Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Thursday 20 December 2012

Let the holidays begin!

Once again, I have been a familiar sight, running from one place to the other, in a state of constant multi-tasking. I really deserve to cut a lithe figure, rather than a chunky one!
In addition to the usual dashing around, I've been chocolate making and selling. I made up a little time for all the other things I have to do by very nearly selling out completely at my first stall, held at the English Centre - 'A Little Bit of Britain' - here in Alcala la Real on Saturday morning. I was absolutely delighted and rather dismayed at the same time as I'd intended going to Montefrio on Sunday to another craft market there. I don't have enough stock to do it now because as well as an excellent morning, I've had a stream of personal shoppers coming to the house. So, having squirreled a few chocolates away for my niece (hope you read this Emily, I got the message from your mum!) I'm pretty well cleaned out! It hasn't been a profitable exercise - it rarely is - but neither has it left me with kilos of chocolate left with no takers. A big 'phew' and a big 'hurray'!!!

Exam time at the Academy - in the last week of term, which I find very sad but I was told that the children need to be motivated to work right up until the last lesson and exams are the way it's done here. I did try to argue for them to be a week early but no, not an option. Although I only had to arrange the exam for the first level, the group I teach entirely on my own, I also had to administer the Listening and Speaking tests for the other groups and it made me unexpectedly jittery. Anyway, glad to announce that they are all done and finished and my level one children produced some wonderful results and we still had time to play. In fact, with a couple of classes, we managed to play some of my favourite games - including Pictionary, Kim's Game, using vocabulary they've been learning recently, of course - plus a madcap game we used to play at my own childhood parties. You need a bar of chocolate - wrapped - on a tray, which can only be eaten using a knife and fork. Everyone sits round in a circle and takes turns to shake the dice - a six allows you to attack the chocolate but you must first put on a hat, a scarf and a pair of gloves, preferably two sizes too big!   Whilst the lucky person makes a start, the dice continues and as soon as another six is thrown, that person must don the required apparel and continue attacking the chocolate. And so on. It's great fun and I played with an equal amount of enthusiasm as the kids. And ate my fair share of chocolate too...I haven't always had time to eat properly these past few days and I was very hungry!

Scene from one of the many performances at Alonso de Alcala Primary School

Nativity plays and Christmas theatre at school. I missed Romy's performance as I was teaching but was able to go to Ruy's the next night. It was great fun if rather chaotic and very loud! His class were the last one and whilst the other two year six groups performed plays, rather well it must be said, Ruy's class performed two songs including playing the accompanying instruments - it was beautiful and so appreciated that they had to perform an encore. Ruy clearly loved every moment and his parents were a tad emotional. Romy also confessed to feeling like she was going to cry...

This is another group whose performance I particularly enjoyed not least because it included a very touching scene showing well how the school integrates their pupils with special needs. The Star is a girl who has autism and cannot cope with being touched. She was given free rein to run around the stage, which she clearly enjoyed, whilst gentle but comical stage play was made by the Kings - who, of course, had to follow her. She eventually came to a stop and remained on stage to take the applause.

And eventually, I too got to see Romy's performance as yesterday, all the performances were repeated for the benefit of the whole school. I was misinformed many times about the timings...resulting in me running back and forth from school four times that day - nay, five as I had to go to collect her at the end of the day too! I have a very distinctive black and white raincoat with a Rennie Mackintosh design on it and as I crossed the road for the fourth time, the migrant workers who are here for the olive harvest but who spend most of their time on a wall outside the bus station, all cheered me on as I sped off yet again - this time to deliver a dozen chocolate snails to a friend who was meeting me elsewhere in the town!

Romy's class were the last on and they did a little play written by their teacher. I confess to not understanding very much of it - the microphones were too loud and exaggerated the children's lines so I couldn't work out what they were saying - but I followed the advice I give my students... I listened for gist. I got the gist. Romy played a grandmother and made a lovely one. Her lines were as clear as a bell and she had plenty - she was pleased about that. I didn't have the camera though as FR had it with him in Granada, but I had taken a couple of Romy the night before - though FR took none of her or Ruy on stage preferring to video them in their performances. He doesn't have a blog-mentality at all!!

But here she is in character in our house.

Last night was my last teaching day until 8th January and I felt some relief as I came home and saw that Romy had decorated the tree. And now I must away to clean and sort my scruffy house and move beds and furniture around in preparation  for the arrival of 'mis suegros' - my in-laws - who arrive tonight. FR has gone to Marbella to an Arab Sheik's for lunch. Honestly - sounds ridiculous, but our friend is negotiation an oil deal with the Sheik...olive oil, that is....and he needs a translator. Should be quite a good lunch, I think.

This will be last post before Christmas. The children and I are flying off to my family's on 26th, so hopefully will be catching up with friends there too - we are rather excited. I suspect this has been a disjointed, rambling post - I don't have time to proof-read it either - but hopefully after today, I can slow down and really enjoy a lovely double-family Christmas. We're back on New Year's Eve.


Tuesday 11 December 2012

Romy's Christmas Picture

Romy loves drawing cartoons - this is her Christmas picture drawn just now - I love all the details, especially those cheeky elves!

Sunday 9 December 2012

A perfect Sunday

The sun was out and the sky blue when we got up this morning and I had just managed to drag the children away from 'Anastastia' which was on Disney channel so that we could take Darwin out for a walk all together, when some friends phoned to ask if we wanted to go out with them.

We did and we've had the most beautiful walk from Alcalá la Real to nearby Fuente del Rey. 
I had my camera with me. 

Ready to go - leaving Alcala with La Mota in the background. 

Juan Carlos took us to this quarry - and told us that it ships its stone to China...
Sierra Nevada in the distance - looking very beautiful today.

Here at 1000m above sea level, the stones are made almost entirely from creatures that once settled on the sea floor.

In memory of those killed by the Republicans during the Civil War.

La Mota, looking deceptively close by, taken from the quarry.

Might be my imagination, but the chalet and the mountains look almost Alpine to me.

Fuente del Rey is a little village close to Alcala la Real with an important history. In the 14th century, Alcala was under Moorish rule. In 1341, Alfonso XI, King of Castile, Leon and Galicia (there was no 'Spain' at this time) put the castle under siege and had his base here in Fuente del Rey. He had a busy and successful year in 1341 so I'm not sure if he spent all the eight months of siege it took to force a surrender, but Alfonso is credited with taking the castle from the Moors and at this point, Alcalá Benzaide changed its name Alcalá 'la Real' - or the Royal. This little hermitage was built to house the statue of the Virgin that travelled with Alfonso XI and his army at the time. It was opened for us today by a lovely old lady who lives nearby and who has the key - she of the turquoise dressing gown and cotton flowery hat. Bless.

Caquis - soft orange globes against the blue.
We managed to liberate a couple but I've eaten one from the tree once before and will not be tempted to do it ever again. 

An atalaya - or watch tower. There are many in this area, both Arab and Roman design. This one has crenellations which I believe makes it Roman. The Arab ones are unadorned simple towers.

On our way back, the Sierra Nevada behind us. 

Another little treasure to investigate on our way back to Alcala la Real.

Celia, Romy and Tere strike a pose for Mario in the sunshine.

Mario and Romy are in the same class and get on so well together. They play beautifully together - especially with Playmobil. In their school play Romy takes the part of the 'abuela' or granny and Mario is her 'grandson' - they find this highly amusing!

It was a beautiful day and we had a really lovely walk with our friends. Just how Sundays should be. Looking forward to the next one.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

I love Playmobil

I downloaded some photos from the camera this morning and came across these that Romy must have taken. I love Playmobil and the stories that children tell with it.

Domestic scene 

What a lovely bedroom

Oh look - father with broom and log fire - just like real life!

Apparently the mother of the family is an ambulance driver

No accidents, just the school run.

Byeee! (Shouldn't she be sitting down and strapped in?)

Hey - flashing lights and all!
I do love Playmobil!

Monday 3 December 2012

Grab the camera

I was just about to set off with Darwin for our morning walk - a snatched twenty minutes in between preparing for and giving an English lesson - and I was struck by the BLUE of the sky so grabbed my camera.

The leaves have either turned to yellow, brown and red or have  fallen now, as we reach December.

Strange pods hang from many of the trees 
Golden yellow leaves against the blue, blue sky

Moon over the olive groves

And frost, hiding in the shadows of the trees - it's been a chilly night!

La Lovely Mota - basking in the sun - December 2012

Isn't that gorgeous?
Must remember to take my camera with me more often - there is so much that is beautiful to share.