Saturday, 30 June 2012

Dedicated to Tessa-RIP

This week's blog starts on a very sad note as my good friend Tessa passed away on Thursday back home in England. She had battled with cancer for several years first in her bowel and liver and finally in her lungs and bones. We were students together in London and shared a flat in Hackney, Jill, Nicky, Tessa and me. Tessa was studying Philosophy and the rest of us Dietetics. Dietetics was one of those full on courses, we had only Wednesay afternnons off, wheras Tess did about 12 hours a  week and read strange esoteric books. 

Jill was with Tessa the day before she died and I just had to say my goodbyes from a long way away. I did remind her though about Tessa and her mammoth cooking sessions. She lived with 3 people who loved cooking and studied it as part of our course but she insisted on taking her turn cooking. Thursday was her day and when we got back to the flat she would still be in her fluffy blue dressing gown and the kitchen would invariably be covered in flour as she created our meal.............her Guiness burgers were wonderful. She went to work in Ancona, Italy doing TEFL and I went to visit and we ended up on in the audience of some crazy Italian game show sponsored by a yoghourt company!! Happy days.

Here in Mexico life goes on and Tessa's passing focusses you on the need to take opportunities as they come along without any what ifs..............just go for it. 

We are well and truely in the rainy season now-rain some of most days but still some sun. Had another little glitch with the power which as off 36 hours. The good thing is the house is not getting so hot and it is much cooler at night. The rain is pretty strong and is starting to change the landscape. We were walking with the dogs yesterday and I commented to Chris that it is like spring in the UK on fast forward. In 2 weeks it has gone from brown, dry and frazzled to verdant, I took a picture of some seedlings a week ago -they are now about 10 inches high. The rain was pretty bad in the North East last week too-there were some amazing pictures on line but it caused travel problems for everyone. Hope it is improving.

The rain is raising the level of the laguna too, its about a foot higher. Yesterday we went swimming about 11 and there was no wind and as I set off swimming the lake was like a mirror in front of me............very strange sensation and then swimming back to shore there was the beautiful reflection of the palm trees. It was surreal. 

Its election day tomorrow and the expectaion is there will be change of government back to the party who ruled for 70 years...........and tolerated the drugs, narcos ,police involvment etc- a bit like the Italian mafia!! The potential new president looks like a bit of a slime ball........him and Cameron could be brothers. 

We went to Tepic this week and I spotted a sign in one of the shops that said stock up on beer now for the weekend!! I thought it was to celebrate the outcome of the election?? But no!! No alcohol has been sold since yesterday and can't be sold till Monday as part of the rules for the election. Not sure if it to ensure sober voters, or reduce potential violence?? In SAMAO you don't really see a lot of problems with alcohol. I bought extra beer on Thursday so we will be fine.

We are still ploughing our way through loads of mangoes and the stack of tiny fish I bought last week. Made a lovely fish meal yesterday. You put foil in a frying pan and then layer fish on the bottom, cover it with some fried-off veggies ( I used peppers, omions and mushroom and garlic) the another layer of fish and put on a foil lid. It took about ten minutes to cook and was lovely. We also manged to have a BBQ this week despite the rainy season. I was confident it would not rain, Chris less so , but knew if it did we had plenty of experience of UK BBQ's to just get the umbrella out. 

Its odd what you miss about home and despite the surfeit of frijoles ( mexican bean mush) we were both hankering after Henz baked beans...........albeit cold ones for me. Part of me is thinking that in touristy Puerto Vallarta we might find some!!

My attempts at wildlife photography are proving pretty useless although Mr Toad was easy ( see photo). There are fabulous birds of all sizes- a tiny little jet black wren size, lovely humming birds, golden oreoles ( yellow and black) and beautiful orange, blue and green ones about the size of a thrush. Never manage to have my camera when I see them!! The butterflies are stunning too but are less in number now.....chrysalis time?? One day last week there were millions of tiny frogs/toads the size of your small fingeranil hopping everywhere. 

We had a dog washing session yesterday as they were starting to get a bit whiffy. Eugene was really good and just stood patiently getting shampooed and then dried and brushed, Lekkie hates sitting still so it was a 2 person job and Lily was in the huff all day although she is so much whiter!! 

Had a bit of a pamper week too, had a 2 hour pedicure, including red sparkling toes for £5 and a massage, which is £2.50. They were 2 days apart and four blocks too so not quite as luxurious as it sounds. The massage was at the dispensario at the local chuirch, where the nuns have supported the devlopment of a centre using natural appraaches. Lloretta, the American nun, is planning to start helping people with health problems like heart disease and diabetes change how they eat. I hope to be able to help her with some of the practical preaparation to get this started. 

I will have loads of time soon as kinder finishes next Friday. Although I do worry that it will fold soon as there are fewer and fewer children. Last week 2 moved on, Yahomi ( from the drumming house) has gone back to Cancun to be with his mum and Itzel's family packed up and left for Tepic!! That only leaves 4 children and they got a teacher on the basis of there being 10!! The teacher doesn't seem bothered and hasn't turned up 3 times in the last 2 weeks.........once because it was foggy!!

Our South America planning is continuing and we could end our trip in Brazil...........this was never in the plan!! Although if you loook at the map the Iguazu falls ( an Argentian must see) are right on the border and we will get to see them from both sides. It will only be for an overnight stay to get a cheap flight from Sao Paulo to Barcelona and then the next day from Barcelona to Newcastle with Easyjet!! Trying to think creatively about what to do over the Christmas and New Year and we will also be in South America for Carnaval...........not Rio but who knows ..........

I am getting excited about the trip as I am getting itchy feet and Chris and I think we wouldn't do another 5 month house sit. Its lovely here but we are limited in what we can do beacause of the animals and as well there is not enough change in the weather for us to do the things we like...........long walks pretty much out of the question.

How's that for shoes and bags??

Inspiration for jabba the Hutt??

The photo of the bags and shoes is specially for my about these for colour and high heels!! 

Well its now 7 am and time for a cup of tea, walk the dogs and then we will be off for our Saturday morning treat..........breakfast by the laguna. Eggs, frijoles, chilli and tortillas!!!

Till next time
Norma xx


  1. Frightening pictures of Newcastle on the news. Saw the spouting drain cover on the kids' facebook message to you - Middlesbrough has been VERY lucky. We escaped flooding, just extremely soggy gardens - again! I'm not sure I like the sound of the elections in Mexico - it was reported on the BBC. Makes UK sound perfect by comparison, doesn't it? Love the sound of your planned trips in south america, you brave pair you! Still, you sound like you're still enjoying yourselves even if the novelty must be wearing off by now. Very sad to hear of the passing of your friend Tessa. Now we're the age we are, it's something that happens more than you'd like, so as you say, enjoy every moment while you can..... Vaya con dios Norma and Chris. Till next time, adios. Kim x

  2. Hi Norma,

    Sorry to hear about your friend, very sad news. And yes it does make you realise how short and precious life is so i totally agree we should take opportunties as they come to us and just go for it. The weather here has been awful and i've never seen flooding like it in my 41 years! Heworth, Hebburn and Jarrow were hit pretty bad and we had total traffic chaos for a while as the tunnel was closed. Fingers crossed the weather will improve soon, we could do with a bit of your sun i think!

    Don't think I like the sound of the elections in Mexico either, very dodgy!! Think Cameron would do well over there haha!

    Anyway, glad to hear the plans for your next adventure are coming along nicely and look forward to the next installement!

    Take care,