Category: Living in rustic Catalonia (Page 2 of 3)

The Chimona Chronicles kids series released in print format

“Building on all the positive feedback from reviewers around the world, Foden Press today announces the release of their first two kids titles in full print format. Rosie Reay’s delightful voice of The Chimona Chronicles as the critters of Okanagan Lake come alive can now be enjoyed in print worldwide.” 19 November Press release

San Francisco, CA (1888PressRelease) November 19, 2010 – Foden Press today released the first two kids’ novels in The Chimona Chronicles series in print format. Written by Rosie Reay and set in an actual resort on Okanagan Lake in central British Columbia, Canada, these books have already received critical praise from their ebook format. They are ideal for the young reader, parent, or grandparent who love stories of critters that come alive and then have very similar personalities to children everywhere. Younger kids will enjoy the illustrations by Candice McMullan that so delightfully illustrate a few key scenes throughout the book. In addition, a matching website helps children and their parents understand the more unusual words and locations, while also providing full character personas for each critter, all of which have interesting names already.

The first book, How Kelvyn Got His Name, shows how the whole community rallies round to find a full proper name for their favorite gopher. Are your kids fascinated by names too? How do they name their pets and furry friends? Since Rosie Reay is a professional namer (see in her daytime profession, she even introduces kids to a simple naming process for selecting interesting names. Parents may also use this as a fun guide for naming their next offspring. In what has now become a trademark in all Rosie Reay books, a full length poem “The Squirrel from Wirral” is weaved into the story too, along with an illustration of the squirrel walking hand in hand with his friend George.

The second book, Salquin to the Rescue continues the exploits of the main Chimona Chronicles plus introduces the reader to some of the First Nations people of Canada. There are actually two mystery stories weaved together here. In the first, children will learn some basics about numbering. In the second, they will learn how to read signs and prints. Once again the Lake Okanagan kids interact as all families do, even as some grow more serious and some new critter characters are introduced, which we are sure to see more of in future novels in this educational travel series.

Written in Rosie’s delightful English voice, these books have been released simultaneously in the USA, Canada, UK and Europe. Rosie currently resides between Barcelona and Valencia in Spain where she also writes a monthly column for the Catalonia Chronicles and maintains a blog The Ebro Voice for English speaking people living in the greater Ebro River delta area. Make friends with Rosie Reay on Facebook to read more about her books and life. Kyra Dawson is the editor of the series, and she works as an editor, writer and copywriter out of Vancouver, Canada. See

Foden Press is an independent publisher of children’s books, as well as business How To Do It business books and ebooks. They are based in Northern California, and may be reached at Call +1-650-960-0811. Professional reviewers of children’s books are invited to request review copies of any title. How Kelvyn Got His Name (ISBN # 978-0-9710157-0-8) and Salquin to the Rescue (ISBN# 978-0-9710157-1-5) may be ordered directly from Foden Press, plus they are available on request at bookstores nationwide and are distributed by Ingram Micro.

USA: Athol Foden (amfoden ( @ ) fodenpress dot com) 650-960-0811
Europe: Rosie Reay (rosiereay ( @ ) fodenpress dot com) +34-619-772-492
Canada: Kyra Dawson (info ( @ ) brighterscribe dot com) 604-566-1064

Fig -figa -higo-figue-feige or Figs in grammar!

It reads like a tongue twister that I was made to say over and over as child to try and overcome a bad stammer. Though this one is more of a fruity nature of calling  a fig in different languages for Expats. Reading across it goes as: English, Catalan, Spanish , French and then German.

Do note (but not to be preachey) in Spanish the <h> is silent to hear i-g-o.

I did find it amusing when I saw the Catalan have merely added an <a> as a suffix to the English fig. Adam and his fig leaf at the time of first pro-creation. Oh, well never mind I must always tease out the root source in every word being a daft Namiac.

Now I ‘d like to share the following expressions with you:

  • figa de moro = prickly pear or a softey
  • figaflor =wimp, weed, drip
  • figuera = a fig tree
  • figura= figure (as a form)
  • això són figues d’un altre paner = that’s another story (or kettle of Fish -to us Brits) or that’s a horse of a different colour
  • figurar = to imagine, to represent or as in the US slang “go figure”

… and some of my favourites

  • figurar-se = ja m’ho figurava! = I thought as much!
  • no es figura com em va costar de convèncer-lo = you can’t iamgine how hard it was for me to convince him!

Would love to hear other figgy expresssions used in daily speech in any of the above mentioned languages fromExpats and locals and general readers.

Are there any good poems or lyrics out there where  figs are the centre force, apart from the well healed Christmas carol  of “Figgy pudding”?

Look forward to your comments

Fig harvesting Jesús style

Figs are very topical as we go into harvest festival and our black and green fruit are bursting in their fullness in the autumn sunshine.

But what do you do with all this figgyness ripening all together?

There is only so much fig  jam you can make! Figgy pudding seems to sit well on the stomach at Christmas time. So September is a touch early for stodgey food.

Fresh figs are interesting, so too are figs bottled in a dry white wine and (are ideal for up to three months or more)  served with scoops of Nestlé vanilla ice cream. If you are fortunate or crafty enough to have made drying trays you can dry them in the open air through the day and bring the trays under dry cover on an evening and then packet and freeze them.

But I want something different. I want cake!

Oh Yum Yum and more yum- totally yumtious -go on give them a try!

  Check out the these websites below. Let me know which is your favourite by adding  a comment or share with me yours.

Ooh look there are more:  This looks so easy to make too!

Now this is a must for all my gluten free friends (and tempting to others too) to try: – chocolate fig cake

Oh yes, madre mia bake me another one!

Now I wonder if there is a recipe out there for fig fridge cake?

Do I write or do I weed?

“I´ll make your tea and toast in a minute, Mom,” I say, without looking up from the keyboard. That was an hour ago. Mom had quite happily dosed off in her chair with the warm sun rays lighting up her very good mop of hair for 84 years of age. Oh well, I was never cut out for all this  nursey-carey larkey stuff. Anyway, she is fed and watered now, so back to the question of the day.

Do I write or do I weed?

The voice of practicality commands, “Weed girl. Get them weeds up before the earth is sun baked and rock hard!”

The voice of emotion whispers, “Sod the weeds! Write away to your hearts content. The weeds will still be there tomorrow. Write while the ideas are tumbling about – that fountain of ideas may not be flowing tomorrow. Never waste an idea. Write it down. Write it now!”

Okay, okay, I hear you both. Write first and weed later – maybe or maybe not.

I had oodles of email from my writers’  and Expats groups to catch up on. This is not a complaint, mind you, I do enjoy them. I do learn an awful lot from them. I relish hearing the debates between  professional writers of all different calibres. I feel like I am on a steep learning curve on some of the discussions. I am not feint-hearted. I hear what they are saying. I mull it over (while weeding, when I do eventually get outdoors) and often think  “Hey, that idea / style  might just work in another series in my Chimona Chronicles.Mmmmh…”

Chimona Chronicles: How kelvyn got his name

Chimona Chronicles: How kelvyn got his name

When I first moved to the Ebro River Valley I felt starved of intellect momentus. I craved discussion and debate outside the normal Expat lament of dodgey builders and not quite British building materials. I soon tired of eavesdropping and hearing the character assasinations of fellow expats, “If you are a fisherman first by definition,  then of course you are a bona fide brickey, plumber, sparkey or lumberjack!”

My sons then home on leave, hooked me up to Facebook and I can track them wherever the MOD send them. Aha! I also became a Scrabble-maniac, but my sons beat me into a word pulp, but I am not a quitter. I have made very good friends of  like minded lingusitics stature around the world and just good friends, old and new, who love to play for fun. You needn´t feel lonely out here. It is also a great place to share your photo albums and reunite with long lost classmates ( I know I have found mine from South Africa – be then scattered around the world) and even mislaid cousins – one is settled in New Zealand. Now I never did get to new Zealand. I wonder what she would say I turned up one day like Dick Whittington.

Another great source of inspiration, both mentally and inspirational for writing and contacts have been joining It is so easy to do. All you need is an email address and a password and slowly you develop your profile, or edit it as you see fit to do. I have found a huge cluster of other Expat writers and writers of children books on there. Illustrators and publishers abound to. You can choose which groups you wish to belong to under the Category you have assigned yourself to. Often my friends on LinkedIn are my friends on Facebook too. These casual social networks can interlink with the more professional ones. If you are wearing the entrepeneur cap or would aspire to be one,this is just the place to share your views and ask questions or start discussions. You will be amazed how the right and brighter people home in to help you.

Not quite sure if I did ever answer my rhetorical question: Should I write or should I weed?

Oh well better show willing…Weeds Attack! Attack!

Strastopheric sky-high fees for flyers or how to avoid them.

Read and subscribe to Martin´s free email weekly tips via

Martin Lewis is the man with his fingers on the money pulse in the UK and this also benefits Expats in the EU.

In his latest newsletters he highlights travel issues exorbitant flight fees and add-ons. I was rather bemused to read that should Ryanair decide to charge to to pay to use the loo thay must reduce 3 loos to 1 loo = 6  additional seats.  Well  lets hope no one gets the “trots” or do we all fly in diapers?

In every issue he shares valuable links  then goes on to offer solutions in how to avoid them.

His journalistic research is fast paced reading and informative, but he does not claim to be a financial adviser, so you must seek that professionally.

Saturday 22nd August in l’Ametlla de mar – for tastings of ‘arrossejat’ followed by a Dixi night in the fishing harbour

Fancy doing something different this evening? Good! So why not pop down to the seaside town of l’Ametlla de mar just off the AP7 & N340 or the train line of Barcelona- Valencia?

August 22  #  17:00h Fish Market XXV Arrossejat Cookery Competition. Taste the arrossejat.
August 22  #  23:00h Fishing Harbour Dixie night “La Vella Disieland”

I have found a delightful recipe for “arrossejat” and am awaiting a translation.

This is the renowned LaVella Dixieland from Barcelona. However this link will give you an insight into the musical ensemble you will enjoy around quiet harbour lights. A town that welcomes everyone -locals, visitors and tourists and multi-cultural Expats. New friends will be made.

Also the bands website gives the starting time as an hour earlier to be 22:00hours tonight.Perhaps if someone else has more local information they will kindly comment in the language of their choice.

(Aside: The comment will not be viewed immediately as it will await my approval to avoid the dread spam.Thank you.)

Who knows not where the wasp does wear its sting? In its tail. (Taming of the Shrew)

This saying sprang out of the blue yesterday while I was pegging out the washing in the Lower Ebro Valley . The pesky little enemy stung me on the side of my big toe, between the sandal straps, and I was hopping about wailing trying not to drop a wet double sheet in God’s fairest earthy sand.

Oh William Shakespeare we do indeed know all about these waspish stings, this glorious hot summer. We seem more inundated with wasps, bees and hornets of varying camouflage of tiger stripes Wasp, pitch-tar black and the dreaded red soldiers, than flies of annoying shapes and colours (mind you they are not entirely discreet in their appearances), who only seem only intent on homing in on Casa De Miramonte!

While we admire the design and flight of the magnificent hornet, we endeavour a hasty retreat from his flight path. I say ‘his’, because surely a woman would not be that devious in attack?

Hmm!  So what do we do about them? Spray them, trap them or let the cats and dogs chase them- all can have harmful outcomes.Be careful out there, they will get angry and turn on you if cornered or under attack. I know. I have lived in Africa!

I see Southern England too have been plagued with them this summer and the Sun paper reports in their article so aptly coined as “S.W.A.T TEAM” (caption of the year!) firm hold hairspray as being an effective way in glueing their wings and stopping them in full flight to be disposed of later under a heavy workmen’s boot, no doubt. I hear Greenpeace protest that damaging their wings will only cause a long and painful death. Do we care as we pullout another long sting out of my already peppered potted toe?

Living closeby to Tortosa, Catalonia, we have various large chain of Asia stores and , don’t laugh, we have found two of their products work very well and each are under an Euro. One does in fact stick wings together but they seem to die as rapidly as the flies do. The lilac “lavanda” container called “Instant Yuki matòn insecticide”. Oh this works on mozzies and flies too.

The other option has nothing to do with insecticides.Wasps don’t fly at night. So with, ” Alin Salfumant” you coat the honey comb with it, while you have a running hosepipe in your hand just in case any soldier wasps are still hovering about. Within 10 minutes you can remove the wasp and sling it over the fence ( make sure the neighbours aren’t at home first!) or burn it on the BBQ.

I know this latter product declares “potencia superior; acid clorhìdrico 20%; agua fuerte; regulador del Ph en piscinas; limpiar de inodors & desincrustador de cement y cal”. Hey if it takes the paint off the bottom of my newly painted pool, when dilution is incorrect, imagine how powerful it is when squirted neat into the waspish homes. Boom! Wasps die! A result!!!

EbroVoice – game – set – and match!

Postscript: Article worth reading:

Uns 800.000 espanyols són al·lèrgics al verí d’abelles i vespes

Miss Sunday shopping? English goodies available this Sunday.

Dreading the queues and crowds of Saturday supermarket dash in the Lower Ebro Valley or Montsia? Well lets lighten your load today.

This Sunday is the 2nd Sunday of month, when the amicable Brian Parkins holds his gathering of the Expats and locals at Casa Madera, off Camino Terrapico for his International social club, on the outskirts of Roquetes and Raval de Christ. Just follow the luminated arrows when you turn off by the Cemetery.

Tim and Elisa (696 -894 – 134) will be displaying their wares up there of ‘your’ one-stop convenience British shop supplies. They also have a wide range of Curry paste now in stock. Come along and have a root. You will be surprised at their variety of English goodies. They are the best in town on prices on British stock. Obviously, they can’t carry all 2000 categories with them at one time, so if you don’t see what you want just ask them and they will deliver. On the other hand give them a call today and place your order and pick it up on Sunday morning from Casa Madera.

I don’t know if you are aware but you can place subscription orders with them for all your British magazines.

Perhaps, you yourself would like to try your hand at a carboot store. You are more than welcome just to turn up with what you have to sell. On the other hand, you made have a service or business that other people are interested in. Bring your flyers, bring your business cards, but above all else bring yourself and your friends or local neighbours. This is open to everyone and often you will here a range of languages burbling about.

A time to meet new and old friends. May be you chose just to sit in his fly free zone and listen to the banter. Feeling shy, lonely or need in of some company, you will receive a warm welcome and be surrounded by much laughter. Drinks and sandwiches are available.

Cats enjoy there luxurious holidays at Claudia’s cat-retreat

It is always a big worry when we are travelling away from our homes in Spain as to where we can house our beloved cats. Maybe the neighbour is not that keen to look after them anymore. Dogs are easier to find kennels. But house sitters for cats are becoming impossible to find.

We have found a solution.

Claudia’s Cat hotel is “estupendo” in Baix Emporda, Costa Bravo. Many of us fly out of either Girona or El Prat airport at Barcelona, so reaching Claudia is not that big an ordeal. Besides if you are driving back up through Spain to France on the E15 /AP7 Autopisto del MEditerranèo you will bypass Claudia anyway ,as she is just off the C31.

So what does Claudia offer?

First and foremost : peace of mind.

Secondly: a wonderful accommodation

Thirdly: everything you could wish for for your darling Leo or Leonè

Accommodation:blessed with individual garden rooms with interior bedroom . Each cat run has a double safety door to prevent escape attempts. This is all year round accommodation as the cat bedrooms are heated. How luxurious is that! Your cat will receive the best quality food, care and personal attention.

For more information please contact Claudia at : <!– @page { size: 8.27in 11.69in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>

(34) 654 984 777

Claudia's Cat hotel

Little Britain

One no longer need groan at the exorbitant prices charged by so called “English” shops up and down Catalonia, there are some new guys on the blocks!

Well, we welcome Tim and Elisa.

We all become sun lounger lizards through these hot months and dread having to change just to go into town to shop. Why not cut back on those trips by giving them a ring on 696 894 134. Alternatively, you may shop on line literally 24 -7, quickly, stress free and not standing in long queues. Tim and Elisa deliver free to the Tortosa area and some other popular spots too.

This is like your old English corner shop – a one stop convenience store. They enable you to buy British food and household items at such competitive prices. I am a frugal shopper and have not seen such good prices displayed anywhere else.

There is always something for everyone from a needs must to, “Ooh, I do miss my Bisto or what I wouldn’t give for a slice of Soreen malt loaf”. You are spoiled for choice with over 2000 different products available.

But  maybe, just maybe there is something you can’t find online, just ask. They will do their cordial best to obtain the products you need.

Don’t forget if you are not on the internet, just call them on : 696 894 134 .

You will not regret it. You will not be disappointed!

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