Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Weekend in Scotland

Where do I start? Possibly at the beginning, but I promise you, smoke and mirrors are involved, so hang on for a roller coaster of a post...

I thought a visit to Scotland was an essential almost before Sam and family left Alcala la Real last April. I just needed the right 'excuse'. Romy's birthday in January seemed a pretty good reason and knowing that the cottage where the family now live is not big, I decided that we'd have a girly visit and just Romy and I would go. No discussion, no consultation. Even Romy didn't know and I booked the tickets in August last year.

It seemed to take forever for us to reach Romy's birthday in some ways. I'd let her know just after Christmas when she began compiling a 'birthday wish list' and I began to think it would be more fun to share the news so we could plan and anticipate together. It was a good decision and helped her to deal with the rather miserable actual birthday she had, 10 days prior to our departure. (She was ill, the one thing she really wanted had failed to arrive from Amazon....and we had said no party this year due to her visit to Scotland.) But she was brave and our excitement grew in the last week before our departure and Romy got better and I didn't catch her lurgy!

And suddenly, after all the anticipation (and the anxiety when I discovered her passport had expired...) we were on our way to the airport in Malaga for a very civilised flight at midday on a day of sunshine that promised to continue all the way to Scotland.

And sure enough, we landed in sunshine and Sam was excitedly waiting for us at the gate - and we were the first out! What emotion!! I was so anxious to see her again that I foolishly decided against delaying the moment and didn't stop at the loo on the way through the airport. Bad move! Anyway, we stopped at the Hilton Hotel on our way out and the man on the door there was very obliging and let me in in my moment of need.

We called in to see the dilapidated cottage that the Greers are hoping to rebuild and make their permanent Scottish home. It's just the other side of Perth from the village where they currently live and it was in a glorious spot with fantastic views. And a lovely piece of history in the garden - on old horse mill.  I don't know what was milled originally but these types of mills have been used variously as gorse-crushers, to provide animal feed, to mill corn, to crush apples or to raise water.

Plenty of work to do - but a glorious view to enjoy. Oh my, is Romy as tall as Sam?
 After this little detour, we drove on through Perth where I had the weirdest feeling of déjà vu despite knowing I have never been there - and it was a good feeling. I liked Perth very much.

It was so lovely to settle down with the Greers and to feel at home immediately. The girls disappeared off to....well, I have no idea, but disappear they did and I guess Sam and I didn't stop talking until we simply couldn't any more.

Saturday really did start sunny and bright so we set off for a walk in the local woods with Charlie in tow - Charlie is a little street dog from Alcala, who seems to have settled in quite well to her different lifestyle!

It was chilly as the ice on the river proves, but the sun was shining on us.

I think Romy will grow out of pulling this face for the camera. I hope it will be soon.....

(Mine, I can't help!)
After a brisk walk back, we got ourselves ready to go into Perth, where, second joy, we were going to be joined by a dear friend I used to work with and who was travelling across from the Trossachs (sounds good) for a catch up lunch!

Celia and I shared an office for several years and went through more than a few life events together and I was delighted that she was able to meet up with us. Absolutely brilliant to spend a couple of hours chatting and catching up and reminiscing. Thank you so much for coming to meet us, Celia!

After lunch was over - and it was extremely good - Celia toddled back to the Trossachs and we headed to Paperchase and TK Maxx for a little retail therapy. Everything I wanted in TK Maxx was impossible to buy....too heavy to take back to Spain in my hand luggage. (But I DID so want a big Le Creuset jug....a pink one....)  In the end, Romy and I spent quite a bit in Paperchase and were happy with our lovely but light purchases and I bought a beautiful new king size fitted cotton sheet, hotel quality, that I inevitably try and pick up with I visit TK Maxx. Can't have too many of those.

Photography wasn't allowed in the concert hall,
of course, but this was at the end.
They didn't have much room, but skated brilliantly
- very balletic and the Crow was incredible!
A quick visit back home to change for our evening outing to see 'Snow White on Ice' at Perth Concert Hall. This was Romy's treat and I wasn't expecting to be too excited but found I enjoyed the skating very much. The music was excellent and apart from an incongruous element....Rusty Lee (remember her, anyone!) dressed in neon pink and black, with wings, was the 'Fairy Reporter' who provided the younger members of the audience with a commentary of what was going on from time to time. Sam did get a little lost in the plot at one point which caused great hilarity on our return journey. I had to explain that the seven bearded skaters who appeared when Snow White was in the cottage in the woods, were, in fact, the seven dwarves...she'd got a bit lost in the plot. (It doesn't sound so funny but we did laugh such a lot in the car on our way home!)

The next day, we were up early and off to Edinburgh for our last day together. And although Sam insisted that she knows no one and has far fewer friends in Scotland than in Spain, everywhere we went, she bumped into friends and work acquaintances as she always did in Alcala...we even met and travelled to Edinburgh with one of her friends, who just happens to be Spanish and comes from Malaga! A networking genius, she is!

Edinburgh sported the bluest skies and coldest winds imaginable! As we walked down from the station along Princes St. we were treated to a man playing the bagpipes in full costume and with very chilly-looking knees.

We walked through the gardens and down to the Scottish National Gallery, where as well as taking in some lovely pictures and hearing many Spanish voices around, we left our suitcases for a couple of hours. Then we wandered off again and made our way to the selected lunch spot.

It was an excellent choice for five good eaters - Cosmo Restaurant, a 'Pan Asian and World Dining Banquet' - with an open buffet-style menu from many different countries and where you could literally eat as much as you wanted. It would take an age to recount all the different things we tried but I particularly enjoyed the squid, prawn and scallops that were cooked for me on a hot iron and the Lamb Rogan Josh that I followed it with...oh, and the slice of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding that I couldn't resist....and perhaps I should mention the BBQ spare rib that I nibbled on  as I perused what was on offer. And yes, I've come back several kilos heavier but for once I can say it was worth it!! As for what the girls ate...Romy and Izzie were utterly stuffed and Romy couldn't finish her cheesecake. That says it all. It's not something that I would want to do on a regular basis but for someone whose tastebuds are often a tad bored with Spanish flavours, it was such a brilliant experience. And we stayed warm and out of the wind for around 2 hours..

The final treat of the day - Romy's birthday, remember - after we'd picked up our suitcases, was a trip to the Edinburgh Dungeons.

Not originally the Dungeons, I was reliably informed that this venue was once a car park and then a night club. However, it had been cleverly transformed into a most scary place where Sam and the girls did a lot of screaming and I only did a bit.

It was well organised and there was lots of interaction and jesting and some historical information, as well as lots of shouting in strong Scottish accents, much of which I didn't quite catch!

We were at the back of our group owing to having the suitcases on tow and as a result, we had to wait to enter the final part of the tour - a 'this-is-how-it-feels-to-drop-when-you're-being-hung' experience I think it was - which we went on just the five of us. Photos were taken but I refuse to share the one of me at this point...not a good image and obviously I will be getting my roots done very soon as a result of seeing it myself.

This is a 'good' one of us all!

As we were shown out of this part, we were told to find our way out of a simple maze to the entrance hall. It was a maze of mirrors and - I guess because we weren't part of a main group any more - we were stuck in it for what seemed like an eternity. At the beginning, it wasn't too creepy because we expected to find our way out, but after five minutes or so, we became SO disorientated that at one point, Jazzy made a run towards Romy and almost knocked herself out against a mirror - splat onto the floor! It was one of the strangest experiences I've ever had!!

At this stage, I didn't know if I was coming or going...don't be fooled though. It's possible I was walking TOWARDS Sam when this was taken....hang on, who took this picture???

Brave smiles from four totally confused females!
Eventually, the next group caught up with us and within two minutes, the secret and hidden (honestly, I did look for it) door opened and there we were, back in the entrance hall. It was very comical and I will see Jazzy hitting that mirror and then the floor forever more, in a tangle of long gangly adolescent legs and arms and wild screaming. Luckily she wasn't hurt....but it would have been difficult not to find it comical even if she had. Sorry Jazzy! Be glad we weren't filming - you'd have been an overnight YouTube sensation!

And then, suddenly, our time with our friends was over! It was strange seeing them off - rather than the other way round - but they went to catch the train back to Perth, whilst Romy and I were heading off to a hotel near the airport. A fantastic weekend and confirmation that it was serendipity that brought both Sam and I to Alcala la Real, so that we could meet and become the friends that we are.

Romy and I still had a bit of adventure left before we got back home. A tram ride in Edinburgh for a start - and it was now dark, so it felt like an adventure - and finding our hotel. We managed, of course, and by 7pm, were safely ensconced in our room. And by 9pm, we were both fast asleep!! Good too, as we had an early morning start as our flight was at the less civilised return hour of 6.55am...groan! Needless to say, this too went like clockwork and at around 11am, we had landed back in sunny Malaga.

We really had a ball - notwithstanding losing my credit card at some point on our journey and arriving back in Spain with no cash, both of which I managed to resolve without a problem - and I hope we can do it again in the not too distant future. There's something really very good about having a girly weekend.....especially with great friends and with my wonderful, fantastic daughter, who is fun, brave and a brilliant travelling companion. Happy Birthday Romy!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

I lapsed....

I really did intend to get back into blogging as we began the new year. But I am already sadly behind with reading those blogs that I love to read, written by people I now consider to be know who you are! I apologise and will get back to it post haste.

My excuses are varied and many but I won't bore you with all of them, only to say that January has been a time of preparation and thinking and it hasn't left me much time for anything else.

The preparation has been for two main things - one of which has taken place with great success - and the other which will begin properly next week.

First thing was the trip I had planned for Romy and I to visit our friends in Scotland. Ostensibly for Romy's birthday this year, I cannot possibly pretend that I thought it was the most perfect idea for both of us and I booked the tickets in August last year - and managed NOT to tell Romy until just after Christmas. She was thrilled, although we did have a minor hiccup when I discovered on 13th January that her passport ran out on 14th January. Despite FR's confidence in being able to get her a Spanish one through in time, when we got to the 20th I was beginning to panic and had had several recurring anxiety-fuelled toilet dreams - years since I had the last one! (Apparently, I am not alone in having this particular dream and I even wrote a blog post about but decided it was not the best idea to publish it!)

Sunny day in Malaga.....
All was resolved by a single visit to Malaga to the British Consulate, where her passport was extended for one year without problem. A very big phew.....

Sunny - and very windy! That's Romy on the beach causing a seagull riot!

And this is Riofrio, where we stopped on the way home to get fresh trout....
not directly from the river but from the trout farm here.
SO delicious!

Our visit to Scotland deserves a blog post of its own and will get one very shortly! We had a ball.....

And amazing weather!

The second thing that has been preoccupying me has been the waiting to start teaching again. A new Director has been appointed at the place where I teach and she is in charge of Human Resources, so my existing contact, the acting Head of HR has been deferring to her all during January and it seemed the English classes weren't high on her list of priorities. At least that's what I suspected.

Eventually, I was introduced to her and was a bit taken aback when she said she wanted to see that the classes were worth the money (not in as many words) and that she wanted the staff to take exams. I don't really like teaching where the main purpose is to pass an exam so I was a bit upset and concerned. However, several conversations later and finding that I really like this new woman very much indeed - she's great fun and very committed to English learning - and I now have a group of students who would like to take an exam. And I also have a group that don't want to; a group that don't need to and an advanced group that will take a high level of exam next year.
I am delighted and it's going to be just as much fun as it was last year, I can tell! I have started with one group this week and will get going 'proper' next week. And the teaching will be mainly in the mornings and early afternoon, which is fantastic as it means I can be at home with the children in the evenings. I'm feeling very good about it all. It's obviously been playing on my mind a bit because as soon as it feels sorted (now) - here I am blogging again!

FR has been very busy, with the help of a builder, adding the summer kitchen and a new storage place nearer the house, where we will put the freezer and make a bit of extra space in the kitchen. We have still quite a big mess and a lot of work to do in the garden but the hard work is beginning to give us an idea of how it might be - one day!!

Delivery of roof tiles. Can you see a difference...?

One day, all this will be sorted. One day. Just not very soon!!

Watch this space. There will be more, I can feel it in my fingers. Axxx

Friday, 2 January 2015

And so begins the new year..

With a fun and loving family.

Cheers on Noche Buena, Christmas Eve

With the distinct feeling that there have been more peaks than troughs in 2014 and that we're happy to climb mountains in 2015.

Barney McGrew survived the axe this Christmas some of you may be glad to know. I can't promise he will live to a ripe old age but for now, he's one happy chappy, though he may have noticed that one of his two 'friends' has disappeared - but this was a mercy killing as one of the two cockerels had a damaged leg and he couldn't support himself properly. FR did a good job of dispatching and cooking him and we wimps were none the wiser as to exactly how the dinner arrived on the table that day.

Christmas Day was enjoyed by all, with presents, good food and games.

Mateo still half asleep....

Christmas Day - no turkey!

And on the whole, it has been a very quiet Christmas and New Year but we've played Uno, Cluedo, Charades and other silly games with gusto.

And when the temperature drops outside, we're cosy indoors.
I guess I should really have positioned my cushions before taking this one, I do apologise...

The weather has been beautifully crisp, blue and clear apart from the one day that Ruy went to his Archery club up in the mountains to the north of Granada. It was SOOOO cold and damp and horrible that day that I don't know how he managed to even lift his arms, never mind win prizes in the fun competitions they had that day. But he walked off with some good wins including a hand crafted leather arm protector that he'll have forever and with which he was very pleased.

We went into Granada a couple of times and yesterday on our way home, we drove up to a little 'Ermita' or Hermitage which we have intended visiting for some time. It's perched high up on a peak to the west of Granada above an area of quarries. It was spectacular, no other word for it. And odd to find an ostrich or two there too....

Looking west towards Alcala la Real - which isn't visible but is somewhere behind the odd looking set of mountains.

Looking south-east towards Granada and the Sierra Nevada

This very inclined rock must once have laid flat on the sea bed. We didn't find any fossils but we did see a few fossil hunters....

The lovely Ermita Tres Juanes - we'll have to return when it's open for a visit.

Looking to the north and to part of the quarry works that are in the area.

Ruy acting daft - and anyone who has known me for a while will recognise my trusty old favourite skirt! I must have had this for about 15 years. Ditto the leather shoulderbag -  TK Maxx - what a bargain hunter's delight! Suede jacket from ebay - cost me £1.99.  You don't need to know this but it's what struck me as I saw this photo,,,

And with lots more time to sit and tangle, I 'invested' in some wooden shapes. I'd intended doing trees and tags before Christmas but the order didn't arrive in time for that so these may have to wait until next year. 

Valentine's hearts anyone?

And of course, there have been lots of sunny walks with Pip and time to reflect on the year that has passed and to think about the year ahead. And whilst I no longer make resolutions, I think I will definitely be trying to keep up with my blog and those of my blogging friends in 2015 - I've been rather lax recently and miss reading what people are doing. And with that thought in my head, I shall publish and move one....whilst still Being Here, of course!

Happy New Year - may it be a good one.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

There was a 'tap, tap' at the window....

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat, 
so please put a penny in the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!

Christmas is a coming, the lights are on the tree.
How about a turkey leg for dear old me?
If you haven't got a turkey leg, a turkey wing will do.
If you haven't got a turkey wing may God bless you!

No, I'm not wanting to speed the approach of Christmas up but these lines are in my head quite often at the moment, although I didn't know the second stanza shown here until very recently!

A few weeks ago, FR went out to buy a couple of young cockerels. Our hens are not laying many eggs at the moment - mainly since the days got shorter and there's less light for them. They are out every day and never stop eating, but I've had to resort to buying a couple of dozen eggs in town as we simply don't have enough! Oh, the shame! FR thinks that the cockerels might help solve the problem...

When he returned, it was clear the problem isn't going to be solved anytime soon as the cockerels were teeny, tiny little things! He did have an extra creature with him though, which he announced was our Christmas dinner...a white turkey. Poor thing, he looked very scraggy and unattractive and the hens bullied, chased and pecked at him dreadfully to begin with. 

However, as the weeks have gone by and he's eaten well (I am sure he's a 'he') and grown in size and confidence, he's also developed a lovely personality. He wakes us in the morning, 'pew, pewing' outside the house, encouraging FR to get up and feed him. His call is so 'pewy' that I have named him Barney McGrew. Anyone who saw Trumpton in the 1960s and 70s can't fail to remember the Fire Brigade and the roll call. Barney McGrew comes after 'Pugh, Pugh'.....OK it's a slightly tenuous link but Barney walks a bit like the characters in Trumpton too....Here's a little reminder or taster (if you're completely in the dark here!)

And as always, I digress...a little.

As we sat in a postprandial slumber the other afternoon, there was a 'tap, tap' at the window. I went to investigate...

And had to look a little closer ...

And there was Barney, a little damp in the rain, tapping on the window. Maybe just to say 'Hi', maybe to say, 'Did you know it was raining?', maybe to say, 'Any food left?'.....So sweet.

I am currently reading up on vegetarian Christmas dinner options......

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Finding Dory...

11 years ago this month a lovely Pixar film came out called 'Finding Nemo'. Ostensibly for children, but I remember going to the cinema to see it with my boys and a friend and her two girls and both she and I were utterly enchanted from the very first moment and confessed afterwards to shedding a few tears towards the end....

But I won't bore you with the details, other than to say it's an emotional roller coaster of a story, set underwater and starring a variety of fish,sharks, turtles and birds. There's also an Australian dentist and his rather scary young niece. It's fantastic. Watch it.

And for me, the star of the film was a cheerful, helpful and friendly blue fish called Dory. She captured my heart from the very beginning and although the voice sounded really familiar, I couldn't place the actor who voiced the part. And even when I discovered it was Ellen Degeneres, I wasn't familiar enough with her to be able to work out why Dory seemed so very well-known to me.

We bought the video and my children watched it over and over, and so did I. And had to admit that I identified with Dory. Not just because she has a short-term memory problem....though that was a part of it....but because she's an eternal optimist and utterly trusting, generous and good natured. Is this a self-portrait? No, I definitely not saying I am like this all the time but I have days where I definitely feel 'Doryish'. And there's also the occasional panic when my memory does let me down....and then I forget all about it and am happy again!

So, Dory was a favourite of mine from the beginning and then one day at work, in the office of the Education Service, a couple of teachers from one of the Special Schools came in with some art work done by the children. It was a set of characters from 'Finding Nemo' made from papier mache - and it included the lovely Dory. At the end of the period of the exhibition, I put in a request and a donation to be able to keep Dory and she stood in a corner of my office until the day I left. And then I had to bequeath her care to a willing friend, Helen, And Helen has been taking care of her ever since.

UNTIL!!! Last weekend, Denise and Jim paid us a special visit - special because despite Jim's illness, the two of them are on a great adventure around France and Spain. They have their home in Orkney and had travelled down from there, stopping off in Huddersfield where Helen had the wonderful idea of asking them to bring Dory back to me! So Dory has travelled in the back of the car through Belgium, France, over the Pyrenees, all the way through Spain and right to Alcala la Real.

I was delighted - and here we are - happily reunited. Daft as it seems, it has really moved me to have her back. Thank you Helen, thank you Denise - and good on you Dory,  you keep on swimming, just keep swimming.

And I'm quite surprised and pleased to discover that my title for this blog is also rather prophetic as Pixar are making a film of the same title to be released in 2016. Think I will definitely be seeing that one! If I remember, that is....

Thursday, 30 October 2014

All good here....

I might not be writing much but all is well in our part of the world.

Last week was great as we had visitors and I do like having visitors! Sam and family were back in Alcala for half-term and we had a couple of catch-up coffees together and our conversation carried on as if there'd been no distance between us for the past few months...good!

And then on Friday, FR's youngest brother came to stay with his girlfriend - who just happens to be English too. They managed a great night out with FR as soon as they arrived, as it was Noche en Blanco in Granada, when the whole of the city was in fiesta and the streets were humming with street performers and dancing. Then the next couple of days we all enjoyed doing a variety of things together - talking/ walking/ cycling/ visiting town depending on who felt like doing what and when. Ruben helped to lay a temporary path to the door which has greatly improved access to the house - he also persuaded the children to clean the car, had an archery competition with Ruy (which he lost..) and gamely cycled into Alcala with Mateo on Sunday morning - a very tough ride - but one which they both enjoyed.

Ruy, Romy and I took them into Alcala to show them the main sights and to stop and have tapas and a drink in the park. It seemed strangely quiet at first as we'd forgotten there was a big football match on but it soon livened up to its usual 'buzz' of folk on the streets. It's not Palma de Mallorca but they were both impressed with our lovely town and its history and friendly folk. And Nadia, who had been suffering a horrid bronchitis for several weeks, suddenly began to feel much better in the wonderful healing air that we have here at 1000m above sea level. Good stuff!

Ruy, Romy, Me, Nadia and a friendly street vendor lining up to complement the local wall art....
And on Sunday evening, Sam, Dave, their girls and our neighbour, Sergio, joined us and we had a great evening in the garden, eating one of FR's famous barbecues.

We've had amazingly hot, sunny days this week but the nights are definitely chilly now, hence Jasmine's fur-lined face! I hope Ruben doesn't see this, but then, he shouldn't have pulled a silly face. Such a handsome chap, he is!

I drank too much - which doesn't mean I drank a lot, cos I don't, but being unused to alcohol....well, methinks I do protest too much....but it didn't spoil the party; just made me a bit giggly and made me want to dance with my husband, but that's OK, I think!

We also spent an afternoon playing cards with Ruy and Romy and they both had the same idea at the same time - to put on their 'poker faces' was really creepy, but rather brilliant!

So, you see, all is well here and now the clocks have gone back, it's light for the children to go to school in the mornings...but feels so very late right now and it's only half past seven in the evening.

And this weekend, I am expecting to see an old work friend. She is currently on a mammoth drive through Scotland, England, France and Spain - all the way from Orkney!!  I know she'd got to Bordeaux last night so don't expect her before Saturday - but you never know! Writing about Denise could fill a book on its own, so I won't start now but you can expect to hear something about our meeting very soon.....

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Rumpty tum te tum te tum

OK, my title only makes some sense if you know the tune for the long-running BBC Radio Four series, 'The Archers' and is my way of introducing the topic of this post. My son Ruy, the Archer!

You may remember a recent post I wrote, where we had eventually found a club for Ruy to join to practice his archery on a regular basis and he went for the first time at the very end of August. And the club members were impressed with his skill and immediately said he must enter the competition at the end of September for Champion of Andalucia. This was quite a surprise and a great motivator for Ruy.

The following week, he wasn't able to practice because we went up to Valladolid for a week, but as soon as we could, I took him back for another practice morning and again the following week. I rather like getting up early on Sunday mornings, dropping Ruy off at the club, have a chat with the (mainly) men there before going to 'my' bar for a cup of wonderful coffee and a typical Spanish breakfast of toast with tomatoes and olive oil....SO delicious!

But I digress. So after three weeks of practice and some great support from Virgilio, the teacher, (who is just a whisper away from 80 years old and as lean and fit as a man half his age,) Ruy suddenly had a licence to carry a bow, was a member of a club and enrolled to take part in the XVII Campeonata de Andalucia (for 3D forest archery, not just targets). Very exciting.

The week before the championship was a week of overcast skies and sudden showers of rain - the first since May really - and the forecast for the Sunday was 'not good'. And we had to get up at 6am to arrive in time for the start at 8,30am. Goodness, these archers are keen! Romy decided to go and stay with a friend on Saturday night rather than get up to go and watch....but Mateo was good to go and so we four set off in the dark wondering what on earth we were going to.

My plan had been to see Ruy off on the course and then retreat to my favourite bar - I hadn't had a coffee in the morning with this specific intention in mind....How silly I was! There were around 60 contestants in the overall competition and just 5 in the Junior category...including the Champion of Spain, no less, so the competition for the Junior title was going to be tough. But enough words, the rest can be told in pictures, more or less!

This is the terrain....a tough route where 24 models of animals were patiently waiting to be shot at...

Not easy walking either...

And somehow, my plan of sloping off for a coffee just didn't work out. Once the shooting started, I couldn't get back to the club house safely...This is Ruy's group heading for their first target.

Which turned out - rather unexpectely - to be a penguin...(this is the marker, not the target!)

Ruy's first shots turned out to be pretty well on target - and he was off to a good start.

The boy in the foreground is the current champion of Spain and he was really very good.

Not easy to spot, but there is a deer in the middle right of the picture that is the target here.

Aiming for another horned creature, there between the trees
 And so it went - for 24 different animals and two and a half hours (and no coffee) - and it just began to rain as we completed all the targets. The Champion of Spain had beaten Ruy and Ruy had beaten the other boy in his group but we didn't know how the other Juniors had done yet. Nor did we know that the competition wasn't over...not by a long way!

Back at the club house, with well-earned sandwiches and drinks all round, we found out that Ruy was lying in 3rd place and now the semi-finals would take place. A shoot off between 1st and 4th places and between 2nd and 3rd places.

And as the competitors were asked to move to the targets, the rain really began to come down in earnest and I decided to stay put. FR and Mateo bravely went off to support Ruy and hold the umbrella for him as he took aim.

And Ruy won the shoot off...but it still wasn't over!

In the other semi-final, the boy who was lying in 4th place, beat the champion.

This seemed a bit unfair to me, but apparently,  this is how all the championships go, so I guess the Champion already knew what might happen.

And so the final was between Ruy and Dani!

And it was so very close - with Ruy finishing with an amazing shot from the top of a rock at the club house, down towards a large mountain goat, which he hit perfectly, but which didn't quite get him the title of Champion of Andalucia, but got him the honour of 'Sub' Champion! On his first ever attempt. He was exhausted but delighted....and we were too.

Here he is with Guillermo, on the left in front of him, and Virgilio in the middle in front of him - the two men who have really encouraged and helped him and who were very, very pleased with his achievement. 
All four finalists - all excellent archers, from Malaga, Granada, Jaen and Seville.

And after the presentations, the final team competition was cancelled as the rain was so heavy that no one could see to shoot - so we all ate an amazingly good paella that the good womenfolk had been preparing in the club house. Very welcome, very hot and really delicious!

I couldn't resist taking this - all the other animals were taken away but for some reason, the penguin was left, all alone - and doesn't he look miserable! Perhaps he had missed his morning coffee too..

Well done Ruy! It's been a gradual process, this archery thing, but we all knew you had talent. Next stop - well, Champion of Spain wouldn't be too big a target, would it?