2021 week 8 logo

Last week ended with a Mars landing, this week starts with an overcast dull sky but what adventures can I have this week.

Alan Morris diary 2021, week 8.

Friday, February 19th. I had no plans today & no deliveries arriving so I did very little in the morning apart from watching some online training videos for photoshop. At lunchtime, I decided to go out for some fresh air to go for a walk. I didn't get far on my walk before I sat down outside one of the local beach bars. I  saw my friend Colin at the San Juan bar. I sat down for a chat & had a few beers while talking with him & his wife for a few hours in the sun.

I had a lovely afternoon & returned home to use up the slow-cooked pork I had in my fridge, I mixed it with a barbecue sauce & ate way too much. After my food, I turned on the television but didn't see a thing as I quickly entered the land of nod for an hour. I woke in time to watch a webinar about Canadian ancestry in Ontario, which ended, just as the Friday night football match, Wolves v Leeds, started, I watched the game hoping for a 6 - 6 draw which would be interesting to watch but wouldn't affect Arsenals league position.  I got a fairly boring 1-0 win to Wolves but at least both teams stay below Arsenal in the league.

Saturday, February 20th. I wake up, make myself a pot of tea & sit down to wait for my new toy to arrive today, a drawing tablet from Amazon. It arrived around lunchtime & after a short while I had it connected to my laptop & had it up & running. It did seem difficult to use at first but I quickly saw how much more accurate I could be with my photoshop work & how useful it would be for my digital artwork.

I think it will be a steep learning curve using it but there are hundreds of useful free online videos on YouTube that will teach me how to use it properly. First I will have to learn to draw with it & then take a lot more photos to learn how to edit them using it.

In a strange coincidence my friend Fructo, a photographer & teacher, contacted me today & we arrange to meet next week at La Encarnacion restaurant in Los Alcazares, to catch up for a chat. With any luck, he may be able to give me a few pointers or inspire me with some of his ideas, work & photos.

Sunday, February 21st. I have to do some shopping today as I am running out of food in the fridge & the meals I had in my freezer have now all been used up. Next week the weather is forecast to be cooler with a possibility of rain so I will get enough food for at least the week. I did my shopping in Aldi & was home quickly, which was lucky as I forgot I had another delivery arriving today. I had just enough time to get in & sit down with a pot of tea when the doorbell went & I remembered I was expecting a delivery, oh well it all turned out well & I got my new power lead extensions.

This afternoon was spent organising my images again. I think I have now got around 95% of the images with faces correctly organised with the names of people in them, using face recognition in Adobe Lightroom. I have also started clearing all the out of focus or poor quality photos along with the ones that I don't like. I should really do this as I go along but it's something that always gets overlooked. As I now have my new graphic tablet, I load Adobes drawing application, Fresco onto my computer. I have never seen it, looked at it, or even heard of it until this afternoon but it is included with my Adobe subscription. I will give it a go & see if it is easier for drawing than just using photoshop.

I watch the Arsenal v Man City game this evening & after Arsenal go a goal down in less than two minutes I fear for the worst but they somehow grow into the game & in the end, could have got an equaliser. I am not too disappointed with the loss & hope we can take some encouragement from this game into the second leg of our Europa League game on Thursday night.

Monday, February 22nd. This morning I go to the bank to pay my local council tax (IBI). I had never had to do it before as up till now it had always been taken out by direct debit. I have no idea why this year it should change. Even with the é14 fine for late payment it still only came to é83. Compared to the UK council tax this is brilliant & I don't mind paying this. I then went to the post office to post a letter to my accountant in Florida before going home for a pot of chai tea.

Around lunchtime, my friend Mark came round to help me move my furniture around as some of it is too big & too heavy for one person to move. I sweep some of the areas of the floor before he arrives ready to move furniture to & when he arrives we move the display cabinet that I keep my cutlery, glassware & some of my kitchen appliances. After more hoovering of dust, we move my large massage chair & lastly the large dining table that I will be using as my computer, graphic tablet & printer table is moved into place.

For some reason, this sort of short but physical exercise makes me breathless quickly. After a short break to get my breath we go to my local bar, Carzola, for a beer & tapas. After a short break, Mark goes back to work, at his home & I return home to continue hoovering dusting & setting up my computer equipment where I want it. A shelf that was taken down in order to move some of the furniture has to be put up in a new place & Mark has said he will do that for me during the week as I have do not have a drill. In the meantime, my books will briefly be sitting on the floor.

This evening I am sent some information for my family tree by a lady, Penny, whom I have never met but who is my 3rd cousin once removed. She sent me copies of a birth certificate, marriage certificate, death certificate, photo & a breakdown of the lives of the people in the documents. It is very helpful & in return, I am able to make the photo clearer as well as add colour to it, which brings the image to life.

Tuesday, February 23rd. The first thing I notice when I get up is how much better the layout of my apartment is after yesterdays work to rearrange some furniture. I make a pot of tea, have a massage & check my email before getting ready to go to the Tuesday market for my fruit & vegetables this morning. The market is always quieter early in the morning & I like going when there are less likely to be pickpockets around. The market has returned to its normal location from this week but I much preferred it where it was at the sports centre, it just seemed to feel safer. I quickly buy my fruit & veg before making my weekly trip to a local bakery for a pie & a cake on the way home. It was quite bright out but a little chilly & it will take at least two pots of tea for my hands to warm up. This weeks juiced delight was made this morning with 6 oranges, 6 apples, 4 celery sticks & 4 carrots, it was juiced from the fruit & veg bought this morning & placed in the fridge to cool. The rest of the day was spent reading my kindle or watching films.

One of the films I watched was called Bliss, starring Owen Wilson & the gorgeous Salma Hayek. The basis of the story is that the main characters are real people in a computer-generated world & that they can survive in it by taking a crystal drug that gives them special powers. The storyline doesn't sound that good but it is very good & will probably bring a tear to even the most hard-hearted people out there. It is really about mental anguish, drug addiction, homelessness & peoples struggle with reality.

It begins when Owen Wilson's character accidentally kills his boss, surely we have all wanted to do this at some time, then meets Hayeks' character in a bar. She convinces him that they are some of the only real people in a computer-generated world & to continue to stay alive they must take special crystal drugs. The story develops after Wilsons' character loses his job & we are introduced to his daughter & son, who, he is told, are not real. As the story unfolds he has to decide which world is real & which is not. I loved the film & found the story brilliant to watch. The decisions Wilsons' character has to make, echo decisions that many poor people around the world will have to make some time in their lives. Salma Hayek plays a brilliant part showing what a good actress she is, but she is Salma Hayek, if she stood in front of me miming the American constitution I would watch her.

Tonight I watched the Oxford v Portsmouth football match on television, it reminded me of the first game of football that my dad took me to see as a kid. It was Portsmouth v Oxford at Fratton Park in the early 1970's & when my dad asked me if I enjoyed it I told him no & I never wanted to go again. The following week he took me to see Arsenal play at Highbury & I fell in love with football & Arsenal, a love story that still continues to this day.

Wednesday, February 24th. This morning I got up early for the first day of the Roots Tech online convention, three days of genealogy exhibitions that are being held online this year due to COVID restrictions. As the speakers are spread out around the world it meant getting up at 5 am Spanish time, but I managed to do it & switched the computer on at 5 am for the start. Unfortunately for me, the event starts tomorrow not today. Unable to get back to sleep I spend the next three hours sorting through more photos on my computer, rejecting & deleting around 100, as they are not of a good enough quality for me to use in my artwork, or are of no real interest. You can only have so many out of focus photos of dolphins jumping out of the water at SeaWorld or of fuzzy birds flying around in a blue sky.

After some breakfast, I went for a walk along the promenade, cut up through Rio Nalon where the bars & restaurants were mainly all closed still, then walked back along the main road into Los Alcazares before cutting back down to the promenade & going to Bar Carzola for an Asiatico coffee.

In the afternoon I did some work on a couple of digital art projects & noticed that my laptop was running slow. I spent the afternoon deleting unwanted files & games from it, to give it more memory to work with. After doing this & running some optimisation software on it, it was soon running at full speed again & I was able to do some more work. In the evening I watched some football on the television before having an early night.

Thursday, February 25th. For some reason this morning my computer is not loading some of the programs properly & I can not figure out why, after a lot of head-scratching I give up & go to get some fresh air. I pick up a photograph from my friend Sean. The photo was in some photographic paper that I gave him a while ago & he guessed it was a mistake. When I saw it I couldn't remember ever seeing it before, but I was very pleased he had not thrown it out. It was one of my fathers when he was in the RAF. Thanks very much for keeping it & looking after it Sean. 

After seeing Sean I popped in to see my friend Keith, who lived nearby, for a cup of tea. The tea was very welcome on a cold morning, as were the two nice jumpers that he gave me that didn't fit him. After seeing Keith I went for a coffee at a new café that opened today. I saw some other friends all sitting outside in their small isolated groups & then returned home, glad to get out of the cold.

I went online & contacted Adobe support about the software on my computer that was not working. In a fairly short amount of time, they had remotely connected to my computer, reinstalled the software & corrected some printer issues that were affecting the software & preventing it from running. It was all very organised & for a change, I have no bad words to say about an online help facility. Adobe help was very good & was a shining example to other companies.

In the evening I watched Arsenal dominate Benfica in the first half of their must-win match in the Europa league only to finish the first half at 1-1. The second half soon became worse as Arsenal again made simple errors in defence, gifting Benfica a second goal & the lead in the game. Luckily for me Arsenal, through Kieran Tierney equalised, but they would still go out for a second year running, on the away goals rule if they did not score again. Watching from my hiding position behind the sofa, my emotions went from depressed & being more & more worried, to ecstatic when they scored a third, to very nervous for the remaining minutes. They finished up winning & the mighty Arsenal go marching into the last 16 of the Europa League.

When I say marching, I actually mean, stumbling, crawling but probably just about deservedly, advancing to the next round. They did do it though & I can remain happy till they play again this weekend. The life of us football fans is not an easy one, stumbling from game to game, clutching at every straw we see floating by, spending days on end in misery, just for our teams to turn us into gibbering wrecks every time they play, but I love it. Onwards & upwards Arsenal.