Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday 31st December 2014…another year done!!!!!!

Well this is going to be a long post for my last blog of 2014…….

I had a lovely breakfast this morning whilst reading the last of my English newspapers that I brought back in August…..I heard the distinctive noise of a hot air balloon and went outside in time to snap this shot!!!

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….there is just something so cool about that first cup of tea with an actual newspaper in my hands…..I did some chores this morning and then went off for a busy day.

The first port of call was to Marysol's apartment for my Spanish lesson…this has been a good week for me I think I am slowly, very slowly, starting to make some progress I am now able to make short sentences, negative and questions and she is very pleased with me.  I know it is hard and I am determined just to try and getter better each week.

I then went to sit by the San Antonio church and have my lunch this is the church by the tennis courts……lots of activity going on here…

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These are just so beautiful I asked and they are made of wood chips and dust that is colored. Whilst I was having my lunch I saw on the other side of the steps 6 Nuns and I recognized two of them as being Nuns from Casa Hogar……I watched as these two Nuns made a special point of coming right up to me and offered their hands and their cheeks they were so friendly to me, remembered my name and asked me how I was…..I will not get into the politics of Casa Hogar here but suffice it to say these two Nuns were always very kind to me and it was a joy to see them and to wish them a happy new year…I asked how Daniela was and they assured me she was fine!!!!

After my lunch I went to the tennis courts to join the new group…..I played two long and hard sets of tennis men’s doubles and with a little bit of pride I think I played the best tennis since my championship days in Bermuda!!!!   What a great way to end the old year and also to know I am back on the courts tomorrow morning.

My next stop was to start the new year with a haircut so I went to my new found barber and for 50 pesos got a great haircut…

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From here I went to a new diner just opened and sells burgers and ribs

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I had a burger here last week and it was really good and they are doing a roaring trade I ordered ribs to go!!!!!

I was home by 5 o clock and it was a busy day and now I can relax for the evening…I have decided not to go out tonight just a quiet evening at home and the ribs were wonderful.

 

Marysol told me this morning about the tradition of eating 12 grapes and I have just done that here are some more Mexican traditions.

 

1) The Tradition of the 12 Grapes

Grapes are always popular in New Year’s Eve.
This is the most famous, extended and accepted tradition or ritual to welcome the New Year.

There are many Mexican, Latino and Latin American families in general, that customarily place 12 grapes in a little bowl for each family member at the dinning table. The tradition also states that a grape should be eaten to each of the 12 clock chimes at midnight on December 31st. In addition, a wish can be made to each chime.

In some case, there are added details for a more complex ritual. For example, eating the grapes standing up on the left leg, so that way you would enter the New Year on the right foot.

2) Cleaning of the House Ritual

People clean their house on New Years Eve.
A tradition from Mexico is the ritual of housecleaning before midnight on New Year’s Eve. You have to sweep and clean the entire house inside out, especially the corners and little-used spots. This ritual would remove negative energies in the house and allow the entry of “good waves” and new energy. Some families also throw away the elements of cleaning such as broom, shovel, etc.

3) New Lingerie  (and underwear)

Wear underwear for good luck on New year.
One of the more fun -and sexy- traditions that is growing among the young generation, is to use brand-new lingerie or underwear of certain colors on New Year’s Eve.

The last day of the year you must wear brand new yellow lingerie or underwear if you want to attract money and prosperity during the coming year.

On the other hand, if what’s missing is love and happiness, your underwear must be red.

4) Lentils of Prosperity

Lentils bring good luck in new year.
Lentils…it’s a Latin American tradition that would be useful to attract prosperity and money for those who believe in it. You have to place raw lentils in pockets and in all places in which you’d like to see money in abundance.

It’s said that there’s such faith in lentils that some people tend to fill their pockets with them during the last night of the year. Others, more discrete and persistent, place twenty of the biggest and most brilliant lentils in a very small cotton fabric, preferably white.

You have to carry it with you during the previous seven days in your purse or pocket. Each time you touch it or see it, it recalls financial aspirations for the coming year.

5) The Desire to Travel

Do you want to travel in new year?
In order to attract the possibility of making that dream trip come true in the course of the following year, some people walk seven times in circles carrying a suitcase inside the room. Others, instead, take a walk around the block carrying the suitcase.

6) Throw Water out the Window

Throw water on New Year’s Eve.
The tradition comes from Puerto Rico, where it is traditional to throw a bucket of water out the window in order to remove “bad energy” from the house. Previously, the bucket must go through each room or area of the house. It’s like collecting all the bad vibes and throwing them out.

2015

7) Gold and Champagne

Toast to a new year.
some Latin American families it’s customary to celebrate the end of the year and the beginning of the new by toasting with glasses filled with champagne and a golden object placed inside. Rings, chains, cameos or any small gold object is useful for this ritual of prosperity.

 

Just read this story today!!!!!

Wimbledon champ Murray signs four-year clothing deal with Under Armour

  

  • Andy Murray

     

    LONDON - Former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has signed a four-year deal with American sportswear manufacturer Under Armour.

    The deal was announced Tuesday by the Baltimore-based company. Terms were not announced, but British news reports said the deal was worth $25 million.

    Murray previously had a four-year sponsorship deal with Adidas. He started his career wearing Fred Perry clothing.

    Murray won Wimbledon in 2013 and the U.S. Open in 2012. He is currently ranked No. 6 in the world.

    Under Armour also sponsors English Premier League club Tottenham.

  •  

    So I got to thinking if he can make all that money maybe I can also get a piece of the action so I have contacted this company to see if they will sponsor me if I promote their products!!!

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    You do not have to be a soccer fan to watch this….please go to You tube and enter the unluckiest goal keeper in the world and watch and listen it is I think the funniest video I have ever seen…watched it four times now and I laugh uncontrollable each time…..

     

    Well this is it the end of the year and I just want to say I am so blessed and lucky thank you to everyone and I leave you with this..

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    Yashi Kochi!!!!

    Tuesday, December 30, 2014

    Tuesday 30th December 2014………a busy day again!!

    Sorry but I have to report the sun was shining again this morning and the two hours of tennis was great here is a view of the court…

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    Came home and got cleaned up and then went down to the deaf school where with a group of about 30 other folks we gift wrapped gifts for over 1000 kids that live in the campo..again I was put in charge of the largest school and it is a lot of work to make sure we have the right number of gifts for the right age group and gender but we did it and here are the gifts for our school, 12 big garbage bags containing a total of nearly 330 wrapped gifts

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    John Doherty the organizer does a great job including providing us with refreshments…

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    I then went to Rita’s a bit later than usual and we had our chat and then I got revenge for the beating she placed on me on Christmas day at cards!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I was home about 6.30pm but saw what a great sunset it was so went down to the lake and took this

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    and tonight would you believe I found a hockey game on TV to watch!!!!

     

     

    Mexico City weighs bullfighting ban

    By Will Grant BBC News, Tlaxcala

    Bullfighting practice at Rancho Seco Put to the test: Rancho Seco's stock are tested for their aggression

     

    It may be the rainy season in Mexico - but Rancho Seco, meaning Dry Ranch, lives up to its name.

    Tucked away in the countryside of the central state of Tlaxcala, the 1,000-hectare (2,500-acre) hacienda is reached by a dusty road dotted with nothing but cactus and cattle.

    Despite the arid ground under foot and the punishing sun above, the air inside the farmhouse on Rancho Seco is cool.

    As we are ushered into the wood-panelled living room by Don Sergio Hernandez, the 73-year-old owner, the mounted heads of bygone bulls look down on us from the walls.

    "These are the heads of our most famous bulls," he says, drawing us towards a powerful-looking black head with curved horns.

    "This animal was called Pajarito," Don Sergio says, "which means Little Bird. The name was a good coincidence because this bull flew. He jumped right into the stands."

    Sergio Hernandez and his son Don Sergio and his son say they are trying to keep traditions alive

    There are also dozens of framed newspaper clippings from around the world showing Pajarito in mid-flight, his forelegs outstretched, his hind legs pushing off from the wooden barrier behind him.

    But while Pajarito's leap made international headlines a few years ago, the next headline about bull fighting in Mexico might be about its demise.

    Last year, the animal rights lobby proposed a ban on bullfighting in Mexico City to the capital's legislative assembly.

    Following a similar move in Catalonia in Spain and recent restrictions on the controversial practice in several Latin American countries, including Ecuador and Peru, Mexican activists are confident a city-wide ban will be passed during the new legislative session.

    "Catalonia was the starting point for us," says Gustavo Larios Velasco from the Mexican animal rights organisation, Meta.

    "It was the moment which showed that an organised society is capable of persuading its parliamentarians to respond to the wishes of the people and not of a privileged elite."

    The "privileged elite" he is referring to includes Don Sergio and his family.

    Bravery test

    But Don Sergio's son, also called Sergio Hernandez, argues that bullfighting helps to sustain the rural economy in states like Tlaxcala.

    "About a million people in the country depend directly or indirectly on this activity," he says.

    "On this farm, we have 12 to 14 employees plus their families. That's about 60 people who rely on bullfighting right here."

    Bullfighting is not as profitable as it once was and although the Hernandez family have run the business for five generations, Sergio Jr works as an accountant.

    But when he is not in a suit and tie, he heads straight for Rancho Seco.

    "Every Friday, I look forward to leaving my office, to come to the farm, to get up on a horse and take in all this beauty."

    It is indeed a beautiful spot, with 1,000 cattle roaming the grasslands and hillsides. But most of the cows will not be dedicated to producing future Pajaritos.

    That is reserved for a selected few with the requisite aggression.

    Inside a small bullring on the ranch, Sergio Jr and his father examine a heifer to decide if she has what it takes to become a breeder.

    She is put through a mini-bullfight complete with a matador, picadores (lancers on horseback) and banderilleros (who thrust barbed darts into the animal) to test her speed, strength and instinct to charge.

    For the cow, this is a life-or-death moment.

    "Depending on how brave she is, she will live or die," says Sergio Jr, before adding optimistically: "So far, she's doing well".

    Brutality and bloodshed

    If bullfighting is outlawed in Mexico City, it will mean an end to the practice in the world's biggest bullring, the Plaza Mexico, which can hold more than 40,000 spectators.

    A young bullfighter takes part in the Under-14 Apprentice Bullfighting Competition" in the Arroyo bullring, Mexico City, 8 September 2012 Young bullfighters compete in Mexico, but critics say bullfighting should have no future

    But activist Gustavo Larios says bullfighting's popularity has been on the wane for some time.

    "In Mexico City, the bullring is a constant failure. For a bullfight, they might fill it around five times a year. But whenever it is used for a musical group, it's full every time."

    The anti-bullfighting arguments in Mexico are much the same as in other countries where they are still held - that the practice is barbaric, out-dated and has no place in a modern, forward-looking society.

    But in Mexico, the animal rights lobby has a potentially powerful ace up its sleeve.

    They have linked the brutality of the bullfight to the bloodshed of Mexico's drug war, saying that watching animals being killed for sport contributes to a wider desensitisation to violence in Mexico.

    It may be enough to tip the balance in favour of a ban.

    At Rancho Seco, the cow has passed the bravery test and will be spared. But the practice of bullfighting might not fare so well.

    For Don Sergio, nothing less than Mexico's cultural heritage is at stake.

    "At this rate, we're all going to end up only watching NBA [US National Basketball Association] games. We have to defend our traditions

    Yashi Kochi!!!!

    Monday, December 29, 2014

    Monday 29th December 2014…….Birthday wishes!!

    Today is my Uncle Bram’s 88th Birthday and I want to wish him and My Aunt Rita a very special and wonderful day……Bram is my Dad’s younger Brother and every time I see Bram he reminds me so much of my Dad!!!

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    This was taken over two years ago at a seaside town in England where we used to go often as kids…Rita and Bram and I am pretending to be my Grand father who used to walk this beach with the exact same handkerchief on his head!!!!!!

    This morning was just  beautiful sunny and warm  and I had my breakfast outside in the sun and read an old English newspaper……and then went to my Spanish class I really enjoy Marysol’s methods of teaching and I am now starting with placing two verbs together in a sentence…it is really hard for me and remembering so difficult but I enjoy it all and am determined to be as good as I can be….

    Did some chores in town and back home mid afternoon in time to relax with my book on the back patio…..

    Hard to believe that this year is nearly over…. for me I covered many hundreds of miles and saw some new countries and of course had time with my family after the task of the Camino…wondering what the new year will bring for me I know what I am hoping for and I have already made the wish.

    This movie is causing quite a commotion!!!!

    By Stephen Evans BBC News, Seoul

    Randall Park in The Interview The fictional Kim Jong-un indulges in threats and floods of tears

     

    The limited Christmas release of The Interview has given viewers a chance to assess The Interview first hand. Could a Hollywood satire really undermine the North Korean leader?

    The Interview is a classic Hollywood romp involving two lads who go to a strange place and get seduced (in several senses). They engage in an unlikely caper of blood and humour. It has lots of shots of women's cleavages and jokes about bottoms.

    And it is, to this viewer, very funny. That's partly because it is also a very good political satire. It is a cut above most classic holiday Hollywood romps in that it is, as the Washington Post observed, "politically astute".

    It is powerful because it depicts Kim Jong-un as a flawed human who is sentimental and ruthless.

    He is a vain, buffoonish despot, the film suggests, alternating between threats and floods of tears as he weeps that he's been misunderstood - the son complaining about the expectations of the father.

    He has deadly tantrums, particularly when asked why his regime is spending untold millions on developing atomic weapons at the same time as it is receiving UN food aid. The people around him have all the signs of fear you might expect with a despot - they second-guess his likes and dislikes.

    Maybe he - and they - were right to fear the film. What may threaten despots is ridicule (it's what Charlie Chaplin understood - or at least, hoped - when he made The Great Dictator about Hitler).

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at military unit, 26 December 2014 The fear of Kim Jong-un being undermined could well explain the regime's harsh response

    When the people think the hard man's a joke, he has a problem.

    North Korean defectors sometimes smuggle USB sticks with films and soaps into the closed-off country, and there is a view in the south that these are a particularly powerful means of undermining the regime in Pyongyang.

    If that's so, The Interview might be a good candidate for inclusion.

    That fear may explain the North Korean leadership's intemperate, deeply racist rhetoric in response. It's not the first time it has called President Barack Obama a monkey.

    The statement by the Policy Department of the National Defence Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea says the film breaks international law by interfering in North Korea's internal affairs.

    Cinema in Los Angeles showing The Interview, 25 December 2014 Cinemas in the US showed the film despite threats from North Korea

    "The Interview is an illegal, dishonest and reactionary movie quite contrary to the UN Charter which regards respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and protection of human rights as a legal keynote and international laws (sic)".

    The North Korean leadership may be right: the film may yet become an interference in the internal affairs of their country. If it gets to be seen there surreptitiously, secret sniggering may change minds.

    Insult v satire

    It seems likely that copies of the film will get into North Korea, probably from China where it is reported that there have already been thousands of downloads - even though it's not supposed to be available.

    The reaction in China seems to have been favourable from ordinary people and unfavourable from the people at the top.

    According to the New York Times, The Interview got a very high score on a Chinese film appreciation website, with more than 10,000 people posting reviews.

    On the other hand, one of the papers run by the Communist Party said the film represented "senseless cultural arrogance."

    A similar split in opinion might be expected as banned copies reach North Korea.

    The Interview Reactionary was one of the gentler adjectives used by North Korea to describe the film, starring Seth Rogan (centre)

    And might it yet be nominated for an Oscar? If it were, could it pick up support in a contest for the Best Film award? It's not too hard to imagine how this parody of Kim Jong-un could continue to torment the regime in Pyongyang (which, you'll remember, first drew attention to the film).

    The latest statement from the North Korean leadership ends with a threat: "If the US persists in American-style, arrogant, high-handed and gangster-like arbitrary practices, despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK (North Korea), the US should bear in mind that its failed political affairs will face inescapable deadly blows".

    This is an echo of King Lear's threat: "I will do such things. What they are yet I know not, but they shall be the terrors of the earth!"

    In the Shakespearean play, the unspecific threat is the raving of an impotent man. That isn't quite true of Kim Jong-un. He is developing nuclear weapons and the rockets to deliver them, initially to countries around, particularly South Korea and Japan.

    But North Korea is not yet believed to have made a nuclear bomb small enough to carry on a rocket.

    North Korea also has skilled cyber-warriors who have attacked the computer systems of banks and TV stations in South Korea, and perhaps the system of Sony Pictures (there are several authoritative independent experts who have doubts).

    The leadership in North Korea denies it was behind the Sony attack, but applauds it. It also asserts that it is the United States that brought down what passes for the internet in North Korea.

    In the meantime, it's now a war of hot words. From Pyongyang: racism and insult - the monkey remark and calling the US gangsters. From Hollywood: a lively farce given weight by sharp political barbs.

    The British satirist Peter Cook once said that the power of satire was over-rated. On being asked about the effect of the Berlin cabaret artists of the 1930s, he replied: "Yeah, they really showed Hitler, didn't they?"

    The Interview is not going to topple Kim Jong-un - but it might one day help. And it has annoyed his regime.

    Crude insult or satire. Which is more effective?

    Yashi Kochi!!!

    Sunday, December 28, 2014

    Sunday 28th December 2014…….two days in one!!!!

    I will start with yesterday morning and having breakfast whilst watching another live soccer game from England with sunshine pouring in through the windows….then I was off to the tennis courts for two very good hours of tennis which I always enjoy I was thinking how lucky I am to be able to play three or four times a week without injury or taking any pain pills….. I am a lucky kid!!!!

    I then went to the local farmers market and bought a few things and then home to get ready and pack up some food and drink as I was meeting Paola at 1pm……It is almost five weeks since I have seen her and it has been difficult to know how she has been but I was thrilled when I arrived at her old house and there she was waiting for me with her two younger Brothers, Leonardo 11 years and Andreas 9 years…I know the boys well and it was good to see them all glad I brought extra food for the boys and away we went to the water park they love…..

    The were soon in the water with the football and ring I had brought for them……they just play so well together!!!

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    That is Andreas

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    Leonardo is taking the game seriously!!!!

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    The space where the tooth was extracted a few weeks ago is being filled by another tooth coming in so I will get her to the Dentist this week..

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    They stayed in the water till I called them out to get something to eat

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    Check out Paola's eye lashes!!!

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    They went straight back into the water until I told them it was time to go …..we stopped at the grocery store and bought a few provisions to take home with them…..the two boys live in a Boy’s home here in town but I imagine they have been allowed to go visit with their Mother over the holidays..it was good to see them again!!!

    I could tell you that last night was a soccer game and followed by two hockey games but then you would get the impression all I do is watch tellie!!!!!!!!!!

    This morning I had a slight touch of a stomach problem and decided to not go on the Sunday hike and I really stayed home and was very lazy……glad to say I feel better and I think I get a lot of exercise so having a day off may have been a good thing….

    Hope all my readers had a great last weekend of 2014!!!! 

    Roger Federer: I will not be a pushy parent

    By Adam Eley BBC News

    Federer celebrates Madrid Masters final win with wife and daughter Roger Federer regularly climbs into the crowd to celebrate tournament victories with his family

     

    Roger Federer's drive to succeed has landed him seven Wimbledon singles titles and a legion of fans. But when it comes to his children taking up sport, he is determined not to be a pushy parent.

    It was an unlikely meeting on the face of it - the Speaker of the House of Commons and the man who is considered by many as the greatest tennis player ever to grace the men's game.

    But when John Bercow, formerly Britain's top-ranking junior tennis player, was given the chance to edit Radio 4's Today programme and interview guests of his choosing, Roger Federer was top of his list.

    Mr Bercow has watched the Swiss player in action no fewer than 65 times this year and was keen to get to the source of the unwavering ambition that has led him to remain at the pinnacle of his profession.

    Roger Federer and John Bercow Roger Federer and John Bercow - a future doubles partnership?

    "I realised very quickly that it's an entirely different thing winning something for the first time and then having to come back the following year and defend it," explains Federer.

    "Once I reached a certain level... I looked up to the great other athletes out there [for motivation], like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Valentino Rossi and Michael Schumacher - people who did it so long, so many times and make you wonder 'How did they do that?'.

    "Next thing you know," he adds, "it's like you're part of that in a small way, and every year that goes by you get closer to those people. They were definitely a big inspiration for me to keep working hard."

    Roger Federer joins Tiger Woods during a practice round at the CA Championship Roger Federer joins Tiger Woods during a practice round at the CA Championship

    This continued passion for the game has led Federer to a record 302 weeks as world number one, surpassing Pete Sampras's mark of 286.

    And after a difficult year in 2013, when he struggled with a back injury, Federer returned in impressive form this season to win more matches - 73 - than any other player on the men's tour.

    Once dismissed by many critics as a player in perpetual decline, the 33-year-old remains a serious contender for Grand Slam victory in 2015. Which is just as well, as he admits it would be difficult for him to turn up to a tournament as a sideshow to the main event.

    "I definitely am fortunate to always be playing on Centre Court and very often prime time," he says.

    Roger Federer plays on Centre Court at Wimbledon Playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon has become second nature to Federer

    "I must say - and this is honest - I don't know if I would still be playing if they would put me on Court 4 every day.

    "That would be difficult for me, having played on all these wonderful courts around the world and now playing in front of a fraction of those people - that would be rough."

     

    The will to succeed is clearly a theme of his unrivalled longevity at the top of the game, and Mr Bercow - David Cameron's former doubles partner in the Commons and Lords tennis team - is keen to know whether similar expectations will be pressed on his children.

    "I don't know if the kids are ever going to play tennis at a high level like that," says Federer, whose wife Mirka gave birth to their second set of twins this May.

    "Honestly, I think it all depends on how things are going to be when we settle in Switzerland, and what sport they are going to take up.

    "But I think for any kid it's important for them… to enjoy what they're doing, whatever sport that is."

    Federer, however, is keen to make clear the distinction between supportive and pushy parents, especially given the role his father Robert and mother Lynette have played in his success.

    Roger Federer with his father Robert Federer Roger Federer's father Robert is a regular fixture at his son's matches

    "Parental support and advice is very important…to make you understand that it's a privilege to be able to go to tennis lessons and play tennis tournaments. So the least a kid can do is give it their best effort and best attitude," he explains.

    "At the same time, the parents also need to give space to the kid and the coaches so they can work and... travel by themselves - the parents don't always need to babysit them through their entire career.

    "That's why today when my parents tell me 'You know what, we want to come to every single tournament you play on the tour', I would say 'Yes please, come see me. I don't mind spending every day with you guys for the year.'

    "But if they tell me 'We don't want to come see you play because we really don't enjoy it' that's cool too. And that's what I hope every parent can look forward to with their kid," he adds.

    "It needs to be both ways and for me that worked very well - I got the space, but I also felt the pressure, the need to perform," he adds.

    Yashi Kochi!!!

    Friday, December 26, 2014

    Friday 26th December 2014…..Pearson day with a twist!!!

    Woke up to a beautiful sunny and warm day and this Pearson day has a twist…. going on a road trip…….Two years ago with the hiking group we drove about 80 km to a fantastic hike and I wanted to see if I could find it again……after breakfast which accompanied a live soccer game from England I set out with a map and my trusty GPS…it was a lovely drive through open fields and then this view!!!

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    So sit back here is your Christmas gift from me to you a Pearson world wide famous tour and remember tips are appreciated!!!!

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    It was not the hike that I went with the group before but it still was a great time and the vistas quite spectacular!!!

     

      free_15710950FOR DONATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I was home by 5.30pm and after a bath and dinner I think I may be able to find a hockey game on TV………great day!!!!

    What is Boxing Day? Why is it Called Boxing Day

     

     

    boxing-day-1500.jpg - Photo ©  Getty Images

     

    What is Boxing Day?:

    How many times am I asked - what is Boxing Day, or, why is it called Boxing Day? Arguments come thick and fast as to why and I hope, like me, you find the answers below interesting. But first off I must say; it has nothing to do with the sport of boxing.

    It starts of course with our greed here in Britain and Ireland for a longer holiday; it’s not enough for us to have Christmas Day celebrations we have added on another day called Boxing Day. The day is a national holiday and one to spend with family and friends and eating up the leftovers. Its origins however, are steeped in history and tradition.

     

     

    Why is it Called Boxing Day:

    Arguments abound on the origins of the name Boxing Day, all of the answers here are relevant, so maybe it is all of them.

    • A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present.
    • Boxing Day was a day off for servants and when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.
    • A box to collect money for the poor was placed in Churches on Christmas day then opened the next day.
    • Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck.If the voyage were a success the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents given to the poor.
    When is Boxing Day?:

    Boxing Day is the 26th December and is a national holiday in the UK and Ireland.

    Activities on Boxing Day:

    Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, usually those not seen on Christmas Day itself.
    In recent times the day has become synonymous with sport. Horse racing is particularly popular with meets all over the country. Many top football teams also play on Boxing Day.
    Boxing Day is also a time when the British show their true eccentricity taking part in all kinds of silly activities like swimming the English Channel - not the warmest place on December 26th - fun runs and charity events.

     

    Activities on Boxing Day - Fox Hunting:

    Until 2004, Boxing Day hunts were a traditional part of Boxing Day but the ban on fox hunting has put an end to the hunt in its traditional sense. Hunters will still gather dressed resplendently in red hunting coats to the sound of the hunting horn but it is now forbidden in law to chase the fox with dogs, so the dogs now follow artificially laid trails.

    The New Boxing Day Sport - Shopping:

    Another ‘sport’ to emerge in recent years is shopping. Sadly what was once a day of relaxation and family time sees the start of the sales. Sales used to start in January post-New Year but the desire to grab a bargain and for shops to off-load stock means many now start on Boxing Day.

    Boxing Day in Ireland:

    In Ireland, Boxing Day is known as "St Stephen's Day" and is famous for its "Wren Boys". St Stephen was killed, purportedly stoned to death, for believing in Jesus. In Ireland the Wren Boys would go out and stone Wrens to death then with blackened faces, carry their catch around the town knocking at doors and asking for money. This barbaric act has now stopped but the Wrens Boys will still dress up and parade around time though, but collecting money for charity.

    Food and Drink on Boxing Day:

    With guests often popping in for a snack and quick drink, the food and drink on Boxing Day is more relaxed than Christmas Day. Lunch will usually be a buffet or leftovers from Christmas lunch. Baked Ham is a popular Boxing Day meat and of course, Mince Pies with Brandy Butter or a slice of Christmas Cake are almost obligatory.

    Yashi Kochi!!!

    Thursday, December 25, 2014

    Thursday 25th December 2014…….Joy to the world and peace on earth!!!!!

    Good morning and a wonderful healthy, happy and peaceful Christmas day wishes to all my fantastic readers….we have been on this blog journey almost 8 years the friends I have made astound me…the vistas I have seen leave me “gob smacked” (Google it ) and I am blessed to have the most supportive and loving family possible……I am also blessed with health that allows me to pursue the lifestyle I have chosen and enough pesos to be comfortable………

     

    I did not get to bed till almost 1am waiting for Santa to arrive but he must be confused about where I live!!!!!!!!!!  This morning I did something I never do I was still in bed at 9am!!!!!!

    It was a lovely sunny morning and I put on my hiking shoes and did a stroll down to the presa(lake)…it was wonderful.

    I then went and played Santa  going to Catalina’s home where I left some gifts for her Grand children and her…..Catalina has been cleaning the casa here for over 7 years and she is lovely a hard worker and paramount in her life are her family…she was thrilled to see me and the children oh so wonderful.

    From there I went to Rafael's  house, Rafael has been doing the gardens here at the house for the same length of time as Catalina…he is always on time, always smiling and takes good care of the grounds….he lives unfortunately in a very small three room shack with a tin roof..he is married and his wife is lovely as are the two kids a boy 8 and a girl 14….I took them some gifts this morning including soccer balls for the kids..the smiles made my day!!!!!

    Next stop was to the flower stand to buy a lovely bouquet of flowers for Rita, her son Josh who I met last month e mailed me and asked if I would take the flowers to his Mum and have a card from him and his sister Ali, so I did and the flowers are gorgeous!!!

    Then I went to the restaurant where I had ordered two Christmas dinners, a full traditional meal with dessert and then home to get changed and cleaned up and at 2pm went to Rita’s casa.

    DSC08871

    She is such a great friend and we put the dinners in the oven to warm up while we caught up on all our news…..the dinner…………two words….simply fantastic….just my kind of a meal and the dessert…mmmmmm

    DSC08872

    We played our usual card card and because it was Christmas I let Rita win……right!!!!!!!!!

    What a lovely afternoon we had…. so special.

    Funny-Christmas-cartoons

    My brother and Janet have three children and a grandson and they were all going to the Mark’s house for dinner, wish I could have made an appearance…love to you all. I did manage to connect with Malc and Janet on Skype this evening always great to talk to them!!

    Forgot to mention yesterday Sara gave me three wonderful Xmas presents last night so kind of her..a nice denim shirt a great Wayne Gretzky memorabilia mounted on a lovely frame and then this special print!!!

    DSC08869

    She has a very talented artist friend that painted this portrait and when I saw it I asked her to ask her friend if she would sell me a copy because this man who has now passed away used to live across the street from where I play tennis and I saw him often and used to help carry things down the steps into his house for him…he had such a hard time walking and the stick in his left hand is actually a pick axe that he turned upside down…he was a warrior…so I shall get this framed and be proud to own it …thanks.

    Tonight is going to be movie night………

    Best wishes to you all……blessings les

     

     

    Christmas in Mexico

    In Mexico, Christmas is celebrated from the December 12th to January 6th.

    From December 16th to Christmas Eve, children often perform the 'Posada' processions or Posadas. Posada is Spanish for Inn or Lodging. There are nine Posadas. These celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Joseph and Mary looked for a room in an Inn. For the Posadas, the outside of houses are decorated with evergreens, moss and paper lanterns.

     

    In each Posada, children are given candles and a board, with painted clay figures of Mary riding on a donkey and Joseph, to process round the streets with. They call at the houses of friends and neighbors and sing a song at each home. The song they sing is about Joseph and Mary asking for a room in the house. But the children are told that there is no room in the house and that they must go away. Eventually they are told there is room and are welcomed in! When the children go into the house they say prayers of thanks and then they have a party with food, games and fireworks.

    Each night a different house hold the Posada party. At the final Posada on Christmas Eve, a manger and figures of shepherds are put on to the board. When the Posada house has been found, a baby Jesus is put into the manger and then families go to a midnight Church service. After the Church service there are more fireworks to celebrate the start of Christmas.

    One game that is often played at Posada parties is piñata. A piñata is a decorated clay or papier-mâché jar filled with sweets and hung from the ceiling or tree branch. The piñata is often decorated something like a ball with seven peaks around it. The peaks or spikes represent the 'seven deadly sins'. piñata's can also be in the form of an animal or bird (such as a donkey). To play the game, children are blind-folded and take it in turns to hit the piñata with a stick until it splits open and the sweets pour out. Then the children rush to pick up as many sweets as they can!

     

    As well as the posada's, another type of Christmas play known as Pastorelas (The Shepherds). These tell the story of the shepherds going to find the baby Jesus and are often very funny. The devil tries to stop them by tempting them along the way. But the shpeherds always getthere in the end, often with the help of the Archangel Michael, who comes and beats the devil!

    Nativity scenes, known as the 'nacimiento', are very popular in Mexico. They are often very large, with the figures being life size! Sometimes a whole room in a house is used for the nacimiento, although this is less common now. The figures are often made of clay and are traditionally passed down through families. As well as the normal figures of the Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the Shepherds and Three Kings, there are often lots of other figures of different people, including women making tortillas, people selling food and different animals and birds, like flamingos! The figures can be bought from markets in cities all over Mexico. The baby Jesus is normally added to the scene during the evening of Christmas Eve. The Three Kings are added at Epiphany.

    Christmas Trees are becoming more popular in Mexico, but the main/most important decoration is still the nacimiento.

    Christmas Eve is known as 'Noche Buena' and is a family day. People often take part in the final Posada and then in the evening have the main Christmas meal. At midnight, many people go to a Midnight Mass service, known as the 'Misa de Gallo' (Mass of the Rooster). There are lots of fireworks to celebrate Christmas Day.

    Poinsettia flowers are known as 'nochebuena' (Christmas Eve) flowers in Mexico.

    People in Mexico also celebrate 'los santos inocentes' or 'Day of the Innocent Saints' on December 28th ad it's very like April Fools Day in the UK and USA. 28th December is when people remember the babies that were killed on the orders of King Herod when he was trying to kill the baby Jesus.

    In some states in Mexico children expect Santa Claus to come on December 24th. In the south of Mexico children expect presents on January 6th at Epiphany, which is known as 'el Dia de los Reyes'.

    On el Dia de los Reyes the presents are left by the Three Kings (or Magi). If you've had a visit from Santa on Christmas Eve, you might also get some candy on el Dia de los Reyes!

    It's traditional to eat a special cake called 'Rosca de Reyes' (Three Kings Cake) on Epiphany. A figure of Baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake. Whoever has the baby Jesus in their piece of cake is the 'Godparent' of Jesus for that year.

    Another important day, is Candelaria (also known as Candlemas) on the 2nd February and it marks the end of the Mexican Christmas celebrations. Lots of Mexicans have a party for Candelaria.

    In Mexico, presents might also be brought by 'El Niñito Dios' (baby Jesus) & Santo Clós (Santa Claus)

    In Mexico people speak Spanish (Español), so Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Feliz Navidad'. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.

    The largest ever Angel Ornament was made in Mexico. It was made in January 2001 by Sergio Rodriguez in the town of Nuevo León. The angel was 18' 3"" high and had wing span of 11' 9"! Perhaps the most amazing thing about the angel was that it was completely made out of old beer bottles, 2946 of them!

     

    Christmas in the United Kingdom

    In the UK (or Great Britain), families often celebrate Christmas together, so they can watch each other open their presents!

    Most families have a Christmas Tree (or maybe even two!) in their house for Christmas. The decorating of the tree is usually a family occasion, with everyone helping. Christmas Trees were first popularised the UK by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. Prince Albert was German, and thought that it would be good to use one of his ways of celebrating Christmas in to England.

    Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe are also sometimes used to decorate homes or other buildings.

    Most villages, towns and cities are decorated with Christmas lights over Christmas. Often a famous person switches them on. The most famous Christmas lights in the UK are in Oxford Street in London. Every year they get bigger and better and thousands of people go to watch the big 'switch on' around the beginning of November.

     

    Like a lot of countries, Nativity Plays and Carol Services are also very popular at Christmas time. The Church that I go to always has a Carols by Candlelight Service where the church is only lit up by candles. It is a very special service and always makes me feel very Christmassy! Lots of other British churches also have Carols by Candlelight and Christingle services.

    Children believe that Father Christmas or Santa Claus leaves presents in stockings or pillow-cases. These are normally hung up by the fire or by the children's beds on Christmas Eve. Children sometimes leave out mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas to eat and drink when he visits them. Now, some people say that a non-alcoholic drink should be left for Santa as he has to drive!

    Children write letters to Father Christmas listing their requests, but sometimes instead of putting them in the post, the letters are tossed into the fireplace. The draught carries the letters up the chimney and Father Christmas reads the smoke.

    There are some customs that only take place, or were started, in the UK. Wassailing is an old anglo-saxon custom that doesn't take place much today. Boxing Day is a very old custom that started in the UK and is now taken as a holiday in many countries around the world.

     

    In Scotland, some people celebrate New Year's Eve (which is called Hogmanay) more than Christmas! The word Hogmanay comes from a kind of oat cake that was traditionally given to children on New Year's Eve. All across the UK, in cities and towns, there are fireworks to celebrate the New Year. Two of the most famous fireworks displays are in London, along the River Thames, and in Edinburgh at the Hogmanay celebrations.

    Also in Scotland, the first person to set foot in a house in a New Year is thought to have a big effect on the fortunes of the people that live there! Generally strangers are thought to bring good luck. Depending on the area, it may be better to have a dark-haired or fair-haired stranger set foot in the house. This tradition is widely known as 'first footing'. In England it is sometimes said that a stranger coming through the door carrying a lump of coal will bring good luck.

    In Scots (a Scottish dialect) Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Blithe Yule'; in Gaelic it's 'Nollaig Chridheil'; and in Welsh (which is spoken in some parts of Wales it's 'Nadolig Llawen'. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages.

    In the UK, the main Christmas Meal is usually eaten at lunchtime or early afternoon on Christmas Day. It's normally roast turkey, roast vegetables and 'all the trimmings' which means vegetables like carrots, peas, stuffing and sometimes bacon and sausages. It's often served with cranberry sauce and bread sauce. (Traditionally, and before turkey was available, roast beef or goose was the main Christmas meal. In Scotland, some people might even have Haggis instead of turkey!). One vegetable that is often at Christmas in the UK are brussel sprouts. I love them some lots of people don't!

    Dessert is often Christmas Pudding. Mince pies and lots of chocolates are often eaten as well! The dinner table is decorated with a Christmas Cracker for each person and sometimes flowers and candles.

    AGA Christmas Dinner Infographic

    The UK is also famous for Christmas Cake - some people love and some people really don't like it! It's traditionally a rich fruit cake covered with marzipan and icing - and often top with Christmas themed cake decorations like spring of holly.

     

    In the UK, it doesn't snow very often, but people always want to know if it will be a 'White Christmas'. The British definition, used by the UK Meteorological Office (who say if it has been a White Christmas in the UK or not!), is that a single snow flake has been seen falling in the 24 hours of Christmas Day! This doesn't happen a lot in the UK!!!

    Statistics show that in the UK, they get an official White Christmas about every 4 or 5 years and have real snow at Christmas about 1 in 10 years (but often this is only in Scotland!).

     

    Yashi Kochi!!!!

    Sunday 24th September 2017...Grand slam of tennis!!!!

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