Living in Spain and bringing up a Spanglish family during the current 'crisis' and trying various ways to make some 'dinero'. Enjoying life in the sun, crafting and blogging as much as possible.

30 Sep 2012

Lorca Flooding Aftermath

Lorca Flooding Aftermath
Source - Click here

Residents of Lorca, Murcia awoke this morning and were immediately faced with the destruction and devastation left behind by unprecedented rainfall and floods.
Several areas of the city have been completely washed away and many properties remain inaccesible or completely submerged.

Torrents of water have abated leaving behind vast areas of standing water. In some cases, the standing water is over 5 metres deep.

Military support has been quickly deployed to the worst affected areas and firefighters have spent most of the day searching submerged vehicles for survivors, clearing roads and pumping out water logged properties.

President of the Region of Murcia, Ramón Luis Valcárcel, has spent the day surveying the destruction and hearing from emergency personnel involved. Three official days of mourning have been announced.

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy has conveyed his deepest sympathies for those caught up in the disaster and vowed to do all that was possible to help.

For the families and friends of those who lost their lives he said “There are some things we cannot do” meaning lives could not be restored. The PM said he would ask EU partners to come to their aid.

Lorca’s annual feria (fair in English), a major date on the fiestas calendar in the city, have been cancelled after only 6 days as a mark of respect. The feria was due to run for another 8 days.

Residents in nearby Puerto Lumbreras, which was also severely hit, have had to contend with broken infrastructure, missing vehicles and deep mud. Home owners were overwhelmed by yesterdays deluge and the cleanup today.

Several areas of Lorca are once again without electricity tonight with the added problem of fresh running water supplies cut off.

Dream Googling

Since I decided to start 'Googling' key words from my dreams and seeing what images it conjures up on the internet I have not managed to remember any of my dreams by the morning. I am going to buy a notebook and write down words when I wake up in the middle of the night.

This morning I did remember my dream from last night and here is the image that came up in Google when I Googled the key words!

Prayer Flags at Everest Base Camp! - source of the photo

I have never heard of prayer flags so I looked up a description - seems like it might have been a lucky dream!!!

Prayer Flags 

Prayer Flags are inscribed with auspicious symbols, invocations, prayers, and mantras. Tibetan Buddhists for centuries have planted these flags outside their homes and places of spiritual practice for the wind to carry the beneficent vibrations across the countryside. Prayer flags are said to bring happiness, long life and prosperity to the flag planter and those in the vicinity. Dharma prints bear traditional Buddhist symbols, protectors and enlightened beings. As the Buddhist spiritual approach is non-theistic, the elements of Tantric iconography do not stand for external beings, but represent aspects of enlightened mind i.e. compassion, perfect action, fearlessness, etc. Displayed with respect, Dharma prints impart a feeling of harmony and bring to mind the precious teachings.
The prayer flag tradition is ancient, dating back thousands of years in India and to the shamanistic Bon tradition of pre-Buddhist Tibet. Bonpo priests used solid colored cloth flags, perhaps with their magical symbols, to balance the elements both internally and externally. The 5 colors of prayer flags represent the 5 basic elements: yellow-earth, green–water, red-fire, white-air, blue-space. Balancing these elements externally brings harmony to the environment. Balancing the elements internally brings health to the body and the mind.
Buddhists added their own texts to increase the power of the flags. There are ancient symbols, prayers and mantras for generating compassion, health, wish fulfillment, and for overcoming diseases, natural disasters and other obstacles. In this present dark-age disharmony reigns and the elements are way out of balance. The earth needs healing like never before. Prayer flags moving in the wind generate a natural positive energy. Acting on a spiritual level the emanating vibrations protect from harm and bring harmony to everything touched by the wind.

25 Sep 2012

Dream Googling

Yes this is a very strange subject to write about on a blog! BUT for years and years now I have had strange and vivid dreams. I used to keep a dream diary when I was younger although I destroyed it thinking people might lock me up with the wierd dreams I had - I swear a dream psychologist would quit after meeting me. I often wonder if there are hidden messages in dreams that you need to listen to.
Anyway just recently I decided that maybe I should remember some of the 'keywords' or details of the dream and then Google these words and see what the search brought up.
Anyway I am slightly more scared now after last night's dream brought this up on the search!

Now although this scary looking skeleton didn't feature in my dream - I do have many dreams about people with long arms attacking I am totally freaked out the subliminally this is what my dream 'googled'!

I will try and google more dreams in the this space!

Archaeological Dig Team 2004

I can't believe it is 8 years ago since I was stood in this very cave! in Cartagena, Spain as part of the 2004 dig team. I also worked for a week in Orce (before I moved here)

The following is taken from

Spain, Early People

We have been digging at sites in Orce and Cueva Victoria in South East Spain that have revealed the oldest evidence of humans in Western Europe. The rich archaeological and palaeontological record comes thanks to the special geology of the area. This is largely the result of ancient tectonic movements: about six million years ago, the Mediterranean Sea drew back and left an isolated saline lake system – marked Baza Lake on the map – that encompassed over 1500km. Thereafter, lake and fluvial deposits accumulated in the lake’s basin, until around 400,000 years ago when tectonic movements connected Baza Lake with the Guadalquivir valley. Today, a massive 600m of sediment has built up in the area creating one of Europe’s best sedimentary and palaeontological records of the past 6 million years. However, it is the period between 2 and 1 million years that is a key time to unlocking the secrets of the first human dispersion out of Africa.
Revelations at Orce
Orce has two main canyons that cut Baza’s palaeolake deposits. One of them, the Velez canyon, where our work has focused, is located near the shore of the palaeolake and is the ideal place to find mammal fossils. Indeed, we do not find mammal bones or stone tools in the central or deep areas of fossil lakes, but always near the shores where the fauna lived and, more to the point, died.
In 2001, we linked up with the charity Earthwatch and set up a project entitled ‘Early Man in Spain’ that has supplied us with funding and bands of volunteers. Our project has concentrated on five quarry sites located at different stratigraphic levels in the Velez Canyon. Starting with the oldest and moving to the youngest, we investigated Fuentenueva 1 (during 2002), Barranco del Paso (in 1991), Venta Micena (in 1982), Barranco León 5 (in 1995) and Fuentenueva 3 (also in 1995).
Discovered: oldest tools in Western Europe
We found evidence of human presence at the last three sites – the minimum estimated age for the sites is 1.3 million years for Venta Micena, 1.25 million years for Barranco León-5, and 1.2 million years for Fuentenueva-3. Evidence of our ancestors comprised fragmentary human fossil bones – a piece of an infant’s skull that included two parietal and the occipital bones, two humeral fragments and part of a molar. We also found hundreds of Oldowan-type tools made of flint or quartzite. Indeed, at the Barranco León we found over 100 tools surrounding the remains of an hippopotamus.
As readers will be aware, the Oldowan mode of production is the earliest of all human-made tools and was produced by our first stone-tool making relative, the handy-man, or Homo habilis. Homo habilis had leapt forward in terms of cultural and social progress: along side an increase of their brain capacity, they produced stone tools, and began to eat a different diet – one that seems to have included more meat (a diet seemingly comprising around 30% meat and 70% grains, vegetables and fruits). Moreover, Homo habilis was our first ancestor to move out of Africa.
Fuentenueva-3 was a particularly fruitful site, and we discovered many simple tools often represented by flakes and related cores. With these basic flakes it would have been possible for our ancestors to cut up the remains of large mammals such as hippos, elephants or horses. They would then have taken the meat to safe areas away from any threat from hyenas or sabre tooth tigers. We also discovered broken bones scored with cut marks made by stone tools. In addition, we noted the presence of limestone blocks (1-2kg) that come from the nearby Sierra de Orce. We think such blocks were transported to the site and used to break bones to obtain the marrow. Through digging these sites, we are beginning to build up a picture of the lives of the first human settlers in Spain, and the way they adapted to their new landscape.
Cueva Victoria, is near the Mediterranean coast, in the San Gines mountain close of the town of El Estrecho de San Gines in the Murcia region. It is a huge cave – with over 3km of galleries. Part of this cave was literally filled with sediment and mammal bones during Early Pleistocene times. Over 60 different species of vertebrates have been identified in this site including fragmentary human remains of a similar age to those in Orce region. The fossils are distributed in different rooms and galleries. The sediment rich in fossil once filled the whole cave but mining activity at the beginning of the 20th century removed most of this, and it can now only be found in the walls and ceiling of the cavity. Some of these deposits are also now found on the floor, but in a secondary position, mixed with large blocks of mined material.
Out of Africa
So how did our ancestors – and other beasts – get to Spain? We are proposing a migration across the Strait of Gibraltar from Africa into Spain during the Early Pleistocene. And it seems this traffic was two-way, with some European species – such as the bear Ursus etruscus – migrating down to Africa.
During that time, the tectonic activity between the African and Iberian plates would have meant that some Quaternary beaches would have been raised more than 100m in some places. Although we are yet to have a detailed palaeogeography of the Straits of Gibraltar, the movement of different animal types suggests favourable conditions for migration occurred during the Early Pleistocene. Since we were joined by other animals, it cannot be claimed that it was simply our special intelligence that allowed our handy-man ancestor to migrate, though of course this will have helped us on our journey.
This is the first time that such a route across the Straits from Africa and into Spain has been proposed. We consider that the new palaeontological and archaeological data presented above support the hypothesis for this passage of migration from Africa to Europe in the Early Pleistocene. These migrations should be contemporaneous to other, potentially more famous, routes of migration known to have occurred from Africa to the Levant corridor to the south Caucasus, or on towards Java in the East. Thus our work on the sites in South East Spain is adding whole new pieces to the jigsaw of our early past.

23 Sep 2012

Sea Sediment Jasper

Some of my new lines in jewellery available in my Etsy shop - Sea Sediment Jasper - It has been so popular that I have already sold out of all these designs......more coming soon and will be in stock in time for Christmas!

22 Sep 2012

Camping La Bolera

Now that the little monster is at school we are going to try and make Saturdays a special family day out. Today we decided to head over to the Jaen province up into the Sierra Cazorla mountains and to a little camp site we knew about, where there is a nice park and play area. Another reason we wanted to visit the area was to check out the camp site for a future visit. There is no website for this camp site but various other camping websites do mention it - just Google 'Camping La Bolera'. There are a few little wooden cabins to stay in however they are only available in the summer. We are going to brush the cobwebs off the tent and have a go at tenting as a family........this could be fun!!!....or not!

19 Sep 2012

Nautical Themed Gifts

I am now concentrating on my 'nautical themed' items - here is one of my new framed fused glass beach hut pictures. It features mini bunting made with washi tape and twine, polymer clay hibiscus flowers and a little sea shell.
See more ideas in my Etsy shop

17 Sep 2012

Hand Felted Gifts

Another one of my new lines for Christmas 2012 is hand felted items. Here are a few of the purses I currently have for sale on Etsy 

15 Sep 2012

Almeria, Spain Stars in Doctor Who


Doctor Who Town Called Mercy

Doctor Who: A Town Called Mercy filmed in Almeria, Spain. Image: BBC

If you happen to tune into this week’s episode of Doctor Who, A Town Called Mercy, you’ll notice it’s set in a surprisingly authentic-looking wild west town.

Authentic, at least, for a show that’s usually filmed in Cardiff. That’s because it was shot on location in Almeria, Spain, the setting for countless spaghetti westerns.
Filmmakers began flocking to Europe’s only desert back in the ’60s. The first film shot there was ‘Ojo por Ojo’ in 1957, which received a wide release and so brought Almeria’s landscapes to a wider audience. The first Almeria-set western was ‘Tierra brutal’ in 1961.
The heyday of Almeria’s film scene was the era of Sergio Leone: most of his Fistful of Dollars trilogy was shot at ‘Mini-Hollywood’, a wild-west set and now tourist attraction.
Almeria was also used in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, doubling for Aqaba in the famous scene where Lawrence’s rebels capture the town from the land, rather than, as expected, the sea.
More recently, it was the setting for the desert scenes in 1989′s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (remember the sequence with Indy on horseback, in which he battles a tank?).
Doctor Who in Spain
Doctor Who shooting in Spain. Image:
Now it’s the turn of another screen icon to land in Almeria. “Location shooting at this level is such a blast of fresh air for the show – wide open spaces and wide open skies!”, says Steven Moffat, executive producer of Doctor Who. “We have snowy mountains for the series opener, New York for the finale and along the way a full-blooded Western shot on location where all the best cowboy movies come from – Spain.”
(Those snowy mountains, incidentally, were the nearby Sierra Nevada in Granada, which the crew apparently lucked on while scouting the area.)
Mini Hollywood
Mini Hollywood in Spain (2003): authentic enough, bar the vending machines.
There are three wild-west towns left in the desert outside Tabernas, Almeria. Doctor Who shot at Fort Bravo and Mini-Hollywood, now called El Oasys, which was used for the Leone films. I visited Mini Hollywood in 2003, and it proved to be one of the most memorable places I’ve been – and not just in Spain. I loved the desert and could happily have stayed longer – I took some of the most striking pictures I’ve ever taken there.
Mini Hollywood itself was suitably convincing, especially with the barren cliffs behind, although closer to, you noticed Pepsi vending machines on each porch – not exactly what you’d expect.
Mini Hollywood
Mini Hollywood, now called El Oasys Parque.
Mini Hollywood was – and still is – home to a rather sorry zoo, with bedraggled animals sitting in cages in the heat. I visited in April, a decent enough time of year to go to a desert, and even I felt scorched when the sun came out.
I didn’t get to Fort Bravo while I was there, although I got very close while walking through the desert – it’s down a very long dirt track from the main road. Fort Bravo boasts a western town and a Mexican town, as well as an elaborate saloon. It’s open to the public and stages shoot-outs and horse rides for visitors.
Mini Hollywood
Some of Sergio Leone’s Dollars movies were shot at Mini Hollywood.
The third wild west park in Tabernas is the Western Leone set, which may still be open to visitors, though information on this is pretty scarce.
Tabernas desert
Tabernas desert.
A visit to Spain’s wild west is well recommended, though you’ll probably need a car (when I went, I took a local bus and had to ask to be left off outside Mini Hollywood). There are signs the Almeria tourist board is waking up to the area’s potential, having published a Spanish-language guide (PDF) to Tabernas’s film history, with some fairly detailed instructions on where to find the locations in Indiana Jones and the Dollars movies.
Tabernas desert
Tabernas desert, also the setting for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
(**By the way, this is not the first time Doctor Who has filmed in Spain: the 1985 serial The Two Doctors starring Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton was shot in a very hot-looking Seville, a trip for which the budget was apparently so small, the cast had to pay their own expenses. And the year before, they shot Planet of Fire in Lanzarote, where the volcanic landscape played a very convincing alien plant. End of geek facts.**)

A Den in the Park

Enjoying the weekend and a day without school! Ali found a little den in the park in Huescar - he thought it was great that we couldn't go in.......and played in it for ages!

11 Sep 2012

B&B Guestbook entry

Thankyou for such a wonderful week.
Ali youre a little dude, love you. Gonna miss
you guys love you all so much, but you
haven't seen the last of us. Good luck with 
your new arrival to the family Ami and give
Manolo a cheek pinch from me, lol 

10 Sep 2012

New Designs WIth Faux Sea Glass

Some of my new designs with the faux sea glass - more to come soon but all will be found in my Etsy Shop

Little Monster all Grown Up!

My little monster all grown up! - here he is on his first day at BIG school

9 Sep 2012

B&B Guestbook entry

Thank you for making us so welcome - again!
Great food and great company.
See you next year!! xx

6 Sep 2012

Cascamorras Baza Fiesta

This festival, held during the first week of September in Baza, in the north of Granada, is one of the more bizarre festivals celebrated in Spain each year. Its history lies in the discovery of a statue over 500 years ago.

Legend has it that after the Reconquest of Granada, whilst a labourer from Guadix was demolishing the Merced Convent in Baza, a statue of the Virgin was discovered in the rubble. Due to the location of the find the statue was swiftly adopted by the people of Baza, much to the annoyance of the residents of Guadix, who felt that it should be moved there since it was discovered by one of their own people.

It was agreed that if an Accitano, as the residents of Guadix were known, was able to enter Baza and reach the Merced without staining his clothes, he could recover the Virgin for Guadix. Despite the passage of time the tradition is still very much alive.

Now, every year on the 6 September a villager from Guadix dresses as an oddball character called 'Cascamorras' and travels the 3km to Baza, accompanied by a team of representatives, to stage an attempt to recapture the statue. The people of Baza dirty their faces and wait with coloured water and eggs with which to pelt the intruders, thus staining the clothes of Cascamorras and ensuring his failure.

Throughout the onslaught, Cascamorras and his team are given the chance to clean off in the fountains and recommence. However he never succeeds in his mission. On reaching Baza he becomes guest of honour for the town's next two days of partying, not returning to Guadix until 9 September, whereby, having failed to recapture the statue, he receives a further barrage of good natured missiles from the Accitanos.

This fiesta, with its ever increasing popularity, is a superb excuse for everyone from both Baza and Guadix to get thoroughy filthy and party for 3 days.

T-shirt I painted for Ali