Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Ibiza Taxi

Driving out of San Jose yesterday, Jaki spotted a taxi on the taxi rank. That's a first, she said, and I pointed out that the driver wasn't in it, and had probably just parked up outside the town hall to nip in and renew his license.

It's quite easy. Here's question 1 on the form

1. Are you related by birth, marriage, or both to someone who works in the town hall?

A. If yes, go and collect whatever you want in reception in 5 minutes.
B. If no, answer the other 149 questions on this form and come back in 6 months to be told you've been unsuccessful.

Monday, 28 December 2009

VFT (Ibiza) V Caption Comp

I spent most of Christmas watching ITV's Christmas pantomimes - best line ever delivered my Debra Stephenson (Corrie's Frankie Baldwin), 'I miss my Dick,' referring of course to the protagonist of the opus, Dick Whittington.

Despite an overdose of double entendres I can't think of a caption of this photo Jaki took of the opera La Boheme. It shows her little cat and a woman with one of those hand warmer things posing for an artist.



I'm completely writer's blocked.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Ibiza Sunset, Heineken Style

If  Heineken did Ibiza sunsets, they'd probably look like this one. Taken from our roof a few minutes ago


Saturday, 26 December 2009

Ibiza Version Original

Chatting to the girl in Sluiz the other day, she told me she preferred watching films in English with subtitles because she felt it wasn't right listening to Spanish voices dubbed over themes which should have been in English.

I said what about El Cid? Wasn't it strange to hear Charlton Heston speaking English as he rode round the walls of Valencia?

Anyway, did you know that when Hollywood films are dubbed into Spanish the same actors are always used to dub the same star. For example Arnold Schwartzenegger's stunt dubber is always a little fat guy (I've forgotten his name)

Here's a definate case for watching the original version of a film - whoever dubbed this sounds like an airline steward announcing that duty free's coming round - not psyching himself up for a night of mayhem and ultraviolence.



Friday, 25 December 2009

Blew a Fuse

Don't fuses blow at the most inopportune moments? One of ours went last night plunging half the house and the broadband router into the stone age. Don't worry, the oven and water pump still worked so we could eat by candle light but it put a stop to my groundbreaking live twitter broadcast from Ibiza.

A shame really because when I bobbed out to the marquee last night where San Jose's Christmas entertainment takes place there was a live concert by the Rolling Stones in progress! If I'd been all Internetted up I could have blogcasted live from a San Jose rock concert - a first I believe.

Anyway, just to prove I was there, here's a photo I took

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Mard Dogs and Englishmen

Won't go out in the mid-day Ibiza rain!



Floyd has revealed himself to be a right mard arse recently. Here he is queueing at the gate to get back in after a mere 3 second walk because it was raining. It's a bloody good thing he lives in Ibiza and not Manchester!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Ibiza: Back to the Future

I'm waiting for some people on a flight from Madrid. Thanks to the Internet, their flight arrives in Ibiza 20 minutes before it takes off from Madrid.


Still, at least it's warmer here.

Ibiza: Life on Mars

“See the mice in their million hordes,
From Eyebeetha to the Nawfuck Brawds”


Warbled David Bowie in his song about 70's package tourism “Life on Mars” which was also the inspiration for the TV detective series of the same name about Life before the Internet.


Whilst swearin', smokin', bein' politically incorrect and drivin', a Ford Cortina were all fab in the world before computers, goin' on hols was an odd affair.


Take us, in the world of 30 years ago we went to Mallorca, which in holiday brochure speak was then called Majawka, and we didn't know a thing about it, and once we got there we didn't know a thing that was happening in the outside world.


Newspapers (and only the southern editions at that) arrived 2 days late and you needed a magnifying glass to find the rugby results amongst all the reports about football teams you'd never heard of like Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal. And if you actually wanted to watch a football match, there was only one night a year when you could do this – European Cup Final night when Liverpool (or Forest or Villa) would show the foreigners how it was done.


Don't forget that Franco had threatened to ban football in Spain unless his favourite team Real Madrid won everything, something that the Scousers obviously didn't know about when the beat Franco's lads in the final when we were in Mallorca.



Totally reliant on our holiday rep, we booked a fun night in an all you can eat BBQ, along with hundreds of others who were all bussed in and seated on benches cheek by jowl with fellow happy holiday makers.


It was awful, but not quite as bad as the coach ride back, full of people too full of pork chops, chips and salad, and more importantly cheap champagne. I've never eaten pork chops, chips and salad since.




Anyway, here's a picture of one of the ritual tortures we were subjected to in the BBQ – drinking from the porron. I've never done that since either.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Cursa Popular de sa Salsa

It's actually an annual fun run in San Jose but could be translated as the 'curse of the sauce.'

The organisers of the race had thoughtfully decided that the runners should be protected from traffic on the routes through the bustling Sunday morning centre of the village by putting barriers up blocking the entrances to traffic.

In a land of joined up thinking the bloke doing the blocking (the village's street sweeper) would have realised that for all the people who live within the area of the route those entrances were also the only exits to the world outside!

Anyway, we got out without knocking any runners down, only a barrier, and made it to Talamanca beach.




And here's the proof


Saturday, 19 December 2009

Flying the Flag for San Jose

Council workmen surprised us this week when they moved into the street under the cover of darkness to decorate every lamp-post with twin black flags advertising a photo exhibition at our new cultural centre.


Looks a bit like Cap'n Jack and the Black Pearl's hove to in the centre of San Jose doesn't it? You don't need to be a marketing genius to notice that there aren't any opening times given on the flags (I went on the 17th and it was closed) and that a marketing campaign that nobody sees isn't very good. Why put all the flags out on a street where only 10 people live and which is a dead end in a goat farm?

The answer of course is that all the other lamp posts in the village are too low to have a flag attached so there is some logic to the decision.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ibiza Shut Down

Monday and Tuesday this week were public holidays. This means that everything closed on Saturday at 1.30 pm and didn't open again until this (Wednesday) morning.

That's not quite true, all the bars and restaurants remained open so local folks could eat and drink all afternoon, but what kind of a holiday is that for them? They do it everyday anyway.
R Jaki, in England to see about having her eyes lasered, keeps ringing me, rubbing it in that she's got things to do - 'I'm in a shop. I'm at a Christmas fair. I'm at the till, paying for something.' and just to show her that there was life in Ibiza I drove 13 kliks to the throbbing metropolis that is Ibiza town to find something going on.

The emergency chemist on the Vara de Rey was open AND there was a queue of people in it!!!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Pink Floyd in Ibiza

Floyd's progressing really well. He's putting some muscle on his back legs again so he can now run a little bit and can even keep up with me and my gammy knee.

Here's a video from this morning at Las Salinas beach in Ibiza showing Floyd 'in the pink' though I've no idea why it looks like one of those 'The Thirties in Colour' programmes.

video

A Dog's Tale III

Ibiza odd one out

Here's a game that's easy to play, take a look at these 4 photos (nicked from the Diario de Ibiza) of the recent country fair held in ibiza town.





Which is the odd one out and why?
The correct answer is the dogs, because they've got no food or water in their cage. All the animals which can be accompanied by roast potatoes and red wine are extremely well provided for.

Monday, 30 November 2009

I'll Get My Coat

Chalk it up. I wore a coat today, 30th November, for the first time in months. It was parky enough to wear my parka at the crack of dawn today when we make an early morning check that the streets of San Jose have been aired properly.


Talking of coats, take a look at this one.







It's a Levi's special edition jacket with Liberty of London lining. At least it was 20 years ago when Jaki bought it, since then it's been used as share wear, the denim has faded and frayed at the edges, the lining ripped and came out, and it has a hole just under the collar at the back. In fact, it's just right for going somewhere special in Ibiza as I don't have to spend all afternoon sleeping in it on the sofa before going straight out in it.


Any road, Jaki commanded that, as it was looking a little tired, I should find her a new denim jacket on Ebay.


Look what popped up - a Levi's special edition jacket with Liberty of London lining!!


Sunday, 29 November 2009

SYP Snipers

I reckon someone in Ibiza, probably in Ses Paisses, Can Tomas or San Antonio has got hold of some of that 'sniper' software that keeps me from buying anything I want.

On Friday I only needed three things from SYP (in Ses Paisses, between Can Tomas and San An); firelighters, bread and hygienic kitchen wipes. Some sniper had obviously just run in, moments before I got there, and denuded the shelves of all of those items (bar one ripped packet of firelighters which I bought rather than go cold on Friday evening.)

This same person has done this trick for the last 4 weeks in the case of the hygienic kitchen wipes as I haven't seen one packet for at least a month there!

Still, at least this Friday the one cash desk that was open for checkout was the one where the credit card machine was working!

And on a happier note you remember how I've been making a 30 kilometre round trip to buy water for our kettle from the 'well' in San Rafael? Well it transpires that there's a similar 'well' just 500 metres from our house that I could have been using all along.



You can imagine how I laughed when Warren, a mere tiler and follower of this blog, told me. If it weren't for all those bloody trees in the photo above, you'd be able to see it midway between our house and the Renault garage on the main road.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

New Hobby

I've got a great new hobby that involves one of my lifelong interests and keeps me occupied all day and doesn't cost me a penny. It's called bidding for designer classic clothes on Ebay.

No matter how long I leave it to put in a bid for something I really, really want, and no matter how few seconds are left in the auction, someone always pips me to the post. Yes, some nerd with IT experience and a programme to outbid everyone by 20 pence always wins.

The funny thing is, and anyone who's ever worked in an office will concur, that the iron law of office work is that the level of interest in IT is inversely proportional to that person's appearance.

Let's face it, you don't need to make much of an effort dressing up for downloading a few cult classics like 'Gummo' to your laptop in the middle of the night.

So all things being equal this super coat I'm gagging to buy will end up in a darkened bedroom within the next week or two......


As usual, there's a quiz for the old'uns. Who designed it?

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Doh!!

What's the connection between this Laurel and Hardy clip in which the boys try to buy a round of soda for 4 when they only have money for 3, and the Ibicenco restaurant custom of offering clients a free shot of spirits or schnapps after their meal?



The answer is that I have a Hardyesque frustration with Jaki who doesn't like spirits and despite my request that she accepts their offer and has exactly what I'm having so that I can drink both 'chupitos.'

last night in Es Ventall when they said 'and what will you have Jaki?' she said, 'none for me thanks, I'm driving.'

Doh!

And now a quiz for all the old folk who read this.

What's the name of the Scottish soda fountain barman whose catchphrase 'Doh!' is now used by Homer Simpson?????

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Out of T-ouch

Jaki says I spend so much time on this blog (with an average of two posts per week since its inception) that I've lost t-ouch with the real world. Christ alone knows what Stephen Fry's wife says about him with all the t-weets he makes on t-witter!



Anyway, to try and escape from cyberia, I'm taking us both out tomorrow to San Antonio where we'll have plenty of choice of cheap food - a 3 course meal for €12 - courtesy of the Restaura-t scheme where we'll celebrate 5 years since buying 'the villa.'

Here's the menus (in Spanish) of all the restaurants - where would you go?

All Steamed Up

or a SPAnner in the works.

I don't really want much out of life. Just that occasionally it's made a little bit easier by our Ibicenco hosts. I'm not looking for anything complicated, I don't want them to be the first people on Earth to put a man on the moon, I don't even want them to invent an 'easy open' milk carton, just to give me a bit of info on when they're open for business.




Here's the website of the Sirenis Hotel group with establishments in Ibiza and the Caribbean. As you can see, it gives all the information about their Spa in Playa den Bossa apart from when it's open. If you want to know that you have to ring. I rang. No answer and no answering machine with a message about its hours.

I rang their head office. No answer.

I drove down to the Spa, no signs on the doors and the only sign of life at 10.30 was a cleaning lady who told me that 'they open at 11.00.'

I waited and at 11.10 am precisely she said, 'the lad will be here any minute,' and I said, 'how do you know?' and she said, 'because that's him gabbing on the front to the bloke from the bar next door.'

Anyway, not a scrap of paper existed with the opening times written down, though this lad had commited them to memory and his parrot fashion recital ended with 'and at weekends until 9pm.'

And I said, 'you're open 'til 9 on Saturday and Sunday?' and he said, 'no, only Saturday, we're closed all day Sunday.'

?

Still, at least they don't close for lunch

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Cats' Eyes

Did you know that cats have really good vision compared to humans? They have great peripheral vision and can detect motion (eg a beetle walking across the floor) from 3 miles away and if a cat was human sized its eyes would be 8 inches long.

This excellent eyesight comes at a price as cats are blind as bats close up.




Even with my poor vision I can tell the difference between this cat litter tray (right) and a brush pan (left) and if I catch the little bugger who keeps peeing in the brush pan everyone will be able to see the brush inserted firmly up its backside!

You can lead a dog to water

but a pencil must be lead!
It's one of life's ironies that 25 years ago I had a dog - Joe - who we couldn't keep out of water. Living in Manchester the water was always a bit too parky for me to join him.

Now, that the water's warm and clean enough for me in Ibiza



I'm blessed with two mutts who won't go near the stuff!



This is as close as the old sea dogs got at Cala Tarida today.
And now a video from the Floydcam, friendly isn't he?


video

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Ibiza Orange Alert

The Spanish Government passed a law a couple of years ago to encourage mobile phone users to exercise more than their right thumb and engage in some real social intercourse by having to register their personal details at the shop where they bought the phone.

The penalty for not registering was having your phone cut off and losing any credit on the sim card. In the land of procrastination and tardiness 2 years notice isn't really enough and this week as the cut off date of Friday approached stories of packed phone shops reached our VFTIV control and command centre.


It was therefore with the utmost confidence that I went down to our Orange phone shop in San Antonio to register JAKI'S PHONE on Friday, the last day. Good news, there wasn't a soul in the shop. Bad news, they were now the Movistar shop.


Unbelievably, the new orange shop, was not just round the corner, but in Ibiza town, 'in one of those streets that crosses the Avenida Espana near the Consell Building.'


I ran good humouredly, gammy knee and all, to the bus station, (Jaki had the car) and then yomped across I-town, past the Parque de la Paz, past the Mercado Nuevo, upto the Consell Building, where also unbelievably there was a big sign directing me to the shop. It was empty!




Two minutes and a mountain of photocopies later we were done. Dashing back to the bus station I discovered that I only had 45 minutes to wait for the next bus to San Jose, lucky me, with only 5 services a day it could have been up to 4 hours wait.


With time to kill I wandered up the Avenida Isidoro Macabich to buy a Bollo Chocolate from the French patisserie and you can imagine how much I chortled when I saw, just 100 metres from the bus stop, another Orange shop, which was also empty!


Anyway, I got home 3 hours after I'd left and spent 2 minutes doing what I needed to do.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Ibiza Tornado: Blow Winds and Crack your Cheeks

A Windy Blog

Just after we got home from the Guy Fawkes celebrations on Thursday we were hit with a massive storm. The area around San Antonio Bay was badly damaged by a tornado which uprooted trees across roads, blew down lamp-posts and billboards and one poor bloke, Paco the Barber, had his roof blown off.

We were lucky, all we had was a broken plant pot and intermittant loss of satellite signal on the telly. Fortunately we still had enough BBC beams coming down the line to catch the normally incomprehensible Raymond Blanc's assertion that 'all over Britain, thousands of restaurants are farting for their lives.'

BBC, get someone who can speak English on the telly please!

Have a blimp at this

We're converting our bar in the sky into a gentlemen's club for next year with the aid of these 'Blofield' (Good evening Mr. Bond) inflatable chesterfields. According to the instructions you just insert the air with an electric pump when you need them and stick a handy kebab stick in when you don't. Easy 

Monday, 9 November 2009

Pretty Boy Floyd

More alert readers of this blog will have cottoned onto the fact that we've got a new dog called Floyd. He's a sweet, gentle lad who, judging by the pads of hard skin on his elbows, hasn't done much in his life other than lie on hard ground.

He did let the family name down this morning when he acted just like a girlie in the face of dog groomer Trish the Dish's nail clippers. Having lost his 70's style nails he can now put his paws on the ground and is walking better, though not fast enough to outrun me, even with my gammy knee.

Here he is in the front field (it's a video)


video

On the subject of gammy knees, the national health hospital rang me today. Their waiting list is really long, so would I mind having the op for my torn cartilage in the super luxury private hospital within the next few weeks.

Whilst I'd prefer to hobble around in pain for the next 4 or 5 months, I said yes, I'd help them out by going private and getting it 'out of the way' quickly.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A Dog's Tale II

Take a look at this photo.





The dog's name is Floppy. He'd been taken to the vets to be put to sleep because he was 9 years of age. He was thin, undernourished, infested with fleas, had an ear infection and arthritis.


Fortunately, a German lady, Vera, with strong links to DUO a charity which helps dogs on Ibiza, was in the vets and took Floppy home.


That's not the end of the story. Take a look at this photo.




This is Floyd, he used to be called Floppy until we adopted him yesterday. He's a calm, gentle dog with a lovely character and we've already started giving him medicine to help his old bones.

A Dog's Tale

A few weeks ago I'd taken Marli out for her evening stroll when I heard the squeals of an animal in pain. I followed the sound and found a little dog (which had been straying round the village all summer and begging for scraps in the bars) that had obviously been run over by a car. It was huddled in a corner with blood on its back leg and obviously suffering – as its squeals attested – a lot of pain.



I could hear it from 200 metres away, our custodians of the law, couldn't hear it from their local police office just 20 metres distant. They had a good excuse though, they were watching a film at high volume on the computer which drowned out any noise from the outside world.


I sat with the poor animal for half an hour and Victoria from Es Galliner returned from the police station with the news that the emergency vet couldn't come – he didn't have a car. Well, it's not really a necessity when you're on emergency call out is it?

Some while later someone from Rancho Can Dog arrived and we gently manoeuvred the little dog into a cage to be taken off for treatment the following day – better than none at all I suppose.


I rang Can Dog on the following Monday and they told me that he was alright, no bones broken, and they would try and find him a home. The waitress at De Res had told me, prior to his accident,that they'd been feeding him and I told her where he was and what had happened.


When I saw her yesterday she told me that the owners at De Res had adopted the little chap and called him 'Lucky.'

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Hail Lidl

Not only does their Ibiza store on the Avenida San Jose have the cheapest necessities for miles around - beer, wines, coffee, chocolate peanut biscuits, oh, and dog food - but it also has the most off the wall special item weeks. In the past we've had ski week, golf week and nordic walking week and this week was - tah-dahh - musical instrument week.

Like a small boy I alternately pictured myself as Ginger Baker, Miles and Trane as I browsed the drum-kit, trumpet and sax, but finally settled on this magnificent pair of congas (ooh I say)


priced at a reasonable €129 including home delivery. Had Jaki let me buy them, by this time tomorrow, I'd be banging them out like this




Does anyone know who he is??

Monday, 2 November 2009

Washing Machine Instructions

Washing Machine manufacturers, stop publishing Mickey Mouse instructions for your products. I've just wasted 30 minutes trying to get our washer to work because of a useless manual.

This is how it should be.....

FAQ. No water entering machine. Poke a ton of cack out of the filter with a kebab stick.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Mallorca Mickey Mouse

You know how we use "Mickey Mouse" as a slang expression meaning small-time, amateurish or trivial? Here's a perfect example from my working life where I encounter lots of Mickey Mouse information websites whilst trying to put together the odd news article.

Take this brilliantly written piece for Mallorca Spotlight.




The first site I spotted it on listed 5 performances but no venue! I checked another site which gave the venue but had 6 performances listed, so I treble checked another site which claimed that it was a one night stand!

This pales into insignificance here on Mickey Mouse Island where I can remember thousands and thousands of posters hung from every lamp-post leading into Ibiza town publicising the Ad-lib fashion shows for that year. The designers of this had also forgotten to tell us where they were being held!

Are we surprised?

Ibiza Winter Wonderland

The holiday season officially ended in Ibiza yesterday and today's a public holiday - 1st November, All Saints Day - when people go and spruce up the graves of their loved ones and decorate them with mountains of fresh flowers.

I went to Cala Conta instead, where it was pleasantly warm and as photogenic as ever.


Saturday, 24 October 2009

My Mobile, My Bank, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada and Sunday Lunch

I don't use my mobile phone much, in fact I don't even look at it most of the time. Problem is, I can't see it and my fingers are too fat to press just the one button at a time.

The other day our bank sent us a tempting offer. Invest €3500 in a savings account for 5 months and get this bed set designed by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.


Imagine waking up in that! (the bed set not Agatha.) Just to clarify that offer, the bank wanted us to give them OUR money before we got the bedding.

Anyway, on my way to class the other afternoon I actually saw someone walking up the street - shamelessly, in broad daylight - carrying one of Agatha's bed sets.

I was so shocked that I thought about ringing Jaki immediately, but decided to procrastinate after I also thought about fiddling around in my bag to find my mobile, glasses and prodding stick for the buttons.

If I had looked at it, I may have seen the millions of desperate messages from the Taylors inviting us for lunch on Sunday!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Isn't Ibiza Great

Back down to earth with a mighty bump after our exciting UK holidays.
SYP had no potatoes or cat litter when I went.
Somebody from CAEB (they organise training courses) has just rung to say that a my certificate has arrived for a course I did in 2006.
The day that I start a couple of week's teaching in the afternoon is the day they tear up the main traffic artery into Ibiza town - rush hour is marvellous.
San Jose is a mosquito ridden malaria swamp because of all the rain in September.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

It's a Miracle

Another cultural trip round art galleries and museums has once again strengthened my theory that religious miracles stopped happening when cameras were invented.

We were lucky enough to be on a guided tour by an expert of some of the works in the National Gallery in London who told us all about this picture by Titian, the Vendramin Family.



There's lots going on symbolically in this one, but first the miracle. The Vendramins were rich, powerful men down Venice way courtesy of that cross on the right. Years before, that cross which contained a bit of wood from the true cross on which our Lord had been crucified ie. the most important religious relic ever if you're a catholic, was being transported to Venice.
Like you do, you give it to some butter-fingered oaf to carry (no it wasn't Francis Meli) who promptly dropped it from a bridge into the canal.
Luckily this is when the miracle occurred, because it never hit the water, it hovered a foot or two above the canal until one brave soul jumped in to recover it. His name was Vendramin and the family never looked back.

The second miracle concerns me, because on the art expert's tour, the original face of the young man on the left, which had been painted over to give him a more elevated position in the family hierarchy, was now showing through the thinning oil paint.

Could I see it, could I heck. Total strangers in the group kept saying, 'it's there. There,' and gesticulating wildly along with Jaki. Now thanks to the miracle of the Internet and this print I nicked, I can see it. Can you?

Monday, 12 October 2009

Apple i-phone and the Ibiza Siesta

There's a nap for that.


And on a non-connected, unrelated topic, I gazed into my crystal ball yetserday, 11th October 2009, and the words Whittle, Pacha, Bye Bye, September 2012, appeared, though at this moment in time I can't fathom out what they mean.

Britfood

The Spanish are almost xenophobic about their cuisine and generally frown upon foreign food whereas the Brits have enthusiastically embraced food from all over the world.

Over the last 10 days in London and Manchester we've eaten and drunk (wine and beer) from Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Vietnam, Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey, Spain, China, and Marks and Spencer.


Find of the trip was Akbar's in Manchester which not only was stylish, modern, comfortable, had fantastic food, a great atmosphere, good service AND was only 50 yards from our pad, but also was really well priced!! The price of the wine with our meal started with a number less than 2 and our whole belly busting curry was £44.

Here's me with a vertical garlic nan bread (I'm on the right depending on where you're sitting) which we couldn't finish.


In general, we found the price of food in restaurants only marginally more than in Ibiza but racked up by the high price of wine. In London we'd be paying about £22 for a bottle of what I would consider house wine which costs about €9 here.

The Embassy Club

I'm going to try to be diplomatic now. I developed a theory whilst yomping through Kensington's embassy district that goes like this..........

The more third world (Less developed country) the country, the more lurid the colours and patterns of the flag.

My photo shows the Embassies of Ugavalu, Malitania and Eritronia, ranked 545th, 546th and 547th (ie last) in a list of countries by GDP.


QED!

The misleading title of this blog has no connection with Mr. Bernard Manning's Embassy club in Crumpsall, Manchester, so please feel free to get up to go to the toilet without fear of insult.

Sightseeing in Manchester - View from the Pad

One of the sights of Manchester that was new to me was the Beetham Tower - "Completed in 2006 at a cost of £150 million, the Beetham Tower in Manchester, is the highest building in Manchester, the tallest residential building in Europe and the 7th tallest building in England with over 525,000 square feet of space. The Beetham Tower is 168.87 metres high, has a total of 47 floors and is home to the Manchester Hilton Hotel, 219 luxury apartments and 16 penthouses." - and we had magnifent views of it from our luxury pad

This is what we saw from our living room

Ibiza Flight Information

It's the Statutory Law of Holidays that before I regale anyone with tales of our adventures I have to tell you all about our flight!

Well, we took off 10 minutes late and arrived 30 minutes early thanks to a strong tailwind. There were some screaming kids on the plane and one bloke got up 5 times to go to the toilet.

And now for my mother's benefit, here's that tale again.

Well, we took off 10 minutes late and arrived 30 minutes early thanks to a strong tail wind. There were some screaming kids on the plane and one bloke got up 5 times to go to the toilet.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Space, Ibiza, Closing Party

I almost missed one the most important dates in the Ibiza calendar yesterday. It was the closing party of world famous disco Space and had been brought forward one week to show total disdain for all its fans who'd already booked flights and hotels for next week.

Anyway as Marli and I returned from a walk on San Antonio's Paseo Maritimo we noticed an enormous queue of identically clad like minded individuals at the taxi rank and not a taxi to be seen.

'They didn't want to be like everyone else'

It reminded me of what I was missing, so I drove home at break-neck pace and performed my annual Space closing party ritual - turned the mattresses over from summer to winter!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Arachnophobia

Just to prove that you don't have to go traipsing round volcanic craters in Papua New Guinea in torrential downpours to see wild and wonderful animals I took this picture in my neighbour's garden in San Jose, Ibiza today.
You don't really get much of an idea of the scale of this yellow and black striped monster from this photo but I reckon it was at least 1/4 of an inch long!!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

La Ley de Murphy

We even have Murphy's law in Ibiza, if it can go wrong it will.

Like on Sunday when I took Marli for a long walk, the heavens only opened when we were as far away from the car as we could be.

And yesterday, when I finally found a programme I really wanted to watch on the telly this summer (500 channels x 30 programmes a day x 90 days = 1 out of 1.35 million programmes) it rained so heavily that we lost reception!!

It was 'Flavours of Spain' and featured food in Zaragoza (where I've been) and Teruel and Salamanca (where i want to go). Maybe they'll repeat it?

Anyway, here's a taste of what I missed. It's Zaragoza's Tapas Alley - I can still remember the Pimientos Padron and baby octopus I had there - which is known locally as El Tubo - The Tube - because it's long and narrow.


Sunday, 20 September 2009

Cat Trampoline

You know how we've got a couple of shade sails slung across the sunken garden? Well, if you're a cat, there's nothing finer than launching yourself off the ballustrades by the front door onto your very own bouncy shade sail.

I lay on my back on the floor to get these shots of Tillie (the evil one) trotting back and forth above.

San Jose News: Takeaway Opens

I was specially invited to the opening of our new village takeaway yesterday, as was everyone else in San Jose, and a fine evening of free food and booze was had by all. As you can see it's called Sa Cuineta and they'll be making ribs, lasagne, fish stews, paellas, roast chicken and lots, lots more and the best thing is, it's only 50 metres along our street! I sampled some sublime octopus fry up - really subtly flavoured as opposed to the overpowering version in some places - and a vegetable 'coca' with olives, peppers, onions and aubergine which was delicious.

And now, on a grammatical note, we've had examples of augmentative and diminutive suffixes in my last two blogs.

Chuleton - where the addition of 'on' gives the meaning of big - a big chop

Cuineta - where eta means tiny - the little kitchen in Catalan

We don't have augmentative suffixes in English, instead we use super, mega, hyper, or uber but we do have diminutive suffixes, for example let and ling (ducklet and pigling,) ette (borrowed from French) as in cigarette.

How about that? The things you don't think about when you're speaking your native language.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Nostalgia: San Antonio Bay

Remember when we used to live down on San Antonio Bay? We do, but sometimes we forget the details. I took Marli for a walk along the sea-shore and we returned to the car via 'the strip.'

That's Calle Es Calo on a map and it's wall to wall tourist world. Karaoke bars, endless football matches - today in Shooters bar you could watch West Ham v Leverpool (spelled that very way on no less than two blackboards) whilst in the Millenium bar the commentator (you could hear the commentary in Wigan) wondered if Arsenal could be regarded as one of the Big Four still.


I digress, there's a kids' playground on every corner with slides and bouncy things, and every plate of chicken, chips and salad sold in an afternoon would stretch to the moon if laid end to end.


Every so often there's a culinary oasis (and I don't mean the bar called Oasis which does and early evening - 4 pm to 6pm - special roast dinner) where you can buy some genuine Spanish food at economic prices.


Walking past Meson Alberto I was attracted by the Chuleton de Avila and the roast shoulder of lamb with lashings of freshly boiled potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and at Visions' Kiosko the BBQ was smoking away and brought back memories of quail marinated in spices that was so succulent straight off the grill.


It just goes to show that in Spain, no matter how naff the resort you're in, you can still find the most brilliant, simple, tasty and reasonably cheap fare. (Obviously Magalluf is excluded from El Ste's observation)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Swine Flu Attack, Ibiza

Yes, we've got it. But don't worry, I read up on it in one of my more lucid fever stricken moments and discovered one or two salient points.

1. Swine flu victims afflicted by death tend to be those that already have some death bringing ailment already, like terminal cancer, or have some death attracting syndrome, like complete lack of an immune system.

2. Swine flu, whilst having a slightly different name to all the other flu's has exactly the same symptoms, fever, fatigue, lack of appetite, bit of a chesty cough, and an inability to get out of bed and think straight.


From the dawn of time (and presumably into the distant future) men have strugled with a week off work and rung in with dinosaur flu, sabre toothed tiger flu, rabbit flu and alien v predator flu. It still leaves you knackered but just about able to remember the last time you had a drink - last Tueday (that's Tuesday of LAST WEEK) so that's 7 days without alcohol!

Anyway I couldn't resist putting the camera on timer to get this snap of the two of us suffering together. Note to self - get haircut when better and put a bit of air in that back tyre.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Dinner in El Yate

Yes, THE El Yate at the end of the port in San Antonio. Jaki was celebrating her birthday in style there yesterday after having lunched in Macao Cafe on the rocks at Es Codolar!

With a reasonably fresh breeze these days, the terrace was cool enough to sit and people watch and being at the end of the paseo from all the sunset bars, there are processions of people just after dark.


The food was as fab as ever - a first for Jaki, she tried some of my baby eels in garlic and chilli without me having to pretend they were bean sprouts - and we sipped lashings of ice cold Mocen Rueda wine.

The real point of this post is that we went for after dinner snifters to the Villa Mercedes where Ibiza based Austrian saxophonist Muriel Grossman was live on stage. I'd never seen her before and I never knew she could sing. She has a great voice for Bossa Nova, and also played some classic trax - A Night in Tunisia by Charlie Parker, and at my request, St. Thomas by Sonny Rollins the 'Saxophone Colossus.'
Eagle eyed readers will notice that Muriel plays a vintage Conn 6M alto sax, which I believe was Bird's chosen instrument until he had that plastic one made! How about that then?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Hard Faced Swine

They're hard faced swine, those two.
Who?
Pinky and Perky!

View from the Balcony at Can Berri Vell

And talking of hard faced swine, we had two big spending Spanish behind us on our romantic balcony at San Agustin's lovely Can Berri Vell restaurant the other evening.

They were 'sin verguenza' (shameless) enough to occupy two places while consuming only one meal. Imagine going to a beautiful restaurant with sublime food and then sharing a starter and then a main course?

I'm on standby now for loads of comments from French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish blog fans saying 'why, what's up with that?'

Monday, 31 August 2009

Spirit Bot at the Ibiza Villa

My spooky blog from yesterday was obviously rated highly on the media's ectoplasmometers as Yvette Fielding's twitter page shows.

Any old people reading this please don't ask me to explain what Twitter is

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Grumpy Old Men

You know it, the BBC series giving a voice to 35 to 54-year-old men, probably the grumpiest sector of society.

Whilst I still just qualify here are my today's grumps against society.

As read in some girls' magazine. 'I love his effortless style' referring to the photo of some film star wearing a V neck T and denim jeans. Come on girl, you don't need to be a rocket scientist or style guru to put on the first thing that comes to hand in a morning.

As seen in Syp for the first time ever. A price tag for asparagus. Shame it was over the baby garlic and not an asparagus in sight.

Plumbers. I had one run in yesterday, replace a toilet flusher, and run out 15 minutes later asking for one hour's labour plus another hour's labour call out charge. In total, the same as I get for 6 hours work.

My only consolation is that tens of thousands of people read what I write professionally, whilst his labours are only witnessed by arses.

Ibiza's Most Haunted

Wow, the weirdest thing ever just happened to me. I was out filming some road scenes near Cala Conta and when I got the film back from the chemists something I hadn't noticed before appeared.

If you look very closely at the right hand side of the track you'll see a ghostly transluscent figure which appears to be standing at the side of the 'camino.'

I absolutely swear that I never saw it while I was driving, but then I was lighting a cigarette, sending a text message, programming the satnav and talking to someone in the back seat at the time!



video

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Romance isn't Dead - Official

I've only gone and booked us into San Agustin's most romantic dining location - the upstairs balcony at Can Berri Vell - to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I'll be taking Jaki along for company and I'm just wondering whether to take her on the no. 9 bus or splash out €5 on a taxi?

Friday, 21 August 2009

I've Got Wood

Ibiza winter nights are perishingly cold. So what better way of spending a boiling hot August afternoon than preparing for the cold season by stacking two tons of wood for the fire?

With temperatures at 35 degrees centigrade (that's just above freezing in England given the poor fahrenheit to centigrade exchange rate at the moment) three and a half hours toiling in hot sticky conditions left us, errrmmm, hot and sticky.

So, this is what two tonnes of logs looks like when it's been neatly stacked in the garage. Pine on one side, olive on the other, and all on pallets to allow air and mice to circulate freely throughout. And this is what it will look like on a freezing January night................ click me

And why do we choose to buy so much wood in the heat of August? Because dry wood costs less than wet wood as it is much lighter and is bought by weight, and of course it burns rather than steams as wet wood does.

Anyway, after all that stacking, a pizza and a bottle of red wine, I slept like a log all night!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Hail Spotify!

Those about to listen salute you. Going off at several tangents the other day surfing Spotify I came across French trumpet player Erik Truffaz on a Blue Note album.

I'd never heard or heard of him before but I really like his stuff and our Ibiza villa has been awash with his music since.

here's a sample


As Seen On the Beach

I'm about to write an Ibiza news article about disabled access and facilities on San Antonio's beaches so I thought I'd go and take a few photos of the ramps from the promenade, across the beach and into the sea.

Braving searing temperatures, topless birds and the aroma of grilling bacon I managed to get the shots I needed to illustrate the article.


I also got this one of what must be the daftest novelty lilo yet produced. I'm old enough to remember when every lilo was oblong and blue on one side and red on the other. How technology has improved our lives eh?
These days judging by the number of tourists strolling nonchalently up the middle of Calle Es Calo in San Antonio Bay with a lilo tucked under their arm, then these nautical toys obviously also double as pedestrian air bags too!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Trouble in Paradise

Another frustrating week in Ibiza but brightened up by the new table top oven.


Can you imagine, when your tank's been on red for ages, nipping out to put petrol in and there being none at the petrol station - only diesel. OK, OK, it happens all the time in Rwanda, but at least the beer's cheap there, The car's still sitting on the drive with a pipette full of unleaded in the bottom of the tank in the hope that they'll have remembered to order some more Sin Plomo 95 by the end of the week.


So, back to the good stuff. Here's Roast shoulder of lamb, roast potatoes, carrots, onions and red pepper which took exactly 35 minutes to cook in the wonder oven. I love it.