Archive for June, 2011

Obamacare Or Obama Cares.

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Happy Times

Happy Times.

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The 23rd of June is San Juan and heralds the beginning of summer here in Catalunia, so celebrations are in order.  The petanca club were no exception, so a meal and dancing plus of course games of petanca were the order of the night.  This system of summer beginning on the 23rd of June and ending in September just before the children go back to school, is really accurate, honestly, but how they have worked this out I have no idea. So a night-time party fitted the bill, no, I did not take the camera, a mistake as you will hear, this was our night of relaxation with our friends.

We arrived around 9pm to find tables and chairs set out on some of the courts, being next to the river, it made it very mediterranean, with lights  strung up and music playing.  The food provided was typical Catalan with plenty of wine, water and Cava on the table.  Set out whilst we waited for the starter were plates of black olives, crisps with jugs of red wine and bottles of water.

The starter was sliced tomatoes with bacalao (salted fish) rice and sliced olives, covered with a salsa of vinegar and oliver oil,  plus a salad, very tasty.  Then came a wait for the main meal, which was cooked by our Chef at his patisserie and brought to the courts.  Chicken cooked with thin slices of potatoes, green beans, peppers and tomatoes, served with bread, delicious, and yes I ate too much.  With this came the Cava, bottles placed on the tables, so along with the red wine there was plenty to wash it all down.

However, they had not finished.  When we had cleared away the plates and bones (paper plates no washing up) water melon was brought round. Then came the Coca de San Juan, this was a cake of light spunge cake on a pastry base filled with custard, made by our Chef in his shop,  washed down with coffee and whisky.  In between the courses we danced and enjoyed ourselves, one of our friends let off fireworks then after the meal I played petanca whilst my wife joined the other wives and got some lessons in Spanish, wonderful people.

But it was on the way home around 2am that we had one of our special treats.  Driving along the river road, we came round a curve and there in front of us were 3 badgers, a mother and two young,  just leaving the river.  Now they are not bothered by much,  but car lights do make them bimble along looking for somewhere to leave it and escape the lights. These were no exception, the mother and one young left the road first but the other youngster kept going, so we followed slowly watching these lovely animals.  As I said the one time we did not have the camera….

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It started around 6.00am with the alarm, a cup of tea, no breakfast – that would come at Mequinenza.  Time to water the plants, then in the car and down to meet the others.  We were on time for once in fact, we were early. The day before we had been playing petanca, as we were leaving one of our friends asked my wife if she would like to make up a team, so now we were both playing.

The journey to Mequinenza is a fair distance into Aragon, on the way you pass through pistachio groves then turning left you leave Catalonia and enter the plains of Aragon. Eventually you reach one of the bridges leading to the town which is overlooked by a most impressive castle.  The Petanca courts are alongside the river giving a splendid view of rowers training their coach riding along the bank with a speaking horn urging them on to greater things.

Mequinenza is also a fishing destination or renown, but there were few fishing boats out today.  When we arrived at the courts each team was given an envelope which contained raffle tickets and team numbers.  The admission fee was €5 each and for this a breakfast of a hammon bocadillo, wine and water were provided.

After this we all made our way to the courts, here we were placed on our respective courts with our opposing teams.   Three aside, four teams, two balls each, we played three teams unfortunately my side lost.  However, my wifes team won two of their games and came top in their group, so she was in the playoff  hence the hoc of Hammon.  So the photographs are taken and its all about a game that is full of characters and stirs mens passions. I have learnt many swear words since I started playing, made many friends, been both elated, amused and frustrated, I hope you enjoy an insight into my pastime.

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After a hard or tiring day put your feet up and and take a peek at these nothing strenuous just a few realxing reflections. Ones where the water shimmers, others where it’s a clear as glass, still and calm, oneday I’ll show all of them.

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I sat and tried to work today
With space dictating where I stray
Although I’ve followed all the rules
Nothing goes straight are we fools

It cuts the signal leaving me to swear
There is blue air everywhere
So now I wonder why we try
Linking to machines that fly

Out in space beyond our reach
They seem to think we can’t reach
Oh dam technology
It’s just not fair

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Last night my wife and I went to a charity wine festival at El Masroig, in aid of children’s Cancer Research.  We parked the car outside the Celler and walked to the square, on the way passing people leaving with their special bottles of wine and smiles on their faces. So with my wife in charge of the camera leaving me free to wander around the square, we went to join them.

The town square is not overly large but if it was a heart it would be gigantic.   El Masroig Celler and several of their friends in the DO Monsant got together, blended some of their wines and produced a special bottle of wine which was sold for 10€ in aid of the charity. They then teamed up with  Social Work with St John of God and organized this first Wine Charity event  in order to raise funds for the Oncology Service Center to enable them to research new treatments for children suffering from cancer.

The church was not to be left out, when we arrived there was a choral presentation about to begin and the seats set out were filled.

The wine was, I thought, a smooth red with a good body, in fact I am trying to get two more bottles I thought it was so good, and a charity in aid of Cancer Research I support. So here is our evening hope you enjoy.

As with other wine fairs, you could buy a glass for 10€ which enabled you to taste some of the wines on display, and at least three smiling young ladies took advantage of that.  The streets around were dressed with tubs of yellow brush with sticks of flowers decorating the side of doorways.  In one street a row of tables were set out, with several bars having seats in the street. These are some of the wines that were on offer:

We took a wander round the town. On peering into  a courtyard gate, we spied a restaurant which looked calm and secluded with subdued lighting and a come and eat atmosphere.

This surely is the way to present a charity event.  Although we were late I am so glad we made the event.  Well done to everyone who took part, it was a pleasant end to a good day.

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In Whose Interest.

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