We have had friends here for drinks and tapas, in fact most weekend, someone pops into the Finca and takes a seat, a drink or two, some slices of Jamon or a handful of olives. We then spend time chatting , before they leave and continue on their way. This ad-hoc way of visiting is not very British, we tend to announce our impending arrival with a phone call or a "can I pop over" text, so for us, this took a bit of getting used to.
Because are the only one "living" here 7 days a week, and our neighbors tend to be here at the weekends only, it means that from Friday through to Sunday evenings, we can have any number of visitors, from those we know to first timers!. At first this practice took us by surprised, people we did not know, would suddenly appear in the Finca, announce that they were friends of the previous owner and engage in a very one way conversation, as my husband and I looked at them smiling, and then staring at each other, hoping that one of us would understand what was going on. Then as we then started to go out for walks we were waved into our neighbors houses, where we would be presented with a wide choice of drinks and Tapas including infamous Pitarra, famed in Extremadura and brewed by every self respecting local. We have been given gallons of the stuff, in various bottles from water bottles to whisky bottles. I am not going to go into the ins and outs of its making but you can find a very informative piece on hidden Spain - Phils blog which will tell you all about the drink, far better than I can. However I will say that it does come in various strengths, none of which is known until you start to drink it!
Tapas Varies - a plate of olives, sunflower seeds and the ubiquitous local Jamon. We soon learnt that, any house worth its salt in Spain is going to have a supply of drinks and tapas on hand, so that guests can be accommodated at the drop of a hat, ( we spent the first few weeks very embarrassed, as we were not prepared for guests.) However I am pleased to say now we are fully stocked, and part of our weekly shop included packets of this and that to tip out onto pretty plates for the crowds at the weekends.
Anyway I digress, back to the dinner last night, what to cook, I agonised over this for several days and the eventually decided on the mains after reading a book by Janet Mandel plus the fact that my Spanish gas cooker has 2 heats not very hot and really very hot!, so an all in one, hob casserole was the order of the day.
Loads of good quality beef, vegetables, stock and a touch of red wine, herbs and spices - all mopped up with crusty fresh bread, followed by a fruit crumble.
|Lots of Tomato and Garlic|
Our Spanish is still not good enough to hold a continuous conversation, and sometimes it is not just about the language, other things come into play like common interests, good food and most of all good company after all the title of this post sums it up because it translates to
There is no better brother than a good next-door neighbor .
When you are on good terms with your neighbors, you have gained a valuable comrade. From borrowing tools to watching over each other's houses to enjoying backyard barbecues and pool parties, life is easier with a friend living next door.
|Our dear friends|
I will leave you with a selection of Pictures taken this week at the finca. I hope you enjoy