J is back in UK on her final sortie. She won't be back out here until she retires on December 20th, and flies out from London City Airport - a most pleasant airport (for a change) and one we got to know and used often when SAS ran smallish-sized planes up to Stockholm - on December 21st.
One of our neighbours - Maria and her husband Juan - have been away for about eight or nine days. This is virtually unprecedented, we think. They have Hens and Campo/land, so don't usually stray far from home. Their son is a National Park Ranger and he went too. Which meant that the local stray/feral cat population went largely hungry. Maria chucks out nosh for them every day. The cats were, of course, puzzled by her absence. Each day they'd gather in their usual spot alongside the Fuente/fountain and her house, whinnying loudly and inconsolably....until.....
Until I took pity on them and began feeding them too. This was greatly appreciated. Within a few days, they'd come rushing to meet me whenever I stepped from the house and coming perilously close to tripping me up, would waltz under my feet mewing raucously until fed:
There are some really striking kittens among them: the little marmalade kitten is particularly fiesty and growls aggressively when eating and hisses at me until I offer it grub. There's also a group of mother and kittens that are clearly siblings of varying ages and from various litters. They are gorgeous things with a delightful and unusual creamy-white, mottled appearance with blue eyes. There are also a couple of Siamese types kept by another near neighbour and it looks like some of their genes have escaped and mingled with the feral pool at some time in the recentish past.
I have one favourite, a small thing with unusual markings that I'm thinking of capturing and domesticating. Only problem is, I don't know how Charlie might take to such a move; and he was - and remains - a difficult enough cat to domesticate in the first place, having been a Swedish feral.
Here's the little one, I'm interested in:
I call her - I think it's a queen - Rocky; J prefers to call her Panda
Many of the cats live in a nearby stable with the local Mules, so are warm, dry and relatively comfortable, as far as I can tell. There is one guy - I call him John Wayne because of his dark clothes, hat and cigarillos - who keeps a proprietorial eye on them all too, but he doesn't seem to take ownership to the extent of feeding them responsibly. And, being Spanish, he would certainly never think of having any of them neutered, of course. It's a rather sad cycle of kittendom for the poor feral females here.
Yesterday, as I went to feed them, I unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on taste) trod on this huge, olive-green, winged buggy-thing. I've no idea what it was but it was big, about 3 inches long:
And to cap it all, last week I found this spider in the bedroom:
I killed this one, something I never normally do with spiders. They're far too useful and pose no threat normally. But...this one looked altogether just too much like a Black Widow from where I was. They are around here in the campo, so I decided to play it safe rather than be sorry and possibly suffer an unpleasant bite in the night!
With Autumn colour now evident, the last of the fruits are still ripening on the trees. Persimmons, huge and brightly coloured. Not too sure what to do with 'em, but they're readily available and free, so must be worth a go:
I'm off to London and Kent for a week or so, leaving on the 17th. Our French friend, Patrick, is also flying over for a few days, so we'll all meet up again. We've managed to find a few gigs to attend in London, so I'm looking forward to some decent live music and also to meeting up with my brother who, though now retired, keeps his hand in by running the Chelsea FC TV channel so visits the Capital on a fairly regular basis.
Patrick was indeed so taken by the area here that he has taken a long-term rental of a flat in the neighbouring village of Yegen. He's coming down at the beginning of the New Year, much to our surprise, and has rented the place from Brit friends who have, ironically, boogered off to live in the Gers, in SW France!