Saturday, June 30, 2012

La Fiesta de los Nanos

Can you image walking out of your home one day and there on the corner of the street is a rag doll caricature of you with a large sign pinned to it criticising you and even worse half the neighbourhood is there looking at it – strange, yet this is what happens every year in the middle of lent in a town called Cocentaina Valencia Spain.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hot Air Ballooning Spanish Style

The fear of heights soon left me when I became a steeplejack in the eighties, my grandfather, father and uncles were all steeplejacks and after walking up my first chimney I was set and stayed in the industry for twelve years, leaving for a higher earning potential.
Steeple-jacking in those days, we used relatively simple equipment to access Industrial Chimneys, Churches, Highrise Tower Blocks... knowing your equipment how to use it, its limitation and trusting those you worked with were the key things to survival in the industry. So getting into a hot air balloon and trusting a stranger and his equipment tweaked the feelings of that very first chimney climb.
They say that a little knowledge is dangerous when it came to hot air ballooning in Spain for the first time, too much knowledge made things a little scary.
I was on my way to Utah in the USA for a month to take my hot air balloon license and for three months before I had studied like mad reading everything ten times and some, so I would pass hopefully with ease, at the last minute the trip was canceled. I decided to get some flights in locally in Spain.
The stages from getting the basket out, inflating it, to the equipment check and the long brief on how to conduct yourself and finally what to do when we come to land, also the opportunity to ask a few questions about the safety of the balloon for reassurance was translated into one word VENIR – Come, followed by VENIR AQUÍ RÁPIDO - come in here fast!
We then Shuttle launched to 4000 feet – Who needs a girly safety-brief.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Moving to France

Compact and bijou as we all know means - extremely small and elegant. The reason for this parlance is to cover the fact that the property must be well over priced and the buyer Benefits from “arguably” nothing. This use of the Estate Agents Dictionary just adds to the apprehension and mistrust of the buyer.

On one house viewing in Cowes Isle of Wight – several years ago. We were particularly drawn to a property via the Estate Agents description and within our budget. The main focus being that it needed up grading, had a large garden and sea views.

When we arrived we agreed – the place did need reforming. We were dishearten by the fact that the large garden was the sole access for the other houses on this side of the street, but what really blew the deal was the sea views.

The bedroom to the rear of the property had a mirror stuck on the window reveal and if you looked at it you called just see the sea. The bathroom window had a VW beetle mirror stuck on the reveal – Presumably, just in case you get caught short for a view.

No wonder people disbelieve from the disposition of some Estate Agents. Another encounter with an Estate Agent, this time, in France – I was skeptical from the beginning...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Living in Spain

Living in Spain it made sense to write about my favorite places so I started with the first area I moved to over ten years ago, a town on the coast of Alicante called Villajoyosa this town even though it has a few northern European expats is very Spanish and traditional and celebrates fiestas to the max and especially the Moors and Christians, because they are on the Mediterranean coast they add a special twist called desembarco, where they stag a sea battle.
The second village is Jalon in the Jalon valley famous for its bodegas (wine cellars), Saturday flea market and picturesque scenery.
I have also written a staycation lens about my home town of Polop inland from the popular holiday resort of Benidorm Costa Blanca. This is a quiet village in the middle of some major tourist attractions, including the famous waterfalls called the Fonts de Algar.

New to Squidoo

I've been writing lenses on Squidoo and I’m coming up to my third month, the help that you receive is amazing and the support from a lot of the other lensmasters is encouraging.
So far I have written 38 featured lenses with the most popular being my first. I think that has a lot to do with the uniqueness of the subject, Encaustic Painting on a Candle.
I was once invited to be an art director for a new company and train a multilingual mixture of artist from all over Europe this technique, which was difficult as artist have large egos coupled with the fact that everything was done in Spanish.
After a few days the results were fantastic and proved not only can anything be achieved with Encaustic paint but also on candles.
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