Tuesday, September 20, 2016

L'Antic Moli

I've written about this restaurant on several occasions. This lunchtime we went there again having given it a miss over the summer months and had another superb meal. There is always an aperitif to begin, today was a taste of hot mushroom soup with something on a spoon accompanied by black olives.

For starters Margaret had the crab salad on toast, I had pigs ear in sauce on pastry with a fried egg.

For the second course Margaret had merluza, hake, I had cochinillo, pigling, followed by mango ice cream for Margaret and cake in chocolate sauce for me.

It never ceases to amaze me that we can have haute cuisine cooking at menú del día prices! Wine included! I think the simple reason is the chef enjoys cooking and creating special dishes - you are never going to get ordinary menú del día food here!

Monday, September 5, 2016

My latest 3D YinYang mobile

Actually I made this mobile and got it up and running a couple of months ago. The only problem is that it hasn't been really windy here this summer but this afternoon the wind got up and so I made a short video of the mobile in operation.

To see the video and appreciate the true 3D effect, click HERE.

I still haven't seen any other like it apart from the one I made a couple of years ago which can still be seen on YouTube. Other 3D representations on YouTube are computer generated - my mobiles exist.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Our pampas grass

We bought our pampas grass towards the end of the summer season last year,...

...potted it on and it has grown superbly producing 9 flowers this year and there is a 10th one about to come out any day now.

Yes, the plumes are called flowers and they look superb with our black bamboo behind them. Maybe they will get even longer.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

San Ramón

It was a very special celebration for the fiesta of San Ramón this year as it was also the occasion of the inauguration of the church after more than a year of renovations both inside and out.

To mark this special event the service was conducted by the Archbishop of Zaragoza, Vicente Jiménez Zamora.

The inside of the church looked very good with new floor lighting and painted areas which had been dark and quite daunting previously.

The renovation had been carried out so that the church retained a lot of original character.

The detail on the inside of the domes looked really good.

San Ramón was given a tour of the village. This is where we went wrong last year when the service was held in the ermita and to seek his revenge for not being taken out the village roofs and cars on the street were destroyed that afternoon by an almighty hailstorm.

This was another one of those days where we were down to the village for the church service then back to get changed then down again for lunch - it helps to work off those extra calories!

The lunch was paella prepared and served to the hundreds of people seated in the Plaza Mayor.

The meal was thoroughly enjoyed by all including the cohort of priests who accompanied the Archbishop...

...who were all in a good humour.

Shade was provided by 2 enormous nets but as there was virtually no wind it was quite hot and rather like sitting inside a large greenhouse. Nevermind, you can't have everything.

Our friend Lola, who is the mayor of the village, had asked Margaret and myself if we could take photos and video the inauguration in the morning. 
You can see the inauguration by clicking HERE.
You can see the church service by clicking HERE. Warning - it is 67 minutes long!
You can see all the photos by clicking HERE

Tuesday, August 23, 2016



The village fiesta traditionally starts on the 19th August with the Chorizada in the 
co-operativa yard where many small bonfires are lit for everyone to cook their sausages.

Wine, olives and chunks of bread are also provided...

...and everyone has a good time.

This is a wonderful start to the fiesta as every generation from young to old meet and eat with their friends.

Then, following the 'meal' groups go around the village with the band visiting each peña for a swift drink, usually a gin and tonic downed in one called a catacroc.

The only problem is that between the peñas people in their houses throw buckets of water, or even use hosepipes to drench the participants. We did this once but don't feel the need to do it anymore.


The day starts with the midday mass in the ermita. This year at the end of the service San Ramón was carried around the building.

Once again it's a great opportunity to meet up with friends...

...and after to adjourn to the piscina for some cooling refreshment.

In the evening our friend Octavio gave a presentation on the book he has written about the village. It took him 2 years to write but it will take me considerably longer to read as it's in Spanish.


There were 2 highlight events today. 

The first event was a performance of Jotas by the group "Aires del Matarraña" in the school yard and I was there with my video camera to record the proceedings.

 "Aires del Matarraña" are a remarkable group of musicians, singers and dancers.

 The dancers are excellent and even play along with their castanets.

The costumes of everyone in the group is authentic which must be quite exhausting for the dancers during the summer when it is so hot.

The singing numbers included solos from each of the 5 performers as well as duets, a group number as well as vocals during some of the dance routines.

The dance Jotas can be seen by clicking on the following numbers:

The singing Jotas can be seen by clicking on the following numbers:

The second event of the day was the Concurso de Disfraces, the Fancy Dress Competition, which was held later in the evening in the Plaza Mayor.

First up, an offering by peña Pacharan - I'm still not certain what it was meant to be about!
To see their performance, click HERE.

Next, Catacoc. To see their performance, click HERE.

Unfortunately, Lo Skaldat did not perform to the stage where the judges and I with my camera were seated. The judges moved in front of them so they could see the performance, I videoed their rears. 
To see their performance, click HERE.

Lo Carcas came 2nd with their version of a very traditional olive harvest scenario.
To see their performance, click HERE.

Lo Corral won with their version of how the people of Torre del Compte would compete in the Olympics - great ideas.
To see their performance, click HERE.

In 3rd place came Lo Topi although I'm still not sure what this performance was supposed to represent.
To see the performance, click HERE.

After the excitement of the Concurso de Disfraces, it was off to the piscina bar for refreshment under a beautiful starry night sky.

Overall, a very entertaining evening.


The main event was the cena de alforja in the Plaza Mayor in the evening.

Quite simply, this involved taking along a dish of food to eat with your group of friends.

Margaret made a lasagna which by now has built quite a reputation and is a firm favourite.

Others brought a dish of pork with pineapple, salads, empanadas and sweet dishes such as apple flan and melon.

You have to ask yourself where else could such an event take place? Once again, people spanning generations eating, drinking and having a great time together under a perfectly warm night sky. Wonderful.

Following the meal, entertainment in the form of a display of various types of ballroom dancing.

The activities went on throughout the night, as they have done each night of the fiesta, to the sounds of a dance group into the very early hours, often as "early" as 6.30 a.m. 
Now, when the fiesta is finally over, we can return to the "normal" world with regular routines and an eye on world events which have been put on hold for the last few days. 
Certainly a fiesta to remember for a long time. However, back to reality!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Friends stay for an extended birthday celebration.

Elena, Diego and their 2 daughters, Irene, 10, and Claudia, 6, came to my birthday meal on the 3rd August but as they came some distance, they are our neighbours at Vinaròs, they stayed with us for 3 nights so we could show them the local area.

On the Thursday morning we visited the ermita at La Fresneda...

...and then to Valderrobres...

...for a very good lunch at Fonda Angeleta.

After lunch a visit to the castle, museum and church then in the evening a walk around the village of Torre del Compte.

Friday we started by visiting the Torre Cremada, the Burning Tower, a local Iberian lookout post for the nearby settlement some 2,500 years old.

In the photo above we are standing on the site of the Torre Cremada so that you can see the village of Torre del Compte between us and the railway bridge, now part of the Via Verde, to the right of Elena, Diego and Irene.

Next up, a visit to the Iberican settlement at Calaceite with the ermita de San Cristobal in the background.

On the way to Alcañiz we crossed the Greenwich Meridian, another photo opportunity..

...with one foot on the line and the other in either the eastern or the western hemisphere.

Lunch in Luthiers, one of our favourite restaurants...

...followed by a walk up to the Parador for coffee.

Back to Torre del Compte for...

...games in the evening...

...and as you can see, there are...

...a couple of potential sports girls here!


Saturday morning and we go to Morella.

You can't visit this region without coming here...

...and lunch at the Hotel Rey Don Jaime before exploring the village in the afternoon.

A thoroughly enjoyable stay and a great way to extend my birthday celebrations!