Christmas Dinner.

Eating out on Christmas day was always a no-no for me, to the point where I’d stick my fingers in my ears and say “not listening” repeatedly if someone suggested the idea, childish huh? Maybe, I’ve worked in the restaurant trade and I know that any love that goes into preparing your food tends to go out the window and the money factor comes to the fore, how many sittings can we do? what is the average time a table will be used? and the diners are herded like sheep, eat, pay and go. That’s not for me, and until recently, I wouldn’t entertain the idea of going to a restaurant on Christmas day, besides, I cook better than most restaurants anyway 🙂

We were renting a house in 2010, and that winter was one of the wettest on record in Spain. Therain01 rivers that normally trickle in winter were flowing full on, and so was the house we were living in. Thinking that it doesn’t rain in Spain often, the owners cut corners when they reformed the house and got a Bodgit and Leggit style building company to do the work. The house, set against a rock wall wasn’t waterproofed, and when it rained heavily, the water poured into the house, through the fuse box (!) so we had no power, and everything was wet. Vanessa was wearing a pair of wellies in place of slippers. It just so happened that the local radio station was running a competition to win a two night break in a nearby hotel over Christmas, having a mind that retains the most useless information, I entered and won, woo hoo, the Universe provides. We were so thankful for this, and any fears I had in eating out on Christmas day were forgotten. The parsnip soup starter was awesome, then a fillet of trout, done to perfection, and I should have stopped there, the actual Christmas dinner was, well ahem, I have never eaten a TV dinner (except for the occasional frozen lasagne) but this is what I imagine them to look like, except for the sprig of parsley, maybe that was there to make everything look and taste better?¿! The stuffing was bland (and perfectly square?¿!) and the turkey was so dry you could strike a match on it. I’m not a big fan of the “traditional” Christmas meal, but as I looked around the room I saw a lot of other disappointed faces.  Because it was free, we were happy, but I would hate to think how much that meal was, it is a three-star hotel. Never again.

10841551_10202097947208662_585455493_nThen next year, (now living in a different house that is dry), my Mother came down for the Christmas break. I offered to cook, (begged more like), but I knew that I was fighting a losing battle as with (at the time), six cats in a small house and a slightly asthmatic Mum, there was no chance. We were going out to eat again. BUT, the restaurant we ate in, which happens to be our local bar has only a small dining room, about thirty covers, and serves the most amazing food, best of all there was no rush as they only have the one sitting. Finally, a place where the love for the food is apparent, each course was lovingly created, and the price is not extortionate either. So, the point of the post, if you happen to be in the region of Finca La Mota at Christmas, or anytime, pop in, the food is awesome.

Having just read this back, you may think this is an advert, honest it’s not, but if you read this Daniel or Reuben, a free pint wouldn’t go amiss 😉

Put the wood in the ‘ole

“Put the wood in the ‘ole”, that’s what my grandfather used to say when anyone left a door slightly ajar. Him and Nan had a cold house with no central heating, and trying to heat it through was next to impossible on a state pension, so they lived in one room and woe betide if you left that door open.

One of the very few low points of living in Spain is keeping warm in the winter, our house is lovely in the summer, wonderfully cool, we come inside for a break from the searing temperatures. In the winter though, b-b-b-brass monkeys. Our front door is metal and acts like a negative radiator. There’s no central heating here either, just a wood burner, which is great but, it’s placed inside a fireplace and doesn’t do what it should do. These things are supposed to be free-standing to heat the room through, ours just heats the chimney and the two foot in front of it. Ho hum. At least the kids are happy.

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Two of the “kids”, Heidi and Lady.

This is this winters supply of wood, or “good” as our landlord calls it, (he speaks English really well*, but trips up on the “w”, getting him to say good wood is a constant source of amusement for Vanessa). Normally we get olive wood, it’s cheap and slow burning, the only thing is it doesn’t burn very hot. So this year we got a sack of olive and one of oak. Trouble is, mister arborist here can’t tell the difference between the two woods and thought we’d been delivered two sacks of olive. We do have a meter that’ll decide which is which though, if the cats are sprawled in the centre of the room, the wood is hot, if they are pressing their noses against the glass, that’ll be the olive.

*We have bilingual conversations where he speaks in English and we speak in Spanish, most confusing?¿!