Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Friday, 29 July 2011

Not Bumble....

All will be revealed when we return from a little holiday. We're going where the modern world has not yet reached, so no postings for a little while.
Thank you for all the lovely suggestions we've received but I guess most people will be bored of the subject by now - I know Romy is. When I asked her opinion again this morning, she replied, 'Oh I'm getting fed up of this subject - you decide and we'll just call him that.'
That told me.

Hasta la vista!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Bumble. Probably.

Chosing names is so complex.

Before Mateo was born, knowing I was having a boy did at least half the choice that was available. Quite early on in my pregnancy, I had a dream that insisted my son would be called Orlando - choice didn't come into it. This was before 'Pirates of the Caribbean' too, so it was an out-of-the-blue name at the time.
Cesar didn't like it.
Then I decided he would be Lawrence, after my wonderful maternal grandfather. And that sort of stuck. We both liked Mateo as a second name and so, when he was born, those are the names I gave. If you read my earlier post, then you'll know that before I'd really seen him, he was whisked off to the special care baby unit and it was going on eight hours before I got to look at him properly. And when I did, he simply was not a Lawrence - he was Mateo. So we switched the names around, but I still have his little hospital tag with Lawrence Mateo.

And he's still very Mateo.

Ruy's name was going to be Lucas; and although I liked the name, it didn't feel right but we just couldn't come up with a better alternative. Then one evening about a fortnight before he was due (11th September, 2001 - though he was a week late) Cesar just happened to be telling me about the big, black Brazilian pot-smoking photographer who lived above his apartment in Milan - haven't a clue what he was telling me, because he had mentioned the name - Ruy. And that was it;  not a second's doubt and I still adore the name (and the boy) and love to say it. And his second name is Eliot - partly because I love George Eliot, the author, and partly because of the boy in E.T. - and it's spelt with just the one of everything so the Spanish contingent weren't confused and would pronounce it in the same way.

As for Romy - she was going to be Isabella, which is a beautiful name, but which, as time progressed began to seem more and more like the name of a tragic princess to me. (Pregnancy arouses all sorts of strange ideas.) We struggled to agree on any name - Cesar liked Trini; I didnt. I liked Lois, then changed my mind. After she was born, it was a good twelve hours before I decided that Romy suited her even if I wasn't absolutely sure about the name itself. And it does suit her and she is a Romy and there are not that many around. And she is Romy Luisa which is lovely.

But the puppy? The responsibility is not the same. It needs to be a name that we like to say; not much else. Something with only positive connotations.  But it has not proved easy.

After laying out a list of about a hundred different names, after asking friends on Facebook, after dredging memories and consulting books - all without consensus or commitment - we started saying words at random. At the words, Bumble Bee, the puppy leapt up, wagging his tail and behaving in the most bizarre and excited way. We all felt we could go along with Bumble. So Bumble he is.


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A very warm welcome to..

Our puppy who has no name.
First view at the 'Animals in Distress' centre near Coin, Malaga

Our thanks to the wonderful José, who looked and spoke like an Englishman but who is originally from Spain and could switch seamlessly between the two languages, and who rescues and looks after dogs that are abandoned around the province of Malaga.

I said that 'Rolly', as he was named temporarily at birth, was calling me from the website. I knew he would be ours - and the strange thing was that when we went into the dog enclosure, he looked me straight in the eye and said - 'ah, I've been calling you, where've you been?' And that was it - no further discussion necessary.

He's ours

Settling in

for the long journey home..

 I have three very happy children who can hardly believe who has arrived to live with them. But despite spending days thinking of names beforehand, he's neither a Luther nor a Zeus nor a Bach - nor indeed any of the others - so as yet, he is nameless.

He might end up with Rolly, though we'd spell it Rowley, as that's the name of the school the children went to in England and they have very fond memories of that.

He's also like a little sheep - what would be a good name for a little sheep?
And being a Famous Five fan, of course, I just can't rule out Timmy.

(He does keep telling me he's called 'Alfie' but I can't convince everyone else of that name.)

Help please!!

Monday, 25 July 2011

At least for today...

Transformation Mandela

In the past few days, I feel as though I've undergone a complete transformation. I don't say this lightly. I really mean it.

On Thursday, I decided to take someone up on a rather nice offer. One of the English people who comes to my conversation classes is a lovely lady called Valerie, who I think has had an interesting life thus far - she's married to a Dutchman and has lived in Amsterdam and also in Majorca, as well as travelling far and wide across the world.  She clearly loves to learn and has brought a different attitude to the group - in a very positive way. She is a trained masseuse and is wanting to spread the word about the hands-on treatments she can give, including treating sports injuries and painful muscles. I think her offer to our class was an excellent idea - come for a free treatment - that way, we can personally endorse what she does.

I have been feeling rather jaded - I'm the sort of person who enjoys high 'highs' but can sometimes come down to quite low 'lows'. So rather than wallowing, I decided to take Valerie up on her offer. And it was so good to pass an hour being gently massaged and spoken to quietly in a lovely setting - she and Miel live in a little village just outside Alcala la Real and have made themselves a delightful home that reassured me that a place does exist somewhere that will be right for us too.

Valerie doesn't have a website but if you are in or around the Mures area, and want either a massage or specific treatment, ask me for contact details.

That was Thursday - and I came home feeling chilled. On Friday, I had a call from a friend who knew I was interested in doing Reiki, a Japanese system of natural healing and energy therapy. Belen, my next door neighbour does it and whilst we were at the Etnosur festival, we met the Reiki teacher who said she was planning to run a workshop for beginners very soon. And it was Mayi, whom I met whilst house-hunting, who called to say Aurora would be running a workshop all day Sunday if I wanted to go.

And I decided that I did want to go.

Mayi, her boyfriend's cousin, Pedro Antonio and I spent the day meditating, relaxing and concentrating as well as learning the basics of Reiki from Aurora.

And I can't possibly explain how wonderful it was! As an ENFP, I know that I prefer (in Myers-Briggs speak) to take my energy from external sources, and tend to rely on having plenty to do to keep my battery charged. And yes, I almost always have plenty to do but sometimes, I have to give out a lot more energy than I'm able to take in. And in the last 12 months, with all our moving and new experiences to deal with, I have taken very little time to be with myself. My jaded feeling could be described more accurately as being at odds with myself - discontented but not sure why (or how!)

The Reiki session has really helped me to refocus on my core values - helped me to re-centre myself - a state that is vital to me. I hadn't gone far off-centre, I don't usually go far but it sometimes takes me a little while to consciously notice.

All three of us left Aurora's house at about 8pm and emerged into glorious blue skies feeling as though we'd been away from the real world for several days, rather than the 10 hours in fact. We almost floated down the street. I realised I hadn't spoken a word of English all day either - having left the house before my family were awake. And we'd done a lot of talking! That realisation added to my content - it's a while since I've spent the day talking to adults on subjects other than food or family.

And when I got home, my mood wasn't instantly banished by finding a houseful of arguing children and a frazzled husband - no, on the contrary, they'd all had a lovely day and been to the swimming pool, eaten (homemade) burgers for lunch and I was greeted by warm affection and big hugs.

I'm not a mystical type - nor spiritual either - but I engaged with an energy that felt very positive and very powerful yesterday and I will, over the next few weeks, be laying positive energy-giving hands on myself, my children, my husband and our new puppy - and on or near anyone else who needs it.

And I don't think anyone would argue with these principles:

At least for today:
Do not be angry,
Do not worry,
Be grateful,
Work with diligence,
Be kind to people.

I'll report back on progress - but now, I'm off to meditate on the roof.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Decision made

For a long time now, we have been promising the children that once we'd settled in Spain, we'd get a dog.
We thought we'd solved the situation perfectly when we offered to take the little dog that lives with Cesar's parents - Nemo - particularly as he seemed quite sad living in La Flecha. He only didn't come down to Andalucia with us in January because it would have been wrong to bring him to a 5th floor apartment - he was small enough to fit through the railings and add further to my nightmares.

In the intervening time, Cesar's mother has been suffering with the idea of losing him. She's spent most of the year with her own father in Leon and Nemo has been in the house where all our furniture has been stored - and there he is so happy, he's grown the additional proverbial tail. Nemo has been removed from the equation we are contemplating here.

I have been making enquiries around here to find out about adoption and rescue places for dogs.

Cesar knows he made the promise but also knows the additional tie a dog brings; the extra consideration on all spontaneous or planned outings; the additional tasks of cleaning up/sorting out/managing and controlling a dog - and has been cold feeting me recently when approached about the idea.

But I engaged the children in a pincer-movement with me over the past two days because I have found a place near Malaga that takes in strays and advertises for adoption - and have been exchanging emails with the lovely people there. In May, a pregnant dog was found in someone's garden and brought in - within a few days, she'd had pups... eight of them. And one of them has been calling me.

The children have been on their very best behaviour - avoiding the 'n' word when asked to do things; tidying up voluntarily; reducing TV watching time to a healthier level and playing board games together for ...ooh, at least 20 minutes before reaching irreconcilable differences. And yesterday, with the warmth of the roof tiles on our feet and the view of La Mota in front of us, I put the question to Cesar again.

And whilst the response was more resignation than enthusiasm, it was not negative and so we have taken this as a big 'YES'!

Our plan had been to go to Malaga on Tuesday anyway - trip to IKEA has become essential to pick up some shelving units - that's when we will go and pick up our puppy.

He has been given the name 'Rolly' but we've enjoyed thinking of names we could give him, including:

Luther - Mateo's favourite and a distinct front-runner
Leo or Zeus - put forward by Ruy
Spot, Truffle,Wally, Zak - Romy's suggestions
Bach or Moose - my suggestions
Rico or Trufa - from Cesar (we won't include his suggestion of Whisky!)

We are unlikely to agree - we never do - and so the poor little thing will probably end up with Rolly - which I am sure is meant to be Roly as in Roly Poly, but which we've been saying as Rolly, as in Dolly, Lolly, Molly, etc.

We need a bit of help here!

And until Tuesday, a little patience and controlling of excitement!!

Monday, 18 July 2011

A letter to her brother on his birthday

Romy wrote this note on the computer for her brother's birthday. 
It shows true 'stream of consciousness' writing... I don't think she needs further encouragement.

For a brother how anoying you are I would like to make a card
for true loving of a sister as well as anoying as you. Marta and
Iran are very happy for a 13 yerd old brother of 2 anoying per
of children. Mama is seting up all the yummmy food.I hope you
have a grate day of the party because now its yogabugs...
sorry I put the wrong thing on yogabugs theres a stupid
ladiy who teaches pepoel….Ok now were on signal so
awoooooooooo stopit ok done…. I just whant to say that

Love it!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Etnosur 2011

Today is Sunday 17th July.
Another scorching hot day here in Alcala la Real.
And the last day of the Etnosur Festival.
People still playing in the fountains in the Paseo - and still dancing away to music.

But already, the Recinto Ferial - the marketplace - which yesterday was full of market stalls selling ethnic jewellery, clothes and the like, is empty of traders and the stage has been dismantled. And on Tuesday, it will be filled again with the traditional market traders, selling fruit, vegetables, clothes and shoes.

On Saturday night, we went down to listen to the music and soak up the atmosphere with some friends.

Romy and Marta enjoyed trying some of the lovely handmade puppets

And there was dancing in the streets...

And Ruy showed that he knows how to get the best view!

Whilst some didn't care at all about the view of the stage - the music was, after all, loud enough to be heard throughout Alcala la Real. It really wasn't necessary to get near the stage - around the fountain was a pretty good idea.

There were some wonderful food stalls - including delicious crepes, food from Thailand, India and Italy as well as jamon and paella stalls. We had an amazing lime and mint drink, freshly-made in front of us and served over crushed ice. Heavenly.

And although we didn't try it, this contraption is squeezing the sugar from sugar cane.

We stayed to listen to the excellent music until around 1.30am when Romy - having spent most of the evening dancing enthusiastically - suddenly ran out of energy and needed to go home.

What impresses me so much about life in Spain - epitomised by this festival - is how good-natured the crowds of people are.
In spite of the noise, the bustle and the crowds - there has been such a wonderful sense that people are having fun, are enjoying themselves; there has been no underlying violence or bad feelings - something I found so prevalent in the UK wherever crowds gathered - and I think part of the reason for this is that all the community has taken part in the festival.

Old people, young people, people in-between and most of all - children. And something for everyone.

I was a little shocked yesterday when I saw the amount of rubbish that had accumulated in the Paseo - it really looked dreadful and as if an army would be needed to clear it up. But today, it was looking almost back to normal, despite the fact that the party was still going on. The authorities in Alcala have got this festival well-organised.

Well done them, I say. Well done everyone who has made it a wonderful weekend.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Etnosur - Day One

Etnosur - the ethnic music festival - has arrived in Alcala la Real at last.

This is the front of the children's school - now adorned with Etnosur drapes
And the sun shone down this morning.
We went at about 11 o'clock to see what was happening.
And plenty of things were!

In the Paseo de los Alamos - strictly lo-tech games - which everyone enjoyed very much

Lots of concentration required... get that little marble safely to the top!

Pushing wooden bowls along a narrow band with a long pole - who knew it could be such fun!
Workshops in the shade

Enjoying the clowns

They were funny

Making hats and boxes and supporting Oxfam

And cooling down in one of the many shower areas

Coming out of the shower in a glittering rainbow mist

Later on, I went back again to listen to a choir concert and the Paseo had filled up a bit more and the music went on:

Sounds of drumming filled the park ... the smell was less roses, more weed!

A colourful event, without doubt.

The choir was excellent and soon had us all up and dancing in the aisles.

This is day one - in half an hour, we're off to see how the evening fares - starts around 10.30 and goes on til 4am. We might not quite last that long... I will report back!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

An evening with Manuel and his accordian

The other evening, Cesar was cleaning the car outside the house - clearly something he has missed doing for the past six months - when Manuel, our neighbour, came out for a chat. Manuel of the piano accordian.

In a very short space of time, during which Cesar had informed him of our own musical backgrounds and interests, he'd popped into his house to fetch one of his four accordians and without further ado, joined us in our new home for a little concert.

Bless him, at times, his right and left hands were working in friendly collaboration but often, the concentration required to play the 'tune' with the right hand meant that the left hand was required to automatically continue the 'squeeze' action which produces the sound  and to somewhat randomly press the chord buttons.

I confess to struggling with my emotions - I wanted to so much to laugh in pure abandon, so wonderfully bizarre and surreal was the music - but actually, we were all very touched by his pleasure in playing for us; his pride in his skills - self taught - and his genuine love of the instrument.

Then he let us all have a turn and we all managed to produce similar mashed sounds - it's really quite difficult to combine three different actions.  The tune is played by the right hand, like a piano - easy enough - but to get a sound, you have to pull and push the two parts of the accordian, the squeeze box bit - in and out at the same time as keeping the tune going. To get the chord accompaniment (the bit I think Manuel needs to work on...) you have to press the appropriate button with the left hand - and whilst on their own, the chords sounded magnificent, it takes a while to find which chord to change to in order to match the tune.

We had such a fun evening - I do hope he comes again. I think he might.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Papa's taking us to the zoo tomorrow..

(Well, actually, we went yesterday.)

To the BioParc Zoo in Fuengirola and we had a wonderful afternoon, staying late into the evening - the zoo stays open til midnight so you get to see a different group of animals once night falls.

A small but well-designed zoo where you can get really close to the animals in their stunning settings.
I am rather pleased with some of these photos.

Lemurs wandering freely on their 'Madagascan Island' right in the middle of Fuengirola.
Baobab Tree (recreated)

Crested Crane

One of our favourites - the Silverback Gorilla

He was wonderful.

More of our favourites - the lemurs

We were able to wander around their island inamongst them
This was the most inquisitive one - we think he liked us.

He was very curious
A very handsome couple - the female is pregnant

This is how close you could get

This is mother and daughter chimp - who were very sweet together

We were totally blown away by this amazing creature

He really enjoyed strutting his stuff

Sturgeons - ancient fish and one of Mateo's favourites of the day

Mateo and I did a double take as we rounded a corner and came face to face with these beasts - for a split second I was terrified! Then I remembered the glass...

A red river hog - with a face like a court jester - gorgeous!

They were very comical.

Pygmy hippos

The male and female gorillas

Night time view

Don't you just love him!

Good birthday choice, Mateo. We had a very memorable day.