Sunday, 30 December 2007

Mary Ann's Heartbeat

Relaxing in the aftermath of a recent Christmas soiree chez Taylor, Mary Ann demonstrated the wonders of the Sky+ box to me. I learnt how to select a programme, record it, play it back, pause in real time and watch something exactly the time it takes to make a cup of tea behind the rest of the world.

Mary Ann selected the only programme on the hard drive that she'd recorded - Heartbeat, a fast paced Yorkshire-bobbies-on-bicycles-with-a-60s-soundtrack vehicle for ex-Eastenders heart-throb Nick Berry. We'd been watching it for about 20 minutes before we realised that it was on pause!

Competition Time. Is Nick acting here, or is it just a photo?

Ibiza Sunset = Ibiza Feet Wet

When am I ever going to learn that the Mediterranean sea is a big blue wobbly thing that moves? I got another soaking up to the calves again yesterday setting up a shot of the sunset from Cala Conta beach. It's the third inundation I've suffered in as many months and coincidentally always involving the same pair of shoes and trousers!

Here's the shot

Was it worth it?

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Non Ibiza Holidays

Now that the adverts for Marks and Spencer and Boots have at last finished, Christmas has at last gone for another year, then it's time for the holiday and Easter egg adverts to appear.

We've already booked our first holiday for next year using good old Owners Direct and we're going back to Mallorca. This time we're not going to Deia as we did in October because

to get there or back from anywhere involved a 15 minute drive in second gear up tortuous, winding mountain roads

it was a village which not only completely lacked any atmosphere or sense of being in Spain, but also was full of restaurants which were lacking in customer service and good food but had a surfit of high prices. We got up and walked out of two places because of this!!

So this time we're off to Soller, the main town of the Sierra Tramuntana area, which is easily reached by road and rail, has some great bars and restaurants, and people actually live there.

It has a feel of a mini Barcelona because of its modernist architecture, but without the painful trendiness of the Catalan capital!

In April we've booked a 4 bedroom house in the middle of town and are taking the old dears along with us. We're collecting them at the airport the day after we arrive.

Here's the terrace of the house

and a bedroom

looks smashing doesn't it?

Ibiza Motoring

Every now and then I'm able to raise a smile at some of the motoring mayhem stories that appear in the local paper - mainly because I'm not involved in them. The general theme running through them is a 50cc brain, a 2 litre motor and a tree!

You've already got the picture but I'm going to supply the details from two articles from the last two days.

Article one. Some rich bloke bought his son a brand new car for Christmas and the son duly piled it into a tree and wrote it off completely the same day. It was a €60,000 Porsche.

Article 2. In Playa den Bossa the wonderful 'La Griferia' (you have your own computer controlled beer pump on your table) was subjected to another assassination attempt by a suicide motorist. This is the seventh time a car has ended up either in it or on its terrace since it opened and the fourth time this year.

This powerful Audi was going just a bit too fast, hit the only remaining tree (all the others went in previous accidents) and just missed two kids drinking lemonade on the terrace. When it caught fire, alert staff, used to this kind of thing happening, doused the flames (thankfully with the contents of a fire extinguisher and not the beer pump)

Image from Ultima Hora

(You can just see the tree, branches akimbo, in the photo)

Kulcher Korner

I've noticed that The View from the (Ibiza) Villa is a little lacking in cultural (in the Brian Sewell sense) news. So to remedy that I bring news of one Spain's most famous exports to France, Pablo Picassso.

Picasso (taken from an exhibition at Soller railway station)

The Picasso Museum in France is being remodelled in 2008 so they're shipping all Picasso's works to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. One of his most famous works - Guernica - is already on display there and from 6th February to 28th April will be joined by hundreds more of his efforts.

One that will not be on display is this little number he whipped up in less than an hour and which is housed in my 'private' collection!

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

That was the Year that was!

Thanks to my mother's cousin Rosemary who has researched that side of the family history for this photo of my great great great grandfather Thomas Carlisle.

It's mind boggling to think that this unknown face staring back out of an old photo plays some part in my make up.

Thomas was born in 1812, the same year that English writers Charles Dickens and Robert Browning were born. In that year the Luddites were attacking wool mills in Yorkshire, the British PM Spencer Perceval was assassinated in the House of Commons and Britain was at war with the French and the USA.

Abroad, Louisiana became America's 18th State and Napoleon introduced the metric system and invaded Russia only to find Moscow burning. He obviously didn't realise how far the 2484.92 new fangled kilometres from Moscow back to Paris was!

Many decades later, the year of my birth makes me truly a member of the Rock'n'roll generation. The Fender Stratocaster was unveiled, Bill Haley recorded Rock around the Clock, Elvis was first heard on the radio and Marilyn Monroe married Joe diMaggio!

Others born this year include, Jermaine Jackson, John Travolta, James Belushi, Elvis Costello, David Lee Roth, Denzel Washington and, for fans of Strictly Come Dancing, Willie Thorne!

Does anyone know which year it was?

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Not James Blunt's Ibiza Christmas

Cos we're having a nice time!!! Miserable old Blunt's been at it again. This time telling the tabloids that he'll be spending Christmas in his finca listening to Leonard Cohen and that the 'town' shuts down. Actually if I was a bar owner and saw him navigating in my general direction I'd probably shut down too. Possibly the rumours are indeed true that he was once asked to leave a bar here because they wanted to start happy hour!
So, here's the movie of our Christmas dinner

and here's Flossie in her own starring role

Any road, we went to San Antonio yesterday where the annual Christmas day swim across the harbour took place. It was a warm sunny day, hundreds of people were out on the paseo round town and sitting out in the sunshine on the terraces of ALL the bars that were open near the harbour.

Here's some photos of the swim

Six Brave Swimmers

Diving In

The Winner

Monday, 24 December 2007

Up the Arsenal

I recently remembered a funny story about how people's memories play tricks on them as they get older. My dad was watching Arsenal on the telly and said, 'They've been wearing those red jerseys as long as I can remember.'
and I replied that they'd been wearing them since long before yesterday tea time!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Tilting at Windmills

We could have been on the windswept barren landscape of La Mancha when I took this photo.
We were, however, in good old San Antonio, Ibiza!

Birdwatching in Ibiza

is totally futile when accompanied by a 48 kilo 'stealth dog.'

Whoops, there goes another cormorant!

By way of an experiment I'm presenting the world premier of my recent video 'Stealth Dog at Cala Conta' on The View from the (Ibiza) Villa.....


Saturday, 22 December 2007

Ibiza Blogs and Sods

Unconnected ramblings with an Ibiza connection.

Unwritten rules of motoring. I've noticed that when I'm walking with Marli along narrow country lanes with no pavement that local motorists always courteously slow down and give you a really wide berth. I also suspect that they are smiling but as the dashboard blocks the view of most of their face I can't confirm that.

Empire State Human. Here's Jaki towering above 'the local people' at a country gathering.

You'd think she was seven feet tall wouldn't you? She is, in fact, quite normal and everyone else is vertically challenged. Average height for villagers is a hobbit sized 7 links (4' 8" in English) which leads to problems for us when visiting their burrows.

You think I'm joking? Take a look at the extractor fan hood over our hob.

I keep banging my head on it when I'm crouching down to see what's cooking!

Paco Fernandez, the well known Chill Out Flamenco Jazz guitarist was in the queue in front of me in SYP the other day. We were both in a pretty chilled out mood as a whopping 4 out of the 5 check outs were open (and I'd succeeded in buying about 60% of the items we desperately needed to survive another week.)

This is as opposed to the previous week when only one solitary girl manned the check outs and she'd chosen to open the one with a broken belt so we all had to manually pass our purchases over an enormous empty box stopping us from putting stuff on the belt. (though Christ alone knows where they managed to get an empty box from?)

Anyway, as a gesture of solidarity Paco offered me the stamps he had earned from his shopping to put towards a lovely set of plates. I politely declined - what's the point saving for something they never have in stock?

Mental Arithmetic. Talking of stamps, you have to stick them on a special piece of paper in 10 rows of 5 stamps = 50 stamps per page. Simple isn't it? Well not if you're employed as a cashier in SYP it isn't. The girl I chose to hand over my four cava glasses actually counted every single one of the 120 stamps required before giving me the goodies.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Sotto Voce

Sorry I'm whispering, but I've got an audition to voice over a Christmas perfume advertisement.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Ibiza Crisps

Occasionally we find that the simple, traditional things in life are so much better than their needlessly jazzed up modern equivalents. Take the humble crisp for example which back in the home country comes in a host of flavours, packed full of additives and lacking only a bag of salt and a potato amongst the ingredients.

Here in Ibiza where things never change for the worse I enjoyed a packet of locally made crisps last night which are unusual in that they are made from thinly sliced potatoes deep fried in hot oil and come in a rarely found potato flavour.

Papas Lolita - purveyors of fine, but politically incorrect, crisps since 1935 - I salute you.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

A Dozen Oysters

I don't normally stoop to smutty humour but every once in a while I can't resist.

I had a dozen oysters for lunch at El Yate in San Antonio today.

I'm going back to complain because only 11 of them worked!!

Boom, boom.

I'll get my coat.............

Lunch in El Yate

That's THE El Yate at the end of the port, San Antonio, Ibiza. Let me guide you through our 3 course 'Menu del Dia' that we enjoyed in today's December sunshine. If there was a surefire remedy for the stresses and strains of wrapping presents, then this was it!

They're all from Spain's seafood capital, Galicia, so the menu of mussels & clams, followed by grouper came as no surprise.

They came in a fabulous white wine, olive oil, lemon and herb sauce, just great for dunking bread.

Next the Gazpacho (not the cold soup from Andalucia) which is normally made from game (birds or rabbits) on the high plains of La Mancha, but today had grouper in it.

And for eating it all and resisting licking the paellera clean (normally marli's job) I got my just desserts

Though I had to share it with.............
But it was worth it!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Merry Christmas from San Jose

It's Christmas in the village so here's an unusual shot of our community Christmas tree and me'n'marli.

That's the reflection of the church on the left and Can Bernat bar on the right. I doubt if we'll have a white Christmas - just take a look at the almond blossom in flower in our lane...........

Jaki's Dropped an E

But ecstasy is a word I wouldn't use to describe her mood as she put our Christmas decorations up with the aid of Blu Tak.

She obviously hadn't applied enough force and the writing was on the wall (or not in this case) from that moment.

I'm afraid that after its fall to the tiled floor the E is now in two pieces held together by Blu Tak but looks OK from a distance.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Just the Job

Do you often wonder how some people manage to gain employment?

Today, as we sat drinking chocolate in El Yate (end of the port, San Antonio) we wondered the very same thing as we watched a bloke with one arm struggling to complete his daily tasks.

Somehow or other he had found a job as an egg delivery man but was having some difficulty in holding two huge open cartons of eggs and shut the boot of the car. For all I know he may either still be there now or it's tortilla for all in El Yate.

Fifty-something Birthday Compliments

No, that's not the amount of compliments I've had, but the number of birthdays. I did however, receive a compliment from Jaki. She said I'm still as sexy today as I was on this very day 53 years ago!

See, I've still got it.

Tomorrow she's going to say 'You don't look a day over 53.'

I know I've used that one before but if top comedians like Jimmy Carr can get away with it, so can I.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Ibiza Noise Regulations

You may not know this but our quiet little party island has some pretty strict noise regulations which seem to be well enforced.

An Island Government ruling states that every man, woman and child on Ibiza is entitled to at least 3 hours exposure per day to at least one of the following

A tile cutter
An angle grinder
A chain saw

And that the ambient din should be at least 100Dbs

I'm happy to say that I'm getting more than my share of decibels at the moment.

Spy v Spy

I've been in that state of marital bliss known in Spain as 'de Rodrígez' this week. That's when Sr. Rodríguez used to send his wife and kids away for the summer holidays whilst he remained home drinking beer and not watching 'Strictly Come Dancing.'

As Jaki is at this moment awaiting her connection in Palma (Trafford Centre - Palma - Ibiza) I thought I'd tickle the house up with a duster. As I was walking by the vacuum cleaner I noticed that someone had carefully placed a long strawberry blonde strand of hair on it. I suddenly remembered that James Bond film where someone had done exactly the same (though it was an easily spotted black hair) on a door. If the hair moved, the door had been opened.

Well I'm not so dumb. I carefully left the hair in exactly the same position on the vacuum cleaner so that whoever put it there will know that the Vac hasn't been touched!

Hah! that'll fool'em...........................

Footnote. Jaki rang not so long since to say how happy she is to be back in the land of efficiency and excellent customer service that is Spain. Arriving just in time to get the earlier flight than she was booked on she asked the check in girl to book her on it. Rushing the 4 miles to the boarding gate she was pleased to find that the girl had booked her onto the flight she already had a reservation for. You've got to love them, haven't you?

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

The Laws of Physics in Ibiza

It's often said (though never by me) that the strange mystical, mysterious, magnetic rock of Es Vedra has a strange influence on island life. Incredible as it may seem, you can draw a straight line from it to Stonehenge and another one to the Pyramids of Egypt!

Could the myths and legends of UFO's, magnetic lay lines and space goats be true? I reckon there's something odd out there. How else could we account for the apparent complete disregard for the laws of physics on the island?

Consider this. How on earth could your average Ibby, without an ounce of common sense, the most rudimentary knowledge of engineering and the lack of an enormous f*ck off crane get this huge boulder onto this gigantic monolyth??

And whilst in the motoring world I've fully accepted a concept that Einstein couldn't grasp - travelling faster than the speed of thought - there is just one thing I still can't understand.

It's this. How is it that whenever you're behind an Ibby on the descent from Ibiza's highest village (ie San Jose where I live) that all the laws of gravity and momentum go out the window and they actually decellerate, going slower and slower, without putting the brakes on?

Weird or what?

I should, of course, mention that if you have one behind you, then all the magnetic forces of Es Vedra focus on your back bumper, drawing them closer and closer no matter how fast you go.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Las Puertas del Cielo

The Gates of Heaven to you and me. Marli and I were out and about this morning around the Cala Salada, Ses Fontanelles and Santa Ines areas. It was a great day for walking, sunny with a fresh breeze so we never worked a sweat up.

I'll let the photos do the talking................

We found this Christmas tree - full of little decorations hanging from its branches - in the woods by the roadside. Marli has a penchant for chewing pine cones but I didn't let her get her chops round these.

Then on past some typical Ibby houses, this one has an enormous lavender garden.

Carrying on, we soon arrived at taxi driver Jordi's bar which sits atop massive vertiginous cliffs with nothing stopping the view to the mainland (though we couldn't see it today) The smell of food was enticing enough for me, so goodness knows how Marli felt with her appetite whetted by delicious pine cones.

That delicious looking Asadura is a lamb's offal fry up - everything goes in, heart, liver, lungs - so vegetarians beware. Anyway, why is Jordi's bar known as The Gates of Heaven?

Because this is the view

On our way home we came across someone who obviously couldn't wait to get there..........

Thankfully I had my 'CarCam' mounted on the bonnet to capture the moment!

Strictly Come Boxing

If only the outcome of last night's Hatton fight had been decided in the same way as my favourite TV programme Strictly Come Dancing.

A viewers' vote would have ensured that Hatton had won by a mile. Let's face it, dancing prowess is the last thing you need to win strictly..............

Take rugby player Kenny Logan. That lad couldn't pass, never made a one tackle and made more yardage on the dancefloor than ever he did playing for Wasps or Scotland (where most of it was running from one side of the field to the other.) However, he was blessed with a big goofy grin and a kilt, and so lasted for weeks after others who also couldn't pass or tackle (eg his wife) were sent packing!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Odds and Blogs

When this Space Face thing catches on like wildfire (and it will) I've no doubt that certain people will claim a tenuous friendship with us just because it's trendy.

I can already see the following zany faced voguers (unfashionably going out for the evening) appearing worldwide with the caption 'ooh, you've got me skin,' emblazoned across the bottom.

Ooh, you've got my skin

In other news this week we celebrated the 29th anniversary of freedom and democracy in Spain with a national holiday. Ironically, it was the very day when the only freedom of choice we had was what time to get up, because as usual, nothing was open!

I tell a lie, because pretty well every bar and restaurant in Ibiza was open, so that you could roll out of bed, eat and drink for several hours and then roll back into it, safe in the knowledge that tomorrow, Sunday, will be Groundhog day.

At El Yate (at the end of the port in San Antonio) you could have had fish soup, bbq mixed grill and greixonera (a kind of aniseedy bread and butter pudding) for €15 and then had me following you home as you weaved all over the road trying to put your seatbelt on, smoke, talk on your mobile and drive. Drunks, know your limits, don't bother with the seatbelts, your head will break your fall.

On the subject of doing nothing, one of master builder Steve Taylor's workforce spent the siesta period the other day doing big fat zilch. Nothing unusual about that, we are in Spain, the problem was that Vicent, the San Jose village idiot whose job is to lock the toilets for siesta so nobody can use them, neglected to ascertain that the loos were free of plumbers, electricians or other general labourers before turning the key. And hey presto - oh dear what can the matter be? at least he wasn't there from Monday to Saturday!

And finally a plea from a fellow journalist and Space Facer Dave Lol

'Please, please, please, buy my books.'

Space Face

It's here, the new social networking site where you can keep all yer mates just where they belong - in cyber space! Rather than go out - let's say to a bar, restaurant or club - you can save your money by stopping in, hunched over your laptop, having a great time and without the need for tiresome conversation about what you did at work today.

What happens is that I post loads of photos of all my pals vogue-ing zany poses, or pulling a funny face, and you look at them and say something like ' he favours a right twat,' or maybe even something a little less complimentary?

So, after three, stand by to get photo'd up!!

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

On the Right Track

Hands up who remembers our new pavement? The one with the lampposts in the middle of it, that's now so wide that we can't park in the street?

As far as I can see the only people to benefit from it are local tarmac and flagging contractors Agloisa. The name of this company has been bandied about in a big bribery scandal that 'rocked' Ibiza recently when they were implied (on various tape recordings) to have paid money to politicians, presumably in return for being awarded new contracts.

I can see no truth in these alleged misdemeanours and firmly believe that any contracts awarded to them have been on the basis of the excellent 'track record' they have in their past projects.

And just to prove it, here's a snap of the two splendid new cycle lanes they've recently completed on the road down to Cala de Bou.

And you never know, they just might have a bit of tarmac left over to fill that hole in your driveway.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Satellite Telly

Isn't it great?

We've got a 2.4 metre dish that cost €2000 and every time I look at the telly, all I see is this!!