Category: Writings

Salazar’s chocolate cake experience in L’ampolla

It pays to eavesdrop! My ears pricked up when I heard ‘Chocolate cake’ being discussed by walkers passing us by, trampling on the wooden promenade in the quaint seaside town of L’ampolla stretching alongside the Mediterranean Coastline. Fortunately, they stooped to tie a trainer’s shoelace and they continued drooling on about what an amazing luncheon they had over-indulged in, at the new restaurant Salazar. Salazar is at the top of the town.

Thursday afternoon 13th of April (indeed my lucky number!) I ventured out to test this for myself.

I was met by such a congenial host George Pieper that hails from California and -drum role- had even lived in Mountain View. ( Flashbacks of such happy memories there.) He got my vote! I ordered Cafe Americano and a slice of chocolate cake that comes with a solitary fresh strawberry, complimented with vanilla ice cream (my choice over chocolate ice cream). I wanted to taste the chocolate in the cake as a stand-alone flavour.

So where am I? (Carrer Banys 43, L’ampolla ) https://salazars.es/

I settled down on the sunny outside terrace (protected somewhat from the wind) to enjoy, not only the culinary moment but a view that I never ever tire of watching, the aquamarine-blueness of the sea contrasting with the blue and white sky brightness, adorned with bougainvillaea framing the foreground. The Beach Avellana was practically empty. A bare-chested lone fisherman balanced on the rocky outcrop. His body was already deeply tanned and he was not dissuaded from the pesty cold wind that kept whipping up unexpectedly.

I sighed, not so bad being a woman alone this afternoon. I was at peace with my world. I idly watched my grandson Adria happily waiting at tables at the neighbouring restaurant – Comodoro. He had donned a blue ‘hoody’ tracksuit top to brace the wind as he scurried back and forth, to tables on the terrace overlooking the sandy beach.

Gosh! This coffee is so good. Cafe’ American is perfect. Just how I like it. Served in a charming coffee cup (that a man-sized hand could hold the handle with ease). Ecologica inscribed on the inside brim in gold and boastings of Cafes Brasilias on its side with quiet elegance. Mmm! I sip the coffee slowly not wanting this moment of enchantment to end.

I’ve lived in Terres del Ebre since 2004 (L’ampolla 2021 to present) and this is our lament where can we share late afternoon coffee and cake out with friends, but not have to buy a full meal to arrive a the postre trolley. I know it is a frightfully British habit. I also know that my Dutch and German friends – even the Swiss who live out in the el campo or tourists who come down in their motorhomes seek out this social event. Besides Wednesday is Market Day here in L’Ampolla. Why not stroll around the local stalls working your way upwards and Voile! Salazar’s is at the top waiting with whatever food you require for lunch or maybe just tea/coffee and cake of Chef Herve Plormel’s choice of the day.

Now we can hook up at Salazar be it mid-morning, lunch grill and so on, or high tea time!

Aaah! My cake has arrived. Ooh- aah! The moistness looks just right. A lovely fresh large strawberry (not bottled t.g.f.t.) sliced in half embraces its side. A wonderful generous spoonful of vanilla ice cream sits proudly out front. Elegant, sweeps of swirls of strawberry sauce complete the perfect presentation across two stylishly cut slices of chocolate cake, on a glistening white plate.

( Aside: “Nothing is bought in. Everything is ‘homemade on-site,” proudly shared by George Pieper.)

Now for the cake test…

It is not often I am silent for so long. It is seldom I do not talk while I eat or glance at my mobile. NO Sir- no! I do not stop except for a pause and sip my coffee. It may seem insignificant to some, but I was impressed that they provided a really decent-sized and thickness of napkin. ( Quite essential for folk of my age if they are inclined like me to miss my mouth and land on my ‘shelf’.)

That cake was scrumptious, delicious -out of this world.

“I will be back!”

(c) Rosie Reay

Ebrovoice -Let the words flow…

@theebrovoice

OPPO…opportunities or something else

Testing out this name publicly on professionals, technical, computer geeks orientated and otherwise, in Europe I asked the question: “What does the company or product name OPPO mean to you?”

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This was presented in their home language. I was either met with shrugged shoulders of zero recognition or as one suggested it would be a great name for a cat or a Great Dane. (No offence intended it was their knee-jerk response.)

Did you know OPPO has been sponsors for Wimbledon Tennis, FC Barcelona in the past? They were visibly surprised.

Do you know who they are sponsoring now? No idea.

Guess I never asked any video gamers who use GAME SPACE (130 million users across 40 countries) or followers of League of Legends.

https://nexus.leagueoflegends.com/en-us/2019/09/oppo-joins-lol-esports-as-new-global-partner/

Yes, League of Legends has a new sponsor. Who else other than one of the most reputable telephonic company in our universe. The fusion between LoL Esports and OPPO, the market-leading firm of the Chinese conglomerate BBK Electronics, which has become its first global partner within the Smart telephone industry.

OPPO Reno League of Legends

For quite a few years now, OPPO has channelled a good portion of its endeavours towards the arena of video games. They´ve already incorporated the system Game Space on the brand’s terminals .

So is it still a good name if no-one locally knows about you? But they do know about League of Legends.

Is it still a strong brand name, but the marketing team has missed the mark or the tagline is not descriptive enough?

What happens when the sponsored event overshadows the brand name of the sponsor or is lost in the stampede or is it? I am sure the parent company of OPPO are not concerned about their name being tarnished by a few Europeans who do not know them. Their corporate investment must be huge and and full risk assessment carried out before hand.

League of Legends https://www.leagueoflegends.com/es-es/ all three major esports events, as it is often referred to will have major world coverage , so let us see their marketing team putting OPPO up in lights.

Perhaps, there are other things coming into play here on the global market that is not obvious to English speaking countries, but is so obvious in the land of origin – China or people who speak Mandarin.

Since 2016 in China, OPPO was declared the biggest smartphone company, selling their phones at over 200,000 retail stores. 2019 became the top smartphone in China, thereby being ranked as No.5, in worldwide market share.

Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp., Ltd, trading as OPPO, is a Chinese analog or digital equipment  manufacturer with their headquarters Guangdong at Donnguan -the Pearl River Delta. Smartphones, smart devices, audio devices, power banks, and other electronic products adorn their vast product line. The company has expanded rapidly to 50 countries since filing in 2001 their brand name OPPO (registered 2003).

Etymology:

Strange, I know, but I am passionate about etymology and linguistics. It is amazing what your eyes first read, as a voracious and fast reader, and not necessarily the word in play. I saw HIPPO…Yet, Hippo ( abbreviation of hippopotamus) has nothing at all in common with a company name OPPO, other than the parent company is extremely long with multiple names relevant to its location and founders and it has an affix mentioned twice as PO.

I like the affix -PPO as it different and the double P implies stress in pronunciation.

OPPO = also resonates with the much used colloquial expression for opportunities or your options;

=oppo/ˈɒpəʊ/ noun -informal British meaning a colleague or friend, “an old oppo of mine;”

= oppo in politics refers to the opposition party or opposition research

PO = The Po (/poʊ/ POHItalian: [ˈpɔ]LatinPadus or ĒridanusAncient LigurianBodincus or Bodencus) is the longest river in Italy and a long way of China;

= British abbreviation for the Post Office

OP= abbreviation widely used into two avenues:

= OP refers to a medical surgical procedure. It may be plural as OPS;

=OP(s) in USA & UK military jargon when on a Tour of Duty.

Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp., Ltd – definitely a name to be reckoned with in Smartphones and gaming applications.

Naming Alphabet Soup 101

(c)Rosie Reay and BrighterNaming

Evacuees Spanish Civil War -Tortosa.

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One of the highlights of this year’s programme is the forced exile by this unpleasant, unwelcomed Civil War, the evacuated route, those Tortoisins followed away from the bloodiest, most horrific bombing cascaded on them by the Italian fascist aircraft they did endure on April 15, 1938. Twenty tons of bombs fell from the skies, more than in Guernica -the Basque country, on good Friday. Later sadly referred to as Blood Friday.

[Aside: There is so much about my immigrant, beloved Catalonian homeland of seventeen years, that I do not know the history about. Through my writings, readings and research I endeavour to resolve and share it with you, my readers. I apologize profusely for ignoring these facts purely because they were written in Catalan. And why shouldn’t they be? It is their language- it is up to me to conquer and understand it.]

Starting today a week of exhibitions, conferences, book presentations have been coordinated by the Tortosa City council for the second year running. (The covid restriction guidelines have been applied accordingly. )

  • Wednesday 14th, at 7 pm, A Week of Historical Memory from 14 to 19 April. ‘Displaced people from Tortosa, rooted in Vic’ will take place, which aims to follow the path taken by the Tortosa community that settled in the capital of Osona. “We know that many people from the city had to take refuge in Vic, and that is why we will have the dissertation of the Osona historian Xavier Cateura,
  • Thursday 15, the Marcel·lí Domingo library reading club will focus on the renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning comic ‘Maus’, which narrates with illustrations the torment of the Jewish community in Nazi Germany. The event, at 7 pm, has limited access due to the covid measures and a place must be reserved at bmd@tortosa.cat or at 977 445 566.
  • Later, at 7.30 pm, in the didactic classroom of the Museu de Tortosa, The second Petjades Awards will be presented, which recognize the research work on historical memory carried out by students at Terres de l’Ebre high schools.
  • The following Friday at 6 pm sharp in the Marcel·lí Domingo library (necessary to reserve space due to limited capacity), the in-person presentation of Víctor Amela’s book ‘Ens robar la joventut‘ {‘We steal the youth.’}
  • Lastly, on Saturday at 12 noon, the inauguration of the exhibition ‘Persecuted and Saved’ (‘Perseguits i salvats’)will take place, organized by Amics i Amigues de l’Ebre at the Museu de l’Ebre. A sample that revisits the journey of the evacuees, through the escape routes of exiles during the Civil War. These same tracks later served the Jewish arrival from their persecution, during World War II.

Ernest Hemingway

There is a fathom of written works out there to delve into and immerse yourself for never-ending hours in history, stories, well-written journalism and biographies. The man I am partial to is Ernest Hemingway. – the more I read his writings the more I want to know. Despite what some may feel that the Civil War is boring to hear about, he was here in Tortosa reporting on thises horrors -read his works!

A Week of Historical Memory from 14 to 19 April.

Councilor Dolors Bel emphasized that “it is important to know our history and delve into what has happened to our environment, to our ancestors”, (“és important conèixer la nostra història i aprofundir en el que ha passat amb el nostre entorn, amb els nostres avantpassats”)

Tortosa remembers!

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ASTRA ZENECA – a brighter name for a brighter solution

Covid-19 Vaccine

Forthcoming vaccine out of Europe as a cure for Covid-19. A giant step forward in the right direction.

Do you ever pause and wonder how linguistic, international naming consultants come up with such awe-inspiring and memorable names?

Product Naming

Naming a great product brand and company names are not achieved by merely throwing random names into the magician’s hat and saying, “white rabbits” and hoping thé name hops across the polished boardroom table. Naming is a carefully crafted process with many years of in-depth knowledge, long hours of study and research into the etymology of word origin related to thoughts and ideas. These are usually requested by directives within the prospective Naming worksheet (hopefully supporting company documentation on product details/corporate images is forthcoming). However, with Start-ups, they may/may not have the marketing knowledge. 

Company Naming

This Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pharmaceutical company’s impressive name came about from a massive merger, of not only 2 great companies, but by design, they co-joined two historic names in the bio-medicinal industry. “AstraZeneca” is a made-up name, formulated by a Naming/Banding agency directed to discover a unique name, trademark free, which began with the first and last letter of our English alphabet letter. Furthermore, phonology must ensure memorability in the customer’s minds, while morphology consisted of no greater than three syllables and without an insulting innuendo in any language.

https://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/3108924/astrazeneca-ceo-says-coronavirus-vaccine-could-be-ready-december

Yet, how did they originally come up with Two names👉 Astra+ Zeneca👈?

Hmm?😷👀👂🌟💢 👆💡

Zeneca was successfully formed in June 1993 by the demerger of the pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals businesses of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) into a separate company. Oct 17, 2019

Origin of zen

Zen means https://www.yourdictionary.com/zen

It is from Japanese 禅 (zen ぜん).

In Buddhism: A philosophy of calm, reminiscent of that of the Buddhist denomination. Zen focuses on awareness through the practice of meditation to become extremely relaxed and collected.

An approach to an activity, skill, or subject that emphasizes simplicity and intuition rather than conventional thinking or fixation on goals.”

Origin of astral

Astra has deep, poignant roots in the Greek Astron, meaning ‘a star’ = /ˈastr(ə)l/; pertaining to resembling the stars and the importance of astral navigation Also one of the five Greeks gods of the “Wandering Stars” Astra-Planeta = and Astraeus (god of the dusk); their spiritual beings; an existence linking to differing psychic and paranormal phenomena- of which the actual human body is considered a counterpart.

Conclusion

The Oxford counterpart for the Covid-19 seems to be racing against the clock to out-smart Astra Zeneca, as delivering the first vaccine against this awful pandemic virus. We don’t know for 100% surety which will have a more effective cure. Yet, what I do know, is that the name Astra Zeneca does stand out in the crowd and is not in lost in all the other generic names containing “Oxford”. Their name is co-joined. It is unique. It has longevity.

AstraZeneca logo 3D
Designed by Interbrand in 1999

Naming Alphabet Soup 101

(c)Rosie Reay and BrighterNaming

Ebro Valley crop circles cultivation- Camarles style.

Crop circles mysteries have baffled us over the history of time. We have marvelled in their beauty, their mysteries, legends of ominous satanic work at large, questionable hoaxers, climatic changes, studied by the intellectual professors, Crop circle (s) are preserved in stunning photographs until the end of time or even aliens landing (fringe theorists) and working their ‘butts off’ through the night while farmers slept.

Liz Crichton (started her project around 2017) gave thanks in 2018 saying: ”And still our wonderful crop circles keep producing! #abundance#gratitude”. Now wait a minute, Ayrshire tatties grown by a Scottish lassie relocated to the countryside in Camarles, Terres del Ebre? I’m awfully impressed as the climatic conditions could not be at more opposite extremes. I for one will hint for a specimen from next harvest to try one ‘lonely’ plant to propagate. After all, I was not nicknamed by my brother as Spud, when I was no more than knee-high to a grasshopper, for nothing!

So how does Liz still do it in 2020? Here is what was relayed to me as I lamented about my rock hard Spanish soil ideal for olive plantation, but vegetables-really?

“Crop circles – without a doubt!”

Take all your composting materials, cuttings, weeds, food compost waste twigs etc., and gradually layer the inside any size circle that is manageable for you to reach a circumference of 4 metres and a depth of 25cm. The tougher twigs /cuttings go on the bottom. Create a thick layer and stamp it down under your boot(advisable to wear on the el campo), then fill up the rest with mixed layers (any old way works). Finally, tramp it down again and water it.

Crop circle preparation

Once it has created a kind of dense vegetation mat you can immediately pour over a whole 70-litre bag of compost on top and plant in either seeds or plugs of anything that grows upwards i.e. lettuce, chard, spinach and so on.

crop circle young lettuce

In the 2nd year (or winter) top the circles up with another bag of your compost material and you can grow deep plants, like potatoes, carrots beetroot or even parsnips, as by then your initial compost material will be turning into soil in your crop circle. It is important to line the edges of your wire with the drying grass or weeds to save the new compost or precious water flowing away.

Crop circle 1st year growth

After the 2nd year, you can remove the encircled wire meshing and spread the compost and dig into your ground. It will now be soil down to a depth of 6″ (15.24cm) because of the worm activity and water( you can hand water if irrigation is not doable) that has nourished below your circles!

End of crop circle year 2: Ayrshire potatoes

“This year I’ve used a light sprinkling of 15/15/15 feed to once a week with great results!”

Multi Crop circles

“Mind you, I talk to them as well!” quipped Liz Crichton, “and I always ask before I pick and use www.moonandgarden.com“. The Moon & Garden is guided by the moon’s influence. Avery nifty application (French, English, Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch) as your coordinator to optimize your daily ‘best to do’ organic gardening by using biodynamics to use earth’s energy of the sun and moon enhanced with your personalized recording of Calendar, Gallery and action Alarms.

“May I pick you now, por favor?”

However, this is not a new-fangled idea amongst the traditional farmers in this valley. When we first moved to our Finca (2005), Partida de San Bernabe’, our neighbours aka. vecinos, came across to see what small vegetable plants for sewing I had just proudly bought. (I say proudly as my run of Spanish verbiage was almost non-existant!) He muttered away through his toothless grin in Catalan -no normal, no no- HIs wife explained in Spanish that I must only plant according to the moon cycle as his grandfathers had always done –Siempre– I considered myself rightly told off!

(c)Tales from the Ebro River Valley: RosieReay

EbroVoice -the Zen of Life

Where the local stories flow

“Lockdown in Catalonia” since March 16th and counting. It is a necessary and essential means to justify and contain this pandemic. Yet, out of this disaster the true values of living are being pushed to the surface, like young plants in spring. They have been buried for too long.

It is a time of not only unity in the Ebro River valley communities: forming new friendships (be it digital or otherwise); taking time to revive family talk-time; dusting off the old chess set that has been sat on top of the wardrobe for too long; but also a period of inner reflection; drawing on the deeper strengths of our character ; exploring new hobbies and crafts; reading and studying; paying respects, thanks and gratitude to all our health care professionals and workers and the bio-technological researchers racing against time to find a vacinal cure.

So, I ponder on the Zen of life by taking a word and digesting it letter by letter in my thoughts’ recipe.

E =B = R = O =V = O = I = C= E

E = Ebro River is the essence of life to our valley, mountains, towns and Delta. The essence of your day depends on you. Think about it!

B = Believe in yourself, then others will too.

R = Remember / reflections – that silence is sometimes the best answer. Hum along to the old song “The Sounds of Silence” or as my old Mum used to say, “Silence is golden.”

O = Open your arms to change and opportunities, open your thoughts to new mediums and open your eyes to what is going on around you. We cannot be an oyster in times like these. Shine like an opal for others.

V = Visualize it! Venture out of your comfort zones. The virtual world engulfs us in isolation. Use it to your advantage especially if you are alone. Learn to play chess or scrabble online you will make many new friends. If you have land go grow some vegetables. I know we can’t pop down to garden centres, but we all eat veggies and can grow new vegetables the old fashioned way or how we did so as kids. Carrots/beetroot/onion toppings, or even aubergine and garlic-they all grow out of nothing. Potatoes propagate in a pot just by cutting one up into cubes. Red,yellow, green peppers taste them, visualize them as you cover the seed head under compost.

O = Opinions tread carefully here. Our opinion may not be the same as someone else’s. There is no right or wrong. In this period of containment we are living in close quarters with others. Feelings run high and patience expires quickly. A colloquial expression that is very appropriate here is; Put your brain into gear, before opening your mouth. ( I need to often remind myself of this.)

I = If opportunity doesn’t come knocking, build a door. We all have intelligence, different levels but we can expand them. We may have to be inside, but we don’t have to live 24/7 inside our own thoughts. Communicate, share inter-cultural activities (digital or otherwise) and remember knowledge is only as powerful as the next person you share it with . That is intelligence!

I think the ‘Balcony singers of Italy’ were so inspirational to the nation and Europe – it soon caught on and viral orchestras and operas have given so much pleasure to so many people – ‘Grazie mille italiani’.

C = Compassion / consideration /commitment/control. All very powerful words use them in your actions cleverly. Don’t complain about being bored. Everyday get up, get dressed, make your bed and do something. It doesn’t matter what. Just do something!

E = Expressions /excitement/excel/enlighten/encouragement . Look around you and see how a smile can change the whole day of an old person or a child. Encourage others at home to live and not just go about grumpily. Excel in learning new things from others young and old. When someone doesn’t know or understand something in a second, third or even their home language enlighten them or teach them how to use Thesaurus. Encourage your youngsters keep a scrapbook, journal and adults to can write down the humour as well as horrors and sprinkle with ideas on how they kept themselves amused and others with hyperlinks and images. I’m sure there will be a film coming out after all of this.

Embrace the family you have – near and far. In these horrifically, scary times we are living in some people may lose all their loved ones. Be grateful for all the odds and sods, warts and kisses too.

Charlie Brown summed it all up: “Keep looking up – that’s the secret of life.”

Credits: Thank you kindly to Claudia Tapalagas for this tranquil scenery of our beautiful River Ebro.

(c)Tales from the Ebro River Valley: RosieReay

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