Travel in your Sixties. Comfort is important. Fun too!

We used to have a home in Albir for about 20 years, living in it for 8 years.  We decided to revisit Albir to reminisce and chose the Albir Playa Hotel and Spa.  We went for bed and breakfast as we wanted to visit favourite restaurants in the area.  The breakfast was excellent with plenty of choice and a decent orange juice.  As our flight home was in the evening, we asked for a late check out, but being a Saturday the hotel was full but the reception staff offered us use of the spa to change etc.  We didn’t use it, as we didn’t want to keep opening our cases to change clothes, so we didn’t get to see the spa.  Hopefully next time.  If we go again, we would ask for a sunnier balcony even if it overlooks Lidl.  We did try lunch on our departure day and we had no complaints really. There was plenty of choice and a Spanish family asked for the show cooking to appear.  We speak reasonable Spanish so would do the same. Had to buy a bottle of wine as they don’t do wine by the glass.  I couldn’t finish it on my own and my husband was driving.  In the evenings we like to have a cold drink late at night, before sleep and I rang down to ask for ice as Lidl was closed.  I was surprised to be quoted 25 euros for a bucket of ice.  Needless to say we found some somewhere else.

The room was fine and the fridge useful.  Didn’t mind paying for the safe as it was better than not having one available.

The pool area was very nice and there were plenty of sunbeds in May.  Could have done with a few more umbrellas.  The pool bar was handy and offered food too.  We didn’t try the food as we were busy going to Altea, Albir and Benidorm…we hired a car which we parked in the street next to the hotel free of charge.  Sunday was difficult to find a space with the new Sunday market nearby.

The hotel bar was nice and they do a mean Negroni.

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Do You Remember Mad Cow Disease?

 

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy is a disease of the nervous system in cows and is caused by proteins called prions infecting the brain. The disease affected the UK’s beef industry in the late 80s and early 90s, meaning it wasn’t possible to export British beef for years.

Or what about Edwina Currie in 1988 when she was junior health minister in the UK, revealed that most eggs in Britain were infected with salmonella?  Two weeks later, she was forced to resign.  Nowadays Lion branded eggs are considered to be safe to eat by the elderly and pregnant.

What about bird flu?  It hit the headlines in 2004 as a pandemic.  The outbreak originated in Thailand and Vietnam and a large number of people died.

So what do you think about the latest scare regarding sugar?  I used to live in Trinidad and saw the sugar cane growing in the fields.  Is it not, therefore, a vegetable.  What about maple syrup.  Does it not come from a tree?  Does that make it a vegetable?

 

 

Is Sunday lunch your cocktail time?

The cocktail of the moment in London seems to be the Negroni so I have started to have just the one before Sunday lunch which is sometimes a typical roast but more often a takeaway.  They are rather strong, so I prefer just the one.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any orange peel, so haven’t included a photo today.  Hopefully, I will add one soon.  The bitter taste certainly gives me an appetite and today we are having Iranian takeaway of Chello Kebab Koubideh which is two skewers of minced baby lamb served with grilled tomato and saffron rice. The first picture is of crispy rice patties.

My significant other has made a side dish at home of fresh okra topped and tailed in tomato sauce, yummy to pour

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over the kebab and rice with a vegetable towards our ten a day.  I doubt we will make 10 today but we almost got there yesterday with onions, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage, carrots etc.

Looking forward to reading what others have for Sunday lunch.

They say strangers don’t speak to each other in London!

Yesterday, I went to an exercise class in Kensington and spoke to a few people in the class. As the journey home clashed with schools out, I decided not to get my usual bus from Notting Hill Station as I’d be lucky to get a seat, so walked to Holland Park to get a quieter bus.  After 10 minutes the other person at the bus stop gave up waiting.  A policeman passed me and then 5 minutes later came back to the bus stop, noting I was reading the times of the buses and looking at my watch.  He  told me the bus would be here any second as he’d checked with the latest technology.  Then I got chatting to a lady on the bus who admired my mini tote bag from Kensington Palace and we had a chat till her bus stop. Walking home from my bus stop I stopped to let a lady teaching her son how to use his camera to photograph his nana.  If I carried on walking, I would have ruined his photo and they stopped me to thank me.  Who needs the new badge the tube are handing out saying “Tube chat?”

Bathing Your Cat

Why bathe your cat?  Cats spend hours a day washing themselves.  In fact, most do manage to keep themselves clean without any additional help from us.  However, there are times when your cat may need a bath:

  • When covered with a substance you don’t want them to lick off and ingest, such as oil, pesticides, or cleaning powders and fluids.
  • When you need to bathe your cat with medicated shampoo to treat the skin for fleas or as prescribed by a vet.
  • When you are showing your cats – a thorough bath a few days before the show is usually desirable.

For these reasons, it might be better to get your cat acquainted with the bathing concept when still young.  Small kittens rarely take exception to slightly warm water if you approach the job with confidence and soothing talk.  Then when you have that emergency and need to bathe your cat, the procedure will be familiar, although some will not tolerate it at all.

However, if you must bathe your cat, it should be groomed first.  By grooming first, you will remove any unwanted hair and knots which will prevent the shampoo from getting through the coat.  If your cat is wearing a collar, don’t forget to remove it.  Bathing should not be done too often as this removes the natural oils from the skin.  If you use shampoos not suitable for cats, then you may damage the skin and coat.  The oils that are in the coat help in waterproofing and insulation.

If you are thinking to bathe your cat, perhaps you can use the kitchen sink or bathroom basin.  It’s a good idea to put a non-slip mat on the bottom to stop your cat from slipping and sliding, as well as protecting your sink or basin from being scratched.  The water for bathing your cat in should be about the same as the cat’s body temperature.  Make sure you wet the coat thoroughly before adding the shampoo.  When wetting the coat you can help to steady the cat by gently putting your hand under the chin.  Even then, they may not stand too well.  If that is the case, then gently hold onto the two front legs with one hand, while bathing with the other.  Remember to use only a special cat shampoo as they lather less and make it easier to rinse from the coat, especially if your cat doesn’t like standing in the water for too long.  Talk to the cat to reassure it, it helps to keep everyone calm.  Start shampooing at the top and work down.  Firstly along the back and neck area, then the tail and bottom, next the legs and feet.  Lastly wash the head area, most cat shampoos don’t cause much irritation if they get into the eyes, but do try to avoid doing this if possible.  Sometimes it is easier to leave the head until the cat is out of the water.  Use a facecloth and gently wash the face using clean, warm water and no shampoo.

Once you are sure that you have shampooed the cat all over, then rinse it top to bottom.  Repeat the rinsing process until you are sure that all the shampoo has been washed off, using your hands to gently squeeze the coat to get rid of the excess water.  The next step is to dry the cat.  Some cats will tolerate a hairdryer, but only if they have been accustomed to it from a very early age.  Others will need to be towel dried.  If using a hairdryer, remember to set it at a low temperature and move it around.  Don’t concentrate on one place for too long at a time.  After drying, one last groom will finish off the whole process of grooming and bathing your cat.  If you are towel drying it, then please keep your cat in a warm place until it is completely dry.  Once completely dry, comb through the coat again.  This will remove any hairs that were missed before bathing.

Bathing can be quite traumatic for all concerned and may need more than one pair of hands as well as a lot of patience.  If you groom your cat regularly, and it has a healthy balanced diet, there should be no need for bathing as the coat will be glossy and healthy.

Minced Lamb, Tomatoes, Chickpeas and Aubergine Medley

Ingredients 

1 white onion, diced

500g of minced lamb

1 tin of chickpeas

4 large aubergines sliced into rings

4 large tomatoes sliced

A tin of chopped tomatoes

A large dollop of tomato purée

4 garlic cloves peeled and pushed through a garlic press

500 ml of stock, vegetable, lamb or chicken

Salt and pepper

Olive oil to fry

Method 

Fry the aubergines in 3 batches adding more oil as needed.  When softened, drain with a slotted spoon  and leave on a plate covered in 2 pieces of kitchen paper to soak up the excess oil.

In a clean frying pan, add some more olive oil with the onions and fry until translucent.  Add the garlic, tomato purée and minced lamb, stirring and frying for 5 minutes.  Pour in 500ml of stock and bring to the boil.  Turn the heat to a simmer and stir in the chick peas and tinned tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper, then simmer for 30 minutes until cooked.

Add the fresh sliced tomatoes and cover with a glass lid.  Continue to simmer for 10 minutes until the tomatoes cook.

Serve with white rice and a mixed chopped salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.