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Archive for July, 2012

Well Christmas is looking good.  This week we were at Fayon along with other teams we play against, for the latest competition.  Fayon lies just over the border in Aragon, beside the river Ebro, and has a good cat fishing reputation.

We started out around 7am this morning, driving into town to pick up one of our club members, then drove to Corbera to collect our president. From here we drove to Gandessa then headed north, past Fatarella travelling through the wind-turbine parks across the mountain ridge. We now turned left and headed down the mountain into the river valley. The road was to say the least twisty with one or two ‘oh my God’ bends, but hey this is in the mountains.  Once we reached the valley we headed for the train station to pick up the other member of my team, then climbed again to Fayon.

This little town was at the center of battle in the Spanish Civil War and every year in August it hold a re-enactment of the battle that took place there.  They have planes, tanks and other army equipment and take this part of their history very seriously.

The Petanca courts were nicely laid out so it was not hard to find which court we were to play on.  When we arrived we paid our entrance fee and ate our breakfast which today consisted of a soft bread roll filled with a good helping of dried ham, to be washed down by red wine and water we then began to play.

It was nice to see the other teams and catch up on gossip, who would be in the playoffs, who did not make it, hear when and where the next competition was to be.  My wife got ribbed because she was not playing ‘ win a ham and get banned eh’ but she had the camera and as usual took pictures of the winners so she was happy.

Tivissa

Mequinensa

Our friends from Tivissa  and  Mequinensa their groups some 12 strong all went home with hams and wine.

I have put Asco in with our groups as they play at our club every Saturday.

Our teams 6 in total had small hams and wine as did our friends from Asco they also won hams, so a lot of happy people wended their way home at the end of a very pleasant morning.

We arrived back in town and headed for Club Nautique for a couple of beers to celebrate. Cheers everyone.

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Last weekend was the Mora Morisco.  This is a medieval fair which is held every year to celebrate the links between the Moors and Spanish which lasted around 750 years.  As we walked into the square we were greeted with the smell of rosemary which was used to sweeten the air in those bygone days.  There were ovens baking delicious breads, cheese stalls selling goats and sheep’s cheeses, others were selling hand-made soaps, wilst up the long side street were other stalls displaying toys, wine, herbs, jewelry.  In the square it self were bars serving food and beers, whilst in one corner round a table sat a family singing traditional songs accompanied by a guitar.  Up in the castle were the falconry and snake charmer (and no we did not go there..)

Up another small side street we found a candle maker and just past him was the paper maker with his paper strung out across the street like flags, here we watched as a friend tried his hand at making paper.  Then I wandered over to a house that was open and full of tools and implements.  On our walk round we met the stilt man, the leper (the look on some children’s faces when they saw him) and a traveling medieval band, the music was well-played and they even had their little cart of beer with them….

But the best thing – I think – was the display of belly dancing. These two young women danced with big smiles on their faces whirling and twirling to the music.  We spent a pleasant few hours wandering round, before we returned to the square for a well-earned drink.  Then we walked back to the car and home, our daughter thought it was wonderful and to prove it she had bought cheese and bread.

So I have placed the photos in a collage hope you enjoy them.

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The day began as normal, we woke around 6.30am to a cool bright morning and the birds making a racket in the tree outside the window. The sun not yet up but it was promising to be a hot day – again.  I decided to do a water run so an early start to miss the midges and heat was on.  With the little bowser hooked on, pump and generator in back of the car off we went.

Down at the river all went well, everything hooked up genny running the bowser was filled in no time. Home we trundled intending to empty the bowser then go to the village to collect the post.  Ummm, here’s where  ‘of mice and men’ springs to mind.

We arrived home no problem, took the generator, pump and hose out of the car and started to empty the bowser.  My wife loaded the rubbish into the car we then got ready (so far so good) however, when I went to unhitch the bowser I found the car would not start.  Not good, we live in a forest 4klm from the nearest town so need our 4×4, if this goes wrong we are up the proverbial gum tree.  We have a good garage who look after the  car and normally my wife takes it in to get things sorted out.  So when I tried to start it with no response from the engine, there then ensued the following conversation:-

Wife (W) ‘Whats the problem’?

Me Expert (ME) ‘Flat battery’

W: ‘Can you get it started?’

ME: ‘Dont worry soon have it going, just charge battery then we can go get a new one’.

W: ‘You mean into Carrefour’? with gleam in her eyes – shopping does that…..

Well after 2hrs of trying to get it started I started to think it might be the starting motor.

W:  ‘Get it going and I’ll take it to the garage, they’ll fix it’

ME:  ‘No need it’s definitely the battery’, I had managed to get the car on the drive slope and in 2nd gear ‘Give me a push’.

Wife duly pushes, car rolls down drive, I let clutch out car starts.

W: ‘Dont turn engine off’!!

She then dashed indoors for bag and keys to return a few minutes later locking the front door and we were off.  In town she went to the bank while I got rid of the rubbish, then off we went chatting and laughing about the situation.  When we arrived at Carrefour I stayed with the car as I had to keep the engine running, my wife dashed into the store reappearing with a new battery.  I had decided to drive to the back road which is on a slope here I changed the battery turned the engine over and surprise, surprise nothing.  ‘Garage’! said my wife, ‘Ok, but look up the words for ‘starting motor’ said the expert. I then repeated the hill start and we headed for home and the Garage!!!

When we arrived outside the garage,  I left my wife with instructions such as ‘dont forget to tell them the new battery does not work either’ and ‘it could be the starting motor, did you look up the correct name’? and duly strolled off to play petanca. Imagine my surprise when minutes later she arrived at the petanca courts with the car and turned off the engine…..  ‘Dont do that’ I screeched approaching the car.  I should have known better, because in reply she turned the key and the car started, as if to prove the point she did this about 3-4 times. With a big grin on her face she looked like the cat with the cream.  ‘What was it’? I asked ‘The wire on the starting motor had come loose. Told you I should have taken it to the garage’.  You are good at most things but where ‘Kate’ is concerned the boys know best’.

Looking back I suppose she is right, but all the symptoms pointed to the battery. However I have decided to leave the car to her as I usually do, and the reason we call the car ‘Kate’ is when she goes into the garage she costs me…..

Experts who need ’em.

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My daughter has been visiting for a week very nice to see her and hear all the news, we are informed that ‘she will be back’……..lol

So today being her last day here, we all went to a rather nice restaurant we know in Miravet. It is situated next to the outdoor pools and from the balcony you have a spectacular view of the Templars castle. My wife and I have been here before and were very impressed with the menu, today was no exception.  We arrived around 1.30pm to find we were the first diners there, (well we were early) so we were able to take a table on the balcony. The Chef made us very welcome and the service was excellent.

It is one of the few restaurants where you really feel relaxed, it was fun deciding which dishes to choose, plenty of cold water, fresh bread with the wine at just the right temperature on this hot day.  The menu of the day was 10.50E per person, which is very reasonable. Whilst choosing our dishes for each course we discovered that all the vegetables chef uses, are grown in the restaurant’s garden. ( on the reception desk there is an electronic photo frame which depicts the vegetables growing in the garden). The Chef and staff are very proud of this fact and rightly so.

For starters I chose the soup, cold served in a glass with just the hint of beef mmmm, whilst wife and daughter both had the salad, all fresh from the garden.  The second course was a unanimous decision, muscles! These were cooked in a homemade sauce of tomatoes, garlic, onions, red and green peppers plus a glass each of red and white wine, it was so delicious that we asked Chef how she made it and she was quite happy to tell us.  For the third course my daughter and I had shark cutlets served with sweet green peppers and a few chips, with a crispy skin covered in a salsa verdi sauce.  My wife decided on lamb cutlets cooked in a red berry sauce with again just enough chips to complement the dish, and encouraged her to pass a comment about us getting our own back on Jaws.  However, when it came to the pudding we let the Chef choose, so were treated to three different delicious homemade puddings.

1) consisted of small pieces of peach served in a syrup

2) some slices of light cheese covered with honey served with walnuts

3) small cubes of fried milk in a rich fruit sauce.

All of which accompanied by the water and  delicious red wine (yes I am on its trail) which complemented the dishes excellently. It was a local wine, with a smooth fruity taste, a good but not overpowering body which I personally thought made a very good sipping wine, even my wife liked it and that is saying something as she is normally a white wine drinker.

So over 2hrs three very happy people left well fed and content, with the determination to return yet again to a really special restaurant. As we said, if only more restaurants made you as welcome as this one, instead of giving you the ‘eat up and get out’ feeling life would be perfect.

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Great Britain???.

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This is a picture of the ruins of Asco’s castle.  It formed part of the chain the Templers built along the river Ebre when it was navigable, so they could control the trade and collect taxes.

Well after all my moaning and whingeing about no rain, guess what today it RAINED..  Looks like my prayers to someone were answered, the rain even held off till the competition was over  how good is that? The day started well. We were up around 7am, the morning was overcast and muggy, with the clouds coming in from the coast which is always a good omen.  However, my wife had her mind-set on my winning one of the large cheeses, so with one eye on the weather and a longing for rain fighting with a wish to win we set off.

On arrival we paid our entrance fee which includes breakfast, then went to greet our friends. We have friends in all the clubs as invitations are exchanged at these meetings, so it was nice to catch up with people. Not wanting to ‘put the mockers on’, my wife (she was not playing this weekend) declined staying for breakfast and wandered off to look round the town.

This is us playing the last game and Roca, Domas and Rayner  playing theirs. We won the first game lost the second by 2 points then won the third. This put us in the play off.  I scored 2 points putting us in third place, not bad. Whilst Roca & co were the top team.

A Few Posers lol.

The Local tv was there filming each team receiving their prize they then interviewed the winning team after the presentations, which, as you can see, they really enjoyed. So here are some of the winning teams:-

Our Asco friends & woof.                                                                                                         The boys from Tivissa

The ‘Happy Chappies’

Last but not least ‘El Champions’

There is one more thing to show you and explain.  Each towns club is presented with trophy as a memento of the day, which is presented to the clubs president.

                                   This is our President Salu with the trophy – a man in the process of ‘picking’.

The weather report.

By the time the playoffs came we could hear the thunder over the mountains and see the sky was black. Mind you looking towards home, although we could not see it being on the other side of the mountain and 2 vallies over, I did not think we would have had any rain been there before. But on the journey back it began to rain in earnest, so I was driving back in hope, and yes when we arrived back it was tipping it down.  Two of the water cubes are full one even overflowing, the cisterna topped up and the header tank basically full as well.

So all in all it has been a good day.  It is cooler now with a slight breeze but the sun is out drying the small puddles  (yes I did say puddles), so a big thanks to which ever deity heard me.

(c) Michael Bosc

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