The first 4 days of 2013

The first days of the New Year have been a wonderful illustration of the range of skills needed to survive here.
Before Ray left for England in his camper van he helped me to dismantle and clean the pot-bellied stove with its long, tar-filled metal chimney pipes. That is a job that needs doing at least twice a year, depending on the wood one burns. Then I had to clean the mess we had made in the bothy.
I cooked three haggis from the livers and lights of two suckling pigs killed by the brother-in-law of one of the pupils with whom I conduct free English conversation classes – a quid pro quo gift.
I also mixed two baked orange and almond cheese cakes from excess Kefir yogurt which I make for myself, as well as Kombuchu tea, all very healthy alternatives to expensive, probiotics and soda drinks. The surplus was exchanged with friends for home-made sausage, black pudding and date and walnut cake, brocolli and winter squash.
Next day the warden from the local nature reserve came to investigate our otters. Then I translated a Catalan document from the Town Hall about barriers to the emancipation of Spanish women. After that I did the washing.
Yesterday my loo cistern plunger broke and I balanced at the top of a stepladder with a mirror and a piece of rusty wire to effect repairs to the old chain-pull tank.
In the evening a more modern challenge was offered by Trojan viruses in my computer necessitating a safe-mode trouble-shooting session and a system restore, before I could put in my two hours’ copy-writing on the topics of “Optimizing Storage Space” and a “Space Museum in U.S.” Then my printer decided it had no ink in spite of a set of new cartridges. I haven’t solved that yet so I had to move some research on herbal remedies for Polycystic Ovaries to a memory stick, find a way to open another corrupt program and transfer the info to another friend’s computer so she could send it to a sufferer in U.K. She rewarded me with a Tupperware container of Chinese egg Fou Yong.
At 10 a.m. today, her husband presented himself complete with chain-saw to cut some wood on my finca, half for them and half for me. I used a smaller chain-saw (which he calls my “nail file”) and a small sledge hammer to break up the thinner branches for kindling.
On returning I was able to catch up with the lorry with Propane and Butane bottles to exchange the empty from the finca which was in my car boot. That saved me a trip to Flix.
It is still only midday on January 4th. and I am supposed to be an invalide and retired. But it certainly beats an old folks’ waiting room for death in Blighty.

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