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My two new books out just in time for Xmas

My publisher has been busy so now my new kid’s novel Has Anyone Seen Kelvyn? is out in both eBook/Kindle and print version. May take a while to trickle up on Amazon or other bookstores, but I have print copies if you want one, or you can order them from

This is the third book in The Chimona Chronicles series and as the cover gives you a hint, involves some travels down the Okanagan Valley in B.C. Canada. We have already heard that adults are enjoying it as much as kids, just like before.

And when they read it to the younger set, they can once again follow along with the illustrations. For the first time, my brother Geoph is the illustrator. He has maintained the style from the earlier books, plus he likes to sneak in little details.. so look carefully at the pictures.

I look forward to finishing book 4 (and maybe even 5) next year, even as I start putting together adult stories too.

Talking of which, my editor Kyra Dawson has put together a great new online writer’s guild called Scriboriuma gathering place for independent writers. Here we are sharing hints and knowledge and publicity and feedback for all the guild members. And on top of all that, she pulled together seven of us to cooperate on writing an anthology of short stories. Since it was her idea, she got to pick the theme and genre this year: Horror or Paranormal, with a Christmas angle.

At first this was a real challenge for me since I really do not like horror stories. But as a professional writer I thought I can do anything if I put my mind to it. Of course my story in the book is very local – and set here in the Ebro valley. Some of you may even know the actual location – and many of the characters are only thinly disguised family members. I hope you enjoy Christmas Reunion at Villa El Figueral. Mine is the third story in A Very Scary ChristmasA Scriborium Short Story Anthology. It is already out in ebook/kindle format, as well as print. See or contact me. But these stories are definitely not for very young children!

P.S. Contact me after Christmas if you have friends or family who would like to stay for a self catering holiday at the newly renovated and enlarged real El Figueral right on the Ebro river itself.

© 2012 – All rights reserved –

Is it safe to talk branding again?

More and more people are daily re-thinking their employment options  after cut-backs, re-trenching and lack of replacement employment out there -irrespective of which town, village or country they live in.

So what are they doing about finding a remedy to having gainful employment?

Folk are setting up small Expat businesses after relocation to live their dream. Some may have run a business of their own before. Others it might be a totally different, sometimes exciting and more often than not scarey at all the facets one has to consider.

Man is not an island and we can’t be all things at all times no matter what walk of career-life we have travelled from and studied in.

Marketing and branding may be a whole new ball game to you. It more than crafting a few lines for an advert, blog or making your own website.

This book is the latest from a wide range from the pen of the SilcionValley marketeer-author-speaker at:

This book is geared for smaller businesses or start-ups, maybe you’ve formed a new partnerships just starting out with marketing your company, yourselves or your product and hopefully, product range too.

This is a valuable business must-have tool to your future success.

How to do it. By people who have done it.

Angling Spirit Ebro River Cleanup before World Catfish Championship

The River is our life as is painted along the river walls in Tortosa. This clean-up maybe higher than our neck of the woods, but it is still our river! What happens higher up floats down here and congels in the eco-natural park of the Ebro Delta. So please spread the word. You don’t need to be an entrepid fishermen to enjoy the beauty of the river and the environment it feeds.

I have permission from Ross Honey at Angling Spirit to reproduce his message:

<Angling Spirit organiza este tipo de eventos por todo el mundo y esta zona del Rio Ebro fue considerada como el lugar ideal tanto por su localización geográfica como por la cantidad y variedad de peces que habitan en él. Cuando presentamos nuestro proyecto el año pasado, constatamos la cantidad de basura y la pesca ilegal que se estaba practicando, ante lo cual nos planteamos dos opciones: o bien buscar otro lugar e incluso otro país para el Campeonato, o bien, implicar a la gente de la zona para que nos ayudasen a adecentar las orillas donde se ubicarán los puestos de pesca, así nació un grupo de voluntarios llamados “AMIGOS DEL EBRO”. Durante los días 25, 26, 27 y 28 de Mayo y en horario de 9:00 a 12:00 y de 17:00 a 21:00 horas se repartirán bolsas, guantes, herramientas para todos los voluntarios así como refrescos y bocadillos. Por cada bolsa de basura recogida, se donarán 0´50 € a la fundación de pesca para niños que se ha creado, con el objetivo de enseñar a los menores de las localidades de Caspe y Chiprana, como a niños de otros países a la práctica de la pesca de forma responsable y sobre todo, respetuosa con el medio ambiente. Por eso, animamos a todos los particulares, asociaciones e incluso empresas a participar en este proyecto para tomar conciencia de la importancia de mantener las orillas del Mar de Aragón en óptimo estado, para el disfrute de todos.

Durante los días 25 y 26 de Mayo el punto de encuentro será en las puertas del Ayuntamiento de Chiprana, y durante los días 27 y 28, nos reuniremos en la plaza de la estación de Ferrocarril de Caspe, media hora antes del inicio de cada jornada.

Si quieren comunicarnos con antelación su participación como voluntarios, pueden hacerlo a través del e mail, o simplemente personarse en los lugares y horarios establecidos.

Tanto el rio Ebro como la organización del evento necesitamos su ayuda

Hazte amigo del Rio Ebro.

Ross Honey
Responsable de “World Catfish Classic”>

Please also show support by joining on Facebook with the groups:  Angling Spirit and Friends of the Ebro.

Go visit a very informative and interesting website

“…the Ebro is a wonderful place and deserves the assistance we are trying to provide for others to enjoy” , Ross Honey

Born 18th February 1997 at Airedale Hospital, Keighley West Yorkshire

Happy 14th birthday Jack Benjamin Dodgson . 

Your birth father Stephen would be so so proud of you grandson!

We believe that Peter Harvey is your step father and your mother Emma may have changed your surname to Harvey.

Jack was born to Stephen Mark Dodgson (from Keighley) and Emma Bell (from Denholme) both of West Yorkshire UK.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing remember we love you we never stop loving you!xxxxxx

Aside: If anyone knows of his whereabouts and reads this message please pass it on to him that he has another big family out there who loves him so much and hasnt seen him since he was two. But we never stop thinking of you and still treasure his photos. We believe they were last living in the Coventry district and he was singing in  a choir.  His maternal grandma Annette Bell misses him too!

Almeria vs Barcelona last night results = 0 – 3 and more!!

Away from home and don’t have TV satellite to pick up your national or local football matches. Worry not!  The internet has a solution, as always, the lifeline of any Expat .

I found a lovely site where you can watch all the highlights of the exciting Copa del Rey matches

2011-02-02 Almeria – Barcelona 0-3

Copa Del Rey: Almeria Barcelona Highlights

However, Expats you can pour over football highlights from around the world. The Germans can see their beloved  Bundesliga. (Deutschland über alles, perhaps). The crazy Brits who think of Football before food or beer (well, maybe?) can argue late into the night about the Champions League and English Premier League (EPL).

There is more. Ladies Football where I’m not sure whether the men will admit it, but I’ve seen the men watching these matches (or the legs) with amusement but also amazement at the little women’s skills.

It seems to covers most countries around the world and loads of South American matches too:- !

2011-02-02 Besiktas – Gaziantep BB 5-0

Turkish Cup: Besiktas Gaziantep BB Highlights

 I didn’t even know that Turkish played football so seriously. I mean what would I know, I am only a woman.

2011-02-02 Rangers Glasgow – Hearts 1-0

Scottish Premier League: Rangers Glasgow Hearts Highlights

Another brilliant feature of this site is they update Live Score every two minutes


Rosie Reay Catalan Vocab / Phrases: football = futbol; football club = club de futbol;  footballer = futbolista;  football field = camp de futbol;  football game = am partit de futbol; inside football five-a-side = futbol sala; football crazy = futboler(-a)

Do you know some exciting (clean) football expressions to shout during the match or to celebrate or commiserate afterwards with? Please drop me a line .  I’d love to learn them too.

Big, big football events kick off 22.00 CET tonight on Spanish TV

For those footballer fanatics and Expats to enjoy a warm and comfortable night in front of the logfire and exciting TV viewing.This is the second leg of the well sought after Copa Del Rey cup.

Firstly:- Real Madrid vs Sevilla Copa Del Rey Preview Kings Cup @ the Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid ( Match kick off time 22:00 CET). Sevilla have a lot to play for and are not taking their previous defeat lightly. It will be brilliant to see the underdog valiant in beating Real Madrid tonight.

 Secondly:- Almería vs FC Barcelona Copa Del Rey Preview Kings Cup Almeria (Match kick off Time 22:00 CET) Barcelona easily won 5-0 in the first leg. Yet, will still go out their fighting to maintain their league. I’m sure Almeria,  first time at this level in the cup, will run their legs off trying to score back some goals and honour. Whatever happens Almeria will relish in the sheer delight in playing against the  skill  and pride of the Catalan capitals’ footballers.

 Come on Barça! Barça, Barça.

Well you have to support a local team to where you live.

Bought the land but nowhere to live?

I know of a solution to your predicament.

I’ve close friends returning to UK and they have the most amazing and comfortable mobile home for sale in beige and green trim with full window shutters and beautifully maintained.

When you walk inside it you will be amazed at the homely 2 bedroomed, full bathroom, comfortable lounge and fully fitted diner-kitchen.

There is more!

All furniture is included in the price.

Still more! Washing machine, dryer and gas cooker as well as fridge Freezer also included in the price.

The bottomline: 20,000 euros. This price is so good and less than 50% of the full price.

Located along the Ebro River on the outskirts of Benifallet off the C12 in Catalonia.

The buyer must collect and transport it.

Call Tracy or John  977 260 119

Sin fume

The toughest anti-smoking legislation came into effect on January 2,2011.

Smoking is no longer permitted in open spaces belonging to hospitals or health centres, such as carparks.

I was always  previously bemused when I arrived at Hospital Verge de la Cinta ,( the one on the top of the hill with the best views of Tortosa, the castle and beyond) to see a cluster of medical staff huddled outside the entrance door to the Out Patients clinics  puffing away. Two metres inside the doorway and the walls are plastered with signposts  of Sin fume.

Yesterday, the group was conspicuous by their absence.

As you pass by the outside steps to the Cafeteria, there is a new map signposted with two areas circled in red. Now I didn’t have time to stop and digest, but one assumes they have designated two permitted areas that allows smoking.

So please don’t celebrate when you find that hard-fought for carpark space up there or in the old castle moat (now water free), and light up. They are vigilant about stamping this out as the fines are steep.

Furthermore, you may no longer smoke while you rest on your laurels in public children parks.

Well, maybe that will give the influx of Mossos d’Esquerra to venture out of their posh new building, on foot to monitor the situation, otherwise the Police Local will be busy buzzing about on their motos.

But there is rough justice in all of this. Prison inmates are still allowed to smoke, so if you can’t pay your fine…

Rosie Reay’s Catalan Phrase of the day: Fins demà – see you tomorrow.

Amusing Bar name in Ferreries – Tortosa

Driving through the quieter streets in Ferreries -Tortosa to save time and avoid the slow moving traffic, a signpost caught the corner of my eye, Bar Gravy.

Never!  Who would name a bar after the famous British salsa called gravy?

I had to go around the block again just to make sure I had read it right. Yes, a tiny little bar with a  faded notice above it, in large print announced the drinking hole as Bar Gravy.

I’ve heard of Oxo, Bovril or Bistro spread over the traditional British style Roast Sunday dinner and they have never caused me amusement as this bar signature did.

Do you go in and ask for  a pint of gravy please ?

When I tried to Google it, all that came up was the actress Claudia Gravy :

This has flickered across my thought pattern all afternoon. I am just going to have to go and check it out. I will definitely take my camera along with me.

To Bees or not to bee.

There is more to bees than being stung. Please read and digest the email below and Support the Avaaz community!

<<<Dear friends,

Bees are dying off worldwide and our entire food chain is in peril. Scientists blame toxic pesticides and four European governments have already banned them. If we get the US and the EU to join the ban, other governments across the world could follow, and save bees from extinction. Sign the petition and forward this urgent appeal:

Sign the petition


Silently, billions of bees are dying off and our entire food chain is in danger. Bees don’t just make honey, they are a giant, humble workforce, pollinating 90% of the plants we grow.

Multiple scientific studies blame one group of toxic pesticides for their rapid demise, and bee populations are recovering in countries where these products have been banned. But powerful chemical companies are lobbying hard to keep selling these poisons. Our best chance to save bees now is to push the US and EU to join the ban — their action is critical and will have a ripple effect on the rest of the world.

We have no time to lose — the debate is raging about what to do. This is not just about saving bees, this is about survival. Let’s build a giant global buzz calling for the EU and US to outlaw these killer chemicals and save our bees and our food. Sign the emergency petition now, and send it on to everyone and we’ll deliver it to key decision makers:

Bees are vital to life on earth — every year pollinating plants and crops with an estimated $40bn value, over one third of the food supply in many countries. Without immediate action to save bees many of our favourite fruits, vegetables, and nuts could vanish from our shelves.

Recent years have seen a steep and disturbing global decline in bee populations — some bee species are already extinct and last week we learned that some US species are at just 4% of their previous numbers. Scientists have been scrambling for answers. Some studies claim the decline may be due to a combination of factors including disease, habitat loss and toxic chemicals. But increasingly, independent research has produced strong evidence blaming neonicotinoid pesticides. France, Italy, Slovenia and even Germany, where the main manufacturer Bayer is based, have banned one of these bee killers. But, Bayer continues to export its poison across the world

This issue is now coming to the boil as major new studies have confirmed the scale of this problem. If we can get European and US decision-makers to take action, others will follow. It won’t be easy. A leaked document shows that the US Environmental Protection Agency knew about the pesticide’s dangers, but ignored them. The document says Bayer’s “highly toxic” product is a “major risk concern to non target insects [honey bees]”.

We need to make our voices heard to counter Bayer’s very strong influence on policy makers and scientists in both the US and the EU where they fund the studies and sit on policy bodies. The real experts — the beekeepers and farmers — want these deadly pesticides prohibited until and unless we have solid, independent studies that show they are safe. Let’s support them now. Sign the petition below, then forward this email:

We can no longer leave our delicate food chain in the hands of research run by the chemical companies and the regulators that are in their pockets. Banning this pesticide will move us closer to a world safe for ourselves and the other species we care about and depend on.

With hope,

Alex, Alice, Iain, David and all at Avaaz


Bee decline could be down to chemical cocktail interfering with brains

Bee briefing

$15 Billion Bee Murder Mystery Deepens

“Nicotine Bees” Population Restored With Neonicotinoids Ban

EPA memo reveals concern that pesticide causes bee deaths

Beekeepers want government to pull pesticide

Bees in freefall as study shows sharp US decline

Pesticide industry involvement in EU risk assessment puts survival of bees at stake >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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