Thursday, February 26, 2009

Join The Library

I used to love the library as a child. A bus trip into town and a couple of hours later I would be back at home with as many books as I could carry. I read for days on end and often had two or three books on the go at a time. A couple of years ago I had a look at our local library and was quite disappointed by the sorrow state that it was in and the pitiful choice that was on offer for both children and adults. However, about a week ago one of the grandmothers from the school mentioned that her grandson goes to the library every afternoon and I naturally wondered what was enticing him. So I took the girls and to my surprise, they seem to have invested a great deal of money in new books and lots of them, most importantly (in my very biased opinion) in children's books. The girls were spoilt for choice. I spoke to a an avid reader friend in England who complained that books are dying out in libraries to be replaced with computers. That is not the case here. Although I strongly advocate the use of IT for adults and children alike and sometimes feel that there isn't enough multimedia going on in the Spanish classroom, I can't help being a bit traditional and sentimental about the importance of books in a library.

The library is also a great place to head for if you are learning Spanish. You can start off with children's books that have self explanatory illustrations and progress to reading parallel texts in Spanish and English.

So have a look at your local library. We can take out eight books per person. I am not sure if there is a system of ordering or checking to see if libraries stock certain books as our library has only just started using a computerised barcode method as opposed to the old fashioned brown tickets.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lovely Weather Again!

On Saturday we went on a mission for a cordless microphone and we are still no further forward. We started in Algeciras, an unlikely shopping destination that I love. Shopping centres around the traditional high street with the big names such as Corte Ingles, a three storey Zara and lots of shoe shops. There are also lots of side streets with all kinds of shops including a childrens outlet shop selling good brands at cheap prices. I also discovered a shoe shop with really good quality shoes such as Lelly Kelly sandals for children at just 20 euros compared with double that price in Estepona and Marbella. There are lots of bars of the stand up variety but not spit and sawdust. In fact, they have interesting tiles and posters on the walls and overall presentation was very impressive.There are lots of places that would be good place to go for copas in the evening but maybe sin ninos as they are quite cramped inside. I really recommend Algeciras for its authenticity and lack of exposure to the masses. Try it!

That night we went out for a curry with a view to go to Cadiz carnival the next day to film. Not a good move. I mean the curry and the company were fab but the next day the inevitable happened and we were reluctant to stray from home until at least mid morning when we decided to make the most of the beautiful sunshine. We opted for a day out at Parque de Las Palomas in Benalmadena. If you have never been, you must. It covers a huge area, the gardes are well tended and there is lots for children to see and do including two adventure parks, a lake with ducks and peacocks, chickens and rabbits hiding in the hedges. It was full of couples, groups of friends and families with their picnics and ball games. It was so warm and whilst the spanish still ha their tights on the tourists were really feeling the heat many of them wearing what most spanish would only consider acceptable in Auguest.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lovely weather

Well the title says it all, the weather is beautiful at the moment and perfect for getting out and about sight seeing which you cannot do in the middle of summer. Hopefully this weekend will take a trip out somewhere. There is so much to see in Spain and we have barely scratched the surface of it. This year our plan is to get out of Andalucia and discover Extremadura, Valencia, Madrid and Toledo.

We are off to a children's birthday party this afternoon so I popped into Carrefour for a present. I usually find that you can't go wrong with a DVD. I then met a friend for a coffee who told me about her knew job introducing businesses to a lifelong learning programme for their staff that is on offer in Andalucia so I will be bringing you the scoop on that soon.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Price of Shoes in Spain

I remember a time when we all used to go wild for the shoes in Spain. They were all leather, really well made and really cheap. I would like to know what went wrong. En route to my pilates class there are a few shoe shops and I often poke my head in to see what they have. I have to say I am often disappointed especially when I compare what is on offer with the UK high street today.

I picked up a pair of sandals today, laughing to myself and having a guess that they would be some ridiculous price like twenty five euros. They looked cheap, there were blobs of glue on them and they were plastic. To my horror, when I checked the price they were forty five euros! Now I would much prefer to support local businesses but with prices like this I have no choice but to buy my sandals in Clarks or Marks and Spencers in the UK where they are in actual fact cheaper and better quality.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My New Finds

We made the most of the couple of hours of decent weather on Saturday to try out an urban walk that I found on the internet. We started as suggested in Plaza de Las Flores where we had lunch to set us off in good stead for the long walk ahead of us. Well, I have to say that we were delighted to discover all kinds of places that after nearly five years of living in the area we never knew existed including a huge cultural centre, three huge parks with ponds and grass areas for picnics and all kind of interesting looking bars especially "Ruta de la Plata". We finished off, an hour and half later, exhausted at Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop just before Calle Terraza.

For all you learners of Spanish or those who would like your children to learn spanish, have a look at this website: