Sunday 29 January 2012

News on Sunday

English:Image via WikipediaIt has been hot since quite early this morning, so I'd chuntered through the routines...dogs, chicks, chickens ducks, us....and prepared to read quietly on the balcony until lunch time.

The dogs doing their Baskerville imitation soon roused me and heading for the door loaded for bear I found my fury at disturbance turning to resigned acceptance as I beat back the hounds to let the group of ladies into the house.

Quite a band.

Estrella, Luz, Marta, Ermida and Mery, all sporting parasols against the sun and bearing carrier bags with offerings for Mr. Fly.
Knowing that he is ill, people tend to bring him things good for his health...everything from papaya via noni - an extremely bitter fruit - to sangre de christo - a bark to make a tincture held to be a sovereign remedy from everything from worms to cancer.

Settled with coffee and cake the routine enquiries as to health of all present and their families were undertaken and then there was a little silence before Dona Mery leant forward to say

I don't know if you've heard, but The  Neighbour has been diagnosed with a tumour on his lung. It's supposed to be cancer.'

Now, while my first and reprehensible reaction might be

Serve him damn well right.

A second's reflection is enough to make me realise that this is not actually what I think. No one deserves illness.
Not even The Neighbour.
He might deserve to be beaten within an inch of his life...but not illness.
So I ask if anyone knows how far the cancer has advanced

No, I just heard through his daughter's husband's mother that it was a tumour and when he disappeared last time it turns out he was in hospital in San Jose.

We drink coffee contemplatively. I think we are all thinking of The Neighbour's long and unpleasant career as wife beater, philanderer, swaggering bully and violent lout.

His insults, his arrogance, his tampering with water system and the telephone lines, his attacks on the defenceless.

We haven't been here long, but long enough to have experience of his methods.
He blocked our car with his cattle lorry on a narrow section of the road and, knowing Mr. Fly to be ill, leered through the window at him, passing his hand across his throat and croaking

You'll die'll die soon.

Like some witch doctor in a crisp white hat with a curly brim.

This was nothing to compare with his attack on Dona Mery's father...then in his seventies...when catching the old man alone on his coffee plantation and beating him so severely that he had to spend weeks in hospital while The Neighbour boasted of his feat in all the bars in town - until being barred from same because the other customers were so disgusted.

Local culture is such that speaking ill of the well is frowned upon, let alone speaking ill of the unwell, so no more is said until Dona Mery gathers her parasol and prepares for departure, her flock around her.

Pausing in the doorway she says

He should never have cheated the monks..

And in a susurration of

Ah, si!


God bless you

The party take their leave, mission accomplished.

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Thursday 12 January 2012

Sharing...the pleasure of blogging

Ayak, at Ayak's Turkish Delight, has very kindly passed me this Liebster
award. The idea is to pass it along, with each recipient presenting five other blogs with less than 200 introduce readers to blogs they might not have come across otherwise.

I owe Ayak a great deal....without her I would still be at the boiling of head and throwing heavy objects stage of coping with IT ...not to speak of Blogger.
I still think our 'computing for numpties' would be a handy guide for those who did not grow up with a computer attached to their finger ends....people like me who are still basically unsure about what a 'browser' is...let alone what it does.
I shall be enlisting her support shortly for coping with a laptop equipped with some sort of metal plate with which some optimist expects me to 'navigate'....
Why don't they just print a compass rose on the benighted thing!

Blogging has opened so many windows for and  photography in particular...has unbuttoned me too in my views on the way in which other people live their has been and is an education.

As always, fulfilling the conditions gives me problems.

I follow some French and Spanish language blogs which are both enjoyable and useful.....but I have the impression that this is English language stuff....but do 'Google Translate' the Costa Rican recipe website on my blogroll...that man can cook!

Then...the 200 followers condition. Crumbs...if I ever get to 200 followers I shall suspect I've inadvertently used some phrase with a sexual connotation! (Which may be how the mega bloggers work..the thought has just occurred to me...)
Some blogs have follower lists...some do not. I'd hate to give offence by indicating...however obliquely...that a blog has fewer followers than is the case.

Still, reminding myself that bloggers are unlikely to bring a legal process against me, I shall take the plunge.

Chez Charnizay...for a view of Loire Valley life from two medievalists...and damn good photographers!

la Mujer Libre...for honesty and humour. A Scot...of course..

The Diary of Amy Rigby...who opened my eyes to a whole new world.

Another Day of Crazy...who has the mother from hell...but British Dad interested...

Prospero's Cellphone...expat life in Corfu...Belgian food..but so far, no cricket.

Thank you, Ayak, for reminding me of all the pleasures of discovery that blogging brings.

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Tuesday 3 January 2012

While The Men are Away...

The Men are far for two whole days....and it might be three.
They have started the renovations on our house in San Jose and rather than waste time travelling have decided to stay overnight.

They have installed beds, table and chairs, gas ring and a tin opener for the cans of fish which they intend to consume...a diet sure to be supplemented by the offerings of pizza and coffee at the bakery down the road, Argentinian empanadas from the hole in the wall three doors away, dim sum from the China House restaurant round the corner...and perhaps even a beer at the bar across the road.

Not the least attraction of the house is the opportunity it presents not only not to cook...but the opportunity to have the choice of styles of  other peoples' cooking.

I went to San Jose with them on the first morning...not to the house, but to the tax office, avoiding navigational disaster by demanding to be set down by the cemetery rather than trying to drive directly to the building.
They went their way and I went mine.

As it was the first opening day after New Year, there were no queues.
A most helpful gentleman listened to my explanation as to why my tax declaration was late...swallowed by the bank...and entered all the details onto my computerised file. He then gave me a disc with which to download the electronic version of the declaration, showed me how to get round two notable glitches in the programme and sent me on my way without a fine for late declaration.

The people at French tax offices used to be nice too...but they wouldn't have waived the fine.

Home by bus, picking up parcels at the Post Office on the way and then...after the first mad rush to feed the chicks, let out the ducks and hens and play with the dogs....I was on my own.


I've been on my own before....husband's spells in hospital...but this time there is not the continual worry about when or whether he will come round and the long journeys to visit him.

So this is time to do as I please...without guilt.

What have I done then?

Skype has taken a drubbing.
I've telephoned my friends and talked for ages without howls for cups of tea just as I get to the nub of the gossip.

Experimented with the camera...trying to take a half decent photograph of myself. (Thank you, Phil!)
Results variable.
Decided that yes, I definitely do have to straighten up the pair of glasses I sat on last week if they are appearing in said photograph.

Eaten tomato sandwiches for lunch and dinner yesterday, tuna sandwich for lunch today and plan to make a hot and sour soup tonight.
No cauliflower cheeses, no mashed potatoes, no stews, no roasts, no washing up!

Watched BBC television on the computer screen....the programmes I like.

Beaten Amazon into submission enough to download books to the computer. Celebrated by downloading Graham Robb's 'The Discovery of France' as the reviews made it sound so interesting...and was sorely disappointed. Apart from the topographical theme there was nothing new to me.
I shall stick to Susie Kelly.

Slept. My goodness, how I have slept!
No one to wake me from my siesta on the balcony so that I can see a bird which has messed off by the time my eyes are clear enough to see anything.
No one's feet acting like the screws of the Titanic's propellers and wrapping the sheets round themselves until owner of said feet wakes screaming with cramp and has to be released from the swaddling bands.
No one to ask what I think that noise might be at 3.30 am.

The Men have taken the mobile ' keep in touch. I rang them at the arranged time and got the voice mail. Tried again...same result.
Received hurt 'phone call asking why I had not rung....

Rashly asked how things are it in spades.
Everything from having to search for a builder's merchant who sold sand to a mysterious collection of pipes revealed in the kitchen and a stream running under the house.

How are you coping for food?
Well, the last owner must have been an ecologist. You know how high those ceilings are? Well, he's put these eco bulbs in all the rooms so we had to cook the sausages by sound...judging when they were cooked by the sizzling...

Why didn't you eat in the kitchen? There are two strip lights there....

We've dumped the rubble in the kitchen....

Why won't I be surprised if they roll up this evening.........

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