Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Annieversaries...

March is the month of many of my own 'annieversaries' ...these are personal and important dates for me. And the pun is too good to resist!

At the beginning of the month, I realised I was coming up to the first of my 'Annieversaries' - my Wednesday morning Spanish Conversation class. I hold this with a group of English people who are keen to improve their Spanish, but who simply couldn't cope with the grammar-driven method often used by Spaniards to teach their language. Many had tried lots of different classes and given up - only to give another one a go a few months later and give up again. Most have some basic level of Spanish and many have a very wide vocabulary but lack confidence in putting it all together.
In my class - which is confessedly NOT a teaching class - I aim to help people with specific conversation requirements...things they can use with neighbours, at the market, in the bar, at a restaurant - and they have the chance to practice without embarrassment. It's not a large group - probably seven or so at the most and although I have had some 'drop-outs' for various reasons, including financial, health and returning to the UK, I am delighted to say that many of my class have stuck with me for quite some time - and Tony has missed only ONE class in all the three years we've been meeting!! Time to celebrate, I felt. So last Wednesday morning, I took in some splendid little cakes and biscuits and some fresh orange juice and bottle of Cava...and we celebrated in style (well, in plastic cups, but hey, it was lovely!)

I do hope we can continue this class - where our conversation wanders from the roots of English, to places to visit, to how to say 'I'm dying to go the loo', to condolences and good wishes - for another three years!
Thank you all for making Wednesday mornings such a pleasure and for remember at least some of the new words and phrases I try to teach you! You know who you are!!


Another little 'Annieversary' was actually an FR and Annie anniversary. On the 10 March - also the day of a good friend's birthday, which could be part of the reason why I remember it so well - we met! It was at a band reheasal in Bradford. FR had recently moved to Leeds and was studying at the Leeds College of Music. He met a flute player there who brought him along to the reheasal. I remember it as though it were yesterday. He was sitting in a big overcoat, looking half-frozen and studying his music, counting to himself (in English, I noted) even though he was clearly NOT English. I thought he was Italian. And I couldn't keep my eyes off him...though, unfortunately for me, he was directly in front of a trombone player, who thought I was looking at him and who was returning my 'interest' - that took a little sorting out later!

At the break in the rehearsal, I went to speak to the interesting-looking stranger - and I wasn't the only one! I was really surprised to discover he was Spanish as I didn't think the Spanish travelled much to the north of England...and they don't usually. I remembered that I had done a Spanish 'O' level whilst in the Sixth Form but sadly, could only remember two words, neither which were great conversation starters. (One was mantequilla, which is butter and the other was zapatos, which means shoes...) However, FR was keen to speak English and at the end of the rehearsal, a friend and I 'kidnapped' him and took him back to my flat where we spent an hilarious evening listening to FR's stories and thoughts in his enthusiastic and ambitious but still flawed English! I particularly remember him graphically describing how Beethoven's 9th Symphony made him think of Beethoven riding on a chariot pulled by six black whores....It was a powerful image and as I asked him why black whores, I realised he actually meant 'horsES'. Plurals can be tricky!

17 days later, he moved into my flat and we have been together now for 18 years. Feels like longer sometimes, but when I think of that very first day, I always laugh!


And as we move into the middle of March, one year ago, we got the keys to Casa Rosales! It wasn't officially ours and we didn't move in until the end of March but it was this time a year ago, that FR and I came over with our car loaded up with pictures, a bookcase and a sofa and began to establish ourselves here in our home. I love Annieversaries when they're so full of joy and happiness.

The only cloud on the horizon - the only Annieversary that I won't really celebrate this month -  is that it marks the return of our lovely friends, the Greers, to the UK - to David's native Scotland. We saw the New Year in with them, they helped us move here, they are there when we've needed them and I shall miss them dreadfully. Work here is sporadic and unreliable and when you still have mortgages to pay, it can make every day more difficult than it should be. Despite giving it their very, very best shot - and Sam has certainly done that - they are leaving Alcala la Real and their beautiful home here (with the best view in town) to take up 'proper' jobs again. I can't begin to imagine quite how much I shall miss them and Sam in particular. To find a really good friend is always special but to find one in one's chosen spot is really good fortune...I wish them all the luck in the world - we all do.

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Pippin has spent a month with us and is now about 11 weeks old - during which time he has doubled in size and weight....

Pippin little...


Pippin after two weeks...

Pippin this morning...


We're able to take him out on walks now as he's had all his injections. This morning was glorious and I took the camera with me to capture the beginnings of Spring in Villalobos.



And I discovered that Pippin would like to go swimming...he was straight in the stream! He's proving a very headstrong pup and is taking up a lot of my energy and time! He is wonderful at 'Sit' - but pretty rubbish at everything else, preferring to run away than to come here; to force his way back inside when I say 'out'; and to chew every plant pot and plant he can find when he IS outside and to bite all the children's feet and trousers and anything else that he can get his teeth into....I'm working on him. This time next year - when it's Annieversary time again - he'll be a credit to me. (Oh, I DO hope so!)

Any special events for you this month?


26 comments:

  1. A dog can't grow that much in two weeks can it? I'm amazed. Happy Annieversaries.

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    1. Four weeks in total, B2B but I watch the growth happening daily! Thank you!Axxx

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  2. Helen Devries13 March 2014 16:49

    Do you think he's at the fertiliser in your plant pots? He's expanding at a rate of knots!

    Lovely the idea of Annieversaries...and what lovely ones you describe.

    I can remember when I first met Leo too...equally half frozen and hunched up in a huge coat!

    A shame about your friends deciding to return to the U.K....luckily it sounds as if they have skills which will get them employment, but it's so sad when something doesn't work out through no fault of your own.
    Blast these greedy, ignorant bankers and politicians!

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    1. I hadn't thought of the fertilizer, Helen....there aren't many plants left for him to go at now, so I'll see if he slows down a bit.

      Funny what we remember, isn't it? Wonder what it is about half-frozen men in big overcoats...?

      I can hardly bear to think of losing them after such a short time. They have a lot of financial worries and the sunshine only helps to a certain level...then a steady salary is definitely required. David has already found something so it's looking good.

      Blast 'em - I say it too!
      Axxx

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  3. Happy Annieversaries, Annie.

    I enjoyed this post and appreciate that you've shared them with us. I'm sure your students both enjoy and appreciate your methods of teaching them. Learning should be enjoyable, and it seems that for you, that teaching is too.

    You obviously recognised in each other something that you wanted for 'keeps', which is wonderful. I decided within a few weeks that I would allow Tim to marry me, although it took him a little longer to realise it!!

    I can't believe how quickly Pippin has grown. He's still learning and I'm sure you'll soon get him trained. My daughter's beagle is proving to be difficult to train as off the lead she just follows her nose!

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    1. Thank you Gaynor! Glad you enjoyed this especially as a teacher. I am enjoying so much about teaching and learning quite a lot about myself into the bargain.
      Funny isn't it, that you knew before Tim...we always know.
      And as for Pippin - he's going to be wonderful even if it takes me a while. He's been great on our walks and I can see improvements every day. And at least he's not a beagle! (No offence, but they are notoriously daft and cannot resist a good scent to follow!) Axxx

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  4. I love "ANNIEVERSARIES" too ! My husband always writes that in my cards , as he does call me Annie ,, I love the story of how you met your husband , your right , I wouldn't of thought of the Spanish moving up North , but they do , as you say . 17 days , woohoo now that was quick but here you are all those years later ♥

    Ah bless , such a shame for your lovely friends to have to move back here , and leave friends like you and their lovely home , wishing them all the best. Take care Anne,

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    1. It has been a good month for Annieversaries - and of course you will like them too! 17 days and now 18 years - they go by in a flash. Thank you - Axxx

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  5. What lovely Annieversaries to celebrate! My BH & I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary on the 20th (having both been married twice before we're a way behind other folk of our respective ages - 81 & 75!!) I, too, remember vividly the day we first met - he came to me for singing lessons (truly!), and after a few weeks things started to 'go downhill' from there. And I've never been happier in my life than since we met - he's an absolute gem. Your lovely Pippin is going to be a whopper, isn't he! We have 2 gorgeous silver-grey miniature poodles that we got from the breed rescue society about 5 years ago - they're nearly 10 now - called Smokey and the Bandit. They're such fun, and although I'm really a cat person, I adore them - but they are definitely His dogs, and have been ever since they arrived here!
    Have a great week - blessings.

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    1. How lovely to meet later in life and be so happy! Happy Anniversary to you both on 20th!
      Pippin is coming along - very challenging but I'm working on him - and he's definitely my dog...Love the names Smokey and the Bandit!
      Thanks for such a lovely comment, Helva.
      Axxx

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  6. Annieversaries - love the pun. :-) Where does the time go? A year since you moved house, three years of teaching and 18 years with FR! That's a lot to celebrate in one month, Annie. As for the 17 days, what it is to know your own minds. :-)

    I'm very sorry your friends' Spanish adventure didn't work out, but they will take back some wonderful memories. Perhaps one day, when they no longer need to earn a living, they may have another chance to live life the Spanish way.

    As for Pippin's phenomenal growth rate, allIi can say is i hope for your sake he knows when to stop. Good luck with the training. I'm sure he'll learn and settle down as he matures.

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    1. Yes, it is a celebratory month, Perpetua and I remember those 17 days well - I even remember announcing at a meeting at work, under 'Any other business' that I was in love....how embarrassing, but I was!
      And it is a great shame for our friends. I know they will return to Scotland and give it their all there and that nothing can take away what they've enjoyed here. They will be back, I have no doubt!
      Pippin has moments where he's absolutely wonderful....and I can see what we will eventually get if I keep on with the training. (At other times, he's a little beast!)
      Axxx

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  7. I love the story of your romance - who could resist him?
    "Mantequilla" is one of the few Spanish words I know - it sticks in the mind. And "guapa" - I heard that once or twice when I was 16, on holiday in Spain!

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    1. I couldn't resist....my mum's comment was, when she met him first was 'Where have you dug HIM up from....cos I want one!' I can hear her saying it now!
      Guapa - lovely word for a lovely person! The Spanish love to tell people they are 'guapa' or 'guapo' - it sounds more like 'wapa' here in Andalucia.
      Axxx

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  8. You have some lovely Annieversaries in their. I have an Annieversary in March too, or rather we do, in three days time we will have lived in this house for 19 years, far and away the longest I have ever lived anywhere.

    Pippin is certainly a 'bonny' not-so-baby! I used to be responsible for puppy training when I helped to run the rescue and have a couple of good tips for training recall, if they'd be useful?

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    1. Happy House Annieversary, Annie! That's longer than I've ever been in one house too - yet!
      Pippin is still puppyish but SO lanky, it's funny. And PLEASE - any tips you have would be most gratefully received. He is quite a dominant dog - he's just shown his teeth at a dog three times his size when we went out on a walk (or is that fear?)....Darwin used to roll over and play dead!
      Axxx

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  9. Lovely post Annie, and lots to celebrate, except losing your friends of course. I just cannot believe how fast Pippin is growing! My "triplets" are 6 weeks old now and I can see a huge difference.

    I really wish I had a teacher like you who could teach me Turkish for conversation rather than all the grammar. It would do wonders for my confidence with the language xx

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    1. So far, only David has permanently left - Sam and the girls will stay until Sam finds something, which I do hope will be soon, for their sake. We will be spending lots of time together til then!
      Pippin literally seems to grow before my eyes! I hope your triplets don't expand quite as rapidly, Ayak!
      I remember when I did my TEFL training, we had to 'learn' a new language - and we did Turkish! Actually, it interesting that you mention it....but I suspect that the main part of what I teach is confidence rather than actual language acquisition....The important thing is never give up!
      Axxx

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  10. Happy Anniversaries! Such delightful moments and occasions to celebrate. I love the story of how you and FR met, and am impressed with your language class. I had to laugh a bit, as well, Annie, remembering the first phrase we all learned when my sister and I attended Greek language school as children. Yep. Can still say "may I go to the bathroom" In Greek.

    Like most months when one gets to be my age (64), March holds both bitter and sweet. The bitter being that March, today, in fact, is the anniversary of my mom's passing. The sweet, ah, the sweet being the birthday month of our granddaughter, who is turning 4 at the end of the month. Joy supreme.

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    1. Thank you Penny! And I am very interested to know you remember that particular phrase...I taught it to my class in a rather less polite form and it's one of the things they have never forgotten either! Very useful!!

      Yes, as we get older there are more of the bitter to temper the sweet memories and so far, I am lucky to have my parents alive, though growing frailer. Losing them will be difficult as it is for most people - and I am thinking of you today on your own sad anniversary. I will be very lucky to have grandchildren by the time I reach 64...although my eldest boy will be 24 by then... Who knows!? Enjoy your happy birthday day with your little granddaughter, Penny - I can imagine it is joy supreme!

      Axxx

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  11. You too are having an interesting life. I lived around Europe and taught English for a while. Happy anniversaries to you! And that Pippin - someone please help me, I am overdosing on cuteness. :)

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    1. Thank you Zoe! I wonder where you lived...? Do tell and share some of your English teaching stories!
      Pippin...cute? Well, he was briefly but now he just a lanky creature! Axxx

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  12. Happy Annies!!
    That is sad about your friend returning to the UK - hopefully they will make regular holidays back to see you!
    Told you that Pippin was going to grow some!!!
    Sxx

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    1. Thanks Ms S! I will have to deal with my friends' return and won't really know how it will feel until they've all gone - only David has gone so far....

      Wish you'd told me sooner....his cage is fitting rather snugly now and it looked enormous when I got it...
      Axxx

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  13. I remember you talking about the young Spanish musician you had met...... I dont think I remember it was only 17 days later that you moved him in ! What a story. I thought I moved quickly with Mark, after being Colleagues and then friends for 2 or 3 months, we decided it was more important than that, and I moved in 3 months later.
    I am so sorry about S & D.....they seemed to be so settled, and their Alcala home was so lovely. I do hope things work out for them back "home"....that must be hard, as I know they had started to think of Alacala as home.
    As for Pippin, I think we need almost daily photos. Jxxxxx

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    1. I did talk about him quite a lot, Janice! I remember wondering whether 17 days was enough time....still do wonder sometimes!
      I've just spent the morning with Sam and she's finding it very hard. If things work out jobwise, they'll all be back just after Easter...can't bear to think about it really but it will be better for them, I'm sure.
      Pippin is driving me nuts!! He's very assertive, very difficult to train and at the moment, he's very nearly winning the daily battle....but I must be strong!!
      Axxx

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