|It was wonderful to spend quality time with our older daughter Suzy this week in Montrondo.|
|Our house the stone one in the middle in the family enclave in Montrondo . Spot Pippa!|
|The silent majority demonstration in Barcelona against independence last Sunday.|
|Our picnic last Sunday on the way to Montrondo|
|The village just before dusk last Sunday when we arrived.|
|Pippa and I by the Montrondo sign post on our walk last Sunday|
|Suzy happy to be in Montrondo - here on Monday morning with her cup of coffee|
|Coffee with free pastries and fritters at a bar called Selene in Villablino on Monday|
|Making bread by hand with spelt flour in Montrondo|
|The dough half proven|
|Suzy on the sunbed in the field at the back of our house|
|A selfie of the 3 of us in the mountains or should I say the 4 of us with Pippa hahaha.|
|Father and daughter posing for the camera by the Abedular.|
|Manolo's 5 week old calf whose mother ran out of mil and which he has to hand feed|
|Feeding Manolo's 5 week old calf. What a lovely experience.|
|Tuna fish salad for dinner on Monday night|
|My spelt flour bread rolls|
|Suzy drinking water from the fountain in Murias on one of our walks this week|
|Cooking with Suzy in harmony together|
|Lounging outside the house in the sun with Pippa, Mother and daughter.|
|The golden room at St .Catherine's palace outside SP.|
|10th October and Puigdemont making his appearance at the Genaralitat.|
|The pelmeni Oli had for dinner one night in St. Petersburg.|
|"La Fleita" fountain - Suzy sitting on the bench with her back to the camera|
|On our walk to Murias past Manolo's cows and bulls.|
Thursday 12th October was the Spanish national day, also called El Pilar. There would be big military parades in Madrid presided over by the King. Spaniards are not very good at being openly patriotic or proud of their country and the Spanish flag often has negative connotations. However, after the illegal referendum and crisis in Catalonia there has been a surge in national pride which I think is a good thing. What marred the day though, was the death of the pilot of a Euro fighter jet which crashed near its base after returning from the parade. What an awful thing to happen.
There would be festive events all over Spain including nearby Villablino, where the annual fair, called "La Feriona" is held. I had been once and was keen to take Suzy and Eladio to see it and enjoy it as it's a great event. It consists mostly of a huge market with the usual made-in-china goods but it also has lots of local farming products and tools as well as food stalls which come mostly from the nearby northern provinces of Galicia and Asturias. It's very typical to eat "pulpo" (octopus) and we would have bought some to bring home but just one paltry ration cost 13 euros so we decided against the "pulpo" and bought a home made vegetable pie and home made cakes instead. Suzy and Eladio were particularly attracted to the pen knives which come from a town called Taramundi in Galicia. Eladio has a special fascination with both pen knives and walking sticks and here he was in his element.
|Eladio and Suzy at La Feriona - here looking at pen knives|
|Suzy enjoying being at the annual fair in Villablino.|
|One of the cows on sale at the livestock market at the Villablino Fair on Thursday|
|On the walk with Eladio's family on Thursday via "el camino valle"|
In St. Petersburg that night, my daughter Olivia was continuing discovering her Russian roots. That night she tried caviar for the first time and I have yet to hear whether she liked it or not. I maybe half Russian but I actually detest it. She ate it the Russian way, accompanied by vodka hahaha.
|Olivia trying caviar in St. Petersburg.|
I set about quickly making lunch which we would have at Eladio's sister's house, each of us contributing food to the table.
As I was cooking, we got photos from Olivia from St. Petersburg. On Friday she was shooting at the Hermitage which also houses the Tsar's winter palace. The Hermitage is one of the world's best art galleries and from the picture I gather, to quote a cousin of mine, Olivia was completely overwhelmed by it. I was too when I went there.
|Oli at the Hermitage on Friday|
|Suzy on the train returning to Madrid on Friday morning|
We later watched the news together. I was shocked at images of the dreadful fires raging in California with so many people dead and so many houses burnt. We are used to forest fires here in Spain but they are nearly always in the countryside or mountain areas and hardly ever burn people's houses.
Olivia was having dinner of course that night again in St. Petersburg. What was different about hers was that she was being invited free to a dinner at one of the city's top restaurants, "Percorso". She had interviewed the owner and he in turn had offered her a free dinner at his amazing restaurant. The food looked divine. Lucky Oli.
Yesterday, on Saturday morning, I was up late for me, at 7 am. And I was delighted to see from a notification on my phone that I had been elevated to "super host" status on Airbnb. Wow, that made me feel very proud. To get it you have to have hosted at least 10 trips in a year, maintain a 90% response rate, receive a 5-star review at least 80% of the time as well as complete all reservations without cancelling. I would have been given super host status long ago if I hadn't cancelled my very first reservation because of a silly mistake in my advert. But now I have it and hope to keep it. One of the benefits is that advert gets more prominence and of course guests prefer to stay at homes run by super hosts like me hahaha.
|Lovely to hear I had awarded super host status from Airbnb on Saturday|
The day started with breakfast with Eladio, always my favourite meal of the day. Well it is here as instead of the gruel type porridge I eat in Madrid, in Montrondo I have toast for breakfast.
My thoughts were then on the next meal of course, hahaha. I had a tray of 4 chicken drumsticks in the fridge, nearly the last of the provisions we had bought at Gadis and I wondered what to do with them. In the end I made a sort of "coq au vin". I gently fried chopped onion and garlic with the chicken then put in chopped carrots and red peppers and added vegetable water stock. I also added a generous amount of white wine and placed all the precooked ingredients in the oven to make a casserole. I would serve it with thick home made crisps. This is the finished dish before we ate it of course.
|My coq au vin which I made on Saturday for lunch|
|The view of the village from the old path to Murias on my walk on Saturday morning|
|The wheat and rye bread I made on Saturday was delicious|
|A lovely lettuce from our neighours in Montrondo.|