Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy happy Christmas everyone!

Hecho en Argentina

Ooh, rainy days in Colonia are a challenge. There really is very little to do here. I was becoming rather blue and rather desperate last week, but we did find things to occupy odd hours here and there. At the Argentine Consulate there was a small exhibition on Argentine design, entitled 'Hecho en Argentina', made in Argentina. Hoho, the imps were 'made in Argentina' I told the staff as they cooed in a typically Argentine way over the boys.

 The bosy with an classic Argentine design, the BKF chair

Milk moustaches

On a rainy day last week, which now feels like months ago (now that it's 37 degrees at 6pm!!)

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Bo's furry little caterpillar

Our patio is crawling with bugs and beasties and snails and last week Bo was very excited to find a new one on his person.
 'Mama, look at this furry thing crawling all over me.'

 'He's a bit yucky and a bit nice'

 "Oooh, look how funny he is when he moves'

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Brilley comes to the beach

I forgot about these snaps from my iphone. A couple of weeks back we had an overnight visit from our lovely friends Noel and Jo, or Granny Jo, as the boys like to call her (because she's quite like their real Granny) who live in Brilley, another village near Hay. They hired bikes, we went swimming in the river, Ollie nipped back from Fray Bentos to have supper with us in our little patio, and calamari and caipirinhis at a riverside cafe. It was fun to stretch our connection with Jo and Noel to another country (India-Wales-Argentina-Uruguay) and they're now off travelling around Bolivia for a month. Noel's reports of his time in Argentina and Uruguay are on his blog here, for anyone interested in gardens and plants.

A cabin in the country

A funny thing. Back in Clyro I had been searching for a place for us to rent here in Colonia. Everything was very expensive but I found a cabin I liked the look of. We'd spent some happy months in the trekkers hut in Holland and in the cabin at Clyro Hill Farm, so a wood hut sounded good to me. I sent off an enquiry, but heard nothing back.

Ollie arrived a month earlier than us and found us a place in the old town, and that was that. Through Argentine friends he met Jorge and Paula who had lived in France for many years. On first meeting and Ollie explaining he was doing a PhD about the pulp mill that is being built near to Colonia, they said, that's funny, there's another English guy who is doing a PhD about a pulperia near Colonia, he's arriving around now with his family, they emailed about staying in our cabin but we somehow lost their email....... Ollie explained he was that person, that his family were joining soon, and that he was doing a PhD about the papelera, not a pulperia (and no doubt said something about my terrible Spanish. NB I do actually know that a pulp mill is a papelera and that a pulperia is an old country shop, no idea why I wrote that.) They had thought it strange that someone could be doing a doctorate on a pulperia, but then PhDs are often on very obscure subjects, so...

Anyway, on Saturday we cycled out to Jorge and Paula's for the afternoon and I was a bit gutted to find that their little cabin is very cute, surrounded by fields, and has a pool. I suppose in reality I would have gone mad, 5km out of town with no car but I do struggle every day with our little house. On the upside we can walk to everything, and Ollie needs to be meeting people and able to go off to the pulp mill (not the pulperia) at the drop of a hat, so we are probably in the better place. For BA people though, I do recommend the cabin (also two casitas for rent, so a group could go together). It has a bit of hippy vibe, not dissimilar to La Beixa Flor in the Delta, another favourite place of mine. Jorge and Paula are lovely, and live in a house in the middle of the garden. More on the website here.

The cabana that could have been ours...
Giant dried out squashes everywhere!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Hicimos un 'picnik' a Playa Ferrando

Our perfect picnic spot

This being Latin America we found a discarded pallet (how do you spell pallette/pallet/palett??) and two fruit crates, and made a picnic table. It was bliss, and the water just gorgeous for a post-picnic cool off. We squeezed in a pit stop at a cafe for ice cream and ice cold beers before the gang took the early evening boat back across the river to BA.

 (Cintra shows she is slightly less laid-back when it comes to getting a mouthful of ice cream!!)

 Happy, happy times

Asado at 10km


We found an impressive collection of junk on the side of the road on our cycle ride. I'm sure there must be some treasures to be found in there but I didn't have the patience to stay and look - and had Seth sitting on the bike waiting for me.

All set

Off on our 20km cycle ride on dusty roads in the scorching heat of midday. We'll do anything for an asado.

In good company

Our lovely friends from Buenos Aires were over in Colonia last weekend and cheered us up no end. I remember Ollie going off to meet Matt in our first month in Argentina. Matt was then editor of Time Out Buenos Aires, and - although we didn't know it then - moonlighting as a corporate spy (read his brilliant account here). We've been friends with Matt and Gaby since. I think it was vaguely through them that we met Ian and Cintra, who we share a bond with as they also have no fixed work contract or family connection with Argentina (well, I do.....but they're second cousins who I rarely see), yet have also lived in Argentina for seven years, but now have an itch to leave, as we did. They too have produced two 'Argentine' baby boys in their time there, oh, and Ollie and Ian are both journalists who have written books in between eating lots of steak and drinking lots of red wine. In the absence of family, the ties with close friends in a faraway places becomes stronger, them being the first ones to meet your newborn baby, and the pals you spend Christmases with or celebrate officially entering middle age. The friends we have met while living in Buenos Aires - Argentines, and others who now live in different places around the world - are the big 'hightlight' of our years there, and it's really fun to meet up with them now in different countries. So, needless to say, we were very happy to have the company of Matt, Gaby and Millie, Ian, Cintra, Henry and Luca here in Colonia for three days.

 Drinking mate on the rocks (I think they are our children in the distance...)

 Terrible photo, but I include it to show I do exist even though there are never any photos of me.

 Cintra, slimmest, most chilled mother of a nine-month old baby I've ever met

 Matt, keeping the boys amused, as ever

Brick books


Two camping stoves? Luxury. [Hear Michael Palin's voice from the Four Yorkshireman's sketch...]
I've cooked for eight months on a single camping stove, but as we have friends arriving for New Year we've splashed out an bought another to make life slighty easier. Still no hot water, or bed. I'm going to be able to do a whole sketch of my own when I'm a grumpy old Yorkshirewoman and we've finally finished Pottery Cottage and am reminiscing about living on a building site and without a kitchen in India and Uruguay with two under 5s.

Colonia Quest

On hot, muggy days I have to come up with ways to get the boys to go for a walk. This mostly involves bribes, but last week a 'Colonia Quest' did the job. I would write a list of things to find around Colonia and Seth would lead the way thinking of where we could go to find them. Handily that took us on a loop of Colonia, pretty much fitting with the walk I was trying to get them to go.

 The green team

 A fish! Tick!

Team motivation moment

 Seth leads the way

 ...while Bo takes a breather.

Colonia Quest completed, an ice cream treat for all.