Our annual holiday is taking our little blue car, stuffed to the rafters, over the channel & down through France touring via logis hotels or UNESCO sites, and then into the Costa Brava to Tossa de Mar.
Now Tossa de Mar is stunning, romantic & still very much a holiday destination, all at once.
If the weather isn't good enough, we drive further, but this year had temperatures over 30, so we walk into the local estate agency, Finques Navarro that only speaks Spanish, and as usual, rent an apartment for a couple of weeks or more, this occasion was rental property 377.
get down on your bad self!
the only cd I'd packed in the car was Bill Withers, the best of ..............................
Luckily, I knew 3 songs to sing along to, but Tony finally cracked and refused to let me play it any more after my 20th rendition of "lovely daaaaaaay, lovely day lovely day lovely day"
& seemingly I was murdering "ain't no sunshine" at the "I know I know I know I know know know" bit.
So in Aigues Mortes
at the Cistercian festival within the city walls, I bought a refresher cd to break the music impasse.
Choral chants by a tattooed leather-clad chap, who sings like a girl called Luc Arbogast - here he is on youtube:
He was at the bar in the beer tent when I approached him to buy some sounds...............
I wasn't allowed to play that one in the car either, for some reason.
So on we drive without music, from Aigues Mortes, to Tossa de Mar
painting in Spain
So, the deal is, I set up my easel wherever I lay my hat, with medium and canvas & paint
This was on the beach looking out to a rock formation, protected by a spirited tree growth which sort of reminded me of the beach umbrellas around me as I worked
Day One, is just getting the canvas covered, but with no detail or strength of colour.
Leave it to dry in the sun
Day Two, where it is almost finished now. I'll have to work on the sea in the studio, but nothing more....
click on the image to see detailed brush strokes if you wish
I cut it off the stretchers with a stanley knife in order to get it onto that back parcel shelf of the car, but it's got home intact thank goodness, just needs a couple of touch-ups
not that great this year, in spite of it being my preferred cuisine.
Since I make quite a meal of cooking at home, we choose to keep it popular and simple on holiday. No elaborate restaurants or fancy frills eating.
But this year has floppy calamares a la romana, flabby overstuffed pizzas. Nothing special fish.
Here's a selection but it did lack something
The good dishes:
almejas al vapor, my favourite:
buñuelos de bacalao
the logis de france food in Orleans:
duck leg confit
offal terrine - in there somewhere
drinks in Spain
we managed to find a no-alcohol beer that didn't smell of vomit.
You can't even tell you're not getting tanked up on it, marvellous stuff when you need to pull in the reins a little
Estrella Damm, Free.
Tony keeps asking how to pronounce Estrella - just stay Australia - but it doesn't sink in.
Not like when he asked me what the Spanish for smelly finger was - show him/her the smelly finger. Unfortunately, dedo apestoso - that sunk in first time.
We did get looks each time he said it and laughed, how he laughed .... ha ha ha!
& cuarenta y tres = 43 with a coffee
memory lane for me. I love the stuff.
If you ask for a tia maria, the likelihood in Spain is you may be served 43: the local equivalent that is sherry, brandy & coffee flavoured liqueur rolled into one.
Tony getting vaporised in "the garden of atmosphere", it was supposed to cool you down, but was rather uncomfortable really
Me - haven't I got wobbly fingers! I really should delete this picture
Tony is supposed to be doing the V sign on his head, but he's not very good at it
and back home on the le Havre to Portsmouth ferry