Archive | September 2014

Maxi-rant 11: The killer comma

Do you use commas correctly?

Flaming English by Anna Nolan

Although my instinct is to proffer profuse apologies for my four-week silence, I have, by now, divested myself of any illusions that my writing is of particular importance to anybody but me. Thus, chances are that nobody has missed my musings – but if you have, both a hallelujah and an apology are in order. We are having a most glorious September, and I have been roaming our fabulous mountains more or less non-stop since my last post. Today’s murky interlude has given me the opportunity to tackle one of the killer commas infesting writing as far as the eye can see. It goes like this.

“Where’s Doug?”

“No longer with us, I’m afraid.”

“Oh dear, how awful!”

“Indeed.”

“When did it happen?”

“Nearly a month ago.”

“Did you attend?”

“Attend what?”

“The funeral, of course.”

Whose funeral?”

“Doug’s – of course.”

“What do you mean Doug’s:

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The Elusive Tractor

At the weekend, we spotted a tractor with its ‘umbrella’ duly deployed!  See previous post for an explanation! So, I managed to get some action photos for you…

 

As the upside down umbrella wrapped itself around the tree, the unfolding of the umbrella segments looked exactly like a dragon unfurling its wings.  Really!  I was captivated!  And this particular piece of machinery didn’t vibrate.  There was a man sitting inside the umbrella, and, at each tree, once the wings were unfurled, he stood up and started bashing with a stick!

 

On that same walk, we ran into Paco, our mate the shepherd.  He very kindly gave us some fresh tomatoes, chillies and peppers from his allotment.  Now, he said the little ones were very hot chillies.  We’re not so sure as they don’t appear to be any different when cooked than the peppers.  Maybe his idea of hot doesn’t match ours!  Anyway, the peppers are delicious. So much tastier than shop bought ones.

 

 

 

We were recently given some tomatoes straight off the plant in our friends’ garden and they too are amazingly sweet and delicious.

 

And finally, as a bonus, here’s our little Rio with a squished up nose snoring peacefully!

 

Rio snoring

 

 

 

 

©Natalie Murray, 2014. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.

With September Comes the Almond Harvest

It’s almond harvesting time here in Almeria.  Apparently, the harvest usually starts around the second week of September, but this year, due to very low rainfall, the harvest started early, in August.  Our local ironmonger told me this.  Most of Spain closes down in August.  It’s far too hot to do much, so most people take their annual leave.  Anyway, said ironmonger took his holiday the last two weeks of August but found that he was constantly harrassed by phone calls from farmers needing their harvesting tractors repairing.

The two main ways of harvesting here are either by bashing the trees with sticks until the almonds fall onto a waiting net, tarpaulin, etc. or, attached to a tractor is a machine which looks like a large upside down umbrella. This machine vibrates, again shaking the almonds from the trees and they collect inside the ‘umbrella’.

 

Unfortunately this tractor was filling up not actually in the fields harvesting, but you get the idea about the umbrella thingy!

Unfortunately this tractor was filling up not actually in the fields harvesting, but you get the idea about the umbrella thingy!

 

 

 

 

The upside down umbrella!

The upside down umbrella!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I visit the local market here every Friday for our fruit and veg, I always buy almonds as well.  They come in various ‘flavours’!  Our favourites are the peeled and salted, and the honey roast.  They’re great for snacking on and whipping out when we have unexpected visitors.  We also crush them and add them to savoury dishes, often of the curried variety.  Well, the hubby does, as he does most of the cooking around here!

So, August was a tad warm, and, as I said, Spain slows down a bit and we did too.  However, I did manage to complete the last assignment of the proofreading course. Yay! I’m just waiting now for the results.  I’m hopeful.  I did well in the previous assignments.  This was, though, the hardest of all.  But if I don’t believe in me, who will?

 

It’s also ‘vendimia’ (grape harvest) time in many parts of Spain.  We used to live in the north of Spain, Burgos region, and wine is very big there.  In fact, our favourite wine is from that region; it’s delicious!  Check it out here.

Although there are vineyards in Almeria, there are none in close proximity to us.  However, some of our neighbours have a few grapevines!  Not enough to run a bodega, but perhaps they can manage a couple of bottles for home consumption!  Anyway, out on the trail recently, we witnessed the marriage of an olive tree and a vine!

 

Intertwined!

Intertwined!

 

 

Luscious grapes!

Luscious grapes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet 'n' Sour?

Sweet ‘n’ Sour?

 

 

And this very morning, when I took the dogs out, I revelled in the tranquility.  It was absolutely quiet, apart from the odd tweeting of a bird.  The kind of quiet that rings in your ears. And the dogs enjoyed the sun on their backs and sniffing around in the undergrowth.

 

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©Natalie Murray, 2014. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.