Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘July’

I can’t say that we were over impressed with Jerez.  Sadly, because I had built up a fairly high impression of what it would be like, I was quite disappointed. I expected a gentility that simply wasn’t there (imho).

Jerez de la Frontera is:

  1. Home to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, which, according to Wikipedia, is one of the four greatest schools of horsemanship in the world.
  2. Host to an International Grand Prix circuit, used for MotoGP, F1, F2 and World Superbike championships.
  3. Home for most of the world’s sherry producers and the spiritual home to one of the biggest producers, Gonzalez Byass.

 Yet, despite all this, it appeared to me to be run down and dirty.

I accept that Jerez is a very old city, with a rich and varied history, but, despite the prestige and money those international events/producers bring into the city, along with tourists, it wears an air of neglect.  We have visited several old cities in Spain with equally rich and varied histories but they have been cleaner and their buildings have, to a large extent, been or are being maintained. I’m thinking here of Salamanca, Avila, Toledo, Cordoba and Segovia – none have the aforementioned air of neglect and yet, all have similarly long and unique histories.

IMG_1784 copy

unpleasant tapas

The old town’s main square and streets off it, house the restaurants and bars that provide food and drink for tourists and locals alike.  Certainly, the town comes alive at night with tables popping up where none were to be seen at lunchtime.  We chose badly at lunchtime; presented with what were probably the worst tapas we’ve ever eaten: Over vinegared Ensalada Rusa (why vinegar? Why?), Queso that began to sweat in the heat, tab-end sized Croquetas (with soggy fries for garnish) and a fairly tasty piece of ‘Lomo’ in sherry sauce – covered with soggy fries again.

Our evening meal was better.IMG_1823 copy

Sharon had spent a bit of time on Trip Advisor and had come up with a number of options for us to dine at.  I put the first one (top of the list) into MapsDotMe and off we went.  Sharon saw something on the menu that she liked and I knew I would find something, so we stopped there – there was no point dragging ourselves around the town. Bar Juanito looked to be a nice place, and it was – see my review on Trip Advisor.

Before eating lunch, we’d decided to take the tourist bus-trip (City Sightseeing Jerez) which for €17 also includes a tour of the Bodegas Tio Pepe, the home of Gonzalez Byass in Jerez.  The bus trip itself was interesting enough, and explained much of Jerez’s history.  One fact that stuck with me was that many years ago (perhaps hundreds?) the city fathers allowed people to erect buildings alongside the more ancient city walls.  The idea being that this would help to preserve and protect those walls.  However, as we were driven past, I noticed that the buildings that had been erected are also falling into disrepair.  It’s sad that a city of this note and with this heritage cannot be better looked after.

IMG_1769 copy

Our trip around Bodegas Tio Pepe was interesting and by far the more entertaining time of our trip. It is followed by a tasting of Tio Pepe itself and of Croft Original.

Our hotel had been chosen for its position, its price and its description on Booking dotcom.  Although we’d booked and paid to visit the Jeys Catedral Jerez, the hotel seemed to be called Hotel Belles Artes (as well?) – see my review on Trip Advisor.

IMG_1781 copy

Read Full Post »

The busy summer continues …

img_0329For the first few weeks since returning from Spain at the very end of June, life was a bit hectic. The first event of no small note was the birth of Betony (and Josh)’s baby – Chester Jax. He was born on July 3rd (and weighed just 5lbs – such a tiny thing). Chester is my step-Grandson (??), although I guess I will be Grandad to him or abuelo, if Josh speaks Spanish to/with him.

During July and early August, I had several nice long (and hot) walks. Tony and I went up above Rotcher as far as The Rose and Crown and then along Bradshaw Lane and Laund Road before descending back into Slaithwaite via Moor Side Lane and Meal Hill.  John R, Mark S and I followed much the same route but extended it along Crimea Lane, Slaithwaite Gate and the Golcar Lily Ginnel Trail as far as the canal – then back to Slaithwaite.

David T and I walked along the cycle track to Bradley and back along the canal – a route John R and I often follow on Tuesdays when we meet.  This is part of the Calder Valley Greenway, which meanders through pleasant countryside all the way through to Dewsbury, although we rarely walk beyond Mirfield (where a tasty lunch can be had at Café Nosh).

img_0342

Alone, I’ve walked to Huddersfield several times and to Marsden several more. I even walked to Marsden and back on the canal with Carol one day; it’s a nicer experience when there’s someone to talk with.

Now though, the weather has turned a little cooler and I’m not as inclined to bother (although I really should).  So, I’m looking forward to my return to Spain in September, where and when my ambulatory activities can recommence.

We’ve also had a variety of people come and visit us to see our new home and/or to wish Sharon a happy birthday.  It’s been lovely to see Chris and Paul, Karen, Karen and Darren, Carol, David and Gail, Emma, Ann, and Tony and Gill.

I’m writing this en-route to London, where I will undertake some training with City and Guilds. Down there, I will meet Alison (with whom I have visited India several times), Karen, and Sue.  This time it will be a new work venture – something to occupy my semi-retired time?

Read Full Post »

What has happened to table knives? 

When did they begin to lose their function?

blades

Function

The purpose of a knife is to cut, slice and chop – surely?  Yet, I’m not sure that table knives are designed to do that anymore.

Several times recently, especially in restaurants, I have been frustrated by having to use the knife provided, to ‘tear’ at the meat (etc.) on my plate, instead of actually cutting it.  I occasionally have had to retrieve a more robust vegetable, such as new potato, from wherever it has landed on the table after trying to cut it with my knife.

2knivesI’d be better off using a spoon!  

And, don’t even try to cut the nicely cooked almost al dente broccoli stem! Even Yorkshire Puddings fight back.

Design

Modern tableware is blunt.

It no longer serves its purpose and it’s probably down to some caring soul somewhere, thinking that we might cut ourselves. I do have sharp knives and the ones I use at the table, whilst not AS sharp, can at least cut whatever is placed in front of them.  However, not everyone has such knives anymore.

Some folks also (however), have ‘handed’ knives.

These are designed to make cutting easier for right-handed people.  Because there is a chamfer on one side of the blade, it allows the knife to have a sharper edge, but not one (apparently) that will allow the right-handed person to cut themselves.  However, unless this type of knife is specially designed for left-handed folks – they become impossible to use when in the hands of such southpaws.

See also Fish Knives why?.

Messerbank_2_fcm

Read Full Post »

I feel disenfranchised.

I really do. And so, I have to get this off my chest and put it somewhere to reflect on some years down the line.

I lost the 2010 election, because the Liberal party I voted for decided to aid and abet the Tory party I especially didn’t (and would never) vote for. I lost the 2015 election because the Labour party I voted for on this occasion, were, after five years in opposition, so weak and namby pamby that they didn’t have a chance!  Well, they sort of had a chance but were seen for what they are in Scotland and lost all their historic seats to an emergent Scottish national party – leaving the Tory ‘winners’ with a clear majority (on a 66% turnout) and free to wreak havoc on the NHS and our position in Europe.

The labour party; the one I voted for in 2015, were and are still in turmoil. The liberal party (the one I had traditionally voted for and whose social policies most closely matched my own views) were almost completely obliterated; their decision to back a vicious evil-banker-supporting, common-people-hating Tory party for five years – coupled with the fact that they dropped the most important policies they had campaigned for, made them factio non grata (or something like that).

Because Scotland had returned so many Scottish Nationalists (SNP) in 2015, it would seem that Labour have no chance of forming any government, at any time in the future, without the support of various Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish nationalist parties. Fair enough, that’s politics.

However, I even lost the IN v OUT referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU).

[A referendum on such an important matter should NEVER have been put to the populace. Never. Unlike a general election – where once we’ve cast our votes the successful party has five years to prove itself. Then at least, whether they like it or not, we get another chance to tell them what we think – this referendum result however, is permanent.]

Just less than 52% of my UK compatriots voted for OUT (on a 73% turnout). I was one of the just more than 48% to vote REMAIN. The fallout since that historic vote on June 23rd 2016 has been astonishing. Despite all of the information and (mostly) misinformation, from both sides, we are faced with a new regime, as the prime minister (who backed REMAIN) immediately resigned and left the celebrants to sort out the mess they had created.

AND what a mess!!!!

Just over one week later, leaders of the OUT campaign had failed to agree on a way forward and many had resigned (Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage). Some were even heard to retract the lies they had spouted during the long and windy campaign. Really? They hadn’t a clue what to do now!

So, the time between then and now (late July 2016) has been spent choosing (anointing) a new Tory Prime Minister, with vicious in-fighting in the labour party and with what to do with Article 50 (and when).

But events and decisions around those three issues are just too stagering to comment on, so just a few highlights:

  • Teresa May is P.M.
    • She appointed Boris Johnson as foreign secretary (!!!!!)
    • She sacked Michael Gove (yeah!)
    • She scares me
  • Jeremy Corbyn is labour leader (just)
    • He was balmed by media for the ‘out’ vote despite campaigning against his personal beliefs for ‘in’
    • There is a leadership battle within the labour party which seems to falling into Parliamentary Labour Party versus Members, and everything possible is being done by the PLP to prevent members voting for Corbyn. [I have thoughts on that too but not here and now]
  • Scotland, Gibraltar, London and Northern Ireland are all looking for ways to stay in Europe when/if (and ‘if’ is just as likely) Britain leaves.
  • Article 50 is a hot potato no one wants to be invoke or be responsible for.

REMAIN

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-news-second-eu-referendum-leave-voters-regret-bregret-choice-in-millions-a7113336.html

 

Read Full Post »