Middleton One Row

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I RECEIVED THE below photo at left from my sister, Dale, in 1972. It was sent from Darlington, South Yorkshire, England, where she was living with her new husband. With the photo was a letter telling me she was pregnant. Three months later I was there for a visit and we went together to the same spot. What memories a photo can illicit.

The place is called Middleton One Row. I thought at the time that it was the name of the street across from the river and hillside. I just learned, after nearly 47 years, that Middleton One Row is the name of the village, which is near the city of Darlington. In Medieval times, villages normally had houses on facing sides of the village green. Because this village drops off immediately to the River Tees on the south, it only had one row of houses (as seen in the postcard at top). Hence, Middleton ONE ROW. Fascinating, huh?

RECIBÍ LA FOTO de abajo a la izaquierda de mi hermana, Dale, en 1972. Fue enviada desde Darlington, South Yorkshire, Inglaterra, donde vivía con su nuevo marido. Con la foto había una carta que me decía que estaba embarazada. Tres meses después, estuve de visita y fuimos juntos al mismo lugar. Qué recuerdos puede sacar una foto ilícita.

El lugar se llama Middleton One Row [que significa Middleton Una Fila]. En ese momento pensé que era el nombre de la calle frente al río y la ladera. Acabo de enterarme, después de casi 47 años, que Middleton One Row es el nombre del pueblo, que está cerca de la ciudad de Darlington. En la época medieval, los pueblos normalmente tenían casas en los lados de la plaza del pueblo. Debido a que esta aldea cae inmediatamente al Río Tees en el sur, solo tenía una fila de casas (como se muestra en la tarjeta postal en la parte superior). Por lo tanto, Middleton ONE ROW. Fascinante, ¿no?

Chocolate Therapy / Terapia De Chocolate

La versión español está después de la primera chocolate.

I’M BORED AND moody. I’m not supposed to do much (doctor’s and San Geraldo’s orders) and, because of my usual allergies, I’m taking antihistamines to keep myself from having a sneezing fit and popping my new eye out. Antihistamines knock me out. Inactivity is not my strong suit.

After Luke’s birthday (click here), we had a bowl of extra chocolate buttercream frosting in our refrigerator. So, San Geraldo picked up a chocolate, chocolate chip cake at the supermarket and after lunch, he piled chocolate frosting on top. I adorned the frosting with M&Ms. The cake and frosting only lasted two days, which was a relief to us both.

But then our next door neighbors gave us two boxes of Quality Street chocolates from England. And our friend Lulu arrived one morning with a box of Dumle chocolate caramels from Finland. One box of Quality Street remains. But then there’s the Lindt Chocolate advent calendar from Pedro and Kathleen.

Oh, and San Geraldo came home with another chocolate chocolate-chip cake yesterday.

They understand.

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ESTOY ABURRIDO y del mal humor. Se supone que no debo hacer mucho (las órdenes del médico y de San Geraldo) y, debido a mis alergias habitual, estoy tomando antihistamínicos para evitar un ataque de estornudo y sacar mi nuevo ojo. Los antihistamínicos me eliminan. La inactividad no es mi fuerte.

Después del cumpleaños de Luke (haz clic aquí), tuvimos un cuenco de glaseado de crema de chocolate en nuestro refrigerador. Entonces, San Geraldo recogió un pastel de chocolate con chispas de chocolate en el supermercado y, después del almuerzo, colocó encima un glaseado de chocolate. Adorné el glaseado con M&Ms. La tarta y el glaseado solo duraron dos días, lo que fue un alivio para ambos.

Pero luego nuestros vecinos de al lado nos dieron dos cajas de chocolates Quality Street de Inglaterra. Y nuestra amiga Lulu llegó una mañana con una caja de caramelos de chocolate Dumle de Finlandia. Queda una caja de Quality Street. Pero luego está el calendario de adviento de Lindt Chocolate de Pedro y Kathleen.

Oh, y San Geraldo llegó a casa ayer con otra tarta de chocolate con chispas.

Ellos entienden.

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My final slice. San Geraldo decided to forego the M&Ms the second day. Such self-control! / Mi última rebanada. San Geraldo decidió renunciar a los M&Ms el segundo día. ¡Qué autocontrol!

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And we didn’t win this last night at Mesón Salvador. / Y no ganamos esto ayer en Mesón Salvador.

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But I almost forgot that tarta de la abuela (“Grandma’s Cake”) at Mesón Salvador the other night. / Pero casi olvido esa tarta de la abuela en Mesón Salvador la otra noche.

Old Family

What better place to escape these summer-like days at home on the Costa del Sol than frigid London?!? We’re headed there Thursday morning for a week. (The boys will have “staff” staying with them to ensure their every need is met — and more; the “staff” spoils them even more than we do.)

We’ve booked up our days and evenings with sight-seeing, museums, and theatre, and we’ll celebrate San Geraldo’s birthday while we’re there. Just us. No family or friends. I hope we’ll be forgiven.

This is a photo of some members of my father’s family taken in London during WWII. My father had no contact with them after the war, so I never met them. I wonder if we’ll bump into one of my cousins (or if I even have any).

Spotted Dick In Spain

Our favourite English-style restaurant here in Fuengirola is, as you might already know, Sandpiper. Chef/Owner Jason recently added two new desserts. Jessica told me about them.

One of the new desserts is “Treacle Sponge,” a traditional British dessert of sponge cake drizzled with treacle (golden syrup) and often served with custard.

Jessica was very unhappy to learn that the other dessert was called “Spotted Dick.” I’ve heard of it before — the dessert, I mean. Well, come to think of it… Oh, never mind. Anyway, the dessert is commonly made with suet, flour and raisins, and served with custard.

Jessica (Spanish) was appalled and told Jason that, until the new menus were printed, she would write the desserts on a piece of paper. She was not going to say “Spotted Dick.”

A few days later, there was more to the story. Ana, Jessica’s mother and Jason’s life and business partner, was told about the new desserts.

“Spotted Dick,” she said.

No problem.

But then she tried “Treacle Sponge.”

With Ana’s Spanish accent, “Treacle Sponge” sounded like “Treacle Spunk.” And no matter how many times she tried, it always came out the same.

When Jason stopped laughing, he told her what “spunk” was. Jessica had already told her about “dick.” Ana said she would not be selling either until they were printed on the menu.

Friday night, I ordered Spotted Dick to share with San Geraldo.

When Jessica brought the dish to the table, San Geraldo asked (cluelessly), “Does the spotted dick have nuts?”

Jessica stood in stunned silence.

San Geraldo continued (still clueless), “Because I hate nuts.”

Jessica walked away before I could tell her that I usually eat San Geraldo’s nuts.

SPOTTED DICK, NO NUTS.
TREACLE SPUNK… I MEAN SPUNK… AHEM, SPONGE.
“Me mother says I must be quick to get me bit o’ spotted dick.”

Why Move? Why Leave? Why Spain?

To the first and second “why” questions, there are so many answers.  But, the easiest responses are, because we can and because we want to (or vice versa).  We have talked for years about living in Europe.

I thought of moving to England in the late ’70s.

Jerry and I considered the Netherlands in the ’90s (those “Bush the First” years).  Coming from San Diego at the time, we decided we could if we had to, but the weather would be an adjustment.

Then in the “George Jr.” years, we considered Ireland (a job prospect in Dublin for Jerry) but again decided the weather would be an adjustment, along with some social/political/religious issues.  Not to mention the fact that we weren’t a legally recognized couple and I, therefore, would have no legal right to go/stay with him.

Our next thought during the George Jr. years was Norway.  Specifically Bergen.  We thought, well, we love Seattle.  And Bergen reminds us in so many ways of Seattle.  We figured, we can tolerate the weather in Seattle (well, no, we really can’t), so how difficult could Bergen be?  Our family in Bergen loved the idea of having us as neighbors (no, really, they did).  But they thought we were nuts if we believed we could tolerate the weather.

We then did some research and learned that Seattle gets 37 inches of precipitation a year.  The total isn’t significant except that it’s continual drizzles.  (Seattle Rain Festival: January 1-December 31).  But, Bergen, hold onto your hats, gets EIGHTY-NINE INCHES OF PRECIPITATION a year.  And it’s almost all rain.  And the rain falls sideways. There’s no escaping it.

Southern Spain is a popular and easy-to-reach tourist destination for Norwegians.  So, we thought we could spend half the year in Bergen and half in Southern Spain.  But that still meant at least, unscientifically speaking, 45 inches of rain.  And, as I just mentioned, in Bergen it rains sideways.

So, we’re still here.

Until we had our hotel in Palm Springs from 2000-2003 (that requires another post), we had talked a lot about retiring there.  And when we returned to Southern California from Vegas last year, that was back as the top possibility.

But the problem was that Palm Springs, although beautiful, just didn’t excite us anymore.  There isn’t anything new for us.  So, we bought “Retirement Places Rated” for the U.S. and studied.  And we still couldn’t find that spark.

A few months passed and we started to talk about Europe again.  We decided to list out our requirements in order of priority and then narrow down to regions, countries, and cities based on those factors.

The top priority (I’ll admit to being a bit shallow on this one):
THE WEATHER.
We realized a pleasant climate — a la San Diego — was what we required.  That knocked off a whole bunch of countries.

The second priority was political/social climate:
Admittedly this went hand in hand with weather.  Cuba’s sunshine and ocean breezes can be quite charming, but we’re not rushing off to live there.

Other requirements (and no longer in order of priority) were:
An interesting culture and history; a population that welcomes outsiders; safe and secure living conditions; a language we could learn; national/nature parks; good healthcare; good public transportation–local, regional, and national; easy/cheap access to other parts of Europe; and I can’t remember what else right now.

That led us to Southern Spain–Andalucia.  But we didn’t want to end up in an expat community surrounded only by other non-Spaniards (and Andalucia has a number of beautiful communities filled with expats).  So, we did more research, talked to more people, and finally narrowed down to Sevilla.  After deciding on Sevilla, we re-opened the discussion (we re-open discussions a lot) and decided to look in the outlying area for smaller cities where we could more easily relax (and where our money would go further).  We decided to follow the train line down from Sevilla to Cadiz.  And there it was, Jerez de la Frontera.  Home to sherry, the horse, and the flamenco.  Also  home to the Motorcycle Grand Prix (not really on our list of interests).