Saturday, November 29, 2014

The mystery solved

Danilo's birthday was on Sunday and as he was at university in town on Saturday he decided to bring the family back with him then - a tad early for Sunday lunch but hey ho.

Chivirico was in charge of looking after the baby but as usual he wanted to use the computer. Luckily she seemed to enjoy watching you tube music videos as well.

In common with most Dominican children I know, she is very well behaved. No screaming or crying, just sleeps, eats and laughs.

Another interesting thing is how, when Ana, her mother and married to my stepson, Alberto, arrived, she brought nothing for the baby. No stroller, no big bag of wipes, nada. Just a bottle and some pampers. The child just gets carried everywhere and manages with what there is in our house.

We had a great lunch on Sunday - Turkish Lamb Stew which I adapt using goat instead of lamb. It is just goat, onions, couple of tins of tomatoes or fresh ones if you have no tins, aubergine (eggplant for Americans),  potatoes, chickpeas, red wine and herbs and cook it slowly for 3 hours. Delicious served with the all important rice, salad and of course avocados.

They left after lunch, but not until they had raided the garden and left with two bags of avocados, one of passion fruit, called chinola here, and one of oranges.

A few weeks ago Danilo at last did what I have been asking for ages, which was to build a gate into the kitchen so the dogs could not get in. The reason is that they terrorise the cats and eat their food, hassle me when I am trying to cook, and get into the rubbish bin, strewing stuff all over the floor. Even when it is obvious who the culprit is, Meg still looks at me and swears it was not her in the bin.

Anyway, the gate is up and no more problems. Apart from the fact that there were. The cats food still disappeared and the rubbish was still over the floor. Some careful spying then revealed what was happening. This time Pandora the puppy - well a year old now.

And this is on the way out.

Next week I am off to Santo Domingo to speak to a book club and, all being well, to hand in my paperwork to become a Dominican citizen. That should be a fun process so watch this space to see if it goes smoothly - which of course it won't. Talking of the book, it now has 86 five star reviews on Amazon and 7 four star reviews. It would be fabulous to get it up to 100 four and five star by Christmas, so if you have read it and not done a review yet then please please do. Thanks.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Here comes winter

At last winter is on its way. Firstly it has stopped raining and the next time it rains should be after Easter. Bad for the garden but it means much less mopping, and for that I am grateful.
The temperature and humidity have both dropped significantly, especially in the early mornings, so it is hooded housecoat, socks and slipper weather when I get out of bed at sunrise. By mid morning it warms up though and stays warm until nightfall. Another reason you know that winter is coming is that the poinsettia are all turning red.

The whole of the outside of the house is surrounded by them and I still find it hard to believe that these are the same flowers I had in a little pot on the dining room table at Christmas. Some of them here are 15 foot tall. I think we need to prune them maybe to make them bushier though.

Everywhere you look at the moment, everything is so green and growing like crazy. It really is beautiful.

Miguel has returned from his heart operation and is fit and well - although not doing a lot at the moment. They cannot use their new bathroom as the plumbers didn't stick the pipes on too well so everything leaks so they are looking for a new plumber to sort it out. Meanwhile, Baybara has a sink now to wash the dishes instead of a simple bowl. No plumbing problems here as they didn't put any pipes in at all so the water just falls out of the sink straight onto the floor!

And the avocados keep right on going. I never thought I would say this but I think I may be pleased this year when they are over. We have a box of hundreds to get through, and there are still loads more on the trees. I think this year must have been a bumper crop, I just wish there was a way to freeze them.

For the useful advice about putting lime in with papaya, thank you so much. Totally takes away the yucky taste so now my daily papaya milkshake is significantly more palatable. Yesterday was my birthday and though I hoped Danilo would forget, to save money being wasted on yet another Dominican hooker style pair of tight trousers and t-shirt. He remembered and instead bought a bottle of wine (first for a year!) and cooked sancocho for lunch - shared by all the neighbours - and a papaya and lime milkshake for dinner. Both with avocado on the side of course. His birthday is on Monday so we are expecting hordes to arrive on Sunday. Time for the famous Lindsay "Goat stew from Istambul" as Danilo calls it.

Monday, November 10, 2014

What to do with papaya?

The drought is now pretty much over with non stop rain almost all week last week. Although great for the garden, which is now growing like topsy, everyone else was getting pretty fed up with it. Some of the areas on the north coast flooded very badly, with many losing all of their possessions in floods over waist height as the rivers broke their banks. It is even said that in Sabaneta de Yasica, the cemetery flooded so badly that the bodies were washed out of the graves and disappeared. No doubt they will turn up somewhere.

Here, we luckily don't have flooding, apart from inside the house via the badly fitting windows, and through the roof where the men sorting the internet aerial stomped about on it in hob nail boots. But the dogs were fed up with the rain, and while I was concentrating hard, writing on my computer, they had a silent pillow fight early one morning.

It started off with the puppies, nearly a year old now, Panda and Pandora who managed to pretty much destroy a cushion. I had no idea that the cushions had so much estuffing.

Belinda ended up with the empty cushion cover, leaving the Pandas to frolic in the bits of foam.

Which Meg then robbed and  took out the lining. A good time was had by all, although I was a tad scared about Danilo's reaction when he got up. Surprisingly enough he was happy as said that the chickens would love the estuffing to build nests so it all got scooped up and given to the happy hens.

Chivirico arrived for the weekend and began by harvesting the papaya, known as lechosa.

Now, I know it is very good for you, but I just don't like it and there are not many things I don't like here. Danilo and Chivirico adore the batida, or milkshake, they make with it. If anyone knows a way to make it palatable then please let me know as we have loads.

Danilo was in Guayacanes for a big meeting with all his supporters last week. He tells me it went very well and now some of the major employers in the area have met with him and promised to support his launch day which is planned for early January. We still need to raise money for that and although I can repay people in a year's time when I come into my pension lump sum (no comments on pensionable age please), we have been unsuccessful in raising any more funds. So an American friend of mine racked her brain and me having said no to a cake stall, and a garage sale, as not enough people here and we give cakes as gifts to the neighbours, she came up with the idea of a 50/50 raffle. The idea is that people buy tickets, $10 for one and $20 for three with no limit on the number, and then the raffle is drawn on 15th December. The money raised is then divided into two with half going to the lucky winner, and half to Danilo's campaign. I was hoping to raise US$10,000 in total but it is going a tad slowly, so if anyone wants a ticket, the Facebook link is here. Anyone who wants to take part but isn't on Facebook you can email me on