Summer Breeze

This summer finds us at our home in Bexhill on Sea. Which according to our family in Spain, is a good thing. They are all decidedly fed up of the 40 degree plus temperatures that are the norm there right now, rather than the exception. We are getting used to four seasons in one day. Loving the sunshine when we have it and racing outside to enjoy it. Joining in the with locals when it rains saying “oh well, it’s good for the garden”!

I haven’t managed to grow basil outdoors in England yet, so am sticking with my pot on the kitchen window sill.

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Outside in our little garden though, we’re making the most of every tiny bit of space and growing a few vegetables for the pleasure of seeing them grow. Green beans are happy climbing up against the wall and the first teeny tiny beans are starting to appear. Big Man is very entertained by the fact that the flowers in England are red. In Spain they’re white and he never believed me until this year that they are different. Oh he of little faith.

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We planted tomatoes which are starting to produce strange shaped fruit – we can’t remember what we planted – so we’re just waiting to see if they’ll turn red or we’ll be eating a lot of tomato chutney or fried green tomatoes this year.

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Various chilli plants also went in, but the little sticks telling us which were which were “reorganised” by the dogs at the time of planting so we have no idea what we’re going to end up with. We do have a very beautiful black chilli which is ready to be picked, so fingers crossed it’s a hot one!

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The parsley and rosemary are doing well, and the chives are happy doing their own thing.

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We also bought some mint roots from Spain (it seems to have a more delicate leaf than the plant we bought in England and is lovely in salads and infusions). The plants (grown in a recycled strawberry planter) are just starting to really get going.

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Of course, there’s room for flowers too, most of which were already here, I love the strong colours we’ve got. The white geraniums were grown from cuttings from a plant we had in a small pot.

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The pears continue to grow, hopefully we’ll get a lovely crop in the early autumn.

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And the dogs, naturally, are always on hand to offer advice, help with the digging and showing us the sunniest spots when we need to take a little breather.

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Sorry about the picture overload but the light was so lovely today…it made me happy to think how much you can do with just a little outdoor space.

 

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Big Man´s Birthday

 
Birthday Roses from our garden

Now, I am very much of the opinion that birthdays are to be celebrated.  Whether you´re 4, 24, or 94….life is a wonderful celebration and what better than to mark the start of a new year in your life than with a little something special.

Big Man came from a very large family, and once he and his siblings had gone beyond the age of celebrating with a small cake and a cup of hot chocolate all round, birthday celebrations became a thing of the past. Then he met a crazy English/Italian woman who wanted to live in Spain with him, and who loved to mark an occasion with a bottle of something and a cake.  The poor dogs were “christened” so many times that they began to get over excited every time we opened a bottle of Cava.

Yesterday we took a day out for ourselves and went to visit a town I had not previously been to.  About 100km away from us (albeit by some very twisty mountain roads) lies the beautiful Baroque town of Priego De Cordoba.

The day was hot and humid.  This was unexpected as we had dressed for cooler weather.  First we had a wander through the little alleys of the old town.  For me, geraniums are the typical flowers of the Mediterranean and the people of the Province of Cordoba are rightly very proud of their patios and displays of flowers.

Geranium Heaven
Peaceful Patio

 

When the heat became too much we retired to the courtyard of a restaurant in the shadow of the old castle. While we tried to make our minds up over what to eat we dithered over ordering a cold beer or a glass of Gazpacho to quench our thirst.  Oh well, “just order both” we thought, and what a great idea that was.

Decisions, Decisions...

Cold glasses of wine followed with an amazing starter which was called “Sephardic Salad” on the menu.  It consisted of a selection of vegetables slowly braised in olive oil and garlic and served cold with lots of bread and small local twisted breadsticks to dip and dunk.

"Sephardic" Salad

Main course was Rabo de Toro, or oxtail cooked slowly with pink peppercorns and served with sauté potatoes.  Delicious. When I can figure out how to do it I´ll add a link to my recipe for this.  Sorry, I´ve tried but can´t seem to work it out!

Rabo De Toro with Pink Peppercorns

We were too full for pudding but ordered strong coffees with a separate glass of ice.  You add sugar to your hot coffee if you take it, then pour the coffee over the ice and wait a moment for it to chill your coffee.  Perfect.

Spanish Iced Coffee

Suitably refreshed we headed into the castle and I overcame my fear of heights to climb to the top of the tower for some beautiful views of the city.

Feeling wobbly...but it was worth it for the viewA quiet spot outside the Castle walls

 

Then we headed back through the old streets to what used to be the “Royal Butchers and Slaughterhouse”.  Sounds grisly, but it was a beautiful, shady patio with a fountain bubbling away in the centre of a columned courtyard. 

Just a perfect day...

We stopped a while and just soaked up the atmosphere.  Big Man agreed that birthdays are most definitely for celebrating, it was a very special day.