Editor’s Slice Hello
With Spring well and truly here, and the rain hopefully becoming more April showers than torrential downpours, I think Andalucía comes into its own. With the fields starting to show the fantastic electric green of the wheat and the blossoms out in full force, it is definitely a fresh new time of year. With this in mind, we have given The Andalucían a fresh new look too – I hope you like it. There are more teasers and puzzles than before, more stories and our new feature for the men out there on pages 13 and 28. We are always happy to support the local charities in our communities so if you have anything you want our readers to know — an event or simply an introductory article — write to us at the usual email address below. We’ve still got our great advertising offers to help businesses through the season with prices at less than half price… email us for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org. With winter now hopefully a fading memory, we are excited about the future so enjoy the weather and your new-look Andalucían magazine.
Mike The Andalucían X5092417D Calle Juanito Romero s/n Campillos 29320, Malaga
Next deadline: 25 April
Contact us Telephone: +34 952 723075 Mobile: +34 627 683380 email@example.com www.theandalucian.com
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Owner: Claire Marriott Editor: Mike Marriott
See our Spring Deals on page 15
Special thanks to our writers and contributors Alice Marriott Stuart Langley James Harper Tricia Johnson John Sharrock Taylor
Are you dealing in
drugs money? Chances are that if you have a 20 euro note in your pocket — you are! Cocaine use is so endemic in our world’s society that every 20 you touch is probably covered in the stuff, because the previous eight people who handled it before you were massive drug users who rolled it up and used it as snorting apparatus! It’s not as bad as that, is it? Well, yes and no. It could be worse: we could all live in America where it’s true of every dollar bill. Studies carried out over the last two decades have shown that staggering proportions of banknotes are contaminated with traces of the white stuff — world-wide. Research carried out in the mid-1990s at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois found that 78 per cent of onedollar bills collected in the Chicago suburban area tested positive for cocaine. In 1999, more than 99 per cent of notes sampled in London were found to be affected.
A study conducted by the Institute for Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research in Nuremberg found that within the first week of the launch of the euro currency in January 2002, three per cent of notes were already testing positive for the drug. Shockingly, this rose to a whopping 90 per cent after just seven months across the whole of the newly-formed eurozone. In 2006, Spanish researchers analysing 10, 20 and 50-euro notes collected from Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia and Seville found the contamination rate to be even higher at 94 per cent.
You might be surprised to find that the top position in the drugs-on-banknotes league is the Republic of Ireland, where research from Dublin City University published six years ago revealed that 100 per cent of the sampled euro banknotes were contaminated with cocaine. Although they’re not to be sniffed at, these scarysounding statistics need to be treated with caution. Scientists can’t check every note in circulation, so the percentages are extrapolated from sample sizes ranging from the representative (700 notes in the case of the Nuremberg research) to the scientifically dodgy (just 45 in the case of Ireland). Jonathon Bones, the PhD student who carried out the research in Dublin, said of the study: ‘This is the largest study of notes ever used in an experiment of this kind in Ireland.’ This is a bit like saying that Titanic is the greatest liner-disaster movie starring Kate Winslet ever filmed! Analysis methods are improving, too: particularly in the Irish case, the techniques employed enabled the detection of even smaller cocaine residues than previous studies. Most important, though, is the fact that the widespread contamination is not necessarily an indication that every note has at some stage been rolled up and poked into the nostril of an overpaid, under-imaginative TV producer or has-been rock star: traces of the drug can very easily be passed from a single note to many others in wallets, cash dispensers, tills and counting machines. Nevertheless, at the time of the Spanish research in 2006, a popular Spanish newspaper calculated that approximately 142 million banknotes would have been directly used for snorting by Spain’s cocaine users, out of around 900 million notes in circulation — excluding the rarely-used denominations of 100, 200 and 500 euros. In summary: wash your hands. It takes the concept of money-laundering to a whole new level!
Smells, bells, believers, agnostics
and lashings of Latin At 6pm on Friday April 5 in the 18th century Ermita de Nuestra Señora del Socorro in the village of La Parrilla, a stone’s throw from Cortijo del Rector, we celebrated the Annunciation. This is the moment when, according to St Luke, the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would become the mother of Jesus. Nothing very astonishing there, you might think. After all, we’re in Spain and the Spanish do go in for that sort of thing. You may be just a little surprised to find that our celebration, in this out-of-the-way corner of Andalucía where Málaga nudges up to Córdoba, is not only inter-denominational but also international. Brian, our priest, is from Newfoundland. The order of service was in English and Spanish. The readings were presented by Val’s pupils Silvia and Rocío, and their proud families and friends were there to hear how brilliantly they did it. While Spain is famously superb at ceremony, Spanish churches do not generally go in for choirs, so another unusual feature of our solemn Vespers at La Parrilla was that it was fully choral; my choir La Vid y La Vida joining with Cómpeta-based Harmonia and guest singers from the UK. Some of them were from rather distinguished outfits such as the Leith Hill Choral Society and St Mary Redcliffe. ‘Where do the smells, bells and so on come into it?’ I hear you ask. There was a time when La Vid y La Vida was attached to a local English church and we sang full choral services almost every week. Keeping up a high standard was tremendously time-consuming but it was also great fun. The ordinary folk who came to church seemed to enjoy it and I rather suspect that God liked it too. But I was forever finding myself in hot water with those important people (you know the ones I mean) who like to keep their religion bland in case the occasional Latin motet ‘upsets’ somebody. A couple of years ago, I caused the most tremendous conflagration by suggesting that we use incense at our Easter service and the resulting thunder clouds were far more dense than anything emitted by the mighty Botafumeiro at Santiago de Compostela. So these days, La Vid y La Vida is an independent choir. Was there incense at La Parrilla on April 5? ‘You betcha,’ as my Minnesota consuegro would say. ‘What’s the point of it?’ asks my long-suffering spouse, ‘when it just makes me sneeze?’ Well, apart from the fact that I like it, incense symbolises
sacrifice and prayer. Some readers will recall the story in the Book of Genesis when Cain murdered Abel. What was that particular spat about? It was simply this: Cain felt that God had accepted Abel’s sacrifice and not his own. Why did he feel that way? Because Abel’s smoke had gone straight up whilst his own had blown back in his face. I wonder how many of my readers remember the TV series ‘The Barchester Chronicles’. The cast included some stellar names including Geraldine McEwan, Nigel Hawthorne, Clive Swift (Richard from ‘Keeping up Appearances’) and Alan Rickman as the loathsome Obadiah Slope, but the most remarkable piece of casting was Donald Pleasence. Up to that point he had been far better known for his creepily sinister villains, but here he was the saintly Reverend Septimus Harding, Trollope’s archetypal man of conscience. After Harding has resigned his lucrative post as Warden of Hiram’s Hospital, Bishop Grantly tries to persuade him to accept the position of Episcopal Chaplain. ‘What would be the duties?’ asks Mr Harding, rightly suspecting another sinecure. ‘Someone to take wine with?’ suggests the Bishop, floundering rather ineptly. ‘And you are the only person I know who can get the Palace fires to burn without the smoke blowing back at you.’ After a couple of weeks of torrential rain, I took Boris and Biggles for a walk through the muddy, dripping olive groves. On the way back we’d met Rocío and her mother Mari, who were waiting for the school bus on the road below Cortijo del Rector. ‘How do you fancy doing your reading in English?’ I’d asked Rocio. ‘I don’t think…’ ‘She’ll do it,’ Mari had said decisively. ‘If Val goes through it with her a few times she’ll be perfect. We’re all very excited about this service you’re planning. Can I assume that our own cura will be coming? ‘Well, of course he has given permission for us to use the church but he’s quite nervous of what the Bishop might think about ‘this ecumenical stuff’, as he calls it,’ I’d replied. (Our local priest is young and still quite new to the job — unlike Pepe, his predecessor, who was once jailed by Franco for preaching an inflammatory sermon and didn’t care in the slightest what the Bishop or anybody else thought of him.) ‘Just invite him. I’ll have a word with him.’ ‘I bet you will,’ I’d thought. And she did!
Basil And where do those agnostics come in? Some of our choir members, including Val and I, have been practising Christians for all or most of our lives. (I have to ‘practise’ more than most because I’m not very good at it, especially the ‘as we forgive those who trespass against us’ bit.) A former colleague of mine, perhaps sensing a contradiction in the usual term, used to say he was a ‘collapsed Catholic’ and several of our choir members would describe themselves in more or less the same way. While we also sing non-religious ‘gigs’ (the next one in Iznájar on May 31 includes songs by Abba and Queen) everyone, including the agnostics, seems to have a special affection for the religious services, perhaps because scriptural and liturgical texts have so often inspired composers to produce their most moving and majestic music. John Sharrock Taylor
Canine correction Biggles wishes to reassure his many admirers that he has not changed his name. He tells me he was mortified when his photo appeared in the March Andalucían labelled ‘Basil’. Biggles’s handsome predecessor was a big dog. Biggles is a little dog and all the better for it, he says, as all the best things come in small packages.
Just for Fun
April’s twenty teasers -
mixed bag of mind-blowing questions
1 Who was the first woman to hold a seat in the British parliament?
9 In which US city would you find the Wrigley building?
2 Which is the most northernmost of North America’s five great lakes?
10 Which Latin word means the water bearer?
3 In which country in Montego Bay?
11 By the end of which period in the Earth’s history had the dinosaurs become extinct?
4 The name of which Jewish holiday means ‘day of atonement’ in Hebrew?
12 Calypso, cattleya and pogonia are types of which flower?
5 The Ibex is a type of which animal?
13 What is the largest city in Africa?
6 Ice cream was first produced in which country in the 17th century?
14 The oak is a member of which type of tree?
7 What does the letter S stand for in the poet T.S. Eliot’s name? 8 In which country was tennis player Martina Navratilova born?
15 Macbeth claimed his kingdom by murdering which Scottish king in 1040? 16 What is tachophobia the fear of? 17 Piraeus is the port for which European capital city? 18 What kind of creature is a monitor? 19 What element has the symbol P? 20 What is measured in amperes? Answers on page 18
How many legs can you see?
Infidelity, rivalry and
a touch of violence
The next presentation by T.A.P.A.S (The Andalucía Performing Arts Society) is Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘How the Other Half Loves’. Alan Ayckbourn has created a parallel universe in which one living room stands in for two households, two front door bells ring at once and two wives prepare for two dinner parties at the same time, at the same table. In this suburban trio of married couples, one couple is at the top of the social ladder. One of the other couples is attractive and upcoming — despite the fact that she is an utter slob and he is a boor — and the third pair is socially hopeless but earnest.
With an excellent cast directed by Leroy Lingwood, the performances will be at Los Arcos, km6 A7059 Coin/Cártama road, on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, at 7.30pm, and Sunday April 28 at 4pm. Tickets at 9€ (€6 for Tapas members) are available from the Box Office 635 293 714 or from the usual TAPAS outlets. Further information can be found on the TAPAS website www.tapassociety.com
Add to this Ayckbourn's trademarks: bored suburban couples, infidelity, rivalry and a touch of violence and you have all the elements for a truly wonderful evening’s entertainment.
A cut above the rest
by James Harper
“Thanks Jean, she looks great. Don’t you, Molls?” I was already out of the door before I could answer. It had been my birthday treat. Mum had taken me to have my hair done and I had never felt as pretty as I did when I walked out into the Spring sunshine with my new hairstyle – it always lifted my spirit. Despite the bright day, the April showers were threatening in the breeze. I was pleased Mum had talked me into wearing the new coat I’d received for Christmas from Bev, our neighbour – not only was I grateful for the fleece collar taking the chill off my neck, I think it complemented my new shorter hairdo a treat as well. We’d only got as far as the newsagents when I spotted Shelly waiting opposite at the zebra crossing. Shelly was a year or two older than me and she strutted around the place like she was top dog – which I guess she was. Her hair never looked out of place. Some of the outfits her mum, Bev, had bought her over the years were amazing – accessories alone must have cost a fortune. It was only her and Bev these days at home and Shelly seemed to get every new thing going – spoilt, I reckon. Shelly lifted her head as if to nod a hello. I could see her mouth moving but the traffic was so loud I couldn’t have made out what she was saying even if I had cared — despite living next door to each other, we’d never really been best of friends. But I acknowledged her graciously and carried on towards Mum’s car. I bet top dog Shelly couldn’t wait to tell the rest of the girls in her little pack later what she thought of my new Spring look; I’ve never quite fitted in with her lot, I guess. I’ve always been a tad jealous of her looks and it annoyed me that she was forever flirting with my brother, Sam.
Oh, Sam — he’d love my new look and here’s hoping his friend Tom would, too. Tom had been staying with us for a few nights whilst his parents had gone to visit some family relative. He was lovely: dark hair, dark eyes and always cheerful. Dad had taken the boys to watch the local football match. We might just beat them home — I couldn’t wait to show them what the wonderful Jean had created this season with the scissors. We’d just turned the corner towards the car park when Mum decided we’d get a takeaway. “Fish and chips or burger and fries – which do you want?” Mum asked. “Well?” I wasn’t ready to answer. I just stared at the menu in the window — I never know what to have; I was useless at decisions. I was still staring when I realised Mum had gone in without me; I didn’t want to go in anyway. The chap behind the counter always spoke to me like I was a baby; he even ruffled my hair once. I wouldn’t mind but I’m ten now and I think I’ve outgrown that – especially when you’ve just been to Jean’s. Mum was soon out carrying the distinctive green and white striped plastic bag.
Short Story “Right, burger and fries all round it is. I just hope Dad’s not fed the boys already. Come on Molly, let’s get home before these get cold.” Mum threw me one of her winning smiles and fished about in her bag for the car keys.
That woke them up – not one of them acknowledged my new hairstyle as they barged past me. Boys! I followed them into the kitchen, but my coat — as lovely as it was — did have an awful lot of fastenings on it. Dad saw I was struggling and bent over to help me out.
As we pulled up outside the house, I couldn’t believe how hungry the burger smell now permeating the car was making me. Dad’s car was in the drive; I couldn’t believe they were home before us. I tried the door handle, only to find Mum had put the child locks on again. That was Sam’s fault — to teach him a lesson for last weekend when we’d all had to go and watch the football. He’d caught the door handle just before the car had stopped. He was fine — we’re always strapped in — but it gave Mum and Dad such a fright. As soon as Mum let me out, I ran towards the front door. Dad must have heard us coming — who couldn’t with our handbrake — and the front door was flung open.
The boys were already waiting to get theirs, so I joined the back of the queue. Suddenly, the doorbell went. I turned round to go but Dad said he would.
“Wow, look at you sweetheart. You look beautiful; smell good too… did Jane use a new shampoo?” Dad questioned as he picked me up for a quick hug.
“Hi Frank. I’ve only popped in to return this spray I borrowed last night,” Bev explained as she made her way past Dad.
“Frank. It’s Jean, not Jane. Every time we go you forget her name. Nearly ten years we’ve been going there – what are you like?” Mum corrected him as she pecked him on the cheek and walked through the now-crowded doorway.
I knew Shelly would have to come into the kitchen to see my haircut up close and personal.
“Oh, yeah that’s right — Jean. You know me and names, love.” I gave Dad the puppy dog eyes look… “Oh, sorry Molls…here you go,” he said as he released his grip. “Getting too old for cuddles off your old Dad I guess,” he said as he closed the door behind us.
“I’ll see who it is, Molly. It’s the same every time we’re about to eat,” Dad mumbled as he went to see who had rudely interrupted his tea this time. “Oh…hi Bev, hi Shelly…you coming in?” Dad said as politely as possible. No-one interesting then — they must have been watching and waiting for Mum’s car to get back. I made my way back to the kitchen.
“Great Bev, thanks – hope it worked, but we’re just about to…” Dad muttered with his hand out to take the bottle, but Bev had already found her way to the kitchen by then with Shelly in tow. I couldn’t believe what I saw; Shelly had the same coat as me – unbelievable. Oh my God, she’d had her hair cut too – talk about copy cat! Tom and Sam were oblivious to the intruders – amazing how distracted lads get when they’re munching on a takeaway.
I sped into the lounge, skidding on the laminate flooring as usual. The boys were there watching some rubbish on TV. They looked half asleep.
Continued on page 12
“Sam… Tom… come on, I’ve got burgers for tea,” Mum shouted from the kitchen.
“WOW, Shelly, that’s a lot shorter than Molly’s cut,” Mum said, without thinking. “Looks great though, Bev. Take it you went to Jean’s?” Mum tried to cover the obviously shocked tone in her statement.
Fleas... Shelly had had fleas. My top lip had got stuck on top of my teeth; it was from eating I promise – not a smirk! Dad passed me another piece of his burger after I had held up my paw and gave him the puppy dog eyes routine. I carried it off, proud as punch, towards the back door where Tom and Sam had already scoffed their meaty treats and were curling up for yet another afternoon nap. I turned to Shelly and let out a little yap – not enough to get told to shush, but just enough for her to know that I was top dog now!
“Yes. Jean was so understanding after I showed her the spray and explained it wasn’t working and that the problem had got out of control. She said the only thing to do was shave as much off as possible and try this new powder,” Bev explained, sounding rather embarrassed.
A simple guide to the ‘Man Rules’ of life At last… a man has taken time out of his busy schedule to write these down. We always hear 'the rules' from the female side… now here are the rules from the male side. These are the rules by which we live. Please note: these are all stated as the number one rule by design as it is just to difficult to put them in a numerical order of importance… I’m sure you’ll have your favourite, though. 1. Men are not mind readers.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials. 1. Christopher Columbus did not need directions and neither do we. 1. All men see in only 16 colours, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a colour. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. Ladies, learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down. 1. Crying blackmail.
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' we will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: subtle hints do not work. Strong hints do not work. Obvious hints do not work. Just say it! 1. Yes and no are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question. 1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear. 1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... really. 1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as football or motor sports. 1. You have enough clothes.
1. Anything we said six months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after seven days.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
Ladies, thank you for reading this. Yes, we appreciate that now you have been made aware of our rules, and you have seen us nodding as we read them, we have to sleep on the couch tonight but did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping... with the added bonus of us getting the entire duvet!
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
It’s easy to afford
those Lazy Days in Spain
If you’re looking for retirement options here on the continent, or fancy a change from your current Spanish village, you need not look any further than Mollina in sunny Andalucía. Lazy Days in Spain puts you in the driving seat to get a property where you want, when you want, and in a way that works for you. The friendly park is the first integrated spa and wellness resort in the Costa del Sol inland area. As well as the spa and wellness facilities and outdoor and indoor heated pool, there’s also bowling, a pétanque (French boules) court, bar, café and library. The difference here is in the variety of options on offer to the residents.
For those after a holiday bolt-hole, there are fractional ownership options and finance is available — plus your home can offer a very real return on investment. There are also options to reduce your site fees by investing in your own plot. They’ve thought of everything to ensure that the buyer stays in control and gets the maximum benefit. Lazy Days Pueblo Fiesta is ideally located just 15 minutes from bustling Antequera and just inside the agricultural and picturesque village of Mollina.
Situated only 30 minutes from Malaga’s international airport, Mollina village is not only an easy-toreach location but makes for a fantastic getaway destination for all or part of your year. The quaint village is serviced by retirement and holiday options — banks, supermarkets, cafés, restaurants and other every-day services, most of which are within walking distance of the park. There’s lots to see and do in the larger city of Antequera which offers commerce and recreation on a grander scale with super-sized commercial centres, dozens of fascinating monuments, architecture and much more. The surrounding countryside presents amazing natural wonders such as El Torcal nature park, El Chorro lake district and the Fuente de Piedra “pink lagoon” — a nesting ground for flamingos. Cities such as Seville, Granada and Cordoba are also comfortable day trips, so it’s a great base for all areas, especially with the new high speed train links from the nearby station. For those looking for somewhere for a retirement or a holiday home on their own terms, Lazy Days In Spain has some great options… visit the tranquil park at Lazy Days in Spain, Calle Cañadas, Mollina or contact 0044 1795 503 750 email firstname.lastname@example.org For more pictures and information visit www.lazydaysinspain. com or www.sharedholidayhome.com and start your journey to retirement today.
Things to Do
Speedy meal of the month -
wrap your rump!
This month we show you how to make amazing speedy rump steak wraps in just 10 – 15 minutes.
Place the sauce mixture over the meat and cook according to your preferred style of steak
What you need
Take the meat out of the pan/off the BBQ and slice to the thickness you require
1 – 1 ½ kg rump (this will do 6 wraps) ½ cup tomato sauce 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 2 – 3 teaspoons curry powder 1 – 2 tablespoons sugar or honey 6 wraps Salad greens
Place into a wrap filled with salad greens This sauce mixture can also be used for all other meats or poultry
How to make it
Place the rump into a hot frying pan or on a BBQ
This sauce mixture can also be used for all other meats or poultry
Mix the sauces, powder and sugar or honey together
Try adding cheese for a steak and cheese melt wrap
Twenty teasers answers 1. Lady Nancy Astor 2. Lake Superior 3. Jamaica 4. Yom Kippur 5. Goat 6. Italy 7. Stearns 8. Czechoslovakia 9. Chicago 10. Aquarius
11. Triassic 12. Orchid 13. Cairo 14. Beech 15. Duncan 16. Speed 17. Athens 18. Lizard 19. Phosphorus 20. Electric current
Make it a T.O.P.S. night out
Spring sing cabaret
T.O.P.S. (The Occasional Performance Society), which raises money for local charities, is holding a "Spring Sing" cabaret evening on Saturday April 20 at Venta La Recta (on the top road from Alhaurín el Grande to Alhaurín de la Torre) starting 7.30pm. The team of singers has been rehearsing over the last few weeks and there will be a good selection of popular songs, both new and old. Tickets are 4€ and available from Martins paper shop, Christina's paper shop and the Animals in Distress shop... all of which are in Alhaurín el Grande. Cath Bradley also has tickets to sell – contact her on 952 112057. A la carte meals will be available for those who want them, and Juan is going to provide a special twocourse meal for 7€ (payment for these are to be made direct to the restaurant).
To make sure you can sit with your friends, please phone Cath on 952 112057 and she will reserve a table for you. TOPS is looking forward to seeing lots of you at this fun, relaxed evening of varied entertainment.
Once upon a time...
in a land not that far away
Over the next few months, we will be bringing you some of the lovely and often inspiring Spanish folktales of old. The first is based around the beautiful city of Granada – but have the city folk always been as exquisite as their surroundings?
The Magic Mirror It was proclaimed throughout the kingdom of Granada that the king had decided to marry. The news was first told to the court barber, then to the night watchmen and then to the oldest woman in the city of Granada. The barber told all his customers, who again told all their friends. The night watchmen, in crying the hour, proclaimed the news in a loud voice, so that all the young maidens were kept awake by thinking of the news and by day, they were being constantly reminded by all the older folk that the king had resolved to marry. After the news had become somewhat stale, the question was asked, “Who is the king going to marry?” To which the barber made reply that probably, “he would marry a woman.” “A woman!” exclaimed his hearers. “Why, what else could he marry?” “Not all women are worthy of the name,” answered the barber. “Some more resemble the unbaptized, of whom I say, renounce!” “But what mean you, good friend?” demanded his customers. “Is not the king to find a woman for his wife in our land of Spain?” “He would,” replied the barber, “with greater ease find the reverse, but to find a woman worthy to be his wife I shall have great trouble.” “What, you?” exclaimed all of them. “What have you got to do with providing the king with a wife?” “I am under royal licence, remember,” said he of the razor, “for I am the only man in the kingdom permitted to touch the royal features. I am the possessor of the magic mirror also, into which if any woman not being thoroughly good shall look, the blemishes on her character will appear as so many spots on its surface.” “Is this one of the conditions?” asked all.
“This is the sole condition,” replied the barber, placing his thumbs in the armholes of his waistcoat and looking very wise. “But is there no limit as to age?” they again inquired. “Any woman from 18 years upwards is eligible,” said the possessor of the mirror. “Then you will have every woman in Granada claiming the right to be queen!” all exclaimed. “But, first of all, they will have to justify their claim, for I will not take any woman at her word. No! She will have to gaze into the mirror with me by her side,” continued the barber. The sole condition imposed on those who desired to become Queen of Granada was made known and was much ridiculed, as may naturally be supposed, but, strange to say, no woman applied to the barber to have a look into the mirror. Days and weeks went by, but the king was no nearer to getting a wife. Some generous ladies would try and prevail on their lady friends to make the trial, but none seemed ambitious of the honour. The king, be it known, was a very handsome man, and was beloved by all his subjects for his many virtues. Therefore, it was surprising that none of the lovely ladies who attended court should try to become his wife. Many excuses and explanations were given. Some were already engaged to be married, others professed themselves too proud to enter the barber’s shop, while others assured their friends that they had resolved on remaining single. The latter seem to have been cleverer in their excuses, for it was soon observed that no man in Granada would marry. They gave as a reason that until the king was suited, they would not think of marrying, though the real cause may have been due to the reluctance of the ladies to look into the mirror.
Around Andalucía The fathers of families were much annoyed at the apparent want of female ambition in their daughters, while the mothers were strangely silent on the matter. Every morning, the king would ask the barber if any young lady had ventured to look into the mirror, but the answer was always the same — that many watched his shop to see if others went there, but none had ventured in. “Ah, Granada, Granada!” exclaimed the king. “Hast thou no daughter to offer thy king? In this Alhambra did my predecessors enjoy the company of their wives, and am I to be denied this natural comfort?” “Royal master,” said the barber, “in those days the magic mirror was unknown and not so much required. Men then only studied the arts, but now science is added to their studies.” “You mean, then,” asked the king, “that an increase in knowledge has done no good?” “I mean more than that,” continued the barber. “I mean that people are worse than they used to be.” “‘God is great!’ is what these walls proclaim; to know is to be wise,” urged the king. “Not always, sir,” said the barber, “for the majority of men and women in the present know too much
and are not too wise, although some deem them wise for being cunning. There is as great a distance between wisdom and cunning as there is between the heavens and the earth.”
“Barber,” shouted the king, “thou shall get me a wife bright as the day, pure as dew, and good as gold — one who shall not be afraid to look into thy magic mirror!” “Sir,” replied the barber, “the only magic about my mirror is that which the evil consciences of the ladies of Granada conjure up. The simple shepherdess on the mountainside would brave the magic power of any mirror, strong in the consciousness of innocence, but would you marry such a lowly one?” Continued on page 24
Around Andalucía “Such a woman is worthy to be a queen, for she is a pearl without price,” answered the king. “Go, bid her come here and, in the presence of my assembled court, let the gentle shepherdess look into the mirror, after thou hast told her of the danger of so doing.” The barber was not long in bringing the shepherdess to court with him, and it having been proclaimed throughout the city that the trial was going to be made, the principal hall was soon filled with all the grand ladies and knights of the king’s household. When the shepherdess entered the royal presence she felt very shy at being surrounded by so much grandeur, but she knew enough about her own sex to understand that they inwardly considered her not quite so ugly as they audibly expressed her to be. The king was very much pleased with her appearance and received her very kindly, telling her that if she desired to be his wife she would have to gaze into the magic mirror, and if she had done aught which was not consistent with her maidenly character, the mirror would show as many stains on its surface as there might be blemishes on her heart.
“Sir,” replied the maiden, “we are all sinners in the sight of God, they say, but I am a poor shepherdess, and surrounded by my flock. I have known what it is to be loved, for, when the sheep have perceived danger, they have come to me for protection. The wild flowers have been my only ornaments, the sky almost my only roof, and God my truest and best friend. Therefore, I fear not to look into that magic mirror, for although I have no ambition to become queen, yet am I not lacking in that pride which is born of the desire to be good.” Saying this, she walked up to the mirror and gazed into it, blushing slightly, perhaps at the sight of her own beauty, which before she had only seen portrayed in the still brook. The court ladies surrounded her, and when they saw that the magic mirror showed no stains on its surface, they snatched it from her and exclaimed “There is no magic in it — a cheat has been put on us!” But the king said, “No, ladies; you have only yourselves to thank. Had you been as innocent as this shepherdess, who is going to be my queen, you would not have dreaded looking into the mirror.”
Light bulbs, Birthdays and Blackpool
by Alice Marriott aged 15
Hello it’s me Alice I’m 15! My birthday was a great day – shame I had to go to school! I normally get the day off as it falls in the Easter holidays but not this year! Becky turns 19 in a few days too – busy time of year for our family. Funny how birthdays seem to be that way in families — all bunched together. Becky took Mum and me to lunch after I had finished school a few weeks ago. She picked me up in her little grey car which was really embarrassing – oh, there’s nothing wrong with the car, or her horn for that matter! Becky felt the need to pomp her horn several times, flash her lights and then got out of the car to wave at me – in front of all my friends! Then, during the meal we were discussing school and the subjects in which I have exams coming up when Mum and I got on to technical drawing – to which Becky then piped up ‘Oh, I didn’t do that at school.. I guess you just go in and draw a light bulb or laptop or something?’ Really Becky…really!
The river has even burst its banks again. The river which feeds the El Chorro lakes runs at the back of our fields and at the moment, it is running through our bottom fields – Grandma is sick to death of it I can tell you. It’s amazing to see the flamingos that are normally at the lagoon in Fuente de Piedra; they are at the side of the road in Campillos when I go to school because there is so much water everywhere. Mum got some fantastic news when she went to the consultant – she’s cancer free. All the lumps are still there but as long as they don’t get too much bigger – some by just 1mm — and they don’t change from being benign then she’ll be OK. The hospital needs to see her again in May but as Mum said, every time they say the word clear, then there’s no need to worry and we count ourselves lucky. Have a great month. Love, Alice x
I can’t complain about my big sister too much though, as she’s taking me to England for five days next week to see our cousins. We have to be at the airport at 3.30am! Not looking forward to that but I can’t wait to go as I haven’t been back since I was five. I don’t suppose it is anything like I remember – especially if there’s still snow about. We’re going to Derbyshire so I’ll get to see the green hills and proper fluffy sheep — not like the Spanish ones which seem more like a cross between a goat and a sheep. We’re all going on a day trip to Blackpool, too, which should be fun as I’ll get to go on the train. It’ll also be strange to think that the house will be warm because of the central heating – not like our finca. Hasn’t winter dragged this year? I am so bored with it now.
Just for Fun
25 useless things about animals you just don’t need to know 1. A pig cannot stare up at the sky 2. A snail can live for three years without food and sleeping 3. A cat can produce over 100 types of sounds, but a dog can only do 10 4. The darker the environment, the more frequently a cat passes urine 5. A starfish has eight eyes, one on each leg 6. On average, a giraffe’s tongue measures two feet in length 7. An elephant can stand on its head 8. An ant will scratch itself when it wakes up 9. Most lipglosses have fish scales content in them 10. Giraffes cannot cough 11. A whale’s heartbeat only averages nine times every minute 12. A clam can switch its gender from male to female, and does so a few times throughout its life 13. A chameleon’s tongue is twice as long as its own body
14. Some insects are still able to survive for a year without their head 15. Baby tiger sharks fight each other in the womb. The winner will be able to be born alive 16. A 70 pound octopus can only go through a hole a coin’s size because it does not have any vertebrae 17. A newborn turkey must be taught by its parents how to eat food, or it will die of hunger 18. A shark can detect blood content of up to 1/1000000th percent in water 19. Bats are the only mammals able to fly 20. A caterpillar has more than 2000 muscles 21. A shrimp’s heart is at its head 22. Fish are unable to stick out their tongues 23. An ostrich’s eyes are larger than their brains 24. Starfish do not have brains 25. Lice can jump a distance 350 times longer than their bodies, equivalent to a human jumping over the length of a football stadium.
do you sleep in?
A new study found that sleeping positions affect personality by determining how we feel when we wake up.
People who sleep on their backs with arms stretched out in front typically wake up feeling refreshed and eager to start their day. Sleeping face down with arms outstretched indicates a feeling of being “out of control” and leaves these people feeling tired with no energy. Those who sleep with a straight body are stubborn, and will feel stiff in the morning. And the most popular sleeping style? The foetal position. 58 per cent of people sleep on their side with their knees up and head down– which is no surprise, considering it is associated with stress. These people can expect to awake refreshed, having dealt with the previous day’s issues. I’m pretty sure I hit all of those positions at some point throughout the night. What does that say about me?
The 1am ball sport
all men should play
Over the past decade, there are so many ways to learn about your health and fitness with more online forums, web pages and media articles being published on the subject – however, most are still directed primarily at women. Men’s health concerns seem to play second fiddle to those of the female kind. Rarely can I open my home page without the latest fad in women’s health or diet flashing away at me, with headlines such as ‘supermodel dust diet trim 1mm from waistline’ or ‘wear silicone-filled bra to achieve the ultimate cleavage’ – what a let down when they take the garment off! I, for one, in my 20s, was not a fan of the Wonderbra™ – I loved the billboards but the bra just left me wondering what the real thing was like as girls dropped three bra sizes the minute the lacy liar was on the bedroom floor! The majority of men only take our health seriously when we’re too ill to work, we’re in too much pain to ignore a problem any longer or worse still, when the nagging from ‘er indoors’ becomes more irritable than the pain itself! Ideally, we should all have a medical check-up every year but the only thing we blokes tend to check annually is which teams are being relegated from the league. We need to change this. We’re all guilty of overlooking our health and as a result, certain issues are being discovered too late for us to get medical assistance and we shouldn’t let it be that way. Of course, in front of the wife there’s still that bravado of ‘Stop worrying, woman - I’m all right’ before we go to seek help – but at what cost? I’m guilty of it; I’ve sat there before now thinking ‘If it doesn’t get better in a week I’ll go to the doc’ and sometimes I do but thi,s can’t be said for most occasions, despite how much it is worrying me. Not that I’d tell the Missus my true concerns – God forbid I gave her a reason to say those immortal words all males dread… I told you so! I certainly don’t want to show any signs of illness to my mates either – so I probably wouldn’t discuss my concerns over a pint either – right? Well, it’s the wrong attitude to have – it can cost you your life.
Last month I covered frequent urination in men and this month I’m staying in the same region as we discuss our precious tackle and the real threat of testicular cancer. I’m going to introduce the golden 1am rules and the TSE to you – I know it’s all sounding a bit foreign, but read on. The C word (medical one) is one that no bloke wants to hear or talk about, let alone think too much about – but we do think about it more than we let on. Let’s be honest – cancer is a threat to all; doesn’t matter if you’re the fittest bloke in the pack, strongest chap in the pub — it can affect any of us. The one cancer that still isn't written about enough is testicular cancer. With all the TV programmes and articles written for women about checking their boobs and how the early detection of tumours significantly increases their chances of survival, there are still some men who are in the dark ages when it comes to testicular cancer checks. If you ask any bloke if they check their bits you’ll get a ‘Yeah, I check mine now and then in the shower but not on a regular basis’ followed by an adequate joke or two. It’s not really a topic we blokes are going to discuss with each other though, is it? I can just see my mate Jim telling me what horse he’s backing in the 4.20 and me chipping up about how I checked my lads out last night and all’s good down below – he’d never give me another tip again! It’s not good enough to ignore the subject though – checking your testes every four weeks can save your life. Most chaps probably don’t even know what they’re checking for… well, that’s about to change. All you need to remember is 1am!
The 1am Rule
Don’t panic, mate, it doesn’t mean you only get to check your little fellas at 1am in the morning! Time is irrelevant — you can check at whatever time you like. The important message behind the 1am rule is that you need to check once a month and only for a minute.
Men’s Matters Honestly, 60 seconds is all you need to check everything is in order. It is recommended that all males over the age of 14 conduct a testicular self exam (TSE) once a month. This is the best way to become familiar with your own anatomy so that any changes are noticed right away. Here is the simple procedure for a TSE. Best to do it during or after a warm bath or shower when the structures in the scrotum are relaxed and the balls drop down a bit. 1. Rest your testicles in the palm of your hand, a bit like a weighing scale. Compare one with the other for equal heaviness. It’s quite normal that one testicle is larger or hangs down slightly lower than the other and you’re probably used to them looking and feeling slightly different, which is a good thing: it means you’re familiar with your own balls and more likely to notice any changes. 2. Holding the scrotum, place one testicle between your thumb and fingers and gently feel the entire surface, rolling it gently between your thumb and fingers. It should be smooth with no lumps or bumps.
3. Keep feeling all around the testicle and move up to the top where you should be able to feel a thickening. This is the epididymis (that’s not the name of P Diddy’s little brother, by the way) — there’s six metres of it all coiled up in there so it feels a bit like a thickening of the ball. The epididymis carries the sperm to the penis. As you know, it’s extremely tender so be gentle with yourself here. It should feel like a ‘comma’-shaped structure. 4. Move up the epididymis and locate the spermatic cord, again at the back of the ball. It will feel like a tube — it should be soft and movable. 5. Now, place your fingers behind the scrotum and using your thumb, gently roll the testicle between your thumb and fingers. You’re feeling for any small hard lumps or slight enlargement or firmness of the testicle. A normal testicle is oval-shaped and feels firm, but not hard. 6. Repeat on the other one and then the TSE is complete. It should not take more that 60 seconds. And that’s all it takes to check. Continued on page 30
Men’s Matters Most testicular cancer is diagnosed because of a painless lump in the testicle, but there are other signs. Look out for a pain or discomfort in your scrotum or testicles, a heavy or dragging feeling in your scrotum, a dull ache in the lower stomach or groin area, a build-up of fluid inside your scrotum, blood in your sperm at ejaculation or discharge from the penis. These are all signs that something may be wrong. Don’t panic too much about the symptoms above. There are lots of other things that can cause these beside testicular cancer, but they should not be ignored. If you do find a lump or notice any of the other symptoms, go to the doctor. There’s a very good chance that it isn’t cancer as most abnormalities in the family jewels are a result of injury, infection or a non-cancerous swelling. Having said that, don’t get into the male-mindset of it’s probably nothing. On the small chance that it is something, then the sooner it’s investigated the better. Testicular cancer has doubled in the last twenty years but it is one of the easiest cancers to treat successfully.
Over 95 per cent of cases are curable if treated early, but if ignored it can kill. That’s why checking your balls regularly is so important. Testicular cancer is usually treated by the removal of the affected testicle (orchiectomy) and radiation or chemotherapy as follow-up treatment, but only if needed. If you have to have one removed, don’t worry – we only need one healthy testicle for fertility and sexual function so if testicular cancer is detected and treated early, the orchiectomy should not affect sex or plans for any family expansion. Prosthetic devices are available to restore the normal feel and appearance after the removal of the affected testicle. Early detection through self examination is the best health promotion strategy for protecting your health. Like its female counterpart, breast cancer, testicular cancer is not preventable in the sense that the exact mechanisms of cause are not clearly known – so remember your 1am rules and do your TSE – this is one ball sport to which all men should learn the rules!
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Puzzle Answers - (from pages 20/21) Crossword