Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 323

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Saturday & Sunday - Friday, November 11-12 2017 (page 323)

Cometelo The free to air TV in Spain has three dedicated sport channels, including one by the Real Madrid Football Club.
All top level soccer matches are only shown live on pay TV, but the free to air transmit highlights of those matches at a later time. Good enough for me.
There are also quite a few American and English shows and films which are dubbed in Spanish. But you can switch to the original English version with the push of a button, very convenient.

My must watch program however is the daily Spanish cooking show called Cómetelo. The presenting chef, Enrique, is the most organized, meticulous, attention to detail, clean TV chef I have ever watched.
While talking continuously (of which I don't understand a word) Enrique is doing the most menial tasks, like peeling potatoes, cutting unions, pulling skins off tomatoes. Any rubbish is immediately discarded in a bin, dirty dishes are put away in the sink and his work bench is a picture of methodical order at all times.
Enrique's presentations are typical home cooking, but with elegant yet simple refinements. Each dish features a natural ingredient of Spanish grown produce : grapes, olives, spices, cheese, which is highlighted by a brief section in the show.
It is a showcase of good practice for every aspect of cooking at home and I believe that many Spanish housewives in particular are watching this show with great enthusiasm. I am not a cook at all , but just love to watch this highly educational presentation, every weekday from 8pm for half a hour.

November weather in Mijas Peublo
The daily weather charts on TV clearly show that the mountains of Northern Spain and Portugal shield a large part of SE Spain from any bad weather drifting in from the Atlantic ocean.
Blue skies and lots of sun are therefore very common on the Costa del Sol and in Mijas.
Temperatures on the coast are usually around 20-22° C. In Mijas, located 450 meters higher, this is generally a few degrees less and variable.
Friday was rather cool and I had the electric heater on all day. Saturday, in contrast, was very mild. I even spent an hour in the afternoon on my outside balcony (for the first time) basking in the pleasantly warm sunshine.
December will be cold I am told, and I am not looking forward to that ! The nights however are very pleasant. Breathing in cool air ensures a good night sleep.

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Monday - Wednesday, November 13-15 2017 (page 323)

Age Concern Charity shop, Los Boliches
Age Concern Charity shop, Calle Francisco Cano 56, Los Boliches

Fuengirola (in stark contrast to Mijas Peublo) is a hotch-potch of building styles and colours.
But the Calle Francisco Cano (in which the Age Concern Charity shop is located) is a pleasant surprise. It is a long but narrow one-way street running parallel to (and 500 meters inland from) the coast. Slightly wider than the village calles in Mijas it has enough width to accommodate two narrow foot paths and trees on either side. The latter touching with their higher foliage, creating a pleasant, intimate ambiance.

As I arrive on Monday morning the Age Concern Charity shop is abuz with activity. A car is unloaded with new merchandise to sell, while in the shop a dozen browsers are checking out the ware on display.
Throughout the morning the browsers and buyers abound and with good reason. Everything is sold at rock bottom prices. Ladies dresses for 1 or 2 euro, a pair of shoes for 3 euro, any three paperbacks for 1 euro, etc.
Although closing and books (in English) make up the bulk of the products there is a huge variety of other things on display like crockery, glass ware (some of excellent quality), LP records, DVDs, toys, golf clubs, puzzles, shoes, boots, scarves, belts, mans ties, you name it.

There are five of us working in the shop this morning. Three ladies in the back room are flat out all morning processing and valuating the new merchandise which is coming in throughout the day.
Marilyn (handling the sales and operating the till) and I are in front. Initially my job is to watch out for potential shop lifters and keeping an eye on the till when Marilyn is having a smoko outside. But there is so much merchandise, being sold for so little, that any thefts would have no impact on the sales at all.
Gradually I become the "shoes & boots man". Only one shoe or boot of any pair is displayed in the shop. Whenever a pair is sold it is my job to find the matching item from three large boxes full of single boots and shoes in the back. Towards the end of the session I am even trusted to handle a few sales myself and operate the cash register.
They are short on volunteers on Fridays, so I will start my regular weekly sessions on that day.

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Thursday - Saturday, November 16-18 2017 (page 323)

Plaza de Carmen, Los Boliches
Plaza de Carmen, Los Boliches - an unexpected cameo of beauty and tranquility in the middle of a chaotic world

Driving through Fuengirola you get the distinct impression that every builder and architect here was allowed to do "his own thing". If so they certainly did. Looking at the buildings individually, some of them are not too bad as far as designs are concerned, but all combined the overall impression is discord and chaos.
However suddenly you arrive at a place where the individual ambience is so strong that it negates everything around it.
One such place is the Plaza de Carmen, a mere 100 meters away from the Age Concern Charity shop. It is a small square, only covering the width of the lovely white chapel in front of it.
There are a sculpture and fountain in the middle and restaurant tables covering one third of the Plaza. A few trees provide small patches of shade around its perimeter and four black wrought iron benches invite those in search of repose and reflection (like myself).

Thursday I attend again the Age Concern social morning at the Oasis Bar, which is good fun.
Friday I go down to Fuengirola to help out at the Charity shop. Today there are only three of us, Marilyn (I met on Monday), Ann and myself. It is much quieter than last Monday, but still always 4-6 customers browsing through the shop and sales continue at a steady pace.
There are several males helping out, but they are all either bringing produce or taking it away by car. I am the only one I believe who is helping out in the shop itself. I get on fine with the ladies and they appear to enjoy my company too.

Microwave meals
I feel fine, but am still very weak where activity is concerned, which worries me. It is the result of two things I believe.
Firstly I have a craving for liquid food, especially soups, but don't eat much else except rice crackers. They have only the basic Heinz soups here (like tomato, chicken, etc), none of the great chunky soups they sell in Australia. (Since living in my apartment I only venture out 3 or 4 times a week.)
Secondly there are very few microwave dinners available here in the shops.
I talk to Ann (from the Charity shop) about it and she advises me to go to Iceland, a large English supermarket in Fuengirola, with (as its name suggests) lots of frozen ready made meals. Most of their produce comes directly from the UK.
So after the Charity shop closes I take a cab and go directly to it. I buy heaps of frozen meals there and take another taxi straight home. Will this do the trick ? Hopefully.
The local grocery shops have heaps of wonderful fresh produce, so I may go back and make my own salads again.   I notice Enrique (the Cometelo chef), carefully measures out 6 table spoons of olive oil, then only 2 table spoons of balsamic vinegar (plus some salt and pepper) for his most basic salad dressing, So I will try that too.

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Sunday - Monday, November 19-20 2017 (page 323)

Vincent va Gogh, The Potato Eaters After many years I am reading again (in iBook version) 'Lust for Life', Irving Stone's wonderful biographical novel of Vincent van Gogh.
I can't help suffering with van Gogh as he struggles through the early years of his adult life.
First as an amateur preacher in Wasmes in the Borinage (Belgian coal district).
Then, by continually being rejected by the art dealers in the Netherlands when van Gogh tries to establish himself as a painter.

Vincent van Gogh used as subjects the ordinary people, like the miners in Belgium, the farmers, weavers and other labourers in Holland, even subjects in mental institutions, which he considered interesting. This was very much against the normal practice of the time where subjects were always rich, upper class people who could afford to buy the paintings.

Thomas Hardy

Vincent van Gogh certainly selected his subjects on the basis of his own ideas and preferences. Although he did read quite a lot, van Gogh was almost certainly unaware of a similar trend in English literature at about the same time. Shifting from the previous general focus on the upper classes to subjects from lower social levels.

The writer Thomas Hardy especially (besides crossing the moral boundaries of sexual relationships beyond marriage) championed the ordinary people of the land.
It are farmers, wood cutters, trades people that feature in Hardy's novels, such as Far from the Madding Crowd, The Woodlanders and Under the Greenwood Tree.

Irving Stone portrays very well the two major forces within van Gogh, his mind and his emotions. When these forces work against each other, such as with his love for his cousin from Amsterdam, he becomes desolate. When the two forces work together, first while being a preacher, then by becoming a painter, van Gogh is unstoppable.

The dual forces of mind and emotions are of course present within all of us. They act together or against each other. The intensity of this interaction depends on the nature of an individual.
I personally can identify with van Gogh. In mid-life my emotions strongly directed me into studying music. Supported by my determined mind, it became an epic 6-year long struggle to succeed, but in the end I did. Perhaps only as a passable musician, but very well (and more in line with my nature) as an on-line music educator of, what many consider to be, world standard.

In van Gogh's painting, although strongly supported by his mind set to succeed, his emotions are paramount. Van Gogh (I believe) expresses not what he sees, but what he senses. This represents a seismic shift in art.
Vincent va Gogh, Landscape1 In the past painting where what you saw. Moods and emotions were conveyed by facial expression, body language, or by symbolism. No wonder that the Dutch art dealers rejected van Gogh's work, they still judged his work by the established norms from the past.

By expressing his view of the world beyond what can be seen (matter) to what he feels (emotions), van Gogh in a sense precedes an analog discovery decades later in quantum mechanics.
The smallest particles, such as electrons and positrons, which were believed to be matter are in fact vibrations.

The views expressed in this article are my own, not necessary Irving Stone's.

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© 2017 Michael Furstner