Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Thursday, 30 October 2014

All good here....

I might not be writing much but all is well in our part of the world.

Last week was great as we had visitors and I do like having visitors! Sam and family were back in Alcala for half-term and we had a couple of catch-up coffees together and our conversation carried on as if there'd been no distance between us for the past few months...good!

And then on Friday, FR's youngest brother came to stay with his girlfriend - who just happens to be English too. They managed a great night out with FR as soon as they arrived, as it was Noche en Blanco in Granada, when the whole of the city was in fiesta and the streets were humming with street performers and dancing. Then the next couple of days we all enjoyed doing a variety of things together - talking/ walking/ cycling/ visiting town depending on who felt like doing what and when. Ruben helped to lay a temporary path to the door which has greatly improved access to the house - he also persuaded the children to clean the car, had an archery competition with Ruy (which he lost..) and gamely cycled into Alcala with Mateo on Sunday morning - a very tough ride - but one which they both enjoyed.

Ruy, Romy and I took them into Alcala to show them the main sights and to stop and have tapas and a drink in the park. It seemed strangely quiet at first as we'd forgotten there was a big football match on but it soon livened up to its usual 'buzz' of folk on the streets. It's not Palma de Mallorca but they were both impressed with our lovely town and its history and friendly folk. And Nadia, who had been suffering a horrid bronchitis for several weeks, suddenly began to feel much better in the wonderful healing air that we have here at 1000m above sea level. Good stuff!

Ruy, Romy, Me, Nadia and a friendly street vendor lining up to complement the local wall art....
And on Sunday evening, Sam, Dave, their girls and our neighbour, Sergio, joined us and we had a great evening in the garden, eating one of FR's famous barbecues.

We've had amazingly hot, sunny days this week but the nights are definitely chilly now, hence Jasmine's fur-lined face! I hope Ruben doesn't see this, but then, he shouldn't have pulled a silly face. Such a handsome chap, he is!

I drank too much - which doesn't mean I drank a lot, cos I don't, but being unused to alcohol....well, methinks I do protest too much....but it didn't spoil the party; just made me a bit giggly and made me want to dance with my husband, but that's OK, I think!

We also spent an afternoon playing cards with Ruy and Romy and they both had the same idea at the same time - to put on their 'poker faces' was really creepy, but rather brilliant!

So, you see, all is well here and now the clocks have gone back, it's light for the children to go to school in the mornings...but feels so very late right now and it's only half past seven in the evening.

And this weekend, I am expecting to see an old work friend. She is currently on a mammoth drive through Scotland, England, France and Spain - all the way from Orkney!!  I know she'd got to Bordeaux last night so don't expect her before Saturday - but you never know! Writing about Denise could fill a book on its own, so I won't start now but you can expect to hear something about our meeting very soon.....

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Rumpty tum te tum te tum

OK, my title only makes some sense if you know the tune for the long-running BBC Radio Four series, 'The Archers' and is my way of introducing the topic of this post. My son Ruy, the Archer!

You may remember a recent post I wrote, where we had eventually found a club for Ruy to join to practice his archery on a regular basis and he went for the first time at the very end of August. And the club members were impressed with his skill and immediately said he must enter the competition at the end of September for Champion of Andalucia. This was quite a surprise and a great motivator for Ruy.

The following week, he wasn't able to practice because we went up to Valladolid for a week, but as soon as we could, I took him back for another practice morning and again the following week. I rather like getting up early on Sunday mornings, dropping Ruy off at the club, have a chat with the (mainly) men there before going to 'my' bar for a cup of wonderful coffee and a typical Spanish breakfast of toast with tomatoes and olive oil....SO delicious!

But I digress. So after three weeks of practice and some great support from Virgilio, the teacher, (who is just a whisper away from 80 years old and as lean and fit as a man half his age,) Ruy suddenly had a licence to carry a bow, was a member of a club and enrolled to take part in the XVII Campeonata de Andalucia (for 3D forest archery, not just targets). Very exciting.

The week before the championship was a week of overcast skies and sudden showers of rain - the first since May really - and the forecast for the Sunday was 'not good'. And we had to get up at 6am to arrive in time for the start at 8,30am. Goodness, these archers are keen! Romy decided to go and stay with a friend on Saturday night rather than get up to go and watch....but Mateo was good to go and so we four set off in the dark wondering what on earth we were going to.

My plan had been to see Ruy off on the course and then retreat to my favourite bar - I hadn't had a coffee in the morning with this specific intention in mind....How silly I was! There were around 60 contestants in the overall competition and just 5 in the Junior category...including the Champion of Spain, no less, so the competition for the Junior title was going to be tough. But enough words, the rest can be told in pictures, more or less!

This is the terrain....a tough route where 24 models of animals were patiently waiting to be shot at...

Not easy walking either...

And somehow, my plan of sloping off for a coffee just didn't work out. Once the shooting started, I couldn't get back to the club house safely...This is Ruy's group heading for their first target.

Which turned out - rather unexpectely - to be a penguin...(this is the marker, not the target!)

Ruy's first shots turned out to be pretty well on target - and he was off to a good start.

The boy in the foreground is the current champion of Spain and he was really very good.

Not easy to spot, but there is a deer in the middle right of the picture that is the target here.

Aiming for another horned creature, there between the trees
 And so it went - for 24 different animals and two and a half hours (and no coffee) - and it just began to rain as we completed all the targets. The Champion of Spain had beaten Ruy and Ruy had beaten the other boy in his group but we didn't know how the other Juniors had done yet. Nor did we know that the competition wasn't over...not by a long way!

Back at the club house, with well-earned sandwiches and drinks all round, we found out that Ruy was lying in 3rd place and now the semi-finals would take place. A shoot off between 1st and 4th places and between 2nd and 3rd places.

And as the competitors were asked to move to the targets, the rain really began to come down in earnest and I decided to stay put. FR and Mateo bravely went off to support Ruy and hold the umbrella for him as he took aim.

And Ruy won the shoot off...but it still wasn't over!

In the other semi-final, the boy who was lying in 4th place, beat the champion.

This seemed a bit unfair to me, but apparently,  this is how all the championships go, so I guess the Champion already knew what might happen.

And so the final was between Ruy and Dani!

And it was so very close - with Ruy finishing with an amazing shot from the top of a rock at the club house, down towards a large mountain goat, which he hit perfectly, but which didn't quite get him the title of Champion of Andalucia, but got him the honour of 'Sub' Champion! On his first ever attempt. He was exhausted but delighted....and we were too.

Here he is with Guillermo, on the left in front of him, and Virgilio in the middle in front of him - the two men who have really encouraged and helped him and who were very, very pleased with his achievement. 
All four finalists - all excellent archers, from Malaga, Granada, Jaen and Seville.

And after the presentations, the final team competition was cancelled as the rain was so heavy that no one could see to shoot - so we all ate an amazingly good paella that the good womenfolk had been preparing in the club house. Very welcome, very hot and really delicious!

I couldn't resist taking this - all the other animals were taken away but for some reason, the penguin was left, all alone - and doesn't he look miserable! Perhaps he had missed his morning coffee too..

Well done Ruy! It's been a gradual process, this archery thing, but we all knew you had talent. Next stop - well, Champion of Spain wouldn't be too big a target, would it?