Sunday 25 November 2018

A rainy week at Isla Cristina + a new Kirsty McGee #Kickstarter

I'm linking up with The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.

We've spent this week at Camper Park Playas De Luz which is just outside Isla Cristina in Andalusia. The campsite only opened in August of this year and consists of a two tiered gravelled plateau overlooking marshlands. Dave chose it for its proximity to a via verde which runs directly alongside the campsite entrance. We thought we would be able to cycle for quite a distance in two directions to explore the area. Unfortunately torrential rain on our first night followed by more rain on pretty much every other day has rendered the via verde more a canal so not ideal for cycling! We've had a few walks - tiptoeing along its edges! - though and cycled into Isla Cristina for shopping and sightseeing. The older part of town is pretty and quaint. I loved a seated statue of a man reading (couldn't spot a sculptor's name).

I was put off by the state of the litter- and glass-strewn cycle path over the bridge into town - and having to push my bike back with a puncture one time. Even by Spanish standards, the roadway looked uncared for. Once into town it was ok though and the red painted cycle route around the edge of town is nice to ride along.

We actually shopped at a Lidl too! Having been quite rude about them in the past because I couldn't ever find food there that I wanted to eat, I discovered this week that Spanish Lidls at least have improved drastically over the last few years! They had organic fresh fruit and vegetables, plus a good range of preprepared vegetarian foods. I had thought vegetarian and vegan food would be much more difficult to find in Spain, but in the supermarkets at least it's been as easy as in France and the UK.

For music fans amongst us,

There's A New Kirsty McGee Album On Kickstarter!!

Get pledging! I love Kirsty's music and she needs £5500 or the album won't happen. Pleeez join me?!

In bookish news I am currently (finally?) getting into the Christmas spirit by reading Christmas At Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell. I got a copy as part of it's Rachel's Random Resources blog tour - Rachel gets some great books on her tours. Take a look and sign up your blog if you haven't already!

Giveaways closing soon
28th Nov: Anthony Spaeth books giveaway at Dab Of Darkness
29th Nov: An Unpromised Land by Leon Gettler audiobook giveaway at Dab Of Darkness
See all giveaways and free books in my Giveaway Linkup

On my blogs this week were:

Stephanie Jane
2019 New Release Challenge sign-up post

Literary Flits
The Bees by Laline Paull review
Divided We Stand by Rachel McLean spotlight
Hildegard of Bingen by Honey Meconi review
Sweet Days Of Discipline by Fleur Jaeggy review
Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin review
The Dragon and the Lumberjack by S W Ellenwood spotlight + excerpt
The Girl And The Rat by Jari Jarvela review

Artisan Rainbow
Westie #Scottie Dog Tree Decoration by Cherish Handmade
House Number Sign by Sol Pixie Dust
Ceramic Daisy #Flower by JG Ceramic Gifts
Stained Glass #Mistletoe by Mayfly Mosaics
#Kawaii #Penguin Key Charm by Claytive Designs
#Snowman Toilet Roll Cover by Tilly Knits Shop
Upcycled Book Apple Ornament by Creaton Crafts

Airing Out
Campsite - Playas De Luz - Isla Cristina - Andalusia - Spain

Stained Glass #Mistletoe by Mayfly Mosaics

Upcycled Book Apple Ornament by Creaton Crafts

Sunday 18 November 2018

Red kites, Azure-winged magpies and our first Hoopoe of the season

on the walk into Caceres 
I'm linking up with The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.

Of course, none of those amazing birds in this post's title would sit still for me to get their photographs so you'll have to take my word for us having seen them! There were dozens of kites soaring majestically as we drove across the Spanish plateau this week, and we had a chattering little flock of the Azure-winged magpies at Camping Caceres where we stayed for four nights. We last visited this campsite almost exactly five years ago and it's still great, both as a campsite and as a stopping point from which to visit the historic city. They've improved the free wifi too! The weird street-art bug pictured above was spotted on our hike up over the hills into Caceres. There were gorgeous views too - and a cheap and convenient bus back! The transport was especially appreciated because we indulged in our first Menu Del Dia, a three course lunch accompanied by wine/beer and a complimentary 'Bellota'. Bellota (pronounced bay-otta) was a new discovery. It's a rather moreish liqueur made from Cork Oak acorns. Gotta try these local specialties! Meson San Juan is a very Spanish little restaurant with a wonderful atmosphere. Well worth a visit

Excellent Menu del Dia lunch! 

It's been a strange week of highs and lows. We saw the incredible Segovia aqueduct for the first time. It's nearly two thousand years old and is a breathtakingly beautiful achievement. From the free aire where we parked up, we could walk alongside the aqueduct into central Segovia. It started at maybe a metre tall and is over 28 metres high by the end!

Segovia aqueduct 

Dave earned my applause for actually reading through the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement when it was made available this week. Of course it's not written in remotely accessible language so we still don't know if we will be able to continue travelling willy-nilly as we have loved doing these past five years, or if our freedom will be abruptly curtailed on March 29th. We're hearing of many other lives effectively being put on hold out here too because STILL no one knows what will happen. Retired Brit ex-pats who rely on their EHIC cards to get healthcare in France and Spain may have to return to the UK, just as the NHS is haemorrhaging EU nurses and support staff so won't be able to provide care. Spanish news yesterday was talking about all the people who live on Gibraltar and work in Spain and vice-versa. Will they be eligible (or even able) to cross a hard border every day? Meanwhile, watching the stupid Tories back home bickering and backstabbing each other instead of making a fucking decision is so frustrating! Aargh!!

El Burgo de Osma porticoed street 

In 'Amazing News' on the other hand, I have almost caught up with replying to and returning all my blog comments! And this is a much more enjoyable pastime than politics :-) Yay me and yay you all for stopping by. I love seeing you all here and on my other blogs :-)

In bookish news and (if I remember tomorrow!) linking up with What Are You Reading at The Book Date, I am currently reading Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin. I'm excited to be part of the blog tour for Anne's new book and am loving this short story collection.

Giveaways closing soon
None closing this week
See all giveaways and free books in my Giveaway Linkup

On my blogs this week were:

Stephanie Jane
Stephanie Jane's #FreeBook and #Giveaway Linkup

Literary Flits
Hearts Among Ourselves by A Happy Umwagarwa review
The Shapes Of Dogs' Eyes by Harry Gallon review
The Janitor and the Spy by S W Ellenwood spotlight + Q and A
Angel In The Shadows by Walter Lucius review
Driving Whiskey Wild by Melissa Foster spotlight
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George review
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters review

Artisan Rainbow
Christmas Skirt by Interrobangirl
Felt Gingerbread Man by Silvernight Studios
Reindeer Antlers Wire Headband by Scarlet Tiaras
Divers Print by Dreamy Meisme
Thistle Door Wreath by HL Freelance Florist
Rose And Violet Chocolate Truffles by Truffle Witch
Unicorn Dream Catcher by Cala Lily Treasures

Airing Out
Aire - El Burgo De Osma - Castile y Leon - Spain
Aire - Segovia - Castile y Leon - Spain
Campsite - Camping Caceres - Extremadura - Spain
Aire - Jerez de los Caballeros - Extremadura - Spain

Church tower in Jerez de los Caballeros 

Segovia street sculpture 

Thistle Door Wreath by HL Freelance Florist

Unicorn Dream Catcher by Cala Lily Treasures 

Sunday 11 November 2018

We're in Spain!

I'm linking up with The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.

So having said in last Sunday's post that we would soon be on our travels again, I can now let you know that we are! We're already in Spain! The street art photo above was taken in the little old town of Falces where we spent one night (for free) in their lovely aire (a dedicated motorhome parking area) and walked up through the new town into the steep narrow streets of the historic old town. The two photos below show a view across Falces from the highest point within the town and, below it, the remains of what we think were troglodyte homes in sandstone cliffs above the town. I turned 180° on the spot to take each picture - a mind blowing contrast!

Prior to Falces we had parked up for two other nights on free aires in France, one at Castet en Dorthe where we were with yards of the picturesque Garonne canal, and one at Sauveterre in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains. We had to drive over the Pyrenees of course in order to get from France to Spain and I was glad that Dave did most of the winding-road driving. We have travelled along scarier roads in the past, but not in such a big vehicle! 

I've started keeping notes of our motorhome stopping points at a new Airing Out blog so I can remember where we have been and what we thought of each place. We want to take advantage of the free stopovers that we were excluded from as caravanners and I'm pleased with how we're doing so far - free stopovers for all of the past five nights. Click the place names in this post to visit their Airing Out pages for more photos and details of each one.

In bookish news and linking up with What Are You Reading at The Book Date, I am currently reading Hearts Among Ourselves by A Happy Umwagarwa, a Rwandan novel. I'm expecting it to be a pretty emotional read, but have only just started so I'll let you know in its Literary Flits review in a couple of days.

Giveaways closing soon
14/11: Signed copy of Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby
(See all giveaways in my Giveaway Linkup)

On my blogs this week were:

Stephanie Jane
#WorldReads - Five Books From Jamaica
Challenge Wrapup October - Bookish Bingo
#ReadingWomen - November 2018

Literary Flits
Xingu by Edith Wharton review
Monarchy by David Starkey review
Cordial Killing by Vikki Walton + #Giveaway + #Recipe
Fishing for Māui by Isa Pearl Ritchie review
Children Of The Ghetto: My Name Is Adam by Elias Khoury review
The Unknown Terrorist by Richard Flanagan review
Thalidomide Kid by Kate Rigby review + giveaway

Artisan Rainbow
Crackers Christmas Card by Emoticubes
On Fleek Frida Kahlo Button Badge by The Artful Badger UK
Harris Tweed Pencil Case by Just Sew Yorkshire
Ivy Leaf Light Garland by Lumiihome
Sleeping Unicorn Card Kit by Della By Design
Skull Boots by Rock Your Sole
Panda Bear Print by Madame Memento

Airing Out
Tavistock Camping and Caravanning Club Campsite - Devon - England
Aire - Castet En Dorthe - Gironde - France
Aire - Sauveterre de Bearn - Pyrenees-Atlantique - France

Castet En Dorthe 

Skull Boots by Rock Your Sole 

Sunday 4 November 2018

Autumn colours in Chef Boutonne

I'm linking up with The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.

I'm feeling pleased with myself right now because I submitted this year's tax return about an hour ago! It doesn't actually have to be completed until the end of January, but I don't know how good our wifi will be once we're moving around this winter so I thought getting it done before we go would be best. A note for other UK self assessment-ers, HMRC is migrating to a new system (all groan together) which requires new identity verifications. I could do mine ok online, but it took me twice as long to actually prove I was me than it did to fill out the tax form itself!

On that moving around theme, we're packing up our Hymer motorhome this weekend ready to depart to warmer climes on Tuesday morning. Of course not having travelled properly in it yet nothing has its set place so I am gaily stowing things in cupboards that seem logical right now, but I know as soon as we get on the road I'll be wanting to change everything around to more convenient locations - which will confuse Dave no end!

We had a lovely walk a couple of days ago, just locally. The trees here are looking beautifully autumnal with glorious colours. Sorry the orange maple tree isn't in sharper focus. The lizard was by a roadside and, sadly, already dead although it didn't look at all squashed. It's the biggest lizard either of us had seen which was pretty fab. The name is underwhelming though. On googling we discovered it is (or was) a French Green Lizard.

In bookish news and linking up with What Are You Reading at The Book Date I finished a great New Zealand novel yesterday: Fishing For Maui by Isa Pearl Ritchie. It's about a family trying to cope with individual issues and overcoming the social stigmas of their Maori ancestry. Complex but very readable. Full review to be published on Literary Flits on the 8th as part of a Rachel's Random Resources blog tour.

And on this blog tomorrow I'll be posting WorldReads from Jamaica so do pop back for that!

Giveaways closing soon
8/11: Cheeky Panda bundle from Ethical Superstore
8/11: $25 Amazon gift cards
(See all giveaways in my Giveaway Linkup)

On my blogs this week were:

Stephanie Jane
A Month in Books - October 2018
State Of The ARC - October 2018

Literary Flits
Painting Blue Water by Leigh Fossan spotlight
Macbeth by Jo Nesbo review
Witching Hour: Sinister Legends Anthology spotlight + Giveaway
Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen review
Death Comes In Through The Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage review
The Forgotten Pioneer by Anthea Ramsey review
Niedermayer And Hart by M J Johnson review

Artisan Rainbow
Rudolph Enamel Trinket Dish by Maisy Plum
Autumn Leaves Crochet Shawl by Parkview Creative
Dachshund Brooch by Ellies Treasures UK
Pottery Mug by Mudness Ceramics
Bird Cake Kit by A Short Walk
Witch Kitty Plush Toy by The Purple Saurus
Paint Rainbows Art Print by Dream Capture Artwork

Dave's neatly sawn and stacked log pile 

row of bee hives (not ours!)