Thursday, 26 February 2009

Ibiza Oven Chip Timer

We're a bit behind the rest of Europe in Ibiza. Last year 'Oven Chips' arrived and what a marvellous invention they are – not only are they quick, easy, clean, comparatively healthy (in moderation) but they are also designed specially for the take away generation.

Sweet, sticky things in Sa Talaia

Bang the oven chips in, put your coat on, nip up to the Sa Talaia pasteleria, buy a nice bottle of Ribera del Duero wine, pop down to Es Galliner, drink a beer accompanied by some olives and roast maize, collect your meatballs, fried octopus and curried chicken tapas, go home and THE CHIPS ARE DONE!

Tapas Video Es Galliner, San Jose

Monday, 23 February 2009

Ibiza: 40 Boring Days and 40 Boring Nights

Isn't religion great? It's Carnival time in Ibiza, which is seen as the last big bash before we give something up for Lent to commemorate Christ wandering about in the desert until Easter.

So we're putting ourselves into quarantine (quiz fans should note that the word comes from locking yourself up for 40 days and nights) away from the temptations of kebabs (easy), Papas Lolitas crisps (not so easy) and alcohol (nigh on impossible)
Anyway, to cheer everyone up, here's a photo taken in Ibiza town yesterday of the last of the Mohicans in the carnival parade. His haircut has a striking resemblance to our cat Tillie's post operative look!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Medical Catastrophe

Ding dong bell
Tillie's not so well.

The poor thing had an encapulated abscess - that's when the tissue round an abscess heals, leaving it enclosed in the body - and the only way to get it is to operate.

Here's Tillie in post operative intensive care on my laptop and showing off her stitches. Another week and she has to go back to Marga the vet to have them out. We have to keep a wary eye on the wound for any signs of infection build up which is pleasant, but not half as pleasant as Marga taking me on a detailed tour of the freshly extracted abscess the other evening!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

A Fistful of Euros

A couple of tales from the Ibiza villa with no obvious connection.

I pay Jesús, my pool guy, twice a year. Because my bank doesn't have a branch in San Jose, I can only withdraw up to a certain amount of cash on my card each day. To pay Jesús, I need to make two trips to the bank. With me?

A couple of weeks ago I told him to ring me two days before he came to collect and not to come on a WEDNESDAY at 12.00 because I have a meeting every week at that time.

Needless to say, he rang me on Tuesday to tell me he'd be at our house on Wednesday at 12! Don't worry, it's all sorted now, ready for exactly the same thing to happen in 6 months' time.

We had a jaunt out to Santa Gertrudis today. We hadn't been for a couple of years and were eager to see the new pedestrianised street and square by the church. Lots of places were closed for their annual holidays and the town had the air of a Spaghetti Western about it.
Eagle eyed Villa Viewers may have noticed those high tension power cables crossing over the street? I couldn't fathom why the council and electricity company couldn't have shoved them through a tube under the road when they repaved it all last year?

Sunday, 15 February 2009

A Trip to the Bank

I'm popping out to our bank tomorrow at about 11.30 am. Why? well
Every year they charge me €15 for a credit card I haven't got, and
Every year I go to them to have the money refunded, and
Every year they say it won't happen again.

All this happened again two weeks ago and they refunded €13.75, keeping one twelfth of the fee, presumably for one month's non-use of a card I've never had!

Ibiza Parking Tips

Here's my top tip for dozy parkers in Ibiza who, like me, never have a pen. If you park on the Blue Zone in San Antonio harbour, you're allowed 2 free hours, but you have to put a note of your arrival time on the dashboard so the wardens won't fine you.

I never have a pen or paper and always ended up having to borrow from people nearby. Until now that is!

I have this note permanently stuck to my dash and just make sure that I always turn up at around half-eleven-ish! As it's normally for a trip to the bank, it's pointless arriving any earlier as all the staff are in Rita's Cantina drinking coffee.

Please feel free to cut round the dotted line and use it yourself for any visits to San Antonio.

Friday, 13 February 2009

San Jose Bar in Closure Shock

The unthinkable has happened. The Bar C'an Bernat Vinya in the centre of San Jose, which has served generations of Josepinis, and like the Windmill Theatre, never closed despite Hitler's bombs, will close its doors next week!

But only for 3 days while a whole new electrical system is installed. No matter what time I've been out in the village, this bar has been open. Even when it's having its annual repainting, it remains open. You can tell its customers, they're the ones with splotches of white paint on them - you'd think it was the town hall uniform, the staff spend so much time in there!
Roll on summer when we can sit in the garden with a beer and a serrano ham sandwich

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Birds in Ibiza

Contrary to rumours that the only fresh air I get is watching Emmerdale on the telly, here's a blogette about Ornithology in Ibiza. Wandering about near the nesting areas in the Las Salinas wetlands natural park we were startled by the sight of an irridescent blue bird which hurtled out of one of the sluice tunnels.

Its identity had remained a mystery until this week when a new website appeared to promote bird watching holidays to Formentera. A methodical search through the list of birds which visit the islands revealed it to be a Roquero Solitario (Solitary Rocker or Blue Rock Thrush in English)

More easily identified is this ostrich strolling about in a garden near to the Cala Bassa turnoff. You could (still can?) actually buy ostrich egg omelette at one of the bars on the Avenida San Agustin in Cala de Bou!

Monday, 9 February 2009

View from the Iraqi Villa

I really did live in a villa in Iraq, several in fact, in different areas of Baghdad. Sorting through old photos the other day I found the answer to the question, 'what did you do in the war, daddy?' which was drink, mostly. It also reminded me that I did a fair bit of sunbathing too.

Having a swarthy complexion and a moustache had its disadvantages. At that time, during the Iran - Iraq war, when all able bodied men should have been at the front line, I was continually stopped at military roadblocks on the look out for dodgers and deserters. I soon got the hang of steering with my knees with my hands high in the air clutching my passport.

That's me with a bottle of liquid gold, Farida brand beer, which because we worked on top military projects governed by Law 157, we were able to buy at cost price direct from the brewery. We sent a pick-up down every week, full of empties, to exchange for more of the delicious amber nectar.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Ibiza Gold Standard

It's that time of the year again when the Christian forces do battle in the annual English Speaking Church on Ibiza's Quiz Night. Or, as our team refer to it, The-beat-baggy-trousered-philanthropist-Bob-the-vicar's-team-at-all-costs-night!

To this end I've been honing up on useless information courtesy of the googlepedia and am now in the C's.

Did you know that the pods of the Carob trees which grow all over Ibiza are used to make healthy chocolate, are fed to animals and are fermented into alcohol? And did you know that the Carob seeds in the pods are of such uniform size and weight that they were used by ancient peoples as a measure for precious metals and stones. We still use the name today - carat - for gold and diamonds.

Did you know that our Marli's favourite between meals snack is a carob pod?
Here she is tucking in to one just to prove that she's worth her weight in gold to us!

Charles V, The Almudaina and Maudlin Mundanity

When I used to teach English (well, that was the theory) to unruly mobs of malodorous, disinterested youths in Ibiza, I was always struck by their simplistic view of life where the mundane always triumphed spectacularly over the impressive.

For instance, the answers, 'Ibiza's MP in Madrid,' 'Mayor of Ibiza Town,' and 'top AIDS specialist,' to my question what job does your dad do? were all met with insouciant silence. Whereas 'lorry driver' drew gasps of admiration and even requests for further details like 'what colour is'

Sometimes, it suddenly dawns on you that the behaviour of others that you've found amusing is exactly the same as our own...............

Jaki and I took a tour of Palma's magnificent Almudaina palace, captured without a scrap from the Moors 800 years ago - they gave up after taking several severe maulings from James I - and subsequently home to Christian rulers of the island, the region, the country and the odd empire.

On the wall was a portrait of Charles V, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, master of four milion square kilometres of territory, heir to four dynasties (thanks to intermarriage), keeper of many mistresses, scourge of the Ottoman Empire and even better, the dastardly French, and coiner of the phrase "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse"

Were we bothered? Er, no.

What impressed us was his enormous, protruding lower jaw (thanks to intermarriage) which made it impossible to chew or eat his food properly. He suffered from indigestion all his life and always ate alone. Now that's interesting!

Picasa Palma Photo Album

Monday, 2 February 2009

Ibiza Ridiculous

Yet another anti Ibiza retail rant. And yet another aimed at Eroski SYP Ses Paisses on the San Antonio to Ibiza road. This time words can't describe my apoplexy so I'm going to let my snapshots do the swearing.
The funny thing is, these are only about a third of the photos I took. Looks like Spain under Franco doesn't it?

Ibiza Sublime

It's almond blossom time in Ibiza! There is a bit of an old saw that says the valley of Santa Ines is the best place to see hundreds of trees covered in pinky white blossom. I went there myself today.

However, most of the other parts of the island look just as pretty. Here's a shot I took from the terrace of the Josmar (it's a bar and supermarket) by San Jose football ground.