Summer garden, al fresco dining and a game or two

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A. USEFUL SUMMER GAMES
With long hot days ahead it is useful to have a collection of games that can be played in the garden by people of all ages.
They are especially useful when family or friends are visiting and can be fun and in some cases educational.

ACTIVE GAMES
The following are all possible without major space; darts, hoop-la, giant draughts or chess, skittles, bar-skittles, mini billiards, charades, the northern Spain game of frog, bar football, treasure hunts, horse shoe throwing, quoits, competitions for the funniest or best flower photos taken on mobile phones, shove half penny and the Dutch and Belgium game of sjoelbak.
Pétanque/boule with metal or plastic balls can be played on any grass, sand or stone chipping surface.
If you have the space and in some cases finance the following are also possible; a professional game of pétanque, tennis, badminton, basketball, cricket, golf driving or putting, a mini golf course with interesting handicaps, water polo for a boisterous group, mini football and touch rugby.

QUIETER GAMES
The following allow pairs or small groups to pass the time away competitively; rummikub, draughts, chess, various card games including the Spanish game of truc, rollick, dice, scrabble in English or Spanish,  dominoes, board games such  as snakes and ladders, Monopoly or the intriguing Chinese game of Mahjong, backgammon, poker, cribbage, whist and drawing competitions.

B. ALFRESCO COOKING
There are several ways beyond barbecues to cook interesting breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the garden.
• Many expats have or are mastering the ancient art of cooking good paellas and using the pan for cooking other rice dishes and fideuas, and also as a griddle for meats and fish.
Interestingly some Spaniards have never been totally successful in making a paella and often more copies of my book ‘Authentic Valencian Paellas’ in Spanish are sold than the English version.
• Although the Spanish government is planning to tax anyone producing electricity from solar panels this will obviously not apply to the use of parabolic solar cookers, unless they tax sunbathing as well.
• Many expats have started to cook with tagines brought back from holidays in Morocco. They are very versatile and are an easy way to steam a selection of vegetables.
•  Electric steamers and griddles can also be used rigged up on an extension lead.
With that space is running out so have fun and eat well this summer.

© Dick Handscombe www.garden spain.com
July 2015

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