Sunday, 27 January 2008

For Joe

Unbelievably it's exactly 10 years since I had to have my faithful hound Joe put to sleep. Soon after, the field I buried him in was full of the bright yellow and white flowers which, for obvious reasons, we call 'fried egg plants.' I'm always reminded of both him, and Lucy who now lies next to him, when I see them appearing each year in the Ibiza countryside.

All Along the Watchtower

Here in Ibiza we're blessed with a fine collection of watchtowers. In fact we even have one at the top of our street! Today Marli and I visited the Torre d'en Rovira which sits out on a spit of land between Cala Bassa and Cala Conta.

The towers date back to a period when Barbary pirates raided Ibiza in a non-alcoholic frenzy of pillaging and carrying off the natives into slavery. The idea of the towers was to form a defencive network which gave cannon coverage of all the coastline.

The Torre de'n Rovira was started in 1756 by local engineer Ballester, finished in 1763 and is the biggest tower constructed in that period. Together with the cannons on San Antonio church, it commanded the entrance to San Antonio Bay and took its name from the bloke in charge of the defence of the area - Rovira.
In a 'Time Team' type recreation of what the tower may have started out like we constructed a mock up of the same materials that were available 250 years ago and here it is..................

and it didn't take us 7 years to complete!

Friday, 25 January 2008

The Great Syp Clam Scam

How lucky am I? You know how it is when you buy a load of clams that around 10% of them aren't going to open when you throw them in boiling liquid? The little molluscs' lack of reaction to extremes of temperature (ie they don't try to jump out) generally means that they were dead before they hit the stock.

I bought a couple of €'s worth from Syp yesterday to go in a nice fish stew and around 80% of them remained tightly closed - clammed up, in fact. Like the fish we had with them, I was gutted. I love clams, especially when part of Spaghetti Vongole, or Asturian style, with beans.
So, I did a kind of before and after with the meal last night, which in honour of its grandeur, we ate at the table.

Here's the raw ingredients.....



Just add water, and Hey Presto



Homage to Catalonia

It hardly seems like exactly a year since we were on our world tour of Catalonia. I scribbled a few notes a while back and here they are as a shameless excuse to accompany a new photoshow down at the blog bottom. (though they do have a more permanent home on my Picasa web album Catalonia)


"A brief report of our brief visit to Catalonia.


First stop Castello d'Empuries. A medieval village where we made base camp in a nice bed and breakfast built on the ruins of the former home of the Counts of Castello.

We stopped off in many historic little villages all around this area north of Girona, including Peralada, Besalu, the last resort in Spain – Cadaqués, and of course Figueres to see the Dali Museum.

Cadaqués


Our next hop took us over the French border to Perpignan. It was just like Spain – Tapas, paellas, lots of seafood and Moroccans– but everyone (apart from me) spoke French.

Then we travelled through miles and miles of wine growing country, Corbieres, Minervois to Limoux which is the place that developed the original Brut 'Champagne' known as Blanquette. We stayed in a Chateau that once belonged to one of Napoleon's cronies and toured the area, full of Cathar castles, and the Cité of Carcassonne and Canal du Midi.




Carcassonne


The final trip was the long drive back to Barcelona (I stopped off in Lloret de Mar the first place I ever visited in Spain 30 years ago on the way) to drop off the car and moved into our apartment accommodation.

We did all the tourist things, Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, etc etc and spent 6 hours in the MNAC art gallery. We ate and drank lots. Found a nice little bistro – Crema Canela – by the Placa Real and really had fun in El Gran Cafe, Avinyó 9, great food and a maitre D with a sense of humour.

Mask/balcony detail. Gaudi's Casa Batllo, Barcelona


And that was that.

High points – French roads, wines and toilet paper.
Low points – French drivers, petrol and toilets."

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Retales

No, I'm not repeating some of my previous posts, but using a rather clever (well I thought it was) play on words to announce yet another tale of Ibiza's shopping sector.

As you know we're still clinging to the archaic tradition of the afternoon siesta when everything closes from 1.30 to 17.00 so the only thing you can do is eat and sleep. And if you only manage say 16 winks, you can make up the other 24 when you get back to 'work.'

Is it any wonder that the Spanish, who are nominally at work for longer than their western European counterparts, are 40% less productive? Well, could you produce a set of accounts or arrange a Billion Dollar take-over deal with a belly busting three course lunch and half a bottle of Rioja inside you?

Any road, one of the Ferreterías in San Antonio has a great big sign outside saying 'we don't close for lunch.' It's also the only place that can cut the special security key for my front door, so having nothing better to do one lunch time I went to get a new key.

And this is how my trip went............
'I'd like a copy of this key please.'
'We, can't. The lad's gone for his lunch.'
'But you don't close for lunch.'
'No, we don't close, but everyone apart from me goes home.'
'What time is he due back?'
'four o'clock.'
'It's 10 to 4 now, I'll wait.'
'No, come back in about half an hour, he's only DUE back at four, but he won't be here then!'

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Ibiza in January

This is a little trailer for my Ibiza in January Picasa Album

Here's some fennel against a backdrop of the Avenida Es Cubells car park (which cannot be seen because of the fog!).

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a slideshow....

Friday, 18 January 2008

Paco in Raco

None other than Ibiza's favourite flamenco/jazz/chill guitarist Paco Fernandez has returned to his regular Friday night spot at San José's famous Raco Verd Bar. I just happened to be there and made the odd video of the occasion.

Here are some videos I took.........

an Arabic stylee one


video

A Jazzyy one


video

and a Flamenco-y one

video

Sanan Snapper Snapped

Dateline: January 17th 2008
Location: San Antonio, Ibiza

It's San Antonio day, a day off for lucky shopkeepers and bank workers, and a special day for the local Holy man. Today's the day he has to pull his finger, and his Holy water sprinkler out as he gives a blessing (Benidiction) to a weird and wonderful procession of animals.

Needless to say I was there on official business (skiving off work) and was accompanied by Mary Ann and three of our dogs, Marli, Sam and Blossom (in size order).

Here's the official photo I took for my news article



and here's one which appeared in the Diario de Ibiza with us in the background

Monday, 14 January 2008

Ibiza, Icarus and Jorge

When Jorge visited Ibiza he snapped my washing hanging out to dry on the roof whilst taking a shot of the San Antonio cityscape. In a warped and twisted way it reminded me of Breughel's Icarus - a painting which seems to say that no matter how tragic, momentous, or plain silly events which affect you are, dull life goes on as normal for everyone else.

Any road, W.H.Auden put it a bit more succinctly than moi, so here's his poem


About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Good Innit?

Sunday, 13 January 2008

The Jean Genie

Did you know that because of the limited nature of the Ibicenco Gene puddle that the average height of fully grown men is 5' 1" which gives an inside leg measurement of 26"

Surprisingly (if you live anywhere other than Ibiza) the only inside leg measurement available in Levi's Jeans in every shop in Ibiza is 34", ie only suitable for big lanky gawks.

Yesterday I lost an inch from my formerly 32" inside leg looking for a pair of Levi's that didn't need shortening before I gave up and gave in. I'm off to the Jeans shortening/alterations shop in the Via Punica tomorrow!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The Mainland

Not quite the View from the Villa but close enough. This is the coast of Alicante (near Javea probably) as seen from Ibiza on a clear day. I've nicked it from the Blog of another San Jose dweller, photographer Juan Perez.

It's taken from Es Cap des Jueu, the watchtower overlooking Es Vedra. For some strange reason I always think of Father Ted when I hear the expression 'The Mainland.'

Monday, 7 January 2008

Savings at Syp

Hot News. Having just returned from SYP where they're promising a 'savings campaign' I can confirm that it's true. I reckon I've saved about 50% on my shopping bill this week thanks to them.

Prices aren't any lower, they just didn't have about 40% of what I wanted and I couldn't get to the other 10% because of bloody great pallets and boxes blocking the aisles looking like the Americans had just air dropped aid packages onto the Somali desert.

In other consumer news the 'sales' started today in Ibiza. To brighten up my news article I set off to take a picture of a shop front in San Jose plastered with Sales posters and 70% Off signs. I couldn't find one.

Oh well, maybe next year?

Famous Ibiza Places

In a shameless attempt to attract yet more disappointed readers to this blog I'm listing every single eating/drinking/dancing establishment in Ibiza. It shouldn't take long as there are only about 2,400 of them! So, future Google searchers for Aura Bora Bar will be as upset as the 'James Blunt Ibiza Villa' brigade when they're lured into View from the Villa under false pretenses!

That I've never visited: Ku, Amnesia, Es Paradis, Eden, Cafe Mambo, Space, DC10, AK Morgana, Fata Morgana, Pure Platinum, Pikes, Base Bar, Rock Bar, Dome, Privilege, El Ayoun, KM5, Bambuddha Grove, Aura, Bora Bora, SunSeaBar, Malibu, Sa Trinxa, Blue Marlin, Yemanja, Sa Punta, Kanya, PK2,

That I've visited once: Pacha, L'Elefant, Sugar Sea, Coastline Cafe, Bar M, Kasbah


That I love to visit: Es Ventall, Raco Verd, El Destino, El Yate, Es Galliner, Sa Muntanya, Taylor Towers, Es Verro, El Rincón de Pepe, Hostal del Parque, Can Caus, Island Cafe, Rita's Cantina, Cafe Babel, Montesol Bar, Can Pilot, Bon Lloc, El Zaguan, Bar Xicu, Bar Bernat Vinya, Can Verge, Villa Manchega, Sa Clau

Footnote: my memory isn't what it used to be so this list will grow organically as and when I have the odd neurological surge.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Separated at Birth

They could have been couldn't they?

These two identical photos show our little space cat Flossie and a flower from next door's garden.

Space Cat


A bit like The Proclaimers, you can't tell where one finishes and the other one starts!

Flower

The question is what kind of flower is it, because it's been bugging us for months?

Art for Art's Sake

For the last 10 years or so we've religiously visited Ibiza's annual art supermarket. Like Sister Wendy we've oohed and aahed at lots of stuff but never actually bought anything - until yesterday, when we acquired this................


and another one a bit like it. It's by Borja Guijarra, a young(ish) artist from near Madrid. Leafing through the rack of his works, Jaki the art critic noticed that he had a fixation with women's breasts. I didn't have to be Tim Marlow to explain that this was perfectly normal as Borja was a bloke.


Anyway, to finish here's another of his paintings - a poster for the Carnaval in his home town of Tres Cantos (it means Milton Keynes)


Tuesday, 1 January 2008

From St. Helens to Ibiza and Back

Dateline: New Years Eve
Location: San Antonio Ibiza

After an evening of funky food, scintillating wines and sparkling intercourse conversation (mostly from me as I remember) at Es Ventall's NYE celebration


Cod a la Ventall

I realised as a sat feasting on a pie and a pint at 05.00 this morning that you can take the boy out of Sintellins, but you can't take Sintellins out of the boy!

And now a joke.............
A Wiganner walks into a pub and sees a sign over the bar saying
' A Pie, a Pint and a Women - Only £1.'
So the Wiganner says to the barman 'Whose pies are they?'
I'll get my coat.