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Archive for July, 2015

Tivissa Petanca Social

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El President

As you know I have been playing Petanca for a few years during which time I have made some good friends, had quite a few laughs, lost a few competitions, won hams, wine, cheese, dried sausages, olive oil and the odd cup.  This year I can honestly say that when I have played – after the road trip – I have really enjoyed myself.

Getting Ready

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It’s Tivissas Fiesta this weekend so yesterday found us at the club for the Petanca Social.  We arrived early just as the prizes were being set out under the trees they looked quite impressive.

About Tivissa

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This is a quiet little town, loads of history, located below the La Llena massif which overlooks the Petanca courts and football ground.  Tivissa is part of a municipality which includes the village of La Serra d’Almos and the hamlets of Darmos and Llaberia, and can trace its origins back to prehistoric times, and during the Roman period amphorae’s were made here presumably to transport the Olive oil and wines that Catalunya was noted for even then.

Practice

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The afternoon was cool, the mountains looking what they are, solid hard rock covered in pines and greenery, not soft like they do on a spring afternoon. Clouds were gathering but no rain, just a pleasant breeze, so a little practice was in order whilst everyone arrived and caught up on news.

To decide who plays in which team, the names of the pickers were assigned  numbers then the names of everyone else are given numbers. Next all the numbers are placed into a container which was shaken then a number drawn and matched to a picker to make a team, simples.  Once this was done we were allotted our courts and we wandered off to enjoy a few serious games.

Prize Giving

 

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The afternoon passed quickly, it seemed as though we had just started.  Amador and I had won our group and were in the play offs, as we had played in doubles there were three teams of two.  So I have posted the photos in order of last first.  As always on these occasions the Alcalde was there to present the prizes accompanied by a young lady. You can see that there were smiles all round especially from me.  We then repaired to the buffet which as always was well laid out with a selection of goodies to nibble on.

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A Happy Chappie

Bon fiesta Tivissa.  Oh and thank you once again to the Alcalde, I am fine now.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

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Club Nautique

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This is my friend Pep like me a sailor at heart.  He is on the committee of Club Nautique and does the races.  Now a while ago the local council decided that they would construct a cantilever walkway down river road. This has meant the road has been impassable for several weeks now with, as far as I can tell,  only the paving actually done.  As you have to traverse this small road to get to Club Nautique it obviously has an effect on them and their training hours.   We visited the club one evening to see how things were going and although there were a few people there, it was nothing like it used to be, we could pick our table with no problems.

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It was good to see Pep and his family again plus hear about how the club was doing in the various competitions, he has invited us to go with them to see for ourselves, and as soon as I have a free Sunday (no Petanca) I shall do just that.

The Garden

 

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We had a nice surprise the other morning one of the roses that had not flowered before had done so and two blooms at that.  These are roses that a friend of my wife had dug up and was going to throw away, but before doing so she asked if we would like them. So duly planted last year we lost two but although the other survived no flowers.  Then came this drought and taking in to consideration our water situation I did not expect them to survive but not only have they but bloomed as well isn’t nature wonderful.

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As you can see from this photo it’s not only the roses that have ‘gone for it’ our grapevine has taken off like a rocket and is attempting to become a triffid.  There are bunches of grapes on it but it has, despite my endeavours to curtail it, clambered around the fly free zone and into the walnut tree.  Not content with all this it has stretched out to the door and is now attempting to grow across the FF door and on to goodness knows where.  I often wonder just what we grow up here plants or things from outer space….

The Weather

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I used to think that talking about the weather was an English thing, not any more.  Because we have had so little rain this year and it has been hotter than usual from around the end of April, everyone is talking about the heat.  There is no common ground here though, it’s either very dry and very humid or thunder, lightening, loads of rain (we should be so lucky) with the accompanying floods. The sky still does its ‘look we’re storm clouds’ over us and still bugs off somewhere else, I’m not greedy even a little tinkle would be appreciated.

We did have some rain a few days ago but not enough to mention really, but I have, plus its so hot that you really don’t want to go outside, even the fly free zone is too much.  Any breeze we have is the equivalent to a steam room and the humidity, well that hangs over everything in a cloud of mist you can’t see down the valley.   Believe me I do not need to take the car to the wash, early morning with a clean cloth and its washed then sun-dried. I suppose the only thing

Survival Of The Fittist

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You may or may not remember Buzz the humming bee who got stuck in the false apple, well a little while after that happened the wind gave a great puff and the supports – old wooden beams – gave up the ghost and fell down.  The result was that I had to dig the plant up cut it right back and find somewhere else to plant it.  The car port was the answer, so it went in at the back with its feet in the shade tied the stem to one of the poles made it a water dropper and left it to get on with things.  Last year it made a feeble attempt to get going but this year its on the rampage again.  Up and off over the roof of the car port which is what we wanted, it has actually flowered not as prolific as it originally did but the fact that it has done so is a bonus.  The perfume in the evening wafts into the bedroom and is very much like Jasmine.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

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How To Commit Suicide or The leadership Election.

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Well as always up here life is full of surprises.  Take this morning, there we were getting ready for our visit to Riber Rojo when I heard my wife saying “not a chance sunshine”.  It turned out, a young cat had suddenly appeared at the kitchen window and was obviously looking for food.  Now this was definitely not a wild cat but a feral one.  Thin, white coat with brown and dark markings.  Word has obviously got around the wildlife, nothing changes up here.

Reina – Friend and Restaurant

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Anyway, after this excitement, oh I almost forgot.  Yesterday afternoon I needed to get some distilled water, so I needed to go into town but I could not find my bag.  Now this was serious as my driving licence, money, phone and other things were in it.  We tried ringing the phone in case I had left it in the car boot, nothing.  I knew I had not left it on the beach as I had it when we went to the restaurant…… yep I had got up and walked out without it.   A mad dash found me in town at Reina’s which was full to the gunnels with people enjoying drinks and meals.

As I walked towards the counter I was greeted with “ah senior tu balsa” where upon the young lady held up my bag.  I cannot tell you what that senior moment did to my BP.  I was so pleased with the honesty of these people, when I offered them some money as a reward they told me they were glad of my custom and that was enough.  Now that is something to treasure and I do.  I am quite steadfast about my food we have eaten here a few times and I can honestly say that it is excellent.  So it was a nice surprise this morning when relating the story to Reina I discovered that the restaurant is run by his family, the Chef had studied in London. Oh yes Reina (pronounced Rayner) is the one in the middle.

Sand Sea and Sunshine

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For the first time this year we went to the seaside proper, swimming costumes, umbrella, beach towels the lot.  Now unlike the tourists we are not able to be out in the heat all day, but in the evening it is really pleasant to go to the beach which is un-crowded, and have a swim or just people watch.   We spent a few hours then went home perfect end to a hot day.

Books and Things

 

I have been busy translating my books into Spanish.  So most mornings we are up early doing the watering and any tidying such as the grape-vine which decided to pick Sunday morning to fall off the FFZ roof – the string broke – so there I was up the ladder with wire this time fixing it back into place. Then breakfast and translating, just another day in the life of an author…..

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WWW.ECB Rules.Crush.

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Tranquility

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The above picture has nothing to do with my writing or translation of my books,  it is just a picture of somewhere I would love to be when the translating gets tough. Since the beginning of the year I have been busy translating my books into Spanish, not easy I can assure you. I have a professional translator package but bless its cotton socks it does not understand nor like London slang.  It therefore throws a wobbly and either ignores things – which is no problem – or completely changes everything.  Grrrrr!  But I have persevered with it and now have a few people who read the results and let me know where it does not make sense – and at first there was a fair bit of that.  Then its back to the machine notes in hand and off we go again.   It is at times like these that I am glad I have gone back to school to study Spanish plus my Professor gets a little light reading.

The Books

The first book I translated was An East-End BoyUn Nino de Final Este. This was where the translator first got upset and changed things around. As it was pointed out to me it had taken a woman’s name and in translation altered it, thus turning her into a rapist, hey ho.   So it was back to the beginning and start again.  This time carefully checking things like Mr and Mrs making sure they were correct. It was amazing, ‘Trans’ would leave them unchanged then later in the book change them into the Spanish.  So it was read, check then read check again. Ask one of my readers to check it over then back to the beginning again. However, after all this it was done and is now out on Kindle.

My latest book for translation is A Perilous Future – Un Futuro Peligroso.  This was not too difficult as like most things after the first time you begin to get the hang of it. ‘Trans’ still threw a wobbly now and then but I was ready for most of them.  It didn’t stop me from wishing from time to time I was in that picture though, especially late at night.  Gradually we have come to an agreement, ‘Trans’ does the job I installed him to do, then I go through and correct everything I can, which in the last book was not much before passing to a reader. We then make any corrections necessary and finally we have a book for publication.  By the time you read this Un Futuro Peligroso will be out on Kindle.

I have since learnt to treat this programme with patience and understanding much as you would a child learning to read.  All in the hope that my next book will go even better.

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

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Negotiator’s???.

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I should have left well enough alone!!

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Now you may be wondering what one of my books is doing on here, look at the title.  It has been one of those weeks up here, so I shall start at the beginning with Monday.  This morning we had a phone call from the company supplying our new wifi system to say they were on their way – well a young man was – to finish installing the satellite and phone.  No problem there you may think but although my laptop and my wife’s tablet connected with no problem her laptop just would not connect to the wifi.  So I decided to help… I think a new laptop might be in order come birthday all I know is I had one rather upset bunny  who said a few rude words and took me down to Club Nautique.  So that is how this East-End Boy was most definitely not a Pet Shop Boy.  Like I said ‘Sods Law’ is alive and kicking up here.

Club Nautique

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We were pleased to see Pep and his family when we went to the club. We were a little worried that the work that is being carried out on river road might have an adverse affect on people going there but it seems not to be the case.  Maybe not as many people there as there used to be but we are a resourceful lot here.  We have been invited to go to one of the boat race meetings one weekend and I would like that but not for the next weekends as I am playing Petanca in Riber-rojo Sunday and the following weekend in  Fayon.

Petanca at Asco

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The weekend was a success for my team, we came top in our group and won a large goats cheese, now that’s worth winning.  I was also informed that we are playing at Riber-rojo next weekend I wonder how we will do and what we might win……

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We arrived back in town happy relaxed and in need of a drink, its thirsty work playing in this heat.  So we headed for a new restaurant/bar at the top of town called Reina.  Now we have eaten here before and the food is really good it must be, it’s always full of locals and police lunch and evening time.  Having got our drinks and ordered a meal we were talking to the Chef and  mentioned that I had won a cheese at Asco and it turned out that he is a relation of our Petanca friend Reina (Rayner is the tall one in the first picture above) it’s a small world.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

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It’s that time of year again, and after our holiday I am back playing in the petanca competitions.  The first one in Tivissa was played in very hot 39/40dgs sunshine and I had really forgotten how hot it can get.  Our  team (Gil, Maria and me)  didn’t win anything but it was the first time we had played in a competition as a team so not too disappointed. As you can see from the first picture even at 8.30am people were sitting in the shade trying to keep out of the sun, and that is mountain steam not smoke around them. It got hotter as the day wore on and the tents were most welcome especially where my wife was concerned she, like a lot of others, does not fare too well in these temperatures. So these are the pictures of the competition and winners hope you enjoy:

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The Game

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The Winners

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Ever since we have known the club and played at Tivissa the Alcalde has been there to present the prizes. He is also at the various club events to hand out the prizes, a true supporter and a very nice man.  He was here at the competition welcoming the visitors and home team alike, made us laugh a little, then got down to the serious business of presenting the prizes. Whilst being kind enough to be patient with this photographer.  You can see why everyone is smiling.

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Next weekend we are at Asco just the other side of our mountains but still a bit of a drive.  I will post the photos later and as we now have satellite wifi (joined the tech world).

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

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Road Trip Part 3 – The Final Day

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On the last day of our trip I suggested that instead of visiting Marseille  we spent it wandering around the small historic island which sits in the middle of the river in Martigues.  So my Navigator thinking  a day of gentle strolling around,  cafes, Romanesque churches, archeological digs etc., decided to go ‘girly’ put on a dress and dressy sandals then we set off.  On the way into town Driver to Navigator: “you look nice think we’ll go to Marseille for lunch”.  Now you would think this wouldn’t be a problem but she had changed into sandals that were not meant for walking round a city, they were only meant for short walks like from car to bar then back to car,little did we know she had hit an ooops moment…..   So we  arrived in Marseille to find a built up city very touristy and nothing like I had imagined it would be, why I was both surprised and disappointed I don’t know but I was.

 

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On arriving in Marseille we parked in the underground parking which is quite something to behold.  There are several levels, all underground,  but despite this they are well lit, clean and surprisingly airy.  Returning to the surface via a lift we found ourselves in a vast open area and facing us was one of the grand ornate churches.  On the side bordering a small basin is the museum and art gallery.  Clean and modern with various exhibitions happening both here and in the old renovated defence turret.  Even this was an experience as they have linked the two with a walkway out over the wáter.

The theatre is a modern cantilever construction which hung over a small pond lit at night by coloured spot lights.  The church is quite a focal point no matter where you are in the square, by looking under the cantilever  part of the theater in the evening you view the church through the coloured lights.

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I first viewed Marseille when Rick Stein was cooking here. The inner harbour had small fishing boats with a few yachts here and there, now it totally yachts with a small free ferry to take people from one side to the other, to me it felt like something was missing.  Each side of the yacht marina is lined with bars and restaurants, all vying for customers.  What I had wanted to do was to sample the bouillabaisse for which Marseille is famous.  But although we looked at several restaurants I didn’t fancy any of them, perhaps it was the smell, it really was a hot day.

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Anyway we took the ‘road train’ or ‘chug-a-lug’ as we call them round the old part of the town. Unfortunately there isn’t much of that left and what there is was spoilt by cars parked in streets that were basically just wide enough for passing.  The ‘Artisan’ quarter didn’t hold much either so we were rather disappointed, still the Chug-a-lug ride was interesting and saved my Navigators feet.

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By this time the Navigators feet were beginning to hurt rather badly, so we found a café along the shaded side of the basin and stopped to enjoy a refreshing beer. By now it was getting on so we decided to return to the car and the hotel, so I slowly wandered back with my Navigator hobbling along beside me.  This ended in a dash to the chemist for foot plasters and her nearly being run down by ‘cops on skegways’  well at least they were having fun.  The return was simple and after a shower, rest, drink and change of shoes I decided that on our last night there  we should have a meal in town. We went to one of the water front restaurants and enjoyed a typical French fish menu.

Next morning after a good breakfast we set off for home. No detours this time, it was as if the car knew the route so by 4pm we were sitting in a bar in town enjoying a beer and tapas.  Then off to the shops for food and finally we arrived home.  There is nothing like your own bed!!!

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and have a few more in mind, but not sure if I like one or two of the Navigators ideas  the Alps are ok, but by car in mid Winter????  brrrrrrr……..

(c)   Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

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