Saturday, 12 November 2011

Start spreading the news...

I'm leaving today. Well, not really but soon. The thirtybythirty celebrations will continue with a proper holiday. I am off to Nyew Yoyrk! Soon! Whoop whoop! If you are a seasoned visitor to the Big Apple or indeed a bone fide New Yorker please do feel free to suggest places to go, see and eat.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Home, sweet home

Back in Blighty and boy does the temperature tell me I am home.

Managed to catch a flea market in the last day in Roquetas, bit pricey but some nice stuff (mainly toy prams and typewriters).

Did buy this lovely little Venus Perfect Pencils tin for a song though.

Friday, 4 November 2011

If we took a holiday...

Not sure this really counts as a holiday but for the purposes of thirtyturningthirty this is as close to holiday as I'm going to get so here's a few days worth of Item 26 - Holiday.

I'm visiting Jonathon and Brother Joe in Roquetas de Mar (Little Rocks of the Sea), which is where J's teaching job is. Roquetas de Mar is quite a smallish town on the south coast of Spain with a bit of an industrial feel, mainly due to the large plasticos (green houses) which surround the area. 

The nearest city to Roquetas is Almeria (The Mirror of the Sea) which is a beautiful place, full of Moorish history, winding streets and a working port, sort of like a mini Valencia or Malaga. We've taken two trips to Almeria over the past few days. On the first visit we took a stroll around the main streets, visited a gallery (owned by a bank - novel?) and a hike up into the hills where there's an old fort, The Alcazaba. The Alcazaba is a mighty impressive structure, it tells of centuries of feuds between Muslims and Christians, the castle has Islamic architecture with geometric patterns and structured gardens, similar to the Alhambra, with lots of ancient christian graffiti and crucifixes carved in to the walls. The second trip was to visit the Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía, which is a bit of a hidden gem, where we saw a retrospective of Édouard Boubat's work and Tim Parchikov's Suspense.

Almeria also has a a Zara, Pull and Bear, Bima y Lola :)

Yep, when Santa's not filling sacks and hopping down chimneys he's having a few jars at Malaga's Beer Fest.

Jonathon had a long weekend at the beginning of the week (the Spanish like their public holidays, which by me, is no bad thing) so the three of us decided to take a road trip to Malaga (pics above and below), stopping overnight at my nan's flat in Arroyo de da Miel (near Benalmadena). The trip started out brilliantly (note the can of Alhambra and some lovely potato crisps for the drive), we ate too much lovely food and drank too many mojitos, and got louder and louder with each establishment we drank at having a really lovely time until the night was dampened slightly by the theft  loss of Jonathon's phone and wallet. (If anyone reading this knows Jonathon, you will also know this is not the first time he has lost his phone/wallet. It's certainly not the third or fourth time. It's probably not even the ninth. And let's not kid ourselves, it won't be the last. But of course, it wasn't lost this time, it was stolen, right Brother Joe?). On the plus side of things, it did lead to a ride in the back of a Spanish police car and an hour wait in Malaga police station (at 3am) while J filled out forms and explained that a a poor beggar woman had taken his belongings. (To be fair to J, she did try and put her hands down his jeans.)

Back to Roquetas and whilst J's at work me and Brother Joe have rest of the working day to ourselves to wander the town. The best thing about Roquetas de Mar has to be the Chinese shops. They are amazing, imagine Poundland, Wilkos and the corner shop having a one monster, giant baby . Full of, well, just stuff really, aisles and aisles of stuff. Stuff that's probably killing the world in its production but is fun and colourful and is absolutely vital to own when you're in the store. We didn't buy any of the novelty bells (below) but we did buy a hole punch (needed), a pencil case (always needed), toothpaste (yep, definitely needed), plastic make up bags (necessary for flight home), novelty tweezers (probably necessary) and tomorrow we're going back to buy an orange tortilla frying pan* for Helga (vital). 

Last night was salsa night and I'm pretty much up to speed now with the blogging. We ate until we hurt but it tasted soooo good, even if we say so ourselves. 

*Not just any old frying pan, no. These babies are two frying pans together, allowing an easy flip for even cooking on both sides. Genius.

Wanna pizza this?

Not too much to say, films, pizzas and friends. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday night. More of these please chums.

Seven Mile Stare

Next up, a gig.

The night of 17 Oct was spent at the Head of Steam watching Seven Mile Stare, which includes a guitar playing gent, friend and husband of a very fine London chum, Mr Christopher Chatfield. The band were very good, all grungy and Pearl Jam-like. Mrs Georgina Chatfield (nee Arnold) and Chris mistakenly came up a week early for this gig so happily spent my actually birthday celebrating with me.

No such thing as a free lunch?

Well, there's certainly no such a thing as a free (full English) breakfast either, as we found out on our first ever visit to the shiny new Tilley Stone. With the fryers broken, no veggie sausages, no alternatives and no warning (as we were greeted at the door) of the low stock levels for just about everything, we were sorely disappointed with our opening (complimentary) meal offers for Gateshead's very own Wetherspoon pub.

Meals (and venue, generally) aside this Sunday brunch was by far one of the best breakfast outings in a long time having spent it in the company of the lovely Mel and Charlie, who were only just back in Blighty after a year of living in New Zealand. It was very nice to have them temporarily 'home' before they set of for their new ventures in Scotland. 


Dear J D Wetherspoon,

Please note for future reference. You cannot make up for hash browns, sausages and fried eggs with an excessive amount of butter in the mushrooms.

Thank you.

Happy Drawing

A drawing party with lots of strangers and children. The Big Draw, organised and hosted by Set of Drawers and included as part of the Design Event programme, was, well, a bit of a success, really. 

We had tons of people turn up, from toddlers (with guardians, of course), to teenagers, students and old folks, groups, couples and families, all ready to join in with our drawing party on the theme of Happiness. In one room, we covered every surface in paper (including a table and armchair) and asked people to draw on it all, or make something to wear out of paper, or draw their face for the rogues wall or decorate a cake and then eat it. It was super fun (even with a hangover).