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It’s Five O’clock Somewhere Wine Appreciation Club 21 May

The May event at the Hotel Tikar started, as usual, in the lovely sunny garden where we all gathered before the main event.  This month we had six members of CALAWIM who had not been to the Wine Club before so they were all looking forward to getting started.

This month, our genial host and proprietor of the Hotel Tikar, Sean McMahon, introduced us to wines from the Bodega Castillo de Monjardin, which is located in Navarra, on the north side of the Ebro River, opposite Rioja.  This area is in the North East part of Spain and the owners of the bodega are close to their French neighbours who are just over the Pyrenees Mountains.  The Bodega Castillo de Monjardin has been run by the same family for over 25 years and they have gathered over 100 wine medals over this time.

The first wine we tasted was a rose, the Rosado de Lagrima which has a grape blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.  The wine is a lovely deep pink and it is harvested at night (when the grapes are cooler) the wine has a delicate aroma of berries and a light fresh taste.  This is perfect for those summer evenings that are stretching out in front of us and was the perfect start to the evening.

Next we tried the El Cerezo Chardonnay, an unoaked wine made from 100% chardonnay grapes.  Whilst some of us are still struggling with identifying the aromas of the wine tasting process (like me), others very clearly smelt pear, apple and peach.  This lovely crisp wine went well with the tapas that the Hotel Tikar excels in.  Another wine perfect for the summer and if you are not keen on the oaked chardonnays, this is definitely a wine to try – it may change your mind.

Moving on to the reds, we first tasted El Cerezo Pinot Noir, one of the few Pinot Noir grown in Spain from the “El Cerezo” vineyard that is 30 years old.  As the grapes are grown in a high altitude, the wine has a delicate ruby colour and this is a very elegant well balanced red wine with favours of red berries.  The wine is aged in oak barrels for nine months which gives the aromas of vanilla and toast.

The final red was La Cantera Garnacha, made from 100% Garnacha grapes grown on vines over 70 years old and aged in oak barrels for six months.  Deep red in colour, it has flavours of ripe red berries and is absolutely scrummy.  I know that is not a “wine” term but is the description that I thought it deserved.

Coming to the Hotel Tikar over the last three months has changed my view of red wine.  I would never give it house room as it always tasted bitter to me, but I have definitely changed my mind as my palate has become more accommodating to these beautiful Spanish reds.  Why don’t you give them a try?

If you would like to attend the Wine Club, you need to be a member of CALAWIM and book early as spaces are limited.  If you are not a member of CALAWIM, please email us at welcome@comeandlookatwhatimade.club and we will be delighted to send you a membership form.  For more details on how you can join, go to our Welcome page.

There Is No “Away” 13th May

Members of CALAWIM were treated to an entertaining and informative presentation by Sue Parmenter-Phillips of Coastal Cleaners Andalucía and Laura Davies who has built an “Earth Ship” in the countryside.

Sue talked first about Coastal Cleaners Andalucía and how the group of volunteers have filled 1060 “bags for life” full of rubbish from the beaches over the last year.  Sue has found different ways to gather the detritus from the sea and beaches to stop the monotony of just picking it up from the beaches and she has even organised a kayaking event and made a giant octopus from mixer bottles which now resides in the Neptuno chiringuito on the beach in Mojacar.

Sue explained that every single piece of plastic every made is still on the planet and over 100,000 marine creatures and birds die every year from coming into contact with the material.  Evidently, the Mediterranean Sea is one of the most polluted seas in the world so it is important for us, as locals, to be careful about how we deal with this material.

Sue asked us to be “#one in a million” and cut down on the use of any of the 1,000,000 plastic bags used every minute around the world.  Use your own bags, or “bags for life”, buy a filter water machine to stop buying water in plastic bottles and don’t flush baby wet wipes or make up remover wipes down the toilet – these are also made of plastic and often end up in the ocean.

Sue made us all think about what we can do to change the way we use plastic and asked us to think about the difference it would make if we all refused a plastic bag every time we were offered one.  We can all be #one in a million if we just make a few changes in our lives.

Sue finds ways to keep the beaches and sea clean by clearing up the rubbish, but Laura and Dave Davies have built their house using it!

Laura explained that she was very fond of The Wombles when she was a child and loved the idea of using rubbish to make new things with.  She also loved the TV programme “The Good Life” and always imagined herself as being completely self-sufficient.

Whilst researching ways of building a house using recycled materials, Laura came across the Earth Ship design and she and Dave decided that was the way forward for them.  Their house is completely owner built using all kind of recycled materials including old tyres, bottles, aluminium cans and plastic containers.  The house is built with heat control using thermal mass, super insulation and natural air movement and water is harvested from the roof and used four times.   Local and natural materials are used wherever they can and electricity is produced using wind or solar panels.

Laura and Dave have created a completely self-sufficient lifestyle and although it may not be for everyone, they gave us good ideas about how we can use upcycled material in our own homes.

CALAWIM would like to thank both Sue and Laura for their very interesting presentations and we all came away thinking about how we can help to make our world a better place.  I, for one, went straight out and bought a water filter and realised I don’t have to cart heavy bottle of water any more or use the plastic bottles they come in.  And I save money too!

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere Wine Appreciation Club 16 April

Well, that month went by in a flash!  Here we are again at the CALAWIM It’s Five O’clock Somewhere Wine Appreciation Club and ready to see what is on offer this afternoon from our genial host, Sean McMahon.

The Wine Shop in the Hotel Tikar is the perfect setting for the Wine Club and this week we tasted wines from the La Poda collection.  Sean talked first about Almudena Alberca, who is the soul of the La Poda collection and an expert in the cultivation of vines, and is part of the current generation of internationally minded Spanish winemakers.  In fact, she is the first woman in Spain to receive the Masters of Wine accreditation.

We tasted four wines, two white and two red and the lesson this week was to notice the difference in the taste of the wine without food and then with food.

The first wine was the La Poda Albariño white which we tasted while Sean explained that the grape used in this wine (the Albariño) is grown in the North West part of Spain in the Sainĕs subzone and is indigenous to the region.  It was fresh and fruity with a definite citrus note.

We then tasted the La Poda Sauvignon Blanc (which several of us groaned at as we said we weren’t keen on Sauvignon Blanc) but Sean explained that this wine had been lightly aged “in the lees” for three months in stainless steel containers.  This has produced a very tasty wine (much better than the usual restaurant variety we have all experienced) and when we tried this with the Hotel Tikar stunning salmon fishcakes, the flavour of the wine changed and even improved it.  We all agreed it was very much a wine to drink with your dinner, especially if you are having fish.

Now we were on to the reds.

The third wine was La Poda Tempranillo, a young and rounded wine.  It comes from vineyards that are between 2 and 15 years old from estates located in the areas of Valladolid and Quintanilla, near to the winery.  It had definite notes of cherry, and the hints of blue in the colour of the vine indicated its young age and although 95% of the grapes used in this wine are Tempranillo, 5% are Cabernet Sauvignon which gives it a lovely balanced flavour.

We then tasted the final wine, the La Poda Tinta de Toro.  Wow, this really packed a punch and had a mature red taste together with black fruits.  The reason why this is such a full bodied wine is that it comes from the vineyards that are over 40 years old, using 100% Tinta de Toro grapes.  It is also aged for 4 to 6 months in barrels, giving it a deliciously mature flavour.  We then tried these two red wines with some mushroom pasta, made on the premises at the Hotel Tikar.  Again, the wines changed flavour and the food and wine complemented each other perfectly.  The difference in the two reds, one from young vines and the other from Cepas Viejas (old vines) was very distinct.

Another very interesting and entertaining meeting at the Hotel Tikar was had by all.  In fact, most of the attendees booked for next month, so we may have to put on an extra meeting.

If you would like to attend the next Wine Club, you need to be a member of CALAWIM and book early as spaces are limited.  If you are not a member of CALAWIM, please email us at welcome@comeandlookatwhatimade.club and we will be delighted to send you a membership form.  For more details on how you can join, go to our Welcome page.

The Casa de Canaña, Mojacar 10 April

As organisers of CALAWIM, Kim and I are always looking for hidden gems in our area that many people may not have heard of or even visited.  The Casa de Canaña certainly falls into this category and if you have not visited this wonderful piece of history, we encourage you to do so as soon as you can get up to the Mojacar Pueblo.

The Casa de Canaña is very easy to find.  Just go up in the lift, turn right and the house is about 100 yards on the right.  Make sure you don’t walk past it (as one of our group did) as it is a house set amongst the others in the Pueblo and the entrance is sharp right – look out for the signs and you can’t miss it.

We were invited to the casa by the young and enterprising owners, Yulia and Sergio and arrived at 4 pm so that we could have a private viewing of this living museum.  On our arrival, we were greeted by Sergio who gave us a talk about the background to the Casa and how they decided to turn it into a museum.  They had help from a Historian from Lorca to ensure that everything in the whole house is authentic.  Each piece of furniture, each floor tile and even the kitchen utensils would have been used in the 1930’s, the era that Yulia and Sergio chose to decorate the house.

The Casa de Canaña is over 300 square metres in size and the owners live on site.  The main floor is part of the museum but the underbuilt is the original house that the old owners would have lived in, together with their animals.  Goats, pigs, donkeys and even chickens would all have lived with the original inhabitants in several rooms, clearly laid out by Sergio and Yulia with lots of farm utensils as well. You really get the feeling of the time down here, without the smell of the animals!

Sergio is very happy to answer any of your questions and the couple are clearly very proud of the museum they have created.  Rightly so, in our opinion, as they have obviously worked very hard to make sure the house is not only authentic, but a very interesting place to visit.  With an entrance fee of only €2.50 per person, this is definitely a place that you should visit, together with all your relatives as it is important that these places are kept alive by the local people.  Allow around an hour to see everything in the house and buy a souvenir on the way out.  There are the most beautiful coasters, in the style of the Moorish tiles on the floor of the house and books, postcards and paintings to buy as a memory of your visit.

The Casa de Canaña got a big “thumbs up” from our entire group and is definitely a place we will visit again.  We hope you do too.

If you would like to attend any of our events, please go to our Events for 2019 page and scroll down to the relevant month to see what’s coming up.  If you are not a member of CALAWIM, please email us at welcome@comeandlookatwhatimade.club and we will be delighted to send you a membership form.  For more details on how you can join, go to our Welcome page.

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere Wine Appreciation Club Inaugural Meeting 19 March

Yes, the day had finally arrived for the first meeting of the CALAWIM It’s Five O’clock Somewhere Wine Appreciation Club and the first thing Kim and I are going to have to do is shorten the name!!

We all gathered at 5 o’clock in the garden of the Hotel Tikar, ready to taste the wine and wondering just how good it was going to be.  We were not disappointed.

Our host for the evening was Sean McMahon, the Wine Expert and proprietor of the Hotel Tikar and fourteen of us all got together in the Wine Shop, ready to taste the four wines on offer.  All the wines we tasted were from the Almeria area.

As it was the Inaugural meeting, we started with a bottle of Cava to celebrate.  This was the Paco Calvache Viticultor which is made from the hyan blanca grape, which is indigenous to the Almeria area.  While we tasted this wine, Sean explained that there are around 22 bodegas in Almeria that produce wine.  Not all the bodegas grow the wine, which was a surprise to some of us, as there are wine growers and wine makers in the area.  The wine makers buy the grapes from the growers and mix them to make their own wines.  This allows each bodega to produce unique wines.

The second wine we tasted was a white wine called Flor Indalia which is made in Padules near Granada, in the Valle de Anadrax and as we tasted this, we were offered tapas that matched the wine perfectly.

Sean taught us about the five S’s – see, swirl, smell, sip and savour and we tried very hard to achieve this but I did hear someone suggest that “slurping” might be a better word to describe us novices.  This was a very light hearted lesson and one we will have to practice at every opportunity.

The third wine was a full bodied red called Cepa Bos Quet which is made from cirwar grapes and won a Gold medal in Brussels.  We all enjoyed this, accompanied by more tapas and much deliberation.

Finally, for some of us, the star of the show, a sweet red wine called Copa Bos Quet Tinto Dulce, from the same bodega as the white wine.  A deliciously unusual flavour made from grapes that have been left longer on the vine than usual and harvested in October, rather than August.

The Hotel Tikar encouraged us to give the local vintners a try and the four wines we tasted all got a great “Thumbs up” from all of us.  The inaugural event was summed up by one of our members, who said “I have never taken so long to drink four different wines, but I have learned how to appreciate them”. Thank you, Keith, you summed up exactly what we were trying to achieve.  And thanks to our host, Sean, for making the event memorable.  A great evening was had by all.

If you would like to attend the next Wine Club, you need to be a member of CALAWIM and book early as spaces are limited.  If you are not a member of CALAWIM, please email us at welcome@comeandlookatwhatimade.club and we will be delighted to send you a membership form.  For more details on how you can join, go to our Welcome page.

The Dandy Lions Apothecary – Saturday 16 March

On a lovely sunny Saturday morning in Mojacar, members of CALAWIM were treated to an exceptionally interesting event at Kukis Bar and Restaurant.  The Dandy Lions, aka Jonathan and Paul, were in fine form and gave us a very thorough explanation and demonstration on soap making.

Jonathan and Paul have been making soap, shampoo, beard oil, and candles for some years now and have perfected their products using only pure ingredients.  Whilst the making of soap is not a very complicated process, Jonathan explained that it is very important to get the measurements of all the ingredients exact or the results will be less than spectacular!

Jonathan and Paul make soap using the “cold” method as this is their preferred method and much easier to demonstrate than the “hot” method which needs heat.  We were all intrigued by the amount of ingredients that The Dandy Lions used to make the soap, including shea butter, white clay and sodium hydroxide (among many others) as well as essential oils to give the soap a lovely smell.  Different oils have different effects so Jonathan changes the recipes according to what he wants to achieve.  Shampoo bars must have a higher lather than hand soaps so the oils are added in different quantities, depending on the desired result.

It’s just like alchemy really!

Jonathan poured the soap mixture into wooden moulds and after a short time, the sodium hydroxide reacted with the oil and the soap started to harden.  This process takes around 24 hours before the soap can be cut into bars, stamped and wrapped, ready to be stored and matured.

This was a really interesting demonstration and we all learnt a lot about soap making.  Jonathan and Paul were happy to answer all our questions and were delighted that we were all so curious about the process.

CALAWIM would like to thank Jonathan and Paul for the great demonstration and Richard and Belinda of Kukis for allowing us to use their premises for the event.  The Dany Lions have a website www.dandy-lions.co.uk where you can see the whole range and also a Facebook page @DandyLionswaxes.  Well worth a visit.

If you would like to attend any of our events, please go to our Events for 2019 page and scroll down to the relevant month to see what’s coming up.  If you are not a member of CALAWIM, please email us at welcome@comeandlookatwhatimade.club and we will be delighted to send you a membership form.  For more details on how you can join, go to our Welcome page.

NON FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH – FEBRUARY

Following the exciting launch in January 2019 of the CALAWIM book club, the February meeting was a great success.  The book for the month January/February  was ‘Where Hoopoes Fly’ by Kevin Borman.

 What we loved about the book:

Most people really enjoyed the read, some of the discussions highlighted the fact that the book was enjoyable and comments included:-

  • A travel guide, great for planning walks and trips to see local wonders
  • An easy read, with great sections to enable you to dip in and out (whilst it is a fairly long book, it is simple to read in easy ‘chunks’ – an enjoyable format)
  • A way to experience the interesting aspects of the Region through the eyes of the ‘brave’ author Kevin   (we thought Kevin was ‘brave’ to take on some of the walks he did alone and more than once, if he made a wrong turn on a path, he went back to the beginning and started again rather than give up).
  • A guide to the history and geological formation of the region in a simple, easy to understand style.
  • This book informed me and I learned so much that I didn’t know about before

Everyone agreed that  one of the main purposes of the book was as a useful guide to help explore the local area, which provide lost of examples, not only of what humans had made (local Authors and Artists ), but what the landscape and nature provide for those of us lucky enough to live in, and enjoy Almeria.

The group agreed that the contents of the book may provide a great blueprint for CALAWIM arranged visits, walks and events  later in the year .  These included

  • Trip to Almeria to the Alacazaba, the civil war tunnels – plus lunch and a walking tour of the paseo
  • Visit to the Calar Alto observatory (evening trip plus dinner en route )
  • Possible viewing of the 2015 Channel Four documentary ‘ The Invernadores (about the greenhouses of Almeria and the people that live and work there.

This is just a small taster of the ideas that the book provided.

Some participants would have liked some additional knowledge about Henry Higgins (the English bull-fighter ) and the Vera history of bull-fighting from a cultural perspective.   This could be another local  CALAWIM organised visit, with perhaps a gastronomic dinner at La Carmona hotel (long associated with the bull-fighting history of this region).

The facilitator of the  CALAWIM non-fiction book club,  Karen Stubbs, said that the most amazing discovery was of the artist  Finn Cambell Notman – whose 14 prints of local birds entitled ‘ The Immigrants’   are things of beauty and local relevance.   The beauty of these prints and the accompanying reflections of the artist provides food for thought, which is the purpose of the CALAWIM book club at the Rose and Crown.

www.finncampbellnotman.com/birds

We sent this blog post to Kevin Borman before publishing and he said in his response:

“ I’m glad to see from the comments that people were ‘getting’ what I was trying to do with the book.”

By all accounts, the book club got it and Where Hoopoes Fly gets a big thumbs up from the CALAWIM non-fiction book club!

BOOK OF THE MONTH: MARCH   Turre : a history : David Jackson .  

If you would like to join the CALAWIM non fiction book club please send an email to: welcome@comeandlookatwhatimade.club and we will send you membership form and a copy of the book club guidelines.

 

Moros y Christianos Exhibition – Monday 18th February

We all gathered in the Plaza Nuevo, Mojacar Pueblo on a chilly but sunny winter’s morning before we tackled the steep hill up to the Old Art Centre for our private viewing of the Moors and Christians Exhibition.

Our guide was Sylvia from the Tourist Office and she explained the history of the exhibition and the Old Art Centre which used to be a reservoir for the castle.  It was the responsibility of the local women to keep it full of water in case of siege as the Fuente was outside the city walls.  What a job! No wonder they all carried those water jugs!

Anyway, back to the exhibition:  Sylvia explained that the Moors and Christians Fiesta has been going in Mojacar for 30 years and that the event is always on the weekend that includes the 9th June.  The pueblo is divided into areas that are either Moors or Christians.  The Moors are called Kabila and the Christians are Cuartel and many local families take part from the youngest to the oldest.  It is not unusual to see very young children in the parade with their parents and grandparents.  There are also many other local people who take part in the procession including some of our CALWIM members who we spotted in some of the many photographs that line the front part of the Art Centre.  The overwhelming colour and fun of the event is clearly shown in the photos and it is obvious to all that everyone taking part is having a great time.  The costumes are stunning, the women are gorgeous and so are the men!  Everyone looks fabulous and there were several photos that featured some of the younger members, all of whom were dressed to the nines.

Passing through the photo gallery, we saw almost every one of the posters that had been produced for each event starting back in the eighties.  A yearly competition is held to choose the poster of the year and there is a great diversity of styles but the standard is very high.  We enjoyed this part of the exhibition but then we were transported back to the days of the Moors and Christians with a room full of costumes, the keys to the city, and a selection of artefacts connected with the event.

Everyone enjoyed the exhibition and we at CALAWIM are extremely grateful to the Tourist Office and Sylvia in particular who spent so much time with us and answered all our endless questions about the event.  We would like to thank her for all her help with this event and we will be working with the Tourist office in the future for other events.  Watch this space!

If you get the opportunity to see this exhibition, climb the hill up to the Old Arts Centre, you will be glad you did.  If you wished you had come with CALAWIM, have a look at our Welcome page and find out how to join us.

Wine Tasting Lunch – Wednesday 12 December

The Wine Tasting Lunch at Hotel Tikar, Garrucha started with drinks in the garden on a lovely sunny December day.  We are blessed with great weather almost every day of the year in this part of Spain and the 12 December was no exception.

When we had all gathered around the specially laid table in the Wine Shop for our lunch, Sean McMahon, the proprietor of the Hotel Tikar and a wine specialist, talked about the first wine we were to drink with our Starters – Dos Claveles, a white wine from Bodega Toro Albara in the Montilla Moriles area of Spain.  This was a great hit with all the diners and complemented the Spinach Salad served with it.

A rose wine from Rioja, Muga Rosada, was served with the second Starter of Tikar Scrambled Eggs with prawns and asparagus and stimulated a great discussion from all the diners.  This is a fairly light coloured rose as it is only macerated for 12 hours before it is transferred into vats to ferment.  Its salmon-pink hues and lovely light, elegant appearance in the glass added to the attractiveness of its taste.

The third wine was served with our Main course, a red Muriel Crianza, also from Rioja.  This was a full bodied wine, going well with our food and again provoking discussion between the red wine drinkers and the white wine drinkers.

The meal ended with lovely desserts of sautéed bananas, carrot cake or ice cream and everyone gave the event ten out of ten.  The Dos Claveles wine was voted the favourite wine of the day and so extra bottles of this were served to the guests, courtesy of CALAWIM.

We all agreed that the Wine Tasting Lunch should go on CALAWIM’s event Calendar several times a year and a Wine Club was also discussed.  Our thanks go to Sean and his staff for an excellent meal, great wine and lovely surroundings and we wish them all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

If you would like to attend any of our events, please go to our Events for 2019 page and scroll down to the relevant month to see what’s coming up.  If you are not a member of CALAWIM, please email us at welcome@comeandlookatwhatimade.club and we will be delighted to send you a membership form.  For more details on how you can join, go to our Welcome page.

Meet the Artists – Thursday 29th November

It was a pleasure to meet the two featured artists in our first “Meet the Artist” session.  Mike Weston and Bunny Willis have made their homes in Mojacar and although their styles are very different, they both take inspiration from the area around them.

Mike opened the show with an explanation of how he builds each painting and the unusual paints and colouring he uses to add detail.  He started painting as a dare from his family as he was always looking at other people’s work and saying “I could do that”.  In the end, his family dared his to start, so he painted some abstract works which he hung on the walls of the bar he ran.  When people started buying them, he realised he had a talent and has evolved his style over the years.  His work can be seen in many local houses and is for sale in Mojacar.  Mike can be seen at local exhibitions and also has a Facebook page.

Bunny Willis studied art as an education and her work is very different to Mikes.  She works in oil, charcoal and other media to produce her immediately recognisable paintings of animals and people.  Her work can be seen in and around Mojacar especially in Martini’s and the Rose and Crown.  Bunny talked about how she takes inspiration from the land, sea and sky to paint her abstract oils and it was clear to all when she explained this.  Bunny is a familiar figure at art exhibitions in the area and is a well-known local personality.

Both artists agreed that the best way to start painting as a hobby is to start: just buy some paints and get going.  You don’t have to be able to draw in order to paint; you just have to have the desire to do it.  Everyone develops their own style and both Mike and Bunny agreed that the work they do now is nothing like the work they did when they started.

Everyone agreed that the first “Meet the Artist” was a great success and we all left inspired to start painting.  Thank you to Mike and Bunny for a very enjoyable morning and to Scotty’s for allowing us to use his room for the event.

Boutique Didier Borgeaud – Monday 19th November

The Boutique Didier Borgeaud is located in the Plaza Nueva, in Mojacar pueblo.  It is filled with the most beautiful artisan glass and jewellery and is run by Lucas, one of the Borgeaud brothers.

Lucas explained to the group how diverse effects could be made to glass using fusion or painting and the reasons why every piece of artisan glass was unique.  Although the designs may look the same before they enter the oven, the heat will affect the glass and the materials used in different ways, so every piece has its own personality.

He explained the complex processes of glass art, using layering and moulding to make the shapes and colours of each piece and the importance of using the right oven temperature and timing, depending on the metals used.

The boutique is filled with lots of different styles of glass items and Lucas explained how the figurines were made, how the vases were constructed and how the bubbles in the jewellery were achieved to enhance their beauty.

Not everything in the shop is made by the Borgeaud brothers – local artisans are also showcased – as well as exquisite jewellery using Swarovski crystals.  Everything is chosen for its style and beauty and the shop is currently offering Christmas decorations and glassware – not to be missed.

The group thoroughly enjoyed the presentation by Lucas and spent some time shopping afterwards.  Christmas gifts were purchased that would eventually find themselves in the UK and America as well as locally.

The event ended with the group having coffee in the Plaza Nueva then lunch in Martini’s, Mojacar.  A great finale to a very enjoyable morning.

Fabric Gift Bag Workshop – Friday 16th November

The Fabric Gift Bag Workshop started with a bang; it was the day of the violent thunderstorm in Mojacar and the first thing that happened was a power cut.  Did this stop our intrepid bag makers?  Not a bit of it!

They chose their fabrics for the outside and inside of the bags, the embellishments for the outside and the handles too.  By the time this had been achieved and tea and coffee had been consumed, the lights were back on and the sewing machines were off!

The workshop was a light hearted event and the participants threw themselves into the creative space and enjoyed making something unique for a loved one.  These gift bags are very often kept for ever even though the gifts they held are long gone – and the maker is always remembered by the recipient.

Everyone agreed that it was great to spend time doing something completely different and using their creativity.  The workshop was considered so important by one person that she switched her phone off.  “No one is going to interrupt me whilst I am here” she said.

By the end of the session, everyone had made a lovely gift bag in the colours of their choice or matched to the colours of the people they made it for.  They all went home with their bags, ready to fill them with Christmas gifts for someone very special.

The Quilting Club at Scotty’s – Thursday 1st November

The first Picante Quilting class was held at Scotty’s El Tropico on Thursday 1st November and got off to a flying start with a quilting block called “Rail Fence”.  This is the first block from the quilt that Jo made as an   example of what the group will achieve when all the blocks have been completed and it was interesting to see how different the colour combinations picked by everyone changed the look of the block.

All the attendees chose the fabric for their block from a large range of batiks supplied by Jo as part of the class cost and spend the morning putting the blocks together.  It was great to have a room full of quilters who could compare notes on all things quilting as well as making new friends.

By the end of the session, everyone had finished their quilt block and we were all delighted with the results.  Everyone agreed that they would come back in December to meet up again and make the next block on the quilt – the Road to California.

If you are already a quilter, you can still come to the Picante Quilting Club.  You can bring your own work with you or make the block of the month, it is up to you.  You will be very welcome to join in and find out what other quilters in the area are up to.  The next meeting is on 6th December from 10 am to 12.30 pm at Scotty’s El Tropico, Mojacar.

If you would like to join the Picante Quilting Group as a new or experienced quilter, please send Jo an email to jogibson787@yahoo.co.uk  headed up Picante Quilting Club.  Jo looks forward to meeting you and introducing you to the wonderful world of quilting.

Check out our Upcoming Events page to see what we have booked for the rest of this year – and next – and join in on one of our outings – we would love to see you!

Ceramics, winetasting and eating – the perfect day out!

On Monday, 17 September, the CALAWIM Club shunned the rain and had a very enjoyable day out arranged by Sean of Hotel Tikar, Garrucha.

We were picked up outside the Centro Commercial in Mojacar and taken by coach to three destinations, the first being the Gonzalez Castellon Ceramics Centre in Alhabia.

This large ceramics centre is run by Gabi, the eighth generation of Castellons, who amazed us all by his talents in throwing a pot.  He produced several items in quick succession, including a large container with a lid that fitted perfectly.  This brought a round of applause from the audience!  We were then shown how the pottery is decorated and painted by a team of talented ladies before it is fired.  The shop was full of bright and delightful things to buy as well as very reasonable garden pots outside. We will return to fill our (car) boots with garden ornaments another day.

Back into the coach and on to Laujar de Andarax, where nestling in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and the Sierra de Gádor is the Cortijo El Cura bodega.  The fourteen and a half hectare organic bodega is run by the Sanchez Vizcaino family and when we arrived, most of the team were busy picking grapes high up in the mountains.  Unfortunately, due to the recent rain, we could not join them to watch them pick but were treated to a very informative talk by Sean instead and we were allowed to try the grapes straight off the vines.  Delicious! All the grapes in the bodega are picked by hand and the vines are not artificially watered, depending only on the rain for their irrigation.  The bodega makes high quality and completely organic products by respecting the environment and betting on sustainable development: in the opinion of the Sanchez Vizcaino family, if the development is not sustainable, it should not be considered.

As well as the vines, the family produce organic extra virgin olive oil, organic strawberries, figs, tomatoes, peppers and much much more as well as having a museum of traditional farming artefacts and a “living museum” of table grapes that used to be grown in the area before the market dropped out due to the Civil War.

Needless to say, the wines were delicious and we all climbed back on the coach laden with purchases and looking forward to our lunch.

Another coach trip took us to the village of Fondón where the staff of El Olivillo were waiting to welcome us with an excellent and leisurely four course lunch and (even) more wine. The cooking is typical of the area and is obviously very popular as all the tables were full.

With our tummies and shopping bags full, we all got back into the coach and sat back to watch the majestic scenery roll by as we returned to Mojacar in the late afternoon.

Our first outing was a great success, the scenery was beautiful, the ceramics colourful, the wine delicious and the meal enormous.

Check out our Upcoming Events page to see what we have booked for the rest of this year and join in on one of our outings – we would love to see you!