Isn’t technology wonderful? When we first moved to our tiny Spanish village in 2004, we were lucky to have one of the only two telephone landlines in the valley. We even had access to the Internet, albeit an unreliable, grindingly-slow dial-up connection.
Back in 2004, a fast Internet connection would have been nice, but it wasn’t essential. Emails and telephone calls were sufficient to keep in touch with friends and family. Of course I didn’t know then that my daughter would fall in love with an Aussie, and that Australia would become her permanent home.
Long after most people had taken broadband for granted, the day came when El Hoyo also became connected, just in time for me. My first grandchild was on its way and I blessed the Internet. Thanks to my broadband connection, I saw my grandchild tumble in her mum’s tummy, saw her seven minutes after she was born and cried happy tears as I saw her face and tiny clenched hands – all from the other side of the world.I couldn’t resist writing her a little letter which took a split second to reach its destination:
“Hello Indy Grace,
We haven’t met yet, but I’m your grandmother. Welcome to Planet Earth, little one. The world is a big place, and you and your Mum and Dad live in Australia, on the other side of the world. We live in Spain, but that isn’t going to stop us coming to see you as often as we can.
We’ve been waiting for you to arrive for so long! Yesterday, your Mum went into hospital so that they could hurry you along. But you weren’t ready. So your Mum went on a children’s slide, and a space-hopper thingy, and tried all sorts of things to encourage you out. But you weren’t ready. Your name, Indy, suits you already.
But now you’re here, and of course you are the most gorgeous, intelligent baby ever born.
You couldn’t have been born to a better Mum and Dad, or in a nicer place. Your life is going to be filled with love and laughter. The world you were born into is a wonderful place, and I hope it stays that way for you. I’ve seen so many changes and technological marvels in my life, and I can only guess at the advances you’ll see. Perhaps you’ll have a holiday home on Mars, or a robot to do all your housework? Perhaps you’ll live until you’re 150? Who knows!
Have you any idea of how many people wish you well? Not just me and Grumps. Not just family, but hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of lovely people have posted on Facebook, Twitter and have emailed me, all congratulating you on your arrival. (You’ll learn about the Internet and stuff later, plenty of time for that!)
You’ll love Grumps, by the way. He grumbles and scratches himself quite a lot, but he’s a big softie. You’ll be able to twist him round your tiny finger.
So, little one, you’re here at last. In one month, I’ll be holding you, and I can’t wait!
Until then, I shall blow you kisses from Spain. When they arrive, they’ll turn into little fairies that flutter around your cradle, watching over you.
Be well, little Indy, and I’ll see you soon.
Your loving grandmother xxxx”
Mouth-Watering Spanish Recipes
~ 10 to 15 minutes preparation ~
~ 10 minutes cooking ~
Serves 6 to 8
Cooking sardines on the barbecue is very popular, taking advantage of the hot coals to get that lovely, smoky flavour. This recipe is very simple and uses lemon and thyme.
24 fresh sardines 2 lemons 4 sprigs of thyme Salt
Pepper Extra-virgin olive oil
1) Clean and butterfly the sardines (your fishmonger will do this for you) by removing the heads and spine. Rinse thoroughly.
2) Cut each lemon in half (lengthways) and then slice each half into six thin slices.
3) Lay a sheet of kitchen foil over your opened hinged grill.
4) Lay out the opened up sardines, skin side down and place a slice of lemon on one half and then close the sardine again. Do this for all of the fish.
5) Place the thyme sprigs over the top of all the fish and season well with salt and pepper. 6) Lay another sheet of kitchen foil over the top and close the grill.
7) Barbecue each side for 4 or 5 minutes. 8) Add a generous drizzle of olive oil and serve with salad or fresh bread.
“a charming and funny expat tale” The Telegraph (UK)
“Weeks later you will be doing the dishes and recall some fleeting scene with chickens or mules or two old fools and laugh out loud all over again.” The Catalunya Chronicle