Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Trouble In Mind.....

Running at about 25 degrees in the shade today but there is a welcome light breeze. Charlie thumped me on the nose at about 06:30 this morning, indicating his thoughts on the imminent sunrise and a desire to have a bit of cream, I think! I, being (marginally) more sensible than a cat, turned over, thanked him for his consideration, and promptly dropped back off to sleep until Jack, too, decided it was time for movement on my part at about 08:15.

The sun was just about breaking through the light mist covering the surrounding hills and the promise was, as ever, of another hot day ahead.  I missed the bread van this morning, mistaking his horn-blasts for that of one of the fishvans. I therefore walked Jack along to the small shop/supermarcado in the old square and bought some bits and bobs for lunch and for Jack's tucker.

On returning home, I went into the sitting room to find a pair of swallows swanning around the room, while one of their offspring sat, perkily perched on the railings overlooking the Calle outside. The parents became quite agitated by my presence; one flew off out of the open door through the Azotea while the other fluttered, hovering, and loudly called a warning to its kid that it should take to the wing and follow it off, away from the evil man (me) who was trying to find a camera to photograph it! So, taking mummy's advice, it took off and I missed the piccy. (No change there, then!) Nevertheless, it was an unexpected and pleasant treat!

I saw the first Bee Eater since arriving back here a few days ago. Although its colours were not as spectacular as usual (or so it seemed to me, viewing it from behind) it was a nice sight, perched on a telegraph wire a few miles outside the village. There's usually a huge flock of them together on these wires each early evening after they come down from feeding up on the hillsides above the village. They nest down in the valley and spend much of the day in the lower mountain slopes, returning home each evening about 19:00 or so. They really are the most spectacularly beautiful and striking birds:

A real touch of the exotic

The area is quite popular with bird watchers - there are some interesting species about: Bee Eaters; Golden Orioles; Hoopoes; Scops Owls; Nightingales; Golden Eagles in the higher hills. It is also popular with keen walkers. Much of its popularity can be traced to the best selling books of Chris Stewart http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Stewart_(author), who lives down towards Orgiva, a hippieish sort of town about thirty Kms to the South of us.

J pot-planted a load of Nicotiana seeds - with Hamish's help - some weeks ago when we were still in France.  Most have come up now, though some definitely need to be moved on and up, so to speak:

 They are lovely things when in bloom and have a rich, lingering aroma, as I recall from those we used to have in our garden in Herefordshire many moons ago. We have one pot with about six or seven plants which are all doing well and on the verge of bursting into flower:

Hamish is coming out with J on holiday in the last week or so of August, so he'll be pleased to see that his seed-planting efforts have come to fruition, I'm sure.

The Azotea (covered sort of terrace thingy) is wonderfully cool and tranquil. It has also proved a blessing for J and her house planty thingies, which are kept out there, directly off the sittingroom, in a pleasant shady but bright open terrace, out of reach of the baking sun: The Jasmine is rocketting away here, and has grown much since our arrival a few short weeks ago:

Ditto, the Lonicera (a name I know, though I know sod all about gardening!):

All in all, we're pleased we decided to have an Azotea built when we had the house renovated six or seven years ago. Originally, there was not one here but it seemed to us to be a worthwhile expense and addition:

There is a pair of House Sparrows nesting in the ceiling beams, and the racket the young 'uns make when feeding , and who must be about ready to take off, is extraordinary. Charlie sits below,  with those independently whirring, rotating cat ears, trying to figure out how he can get up to the beams and the potential feathery feast hidden behind them:

Bird shit shows nest site

The ceilings throughout the house are made in the same way, a traditional Alpujarranian style, from Chestnut beams. They are treated with a preservative, then lightly coated with a glaze mix based on the old Swedish favourite (ironically) of linseed oil and spirit. The end result is quite pleasing:

Sitting Room Ceiling Beams

Kitchen Ceiling Beams

The Beams being Chestnut means we have virtually no spiders in the house, which will no doubt please our daughter, LVP, when she visits in October. For some reason or other, she loathes them and flaps wildly whenever she spots one, and they apparently don't like chestnut much!  Me, I like them. They are genuinely interesting critters and generally of value, well worth having around!

Dorin, our Romanian friend, has yet to turn up with a Sat dish. So, again, I'm hoping for the best.

 I heard some English today in the little local shop. A couple, whom I've never before seen, were debating what to buy from its decidedly limited stocks. They seemed surprised when I responded to their greetings in English and then turned to address the shopkeeper in passable Spanish - though I do say it myself!  I must admit that each day I graze on a Spanish text book I borrowed from a friend in London before moving down here. And I'm coming to remember some of the stuff I learned way back when I attended a Spanish conversation course class in Newport, Gwent, over the course of  a few years, when I worked in the town as a lawyer. So I feel quietly (fatally) confident that as time passes, I'll recall more and more and my comprehension and spoken skills will improve. They couldn't get much worse, in other words!

Adios......or should that be, Hasta Luego!


  1. :0) thats a really pretty bird!..much more colourful than the ones we see down here!! and I love those beams!..now to try and convince hubby to fill the house with chesnut to rid the house of creepy crawlies ;0) xx

  2. The azotea looks ideal-surprised there wasn't one already.
    Lonicera-thats the Honeysuckle family is it not?