Tag Archives: 30 day photo challenge

Photo blog Day 15: Missing – Nature

5 Jul

Earlier this year for my birthday, I decided to buy myself a water lily. I ordered it online from Penlan Perennials.

My little lily arrived, was duly planted, and promptly withered and died. When moving house we were about to fling it out but realised that under the rotten mess, there were new shoots. So the lily moved house with us. Then sat in a plastic bag in the bathroom for about a week. Then got dumped in plant pot with an inch of water over it.

Then, for no logical reason, it decided to fight like a muthafuka!


To celebrate this little clear water revival we had going, I decided we needed biodiversity. Sadly the aquatic frogs in the fish shop were too delicate for al fresco living and the turtles were bought and returned within 12 hours. I fulfilled a childhood dream of having turtles, but they tried to eat the lily.

I know. Duh!

I then decided to take my little fish net, a glass jar and a reluctant husband (who eventually had more fun that he’ll admit) down to Parc Ciutadella to gather pond creatures instead.

My ambitions were small. A water boatman, pond skater, water beetle or similar. I had no hopes of tadpoles or dragonfly larvae.

What we found instead was nothing but barren ponds. Even the big boating pond appeared to have nothing more than fish, turtles and crayfish (the cockroaches of the fresh water world). No insects. Zilch!

I’m naively shocked. Yes this is in the middle of a large crowded city, and we’ve made no place for the poor wee buggers, but insects are tenacious. They don’t need a gilded invitation or the red carpet rolled out. They turn up, steal your spot on the couch, kick their shoes off, switch the telly on and ask for a beer.

A near complete absence of the single most important section of the ecosystem, from what I assumed was a natural oasis (park pond) makes me suspect the good city of Barcelona is waging chemical warfare on our little amigos.

Internet research threw up very little on treatment of water for public ponds. You can read the latest on pond conservation at the European Pond Conservation Network, but it’s very boffin (UK Slang for scientist) orientated and has no papers on urban conservation. Boo!

One study which does look promising is the Reading Urban Pond Project by students at Reading University. The students have created several ponds in the city of Reading and then left them as blank canvases. They are now going to monitor nature’s ability to populate these ponds and what level of biodiversity can be achieved by simply letting it be.

Have I revealed too much of my inner geek with this post?

Possibly. But…..

It’s not all topless lesbians and waking up in a nest of beer cans people, it’s also about making space for the frogs.

Start your biodiversity patch today! Bring back insects to Barcelona!


Photo blog Day 14: Japanese Ramen Noodles

4 Jul

After craving Ramen Noodles for months and months, I finally broke.

I found a relatively easy looking recipe, which used plain language and explained all most of the Japanese terms.

For the ingredients I went to Yang Kuang, on 12 Passeig de Sant Juan near Arc de Triomf. This is a brilliant wee store specializing in imported Chinese food. I found most of the ingredients I needed, enough to not feel bad about ignoring the rest anyway. I also bought a bag of frozen pork and vegetable dumplings for about 2.75 Euros, and they tasted awesome!

If you go looking for this place, ignore the other poncy ‘gourmet’ shops on the street. You will get half the selection and pay double the price. Yang Kuang looks like a warehouse and the produce is all garish plastic, and vacuum packed bags with cheap paper labels. A more reassuring sign of authenticity than wicker baskets and pretty labels.

Anyway, almost 24 hours after starting to cook…… ta da!

The recipe I kinda followed:

I used ready made chicken stock, ginger paste and pepper to make the soup, instead of this whole carry on (described below). I used Pak choi instead of spinach, and I couldn’t find naruto (a slice of cured fish with a pink swirly pattern). I bought spicy bamboo shoot instead of shinachiku and cheap rice wine instead of sake.

Note: Don’t be a eejeet like me and ask the Chinese shop girls about the ingredients; although they all have Chinese origins the recipe uses Japanese names.

Shoyu Ramen

Ingredients: (for 4 servings)

1kg chicken bones for 1.5 liter chicken soup,1 white onion (leek), 30 grams ginger, 2 liters water, 4-5 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons sake, 1/3 teaspoon salt, a little pepper and sesame oil, 4 balls of chinese noodles, 8 pieces yakibuta (chinese pork ham), 4 pieces naruto, 1/2 bunch spinach, 1/2 sheet nori, 1/2 green onion, a little shinachiku (chinese flavored bamboo shoots)


1. Clean chicken bone, remove fat and sinew, wash well. Then cut it into large butsugiri.
2. Boil water in pot, put bones in it. Boil bones until the color of the bone changes. Place bones on strainer to drain water.
3. Prepare a large deep pot with water (1.5 liter), leek, ginger, and bones together. Start to boil on a high flame.
4. When it comes to a boil, skim the scum.
5. Continue heating for 1 hour with mid-low flame, while skimming the scum often.
6. Filter it on the bowl by strainer with thin cloth or kitchen towel on top. Add Soya sauce to taste.

1. Cut spinach into strips and steam.
2. Cut nori into quarter sizes.
3. Slice green onion into thin koguchigiri (thin slice), soak in water, then dry with cloth or paper towel.

Putting the dish together:
1. Heat up soup stock, add soy sauce, sake, salt, pepper and sesame oil.
2. Boil water in a large pot, boil noodles till just cooked (about 4 min).
3. Set serving bowls warm, pour soup, put noodles.
4. Add yakibuta, naruto, spinach, shinachiku and nori on top.
5. Shake pepper and garnish with green onion as desired.

This is the most common way to make Shoyu Ramen. To make it much easier use ready made soup sock.

If yakibuta pork is not available, make it as follows:

Set 600 grams of pork block tied with cotton string in tsukejiru soup for a while. Tsukejiru (1 teaspoon grated ginger, 3 tablespoons of each sugar, soy sauce and sake, a little pepper). Put oil in a chinese frying pan, fry the block of meat until it browned, add rest of tsukejiru in to pan and cook in the oven till tender (about an hour).

Photo blog Day 13: Sexual repression

3 Jul

These young ladies were feeling repressed as a result of their sexuality.

So they painted their nipples black and drove through the city on the top of a bus.

I don’t think they feel repressed any more.

Barcelona photo blog Day 12: San Juan, the morning after

2 Jul

Since I neglected the photo blog project, the order of pictures has been completely messed up. This picture is from Sunday last week.

This was taken in the hot harsh dawn of the San Juan party on Bogatell beach. Doesn’t she look peaceful?

Barcelona Photo blog Day 10: There are no Gods in the Raval, only The Cat

22 Jun

The philosophy of meaning, Raval style:

If a man does something which isn’t witnessed by the Cat, that performance makes no sound, creates no image and leaves no impression.

It did not happen, if the Cat did not see it.

We didn’t come up with this understanding ourselves of course, some clever clogs did it hundreds of years ago. William Fosset (Natural States, 1754) wrote:

“to say something is meaningful is to say that that is how we arrange it so; how we comprehend it to be, and what is comprehended by you or I may not be by a cat, for example.

If a tree falls in a park and there is no-one to hand, it is silent and invisible and nameless. And if we were to vanish, there would be no tree at all; any meaning would vanish along with us. Other than what the cats make of it all, of course.”

So the next question we have to ask ourselves is

What does the Cat make of it all?

Barcelona photo blog Day 8: Family portrait

20 Jun

The first family portrait includes hubby, Iran the cat, Humphrey the red goldfish and Wanda the orange one. Wanda replaced Dr.Pepper. Dr.Pepper was prettier, but Wanda was chosen for her sturdy, peasant, salt of the earth style.

The second portrait includes myself, and Iran trying to fish.

Barcelona photo blog Day What? Sonar

17 Jun



Barcelona photo blog Day 4: Come In

15 Jun

Welcome to Barcelona. Come in. Have a seat. Take a load off your feet.

Now, that’s better isn’t it?


Chill for a few minutes. We’ll jump in the fountain later.


Barcelona photo blog Day 3: Mail order bride

14 Jun


Barcelona photo blog Day 2: The shopkeepers

13 Jun

I would buy anything that Jack Russel told me to.