Friday, 29 December 2006

Christmas Day In Argentina.

Chritmas day was HOT but not as hot as it has been on some occasions in the past and it did not rain! That meant we had the trad Brit Turkey and Trimmings up on the roof terrace where we did have a lot of sun but also a little respite from a sweet little breeze. The turkey weighed in at 9.5 kilos so it fed the party of twelve and the Argentines in the group were quite adventurous trying the two types of stuffing, the bacon rolls, the bread sauce and the GRAVY.......Desserts were definitely non-trad with fresh home-made mango sorbet, plums in red wine from Mendoza and caramalised apple pie. Plenty of cream and ice cream to counter the rich, hot food! Jamie provided real ale and everybody brought wine and champagne. It was quite laid back but we enjoyed having the young crowd back at home. Reminded me of Liverpool in my youth ( except for the weather). Two guests were rather special, the daughter and friend of an old school mate of mine from Quarry Bank who are studying at the University of Buenos Aires. Lynne had found me on Friends Reunited and told me about her daughter being here in Argentina. The wonder of technology!

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Christmas Eve 2006

Christmas Eve fell on Sunday this year and Sunday is sacrosanct in Argentina. Most husbands go out to buy the big lumps of meat and prepare the parrilla, the outdoor BBQ pit which is usually built into the wall of every ordinary house either in the yard, the garden or on the terrace. Most use charcoal but some use fragrant wood. This year it was different as the neighbourhood was like a ghost town with most of the women already preparing the cold cuts, turkeys, suckling pigs, salads, sauces (chimichurri), and turrons, (nougat), for the evening family party before the traditional opening of the presents at midnight and the setting off of fireworks all over the city.
We stick to British tradition and celebrate on the 25th.
I decided to visit my little Peruvian greengrocer to see if he had the aji panca, aji amarillo and aji rocoto ( searing hot chillies) and cilantro which I need for practising my Peruvian cooking from my beautiful cookbook which Longman gave me at the end of my Presentation last year in Lima.
So I cooked a great Peruvian lunch for the family and then went out to buy the last minute stocking pressies , the fresh veggies and the ordered turkey, with chipolatas, bacon and chicken livers.
Then we went off to a friends' place to join them in their Noche Buena party, eat great food, drink super wine and then exchange presents. It was lovely.
We left earlyish as I had to be up at 7am. to stuff the 10 kilo turkey and get it in the oven for lunch on the 25th.

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Happy Holidays from Snowy Argentina!

Wishing all of you a fabulous fiesta with friends and family.

Much love from all of us at the Hillyard Home in Buenos Aires Argentina.

Family Update for December 2006

It's been a strange year with me away for much of it doing teacher training and conferences and workshops in four different countries. The highlights have been my " Let's Live Liverpool" course which I did twice this year. The first time was in the hills of Cordoba, in a holiday resort with beautiful cabins and a pool and superb views to the mountains at the back and the lake in the valley below. The second time was in Pico Truncado, Patagonia, at the newly refurbished municipal theatre. We had three wonderful days of Liverpool history, literature, language, culture and song all through drama. It was a lovely experience to get to know each other so well and the final reviews were wonderfully original and creative.

The other highlight was the teacher training experience at NILE in Norwich, where I stayed in conference accomodation with 28 other trainers from all over the world training teachers from all over Europe.There was the woods outside my front door at Constable Terrace in the University of East Anglia and I ran through the woods and round the lake every day before class. Mick came to stay for 3 weeks so I went to Leicester to see him and his parents who are both old and ailing now. In all I've done about 50 talks in 30 events.

Mick is fine, still at Nightingale as the rocking Headmaster and the band is doing better this well, that when I am at home, they are playing most weekends! They've been upgraded to the downtown branch of the Irish Pub John John where they play once a week and they've had lots of important private parties and weddings too. Mick gave up smoking last year in October and has put on about 8 kilos. He looks great although he thinks he's too fat! I hope he doesn't go anorexic on me! He looks much better and is much happier in general. Still loves his food, especially his Argentine steak, his music, his films and his beer. We've found a few pubs that sell REAL ALE now and we've had a few outings with friends trying to convince them that Real Ale is what it says it is!

Jamie is still working with his friend selling inflatable adverts ( those huge inflatable bottles and brand packets etc). He's doing a bit of teaching, translating subtitles for films and is thinking of going camping in Europe for a while next year. He's done quite a bit of private catering and I'm very proud of his "touch". He's just as good at Chinese as he is at Indian or Thai. We often cook together and invite a mixed bunch of oldies and youngies over for dinner parties. He's just got it. He is still with his lovely Armenian girlfriend and seems very happy.

Sarah is thrilled she made the decision to choose a career as a bilingual kindergarten teacher. She loves the course although grammar and phonetics were difficult for her. She goes to the Teach Training college in the morning ( leaves home at 7 am) and then dashes off to teach in kindergarten all afternoon in a very important school in Recoleta. She has developed her singing skills with the band as you can see below and now gets some considerably important solos. She has wonderful stage presence and gets on very well with the boys in the band.

So we're all still together for yet another Xmas and New year do. The house is coming on although still lots to fix so we're looking forward to another busy year here in Argentina.

Sunday night we will all go to our respective friends' places for the traditional Argentine Noche Buena and then on Monday we will invite friends over here for the Traditional British Turkey and Trimmings lunch up on the roof terrace in the scorching sun!

Merry Christmas to you all and a happy new year.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Just missed out most of the year 2006!

I've jumped but I suppose that's OK too. My intention is to cover my first freelance year with the most memorable moments .....which is just about all so my next job is to go back and look at all the stuff I did this year and dig for photos!

Bluesberry Jam in Buenos Aires

Today is Mick's birthday, but in true Argentine fashion, we celebrated last night by going to the Bangalore Pub in Palermo, a trendy area of boutiques, resto bars, traditional AR food like grills ( fab steak and chicken in all its forms, with lots of exotic innards and sweetmeats....nothing is wasted here!) and copycat English pubs , Irish pubs and American bars plus a sprinkling of Sushi restaurants and Asian eateries.

Mick chose the Bangalore as it has a pub atmosphere, real beer, Stones, and goodish ( if a short menu) Indian food which is hard to find in AR

We had a great time and came home to wish Mick happy birthday and give him his presents which revolved around accoutrements for our home bar and music books.

Today he slept late and then we went for lunch in a lovely old rustic restaurant called La Escondida ( The Hidden One) and we're now getting ready to go downtown to John John, an Irish bar where they will perform from midnight to about 3am when we might( or not) come home and go to bed like all good people!
The pic is the latest ad designed by Sarah that we send out by mail when they play.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Bluesberry Jam

Mick has been with BBJ for about 10 years now and they have had some great gigs like Hard Rock Cafe, Bs As, Zilos in Puerto Madero, Sahara in Recoleta and Kilkenny, opposite the Sheraton downtown. They've also played on St Patrick's Day to crowds of 10,000.

Sarah became the official backing singer 2 years ago and is now getting a number of solos due to her incredible stage presence and her powerful voice. Some people heard it wrong that she is Mick's daughter and asked if she is his sister and even one thought she was his girlfriend!

Friday, 15 December 2006


Having decided to go freelance I then had to hold one of my famous family conferences to check my family was in agreement for me to take the chance of perhaps not earning a salary in the way I always had before. It was quite a momentous decision especially as I'd always been a working wife and mother believing it was not just up to the man of the house to be the sole breadwinner.

Here's a pic of my grown up children, James and Sarah and one of my husband Mick, who is also a teacher, a headmaster and an artist. He's a singer and harmonica player and the front man for Bluesberry Jam, a rock 'n' roll band based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
So, I got the support of everybody and gingerly stepped forward in my new, dangerous role.

My brother and me

Here's a pic of me with my brother. We were always very close as children. In fact my brother brought me up as I went everywhere with him and his gang. They were all older than me so I grew up as a tomboy, being able to do all sorts of daring things that sweet little girls aren't supposed to do, like jump off bridges and air-raid shelters, shinny up the entry walls of our semi detached house in Liverpool, run across tree trunks over rivers and take the position of goalie at the never ending footy matches on the local recreation park where we often had to run away from the parkie........ I also learned a lot of interesting facts of life and language eavesdropping on conversations between teenage boys.

When he left home in 1967 I was distraught and when he did not come back I was often found sleep walking searching for him. Once I was discovered wandering around the main road at the bottom of outr street having left the front door open in the middle of the night.

For strange reasons we lost touch for 22 years but when we got back together again we vowed never to lose each other again and to make up for lost time.

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Mendocino Runs

Mendocino is an old timber producing town and has gorgeous houses, hotels and restaurants......all very pretty and with olde worlde lacey curtains and well kept gardens. The runs are great especially along the cliffs where you get fabulous views, the sound of the sea pounding the rocks and plenty of wind to make the running even more exhilarating.

Spooky kissing Suzie!

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Loving the Llamas!

Here are three of the five (maybe more by now) llamas at the llama cottage in Mendocino. They are really friendly and love eating carrots and always come padding over to give visitors a breathy kiss. They are being saved and cared for by Mel and Sue of Little River Inn fame. I really love this spot and recommend it to any runners who want to have great views, great food and pretty good weather.

Llama Cottage, Mendocino

January in Sausalito

As has become a tradition, after losing my big brother for 22 years and then finding him one day in Anaheim, I go running with him every year in Sausalito. This is me having run forth and back over the Golden Gate Bridge which is one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring man made monuments in the world. We have a whole set of wonderful runs which we do every year and Al's always adding new ones and exploring the wonderful areas around Sausalito. Some of the most gorgeous views can be seen from the MPR, the Tennessee Valley, Fort Baker, the gauge run and the reservoirs on Mount Tamalpais, and simply the deck and prom through Sausalito itself. We also drive up north to Mendocino where we usually run the cliffs, the Pygmy Forest, the Jug Handle Reserve, the Van Damme Forest and the Montgomery Woods. We stay at the Llama Cottage and feed the llamas carrots. As Al is a vegetarian of sorts I usually give up my big red meat eating habits, which I learnt in Argentina, and buy all our food from the Real Food shop: fabulous fresh veggies, fruit and fish or chicken from Molly Stones. One big treat is take the ferry over to San Francisco (the CITY)to go to a show and have supper in the old downtown Tommy's Joint. I have a wonderful time every year and come home fit and ready to start the year.

Life in the Fast Freelance Lane

Well, I'd hoped to calm down at this end of the year after working non-stop since Feb.This year was my first freelance year and it was an experiment. I said I'd give myself a year and if it worked out I would not dedicate myself to one particular school again where I had begun to feel cooped up, restricted, even claustrophobic.I wanted to dedicate the rest of my teaching career to working with teachers and adolescents without having to deal with owners who want to run their place in a way which goes against my educational ideals. I also got fed up with putting out other people's fires and negative attitudes towards teenagers.
So here I am at the end of my first year and I'm going to use this space to write about my experiences as a novice freelancer.

13 th December 2006

As it's the end of the year in Argentina, I've decided to CHANGE HORSES and to start writing about " Life in the Fast Lane" which is how my life seems to have sorted itself out in Argentina, a country known to be laid back and easy going!

Thursday, 23 November 2006

Nov 23rd 2006

My recommendation: Mandela's history

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Sunday 19th November Getting started "On Racism"

I was intrigued to read today in the Buenos Aires Herald the article ( admittedly translated badly into English) that won the Ministry of Education /BAH competition " Journalists for a Day" where 1,500 schools took part. The article analysed the current state of Racism in Argentina today and attributed it to the thousands of poor immigrants who entered Argentina way back in the early 20th century looking for a better future for themselves and their families. Those same immigrants referred to in-country immigrants ( those poor natives who migrated from the provinces to the big cities) as "darkies" and treated them with contempt, maintaining the status quo of keeping the "niggers down".

We will read the article next class but before then I want you to post
1) your own ideas about racism, discrimination and the role of the ruling classes in Argentina today
2) the titles of any films you have seen or songs you have heard which deal with this topic
3) any news items you have read or seen this week which show racism in other parts of the world.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Glog or Global Issues Blog

This is a space for you to write your opinions about the Global issues we have been studying and any Global issues which come up now and in the future.

I define Global Issues as “an issue that affects, or has the potential to affect, a large number of people, animals, or the environment worldwide” and I would like you to explore these issues together with me as we develop this blog for our class at ITESL, province of Buenos Aires Argentina, starting in November 2006.


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Global Issues

Global Issues
RBT published by OUP