Tuesday, October 23, 2007

¡Enhorabuena Vadim y Fina!

This is the second wedding here that we've been invited to.

Oddly both have involved non-Spanish bridegrooms, one Moroccan (from Weymouth!) and Vadim hails from the Ukraine.

A lovely wedding followed by another blow-out reception. The organisers (Fina's family, our good neighbours) didn't seem to know where to put us, being the only English invited. We ended up on a table with Vadim's cousins who talked amongst themselves in Ukranian. We managed to communicate in Spanish from time to time. Lots of Vodka was consumed (though not by me), about 8 bottles between the 3 Ukranian tables.

Although we'd forgotten the rice for the ceremony itself, I didn't forget the most important thing - the cash for the reception. Most Spanish couples have their family and friends to buy the important wedding gifts - mostly furnishings for the home. The couple themselves seem to fund their own receptions, so contributing cash seems a good way of offsetting their costs.

Both receptions I've been to had about 250 guests at say 50 euro a head = 12,500 euro - that's a lot of money to find.

I wonder where they went for honeymoon.

¿Alguien puede explicarme esta cosa?

Perhaps the photo doesn't do it justice, but exactly why is there half a narrowboat lying next to the main Algeciras-Jerez road?
Along with other not-so-interesting steel sculptures.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Al hospital - ¡otra vez!

Suzie had to go back to hospital recently after a chest infection - this time for three weeks.

So far she's spent more than half her life there.

This time we didn't get such a good service from the Costa del Sol hospital, so we took her to the children's hospital in Málaga city. It may look a bit run down, but the quality of care there is the best around - just don't expect any English-speaking staff.

The doctor's have picked up on the amniosentesis report which shows Suzie has an extra 'marker' chromosone and wanted to do all sorts of test on her. So far everything has come back clear, but she'll need to go back again for more tests soon.

Nuevos proyectos

Now that the heat of summer is just a memory we can get going with insulating the roof and stairwell of the house which, because of its typically Spanish construction, has no insulation whatsoever.

On the ground floor this makes litle difference as the walls are 80cm thick, but the first floor was built only 50 years ago and so is just one single skin brick wall, in places as thin as 10cm.

In winter this makes for cold and damp, quickly followed by black mould - no place for young children. We've been very lucky and got a grant from the Junta to improve things. The original materials were ordered in May, and delivered to us (the bottom of our street that is) by three strong lads in their second truck (the first expired outside Benalmádena). The lads baulked at the last part of the journey - up the 42 steps to the house.

Full marks to the children who mucked in with me to break up the packages and move the lot up to the house in just three hours. Lulu even carried some of the 2m long beams.

Fin de verano, ya ha pasado

Casares seems quite lucky in that it has two ferias per year, one in early August and another just before the kids go back to school in September.

As usual there were the fairground attractions, music and fireworks.

The nice change this year was the inclusion of Russian dancing which got the local crowd very animado.

And as usual, when the kids go back to school it starts to rain. We've had some quite heavy storms, but nothing like the Costa Blanca

Adios amigo

The downside of buying a new family car has been having to sell the van.

This C15 has given me three years sterling service and was sold for only slightly less than I paid for it - in less than a week. They seem to be highly sought after here, probably because they're so reliable.

El tuning 2

These are the latest addition to the family car - just waiting for an opportunity to try them out with the Estepona 4x4 club. I hope to get some colleagues from work to come along too.