All the time I was searching out my choice of photographs for this month’s CBBH Challenge, a song kept running through my head:
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things
….and the more I thought about it, the more I realised it’s true - I do love to see raindrops on flowers after the rain.
But extremes of weather often make the TV news, and the UK in particular has been battered by storms and flooding over the past months, so your interpretation of AFTER THE RAIN might be very different from mine – and that’s where the fun begins.
For the CBBH Photo Challenge during March I want you to post images of your experience, AFTER THE RAIN.
This is the graceful False Pepper tree (Latin Name: Schinus molle) in my garden, with its clusters of pink peppercorns. I’ve think I’ve read somewhere that the peppercorns are edible in moderation, but I’ve never been brave enough to try them.
Besides, they look great, just where they are …. especially after the rain, when the raindrops clinging to them are of similar size.
I’m a huge fan of the colour purple, so this plant is a favourite, too, but until this morning I didn’t know what it was called. Thanks to the power of the internet, and my lovely readers, Trish and Maggie I can now tell you that this is Hardenbergia comptoniana, a native of Australia. This vigorous climbing plant has scrambled along a rocky ledge and entwined itself in one of the almond trees on the bank above the house. Thanks for putting me out of my misery, ladies
I love the elegant arching purple flowers, which are even more beautiful after the rain.
My final photo for this month’s challenge is of the raindrops clinging to one of the fruits on the lemon tree. I never fail to be delighted at being able to nip outside, at almost any time of year, and pluck a fragrant lemon from the tree.
So now it’s YOUR turn.
Don’t forget that the CBBH Photo Challenge is a little different from some other challenges, in two ways. First, it’s only once a month – giving you lots of time to consider your entry before the end of the calendar month. Second, and most important, this is a BLOG HOP (after all, it is the CBBH – Conejo Blanco Blog Hop, conejo blanco means white rabbit in Spanish), so DON’T FORGET that in your post you need to add links to two blogs that you have visited and commented on during the past month. That way, when we visit each other, we can HOP OVER to your links, connect with others and share a little blog love around!
My Featured Blog Links for this month:
*** Hola Yessica follows the adventures of Jessica who grew up in California, but now lives in beautiful Barcelona. If you’re looking to discover the very best of what the Catalan capital has to offer, then Jessica’s your girl! Her new video series, “My Barcelona” includes insights as to why football really is a religious experience in Barcelona and explores the fabulous street art around the city.
*** The best way to appreciate the culture of any area is through its food and its wine. And nowhere is that truer than in Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen. Annie shares the delights of living in Vejer de la Frontera in southern Spain, and offers Spanish recipes and cooking tips. You’ll love her easy chocolate and almond cake or, if you are looking for a delicious Moroccan dish, then try Annie’s Chickpea, Orange and Mint salad. Mmmmm …. delicious!
Please HOP over and say HELLO to both of my featured links, and tell them Marianne sent you!
So that´s the CBBH Photo Challenge for March, folks.
Remember, all you have to do is post your entry by the end of the month, tag your entry ‘CBBH Photo Challenge’, link back to this blog and, most importantly, don´t forget to add links to any two blogs that you´ve commented on during the past month, so that we can all HOP OVER and have a look. Make sure you FOLLOW THIS BLOG so you don´t miss next month’s exciting challenge!
For more information on how the CBBH Photo Challenge works click here.
I hope everyone taking part enjoys the exposure the CBBH Photo Challenge offers to featured blogs and, who knows, you may end up finding a new favourite! I´m looking forward to seeing your interpretations.
[CBBH logo Image credit: (cc) Mostly Dans]
Every day, around one hundred people find themselves visiting my blog after typing the search term “Cost of Living in Spain” into Google. It’s a popular subject, and for that reason at least a couple of times a year, I publish a list of the current prices of a number of items here in southern Spain.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the following information is relevant to the kind of lifestyle and area where I live, east of Málaga. We choose to live like locals, eating fresh, seasonal produce and frequenting bars full of Spaniards rather than tourists. Similarly, if your choice would be to only buy internationally branded foods and eat in tourist areas then you will find costs are considerably higher.
So …. whether you are fed up of the wet weather in the UK, have been dreaming of living in southern Europe for many years or you’re just curious – here’s my updated list of standard grocery items for your perusal.
For the sake of comparison, I have once again used the largest Spanish supermarket – Mercadona.
STANDARD GROCERY LIST
This is the up-to-date Standard Grocery List I have published previously. The first price shown is as it was in August 2013, with this month’s prices in RED alongside.
Milk (semi–skimmed UHT, own brand), 1 litre 0.59 € 0.60 €
Loaf (white, baguette 250g) 0.45 € 0.45 €
Loaf (white, Bimbo brand, 460g 100% natural) 1.49€ 1.49 €
Butter (250g, own brand) 1.05 € 1.25 €
Sugar (1kg, white) 0.93 € 0.93 €
Coffee (ground, 250g, Santa Cristina) 1.89 € 1.89 €
Eggs (12, own brand caged, medium) 1.35 € 1.35 €
Olive oil (1 litre, extra virgin, own brand) 3.35€ (5 litres 15.50€) 3 € (5 litres 14.50 €) **
Rice (1kg, long grain, own brand) 0.71€ 0.71 €
Pasta (1kg, own brand) 0.79€ 0.75 €
Pasta (500g, wholewheat) 0.99€ 0.99 €
Tinned tuna (6 x 80g, own brand) 3.39€ 3.35 €
Chicken breasts (1kg, boneless, skinless, packaged)) 5.80 € 5.80 €
Pork chops (1kg) 4.60€ 4.75 €
Beef mince (Store brand, pre-packed, 700g) 3.80 € 3.80 €
Fish (1kg Salmon steaks) 10.75 € 10.75 €
Fish (1kg Dorada, Gilt-head bream) 6.95€ 6.95 €
Apples (1kg, green, Golden Delicious) 2.00 € 1.85 € **
Oranges (1kg) 1.19 € 0.79 € **
Bananas (1kg) 1.29 € 1.39 €
Potatoes (1kg) 1.25 € 0.89 € **
Lettuce (1 head, Iceberg) 0.85 € 0.87 €
Red Peppers (1kg, loose) 1.95 € 1.89 €
Green pointed “Italian” Peppers (1kg, loose) 1.35 € 1.99 € **
Tomatoes (1kg, loose) 0.99 € 1.29 € **
Coca-Cola (1.5 litre bottle) 1.09 € 1.09 €
Water (2 litre bottle) 0.42 € 0.42 €
Domestic Beer (1 litre bottle, Cruzcampo) 1.25 € 1.25 €
Imported beer (6 x 25cl bottles Heineken) 3.05€ 3.65 €
Bottle wine (medium priced) 3.00 – 3.50€ 3.00 – 3.50 €
Colgate toothpaste (100 ml) 1.75€ 1.75 €
Pantene shampoo (300 ml) 3.00€ 3.00€
Toilet rolls (pack of 6, own brand) 1.95 € 1.98 €
Washing powder (Box, 35 washes, Elena brand) 4.87 € 4.87 €
** Seasonal changes
For the costs of accommodation, utilities, motoring, public transport and entertainment – prices are largely unchanged since last time. Please see HERE.
Many people dream of moving to southern Spain with the promise of better weather coupled with a healthier, outdoor Mediterranean lifestyle. There are many other considerations to bear in mind when trying to compare living costs, and the following may be some of them:
- Unemployment in Spain is currently running at record levels with 25% of the adult population out of work. If you are considering moving to Spain, you would need to be confident that your finances are secure or you might end up having to return to your home country after failing to find employment.
- Tied in with the issue of employment, comes health cover. Unless you are employed, self-employed or retired, (thus qualifying for cover under the Spanish health system), you will be required to take out private health cover.
- The cost of living is really only half of the equation. Salaries and wages may be very different in Spain from what you are used to elsewhere. What is important is what is left each month after you have paid for your essentials.
- Fluctuation in currency exchange rates can make a huge difference to you if your source of income comes from outside of Spain. For example, when we first came to live in Spain ONE BRITISH POUND bought us ONE EURO AND FIFTY-ONE CENTIMOS. Very handy when we were purchasing our house. However, a couple of years ago, and completely outside of our control, we only received just over ONE EURO for each BRITISH POUND – a staggering drop in income of almost one third.
- Spanish houses in this area are built to keep out the sun in summer rather than to retain heat in winter. With tiled floors, small windows and inadequate heating systems, houses can be surprisingly chilly during the winter months, making them expensive to heat.
- Whilst some costs are much more favourable in Spain (for example our cost of IBI is about one quarter of the cost of a similar property in the UK for Council Tax), other costs are significantly more (i.e. when purchasing a property, costs amount to approx 11% of the purchase price).
- You might have to factor in the cost of flights back home to the UK (or your home country) to visit friends and relatives. Often these can be bought through budget airlines for reasonable prices - but what if you need to return quickly for a family emergency?
- Then there is the question of taxes – not only of the personal variety, but also related to any property purchase. There are many factors at play, depending on personal circumstances, and whilst I often receive messages from visitors to my blog regarding such matters, I am not a tax expert and would always recommend you seeking professional advice given your own personal financial situation.
MY ADVICE: There are many more things to bear in mind when considering the cost of living in Spain, than the price of bread and milk. DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST!
How does the cost of living compare where you live? Have you ever considered moving abroad?
The 60th Ruta del Sol takes place between February 19th and 23rd, with the peloton travelling through eight Andalucían provinces, covering 733.7 kilometres across five stages.
After the Prologue in Almeria further east along the coast on the 19th, the first stage started yesterday in Vélez-Málaga at 11am. The day’s racing (the second longest at 187km) culminated in Jaén at the Castillo de Santa Catalina, passing through Zafarraya and Alhama de Granada along the way.
You’ll remember I wrote about the old railway line at Zafarraya recently, and this area seemed like a good place to view the race as there is a steep climb for the riders within the first hour of the race.
We positioned ourselves at about 700m elevation with a splendid view of the spectacular U-shaped Zafarraya Pass, as well as a great view of the series of bends below, along which the peleton would travel.
The weather was glorious, with hardly a cloud to interrupt the blue sky. The sun shone and you can see the almond trees in blossom nearby and the surrounding mountains to complete a perfect picture.
There was plenty of activity with the passing of Guardia Civil vans and motor-cyclists, as well as lots of pleasure cyclists (if you can call it a pleasure, cycling so far uphill!) vying for the best position to see their heroes.
We didn’t have long to wait before the leading group of riders came into view.
Click on any of the images to get a better view.
There were nineteen teams, each with seven riders taking part, including Team Sky led by Sir Bradley Wiggins, former Tour de France winner, who sadly I never spotted.
All was not lost though, with all that testosterone wafting by in the form of young men wearing tight lycra!
So, within a couple of minutes of first spotting them in the distance, the peleton of La Vuelta Cyclista a Andalucía had passed by.
They were barely out of breath. No huffing and puffing for these guys. OH NO!
Bringing up the rear came the various support vehicles carrying spare parts and bicycles with the customary ambulance in case of medical support.
If you’d like more information about the race and route, please visit:http://www.vueltaandalucia.es/
On your marks, get set, GO!!!!!!!