backup discs every half day, as often information couldn’t be retrieved from these discs, and if we had one of our numerous power cuts while we were working, all the information I had entered would become suspect and the accounts would not tally!

I heard from Dan this morning – that he has booked me a flight to Gatwick and back for  February 18th to the 24th, so that I can look after the children whilst they are on holiday from school, and Lex and Dan are at work!  Lex rang me to tentatively ask if I would do this, as they are stuck, and I was pleased to be able to help out.  Only afterwards did I question myself – can I do this??  Three children aged 3 , 6 and  9 ?  Luckily they are all loves and I am sure they will tell me what to do.

I then started to wonder what day it was when I said in this diary that 2017 would be a more sociable year ?  The Law of Attraction in action,  no less!  Right.  I make the statement one day, and within  a twink of an eye, I am off to Hassocks for almost a week to glory in the most entertaining company!

That being so, I am going to try an experiment …  I am going to say right here that I am available for volunteering for something worthwhile.  I miss it – most of the time during my adult life I have done something to put a bit back into the community – Brownies, National Trust, WWF,  U3A …..   I like to think I can still be useful, although cleaning out animal rescue centres or serving in charity shops ?  – FORGET IT!    I hope and trust that an opportunity will come along in 2017.

I had a phone call last week, asking me to attend the physio department in Benissa at 3.30 on Tuesday in regard to my creaky back.  Knowing no other details , I turned up this afternoon, to find that I am in a “class” for back exercises that will last for six weeks, every Tuesday.  There were three of us in this class.  The Physio lady was really nice, but the exercises were very disappointing.  They were similar to the yoga ones I do regularly, but less taxing.  This treatment has taken me months to get, and I doubt  whether it  will do any good at all.  The other two (very overweight)  ladies found it hard to do what they were asked, so it will benefit them, but I felt nothing at all.  BUT, I shall keep the faith and persevere!

Martin is doing marvellously!  DSC03625It was such a relief today to get our living room back to normal.  We got the curtains back up, and the mantelpiece back looking good.  As the day was so much better, we had all the doors and windows open during the day, so that all the smell could get out.  So it was a nice evening, feeling relaxed and cosy again.  He is now working on the bedrooms, and still has a lot to do outside –   did we realise what a huge job it was going to be ?  Thank goodness Martin is doing it.  Not so many years ago, we would not have even considered getting someone in to do all this, and the job would  probably gone on all summer.  How lucky are we to  be pensioners and can employ Martin without feeling that we have to justify it!!

Image result for good old age






Still raining as we were getting up !

As we had things to do in Jalón and Orba, we worked  out a route which would incorporate a big treat for us – lunch out !!

Passing through Jalón,  we could see the effect of all the recent rain on the dry river bed.  Whatever they did to the drainage recently must have been good, because not so long ago, the amount  of rain we had would have easily flooded the nearby road.


We decided to go to L’Era in Parcent, famed for it’s paella, cooked over a big fire in the kitchen :

Image result for l'era parcent

In the summer, you have to book a table here days in advance, but today, as we were early, we had the place to ourselves.  Even at this time of year, by 2 o’clock it will probably be buzzing.  In the way of most of the traditional Spanish restaurants around  here, there was not a shred of heating and the place was freezing, so we had to quickly attack the local wine .  For 12€ each we had the menu del dia, consisting of bread and  lovely, punchy, home-made alioli;  salad, paella;  dessert;  and  a bottle of wine between us.  Delicious!


DSC03611Even the rain stopped while we were in there, so we came out feeling very happy and ready to face a cold, windy, smelly house with no curtains!  Poor Martin should  be finished his varnishing by this time, but it looks as if he still has a few days left to do.

The rain stoppage meant that Pepe had his power back, so he was warm and  content at least.

DSC03614Going for my walk in the afternoon, I had to slosh my way through big puddles on our road, and as I climbed up the terracing, it was weird, hearing the noise of fiercely rushing waterfalls where usually it’s as dry as a bone.

DSC03616 The weather has knocked out most of the mobile phone connections locally, so we can’t communicate with anyone that way.  It’s amazing how quickly you get used to always having the means to call people in your pocket.  I felt quite vulnerable out there on the mountains with a dead phone, yet not so long ago it was the only way to be.  We are very lucky in that, even after all that rain, once you get above a certain height, there is no squishyness and no deep puddles to hinder walking.  Fingers crossed for the Wednesday Wander this week !  There is no more  rain forecast until Friday’s showers.

Donald Trump’s gaffe of the day ?  He has signed away America’s commitment to fund abortion advice to women in developing  countries, fulfilling  his promise to put “America First”.  Theresa May will be hopping over to the US for talks on Friday, where she will be the first foreign leader to do so.  In the light of the on-going discussions about Britain leaving the EU., this is going to be an important time to talk trade.

” May said: “I have already said that some of the comments that Donald Trump has made in relation to women are unacceptable, some of those he himself has apologised for.

When I sit down I think the biggest statement that will be made about the role of women is the fact that I will be there as a female Prime Minister, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, directly talking to him about the interests that we share.” “

What a difference the improvement in the weather makes !  As we sat watching tele in the evening, still without curtains and still very cold with doors and windows open,  we felt  so much better listening to the absence of wind and rain!!




A very strange day – governed mainly by the atrocious weather.  We woke up to storms and beating-down rain.  Martin was due to come and catch up a bit on the jobs he had fallen behind on because of the weather earlier in the week.  However, he came round at 10 o’clock to say that a tree had fallen down by his gate and he would not therefore work today.

Pepe spent the day mostly without electricity because of the rain.  I tried without much success to get him to come up and keep warm with us, but he kept going back downstairs!  After his lunch with us, he sat for a while, then went down again.  at 6.30, I went down to see how he was and found him by the light a couple of candles, just sitting there, cold and thinking about going to bed!

I brought him straight up here and gave him a cup of tea and he was grateful to sit and watch Countryfile.  When he went home, the power was on, but half an hour later when I looked down, his house was all in the dark again and the rain was relentless.  At least it had warmed up in the short time the electricity was working.  Does it help to know that in Farnham the temperature was minus 8 ?  (No,  not if we are honest!)

Continuing the DSC03599January clear-out, I have done well in my resolution to throw out one thing per day – the rubbish sacks are getting heavy and the wardrobe is looking very tidy!  Next week, – office cupboards and really something to get my teeth into  !

There is a film winning all sorts of accolades at the moment, called Lalaland.  We watched it this evening, full of hope.  But nope.  It was good, yes, but did not have the ending it should have had.  WHY??  Why can’t films just have uncomplicated happy endings??

The media is full of President Trump again.  Today, it’s on two counts.  Firstly he is disputing the numbers that the press are reporting attended the inauguration.  One source claimed that 250,000 people were there, whilst Trump said there were a million or a million and a half.  About 1.8million were said to have been there at Mr Obama’s inauguration eight years ago, and this just makes Mr Trump see red and lash out at anyone handy……

“The “rest of the, you know, 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed,” he said, adding that the media had been caught out for lying, for which they would “pay a big price.” “

The Independent goes on to report:

” The Nielsen data and ratings company estimated 31 million people watched the event on television within the US – less than the Obama or Ronald Reagan inaugurations.”

Whilst the new White House Press Secretary said (without offering any proof):

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period – both in person and around the globe.”

The second bit of news was that there was a women’s demonstration against Trump’s attitude towards women

(Wikipedia reports):

“The Women’s March was organized as a grassroots movement and took place on the day after Trump’s inauguration on January 20. It aimed to “send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights“.   More than three times as many people attended the protests in Washington, D.C. as attended the Trump inauguration itself.”

Funny goings on!



What did I say yesterday ?  Storms, rain, rain, wind, rain and power cuts – all day !  Poor old Martin was here trying to varnish the woodwork, and not complaining at all.  I have never heard him DSC03591grumble, he just gets on with his job, hardly stopping for a break, always refusing my offer of tea or coffee.  He is a marvel, and a joy to have in the house.  (Except when he has to open outside doors and leave them open to let the varnish dry and the wind howl in!) Silly, silly us – asking him to do this in January!!

So it was a Saturday of confinement to a cold house, but the improvement in the appearance of all the woodwork is enough to keep us cheerful.  We shut ourselves (consecutively!) in the bath for a warm relaxation with a book, and lit a big fire when Martin had gone home to help us forget that we were sitting there without curtains, in a horrible varnish smell, with the power going off for a few minutes every half hour, meaning that we had to wait another five minutes for the tele to come back on again!  Thank goodness for the wood-burner.

The tele today is full of the US. Presidential inauguration yesterday afternoon.  Mr Trump shocked everyone by making his speech similar to all his campaign speeches, pouring venom on previous Presidents by inferring that they were corrupt.  Rod and I sat and watched it and felt so sorry for the dignified Obamas and for the Clintons.  Hillary Clinton put on such a brave face as Trump went on and on, knowing that he had only got 42% of the American vote.

28.000 security staff were on duty and they had parked as many big trucks in strategic places to prevent access to  important sites.  All protesters were confined as far from the action as possible.  It’s all estimated to cost over 100 million dollars.  People watching have to pass through security gates and cannot bring in  various items…..

banned items from inauguration

(Although marijuana IS allowed under local laws!)

The Trumps followed the ceremony by attending a few balls in the evening, and Donald let the media into the White House  to witness him starting his new job by signing away Mr Obama’s Health-care scheme , which he had worked so hard to establish and of which he was so proud.

Interesting times ahead !

From Politico ….    “President Donald Trump waves to supporters as he walks the parade route with First Lady Melania Trump after being sworn in at the 58th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.”President Donald Trump waves to supporters as he walks the parade route with First Lady Melania Trump after being sworn in at the 58th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20.

There are going to be a lot of analyses, I feel.  Already there are arguments about the numbers attending the ceremony – Mr Trump boasting about the big turnout, but photographs saying something different.  There is even controversy about the inauguration cake!  It is reported that Mr Trump’s staff simply ordered a replica of the one provided for Mr Obama’s function 4 years ago ! The 2 cakes are pictured side by side ….