The Educated Cat / El Gato Educado

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

TODAY, 1 JULY, is the eighth birthday of Moose and Dudo. They were born 11 days before we arrived in Spain and taken to a shelter along with their mother and three littermates. The littermates were tabbys and were adopted quickly, while Dudo and Moose remained at the shelter for 10 more months until I saw a video online and told San Geraldo they were the ones. They spoke only Spanish at the time, but are now fluent in English, as well. And Dudo has completed a course in surveillance at the National Intelligence Centre (if we can believe him). I’m so glad they waited for us. We got the two smart cats in that litter.

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HOY, 1 DE JULIO, es el octavo cumpleaños de Moose y Dudo. Nacieron 11 días antes de que llegáramos a España y fueron llevados a un refugio junto con su madre y tres compañeras de camada. Las compañeras de la camada eran gatas atigradas y fueron adoptadas rápidamente, mientras que Dudo y Moose permanecieron en el refugio durante 10 meses más hasta que vi un video en línea y le dije a San Geraldo que ellos fueron para nosotros. En ese momento solo hablaban español, pero ahora también dominan el inglés. Y Dudo ha completado un curso bilingüe en vigilancia espía del Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (si podemos creerlo). Estoy muy contento de que nos hayan esperado. Tenemos a los gatos más inteligentes en esa camada.

Reading and discussing San Geraldo’s books — entirely in English.
Leyendo y discutiendo los libros de San Geraldo — íntegramente en inglés.
Dudo detects a bug.
Dudo detecta un bicho.
Apparently, we have to pay for the advanced spy class if we want him to know what to do once it’s detected.
Aparentemente, tenemos que pagar por la clase de espía avanzada si queremos que sepa qué hacer después de que se detecte.

Feliz Navidad And God Jul, With Krumkake

Christmas Day, we were honoured to be included in a family Christmas celebration at the home of Mary and Foxy (so nicknamed because he’s a Silver Fox… at least that what’s HE says). Their son Jason and his wife Ana own Sandpiper, the restaurant that’s our home away from home.

We were two of eleven people at the all-day feast. We didn’t want to arrive empty handed — although we were told to — so San Geraldo went to work in the kitchen preparing one of his traditional Norwegian holiday specialties, krumkake.

Kake is cake/pastry in Norwegian. In Spanish, caca is pronounced the same way and means … well cacka, poop, turds, etc.

So Spaniards find it hilarious whenever San Geraldo serves one of his Norwegian “kakes.” What our Spanish friends don’t find at all ironic is that peanut in Spanish is cacahuete. Why isn’t that funny? Jason and Ana’s 13-year-old son loved the krumkake, but loved saying the name even more.

Our hosts are English, but have lived in Fuengirola for many years. Their extended family is mixed, Spanish and English. They hosted a traditional English Christmas (except for the krumkake). It was a feast! (Click any image to make it even more delicious.)


MAKING THIS YEAR’S KRUMKAKE.
MARY, BACKGROUND, IN KITCHEN.
FOXY’S SPOT AT THE TABLE, FOREGROUND.
FOXY, THE ‘GRUMPY OLD GIT’ IN HIS ‘BAH HUMBUG’ HAT.
DOES HE LOOK LIKE A GRUMPY OLD GIT?!?
FINGER-FOOD FIRST COURSE — MINCE PIES, SAUSAGE ROLLS, AND MORE.
(KRUMKAKE BACK RIGHT.)
IT WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS DINNER WITHOUT THE QUEEN.
(ON TV. BUT WITH US, I’M SURE, IN SPIRIT.)
AN ELEGANT TRADITIONAL TABLE.
PLUM PUDDING (OUR FIRST).
CHOCOLATE PUDDING FOR THOSE WHO DON’T LIKE PLUM.
(OR FOR THOSE WHO LIKE BOTH!)



Making Krumkake

I did more than clean-up in the kitchen at home this time. I had two assigned jobs during krumkake preparation. 1) Hold up the handle of the krumkake iron when it was open because it no longer stays up on its own; 2) Quickly close the iron while San Geraldo rolled each krumkake, so the iron wouldn’t get too cool. We made 50 krumkake.

A few times San Geraldo didn’t even have to remind to: 1) “Hold it up”; and 2) “Close it.”

A Christmas Tradition

(LEFT) SAN GERALDO 1957; (RIGHT) SAN GERALDO 2015.

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.”

For Times Long Past

Wow, do I ever have a lot of catching up to do. We had a wonderful, too-brief, trip to Sevilla with our friend Judyshannonstreetwhat — click here if you haven’t been keeping up — to visit with some friends and to catch the Three Kings Parade. We had the inspiration to travel computer-less, which had me out of touch with everything.

Tuesday morning, I woke up — in time for the 2-1/2-hour train ride home — with one of my allergy attacks that feels like the flu, in time for the train ride home. (Could I be allergic to something in Sevilla?) So I spent much of Wednesday and Thursday lounging and/or sleeping. And whining. But I’m back with over 400 photos to sort through.

Today’s photos are from the Three Kings Parade (Cabalgata de los Tres Reyes), which occurred the day before “Epiphany” (Three Kings Day). Our friend Miguel met us in front of our hotel for a birds-eye view.

I made a number of new friends during the parade, most under the age of 10. Two girls, Julia and Marta, who had been studying English for a year and were doing exceptionally well. Adorable brothers who just smiled at me… a lot (the first photo). And, Adrian (pronounced ah-dree-AHN), a boy who knows a little English but is shy about using it. We practiced “thank you” and “your welcome” when I caught air-born candies and gave them to him.


(Click any image. You can almost taste the candies.)

EARLIER IN THE DAY… AT PLAZA DE ESPAÑA.
AN APACHE IN FRONT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SEVILLA (AT LEFT).
(NEAR WHERE THE PARADE STARTED.)
LIKE GOING BACK IN TIME… EXCEPT FOR THE SNEAKERS.
MARTA (RIGHT): “I HAVE A PET RABBIT.”
JULIA (LEFT): “I LIKE TO EAT RABBIT.”
A MATCHED SET.
TWO CROWNED TWIZYS LED THE WAY.
JUDY WAS SO EXCITED TO RECEIVE AN OFFICIAL CARAMELO (CANDY) BAG.
MY PAL ADRIAN WHO CHASED VERY AGGRESSIVELY AFTER THE CANDY.
HIS MOTHER HAD TO CONSTANTLY PULL HIM FROM BETWEEN THE FLOATS… AND HORSES.
BLACK-FACE, WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO SIGNIFY THE MOORS.
IT’S ALSO SUPPOSEDLY NOT OFFENSIVE, BUT I HAVE MY DOUBTS.
THE SKY WAS FILLED WITH FLYING CARAMELOS.
COLORFUL…
MIGUEL DISPLAYING HIS SIMULTANEOUS CATCHES.
JUDY (RIGHT) HAD HER MOUTH FILLED WITH CANDY AND MADE ME
PROMISE TO CROP HER OUT OF THE PIC…
BUT, IF I CROPPED HER OUT,
YOU WOULD MISS SEEING MIGUEL’S WHISTLE…
AND IT’S A VERY NICE WHISTLE.
REY #1:  MELCHOR
FORT APACHE?
THE PIRATES OF BETHLEHEM?
NICE UNIFORMS.
IMAGINE THE BOTTOMS OF OUR SHOES.
OK… MAYBE IT WASN’T JUST A BIBLICAL THEME.
LOS CAMELLOS (CAMELS) PLODDING THROUGH THE CARMELOS (CANDIES).
REY #2:  GASPAR
I CAUGHT THIS FOAM RUBBER TOY CITY BUS (FROM THE BUS FLOAT).
I GAVE IT TO ADRIAN AND HE SQUEALED, “YOUR WELCOME!!!”
BEWARE OF GREEKS BEARING GIFTS.
IF ONLY IT WERE FILLED WITH CANDY.
SEVILLA HAS 2 FÚTBOL TEAMS. HERE’S CARLOS MARCHENA FROM “REAL BÉTIS.”
HE SAT BACK-TO-BACK WITH A PLAYER FROM “FÚTBOL CLUB SEVILLA.”
MADRID, WHICH I THINK ONLY USES BLACK-FACE FOR BALTASAR,
RECENTLY RECEIVED A FORMAL PETITION TO STOP THE PRACTICE.
REY #3:  BALTASAR
MORE MESS.
BALTASAR WAS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWED BY THE STREET CLEANERS.
INCREDIBLE CLEAN-UP.
AFTER THE PARADE PASSED US BY, I TRIED TO GET ACROSS TOWN TO VISIT A FRIEND.
I CUT THROUGH THE OLD TOWN AND GOT STUCK.  I HAD TO WATCH THE ENTIRE PARADE
ALL OVER AGAIN.  HERE’S BALTASAR… THIS TIME WITH LIGHTS.

And I leave you with the voice of Minnesota’s own, Erin Schwab, San Geraldo’s god-daughter — a singer, actress, radio personality, teacher, and all-round exceptional human being.

Confusing Camisetas

Camiseta is the Spanish word for T-shirt. Especially popular here are T-shirts displaying the names of American destinations, universities, and teams.

Most of the T-shirts are made in China. Printed in English. For a Spanish audience.

New York City — Manhattan, Brooklyn, [The] Bronx, and Staten Island are commonly featured. But rarely correctly. (The fifth borough, Queens, doesn’t get much play.) 

(Click the images. Some will get bigger. None will make more sense.)

WHOA. THIS MUST HAVE BEEN A REALLY TOUGH GANG…
THEY HAD THEIR OWN 100% COTTON, PRE-SHRUNK T-SHIRTS. (I WONDER WHAT THE CITY CREW DID.)

Just the other day I passed someone wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of that great American university, New York City State. Although I myself have never heard of it, I’m sure it must be huge. After all, someone made T-shirts.

THERE’S AN ADDRESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS “1978 BROOKLYN” SHIRT,
I DON’T KNOW WHAT WAS AT 235 MYRTLE AVENUE IN 1978,
BUT IT’S NOT THERE NOW.

One morning, while Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here for that post) was still here, we were having coffee downstairs at Cafe El Noventa when a little boy walked by with his mother. As you may remember, Judy is from Seattle, Washington, and so, apparently, was the little boy’s T-shirt.

JUDY HAD NEVER HEARD OF A ROAD NAMED ROUTE 306,
I QUICKLY GOOGLED IT;  IT’S NOT A ROAD BUT A CITY TRANSIT BUS LINE.
AND IT DEFINITELY WON’T TAKE YOU TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA,
WHICH IS 1,828 KM (1,136 MILES) SOUTH.
A VISITOR FROM MOROCCO, WITH HIS PARENTS AND BROTHER.
THEY HAD NO IDEA WHAT “CONEY ISLA ND BEA CH” WAS.
(NOR HAVE I EVER SEEN PALM TREES AND AGAVES GROWING THERE.)

DAVID (Dah-VEED), AT CAFE EL NOVENTA,
WEARING ONE OF HIS FAVORITE OLD T-SHIRTS.
I ASKED DAVID WHAT “WATCHING UPPER” WAS (OTHER THAN AN “HONOUR”).
HIS RESPONSE: “NO TENGO IDEA.” (“I HAVE NO IDEA.”)  HE ASSUMED I WOULD KNOW.

I don’t get it…