Today is St Georges Day, both here and in the UK. St George is England’s patron Saint although you would not know it, he is also Catalonia’s Saint and this is where the difference can be seen. In England the 23rd of March usually passes without a notice let alone a mention of tv, which basically says a lot about the Church of England and Government.
The Church of England for what ever reason does not actively encourage the people to remember their own Saint. Perhaps they are more concerned with offending others, why I cannot say but there is no big mention like there is on St Davids day. As for the Government well, we could have a National Saints Day if only to prove we are English and England is our country, but I doubt if any of them are THAT patriotic.
However here St George is celebrated in true style. Today is the day when the men give the women they love a red rose and the women give the men a book. It actually says quite a lot about tradition and pride in your country. The rose which was blooming and white was drenched in the dragons blood when George gave it to the fair maiden he had saved hence the red rose. The book for St George was, I presume, a token of gratitude which like the book and in all true traditions became a token of love. There is also a tradition of giving a yellow rose to friends so it is possible for everyone to get a rose.
As for me well my wife has her garden of roses she writes poems and I write books. Our hallway has a book case and I don’t want another book but I expect I will buy her another rose. We have the red rose of love, the yellow rose of friendship, the white rose of purity and several shades in between. I have what I want we have been married for 49 years this year ups and downs like everyone else so I think the rose garden covers everything oh yes and there is a Peace rose in there I can tell it by its perfume and colour they were bought to celebrate peace.
Happy Saint Georges Day Everyone
© Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged catalunia, church of England, dragons, england, flowers, gardening, government, horticultural, roses, saints, spain, st george, traditions | Leave a Comment »
My garden in the forest is so different from my garden in England. For a start England has a fairly – not including the past year – steady rain fall and sunny days. Where as here we have heat and very little rain so everything I grow has to be drought tolerant. I will explain a few things so you can understand what I am talking about. This is the track that runs from the river Ebro through the forest across our land and on up to the ridge. As you can see it is dry and dusty nothing like the forests in the UK which are green and cool. Our olive farm is off to either side of part of it surrounded by forest where in summer the ground dries to rock hard and is very very stony. But in the winter from October to May our growing season means we get the rains and the ground is workable. However we do not grow much of our own veg because of the water situation, but we have set up a system which allows me to grow butternuts and tomatoes. So I have found that bulbs, roses and lavender along with a few others grow here quite well.
We do not have agricol water here as we are too far from a) the river and b) the pumping station so we keep the garden water in cubes and go to the river to fill them up. These pictures are not recent as I have been gradually changing the garden they have now been moved to the next level which makes both filling and watering the garden a lot easier.
However what can be found here is worth every hour spent weeding and a walk along the track will produce plants and flowers you can only wonder how they get there. There are actually wild Iris here which grow without a lot of water, then very small Daffodils which have every type of trumpet you can get the large ones in. Add to these wild Grape Hyacinths which grow in the most stupid places such as paths, Honeysuckle and Jasmine, and these are only the start. To give you an idea of what I mean will post pictures of the wild flowers as well as my garden ones, and will start with these oddities.
The first time I saw them I thought I was looking at small fir cones and went to pick them up only to find they were firmly attached to the ground and plants. They produce feather like seeds from their tops eventually opening up to release them like dandelions. I am not sure what they are called so if anyone knows I would be grateful.
This is a plant I call the ‘Carrot Plant’ on account of its leaves being like the tops of carrots, and like most of the unusual plants it is everywhere. There are more like these which makes the forest very interesting.
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged flowers, forests, gardening, gardens, plants, trees, wild flowers | Leave a Comment »
It is a while since I visited the Co-operativa in Batea, so once my life had returned to normal I contacted Judith and heard they had a new wine. This was a must visit so I hitched up the ‘Wine Wagon’ and on Wednesday morning headed off into the high country. The day was fine and warm which for this time of year was a plus. although there was a gusting wind which made driving through the mountainous terrain interesting. The drive took me past the pink hue that are the peach and nectarine groves heralding the coming of spring whilst here and there farmers were doing some late pruning. Although they were all wearing jackets I was quite sure they were pleased that the sun was out even if it was a little windy. I arrived in Bata around 11ish and went to meet Judith in the showroom.
This Co-operativa is an ever evolving entity, a place where new ideas are born and sure enough when I entered the bright and spacious showroom I found bath products such as Garnatxa bath oil and Cabernet Sauvignon soap for sale. This is something that I find interesting as it is a new way of presenting the various varieties of grape to people and I rather fancy a Sauvignon shower. But these were not what I had come to see.
Ranged along one wall are the various wines and liqueurs that are produced and sold here in Terra Alta plus the odd bottle of Cava from Penedes. Sitting on a shelf near the new wine was something that no kitchen or cook should be without – Ranci. Here it is used in cooking by the older generation to add flavour to dishes and has a warmth and bite that reminded me of “cooking sherry” a perfectly pleasant drink just don’t let the cook near it.
But this is the new comer, the wine I had come to see the ECOLÒGIC. There are three wines in this collection one white and two reds. First to arrive on the shelf is the white. This is a pale yellow which if held against a white napkin gives a soft slightly lemony hue, with a hint of violets but certainly you can sense wild herbs on the palate. But this wine has a flavour of something which is just out of reach but oh so familiar, almost as if it’s teasing you to pin the ‘something’ down. It certainly made my palate want more if only to do just that, this is definitely a wine for summer and is certainly on my list.
However the reds are to follow. Because of their time in the barrels the first Tinto not due till April, with the last due later in the year after spending around 12 months in the oak barrels. To explain this Judith took me to the barrel room.
So I will explain the blend. The barrels on the left contain white wine which is blended with the red in the barrels on the right to produce the Ecologic reds. The first red to arrive spends 3 months in the barrel and is blended with white wine from the Garnatxa white around 10% to three barrels of red. The Other red which will be a slightly deeper colour is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon at 10% to four barrels which gives it its distinct flavour.
The White is particularly good so I am looking forward to the red later this month. Judith also informed me that they only use the oak barrels for around two years then these are off to make brandy, or perhaps somewhere to sit, sip and contemplate the art of wine making.
© Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Our Life, Wine Book | Tagged alcohol, bath products, books, catalunia, cellers, mountains, soap, vines, vineyards, weather, wine | Leave a Comment »
Hi my names Gilda and if I’m looking cheesed off then that is exactly what I am. I mean how would you like it if you were out for an evening and ended up down a hole then had to wait till morning to be hauled out. Oh you have done the same, hurts the old feet when you land doesn’t it not to mention how cold you get. Still I found a soft comfy thing to hide under till the human got me out, then I was able to make a dignified retreat after the photo’s of course.
The human found me in the hole but didn’t want to pick me up as he thought it might not be safe, so he placed this flat thing on the ground and gently nudged me on to it. Next thing I know I’m going up in the air never been in a lift before, then he set me down so I could crawl – I was too shattered to hop – off somewhere safe.
Just as I’m getting warm and back on firm ground I come face to face with the female from the Forest News, so I had to tell my story and pose for photographs. I have to admit I was a little peeved as all I wanted to do was find somewhere quiet get warm and recover after my ordeal. Anyway I finally had enough and walked away, but my ordeal was not quite over.
I found there was a piece of wood in my way first I thought I could hide under it but there was not enough room so I ended up having to climb over it, not an ideal thing for one in my position. But at last I was able to see the wall where I lived and got home safe and sound. But I tell you this I shall not be going near that hole again, it was a very long way down. Now I hear you asking what was I doing near the hole in the first place. Well I was on my way across the garden and it was just there, mind you I am not the only one to fall in. My Cousin Bert did the same last night only being smaller and younger he was a bit more active than I was so the man had a job getting him out but finally he was safely on his way to the forest. I don’t know what the hole is for but I will be glad when it’s filled in. Life here is nothing if not exciting. rivet rivet….
Oh by the way THIS is the hole and the human who got me out…………………………
© Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged amphibians, construction, cooking, forests, frogs, plumbing, toads, water | Leave a Comment »
Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Meet New (to me) Authors Blog:
(My little furry Otter friend Ailsa, being the consummate writer that she is, sent me this article to share with you, your friends, fans, publishers, readers and the world – please feel free to Tweet, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, email and re-blog it as much as you like – TSRA)
Hello darling Ape, Ook to Ape-mates, orangs, chimps and smaller varieties. Let’s play a game. Which part of the body would people in the following careers insure for the most amount of money? OK? Dancer, footballer, painter, pianist, wine expert, actor, get the idea? Bet you got them all legs, feet, eyes, hands, mouth, voice…all good answers but I have bad news for all of them. There is a little machine that drives every one of those parts and if that is damaged you are stuffed anyway. It’s called a brain. Yes, OK, person at the back, we do have…
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Well they say good things come in three’s and yesterday was no exception. The first came when I opened up my mail and found a note from Kindle I can afford to buy a coffee this week.
The second? well that was an important discovery or a problem depending on which way it’s looked at. Yesterday it rained! not heavy but just enough to water the plants, dampen the ground and make my wall building go in fits and starts. Anyway, there I was standing in the kitchen looking out at the forest past the ‘Little House’ when a movement caught my eye. I was sure I had seen a bird or something go into the wall (hence could be problem), so I stood there cuppa in hand and waited. Yes sure enough it was a bird. Not just any bird, but Dangerous Dan McGrew punk crest included, now I know spring has arrived. As I watched I began to define him and Mrs McG as they came and went to the nest. Every now and then Dan would perch on the wire that leads to the wind genny look around then fly to the wall so all that could be seen was his backside.
So I called my wife, she was so excited that Dan had ‘moved in next door’ that out came the camera and these pictures are the result. I know they are a little hazy but they were taken from the kitchen through the anti Sid netting so all in all not bad. Mind you, she is convinced that Dan is camera-shy as there seem to be more of Mrs McG. We are not sure whether because of being busy they are building or there are chicks as it looks like there’s a worm in her beak.
Now it has taken her a while but at last we think this ia a picture of Dan and we are hoping that this will be a regular yearly occurrence. So once the winter comes again I will have to make sure that the back wall is in good condition and not being invaded by the bird developers.
As for the ‘Wall Walker’ we have not as yet seen him, but I have seen that Hissing Sid. I was going out to start my building the other day and there he was as bold as brass sunbathing in front of the flowerpots by the front door. Now normally I say ‘live and let live’ but an adder is an adder and he has had a bite at my wife plus he was too close to the house for comfort and safety. So I picked up a length of metal and went to ‘see him off’, but he must have sensed me coming and whizzed off, nasty little git. He has obviously forgotten his agreement with the gang – to stay in the forest not near the house or else…- really must have a word with Bobbin about it.
Living here has its good and bad sides Sid and the odd scorpion are the bad side Bobbin, Dan, Boris and the rest are the good side. Add to that the views from the windows and patio and well its a writers paradise.
And this picture? well that’s another story. Oh and I almost forgot the third thing that happened was Vincent Dignan has placed me on his list of superb-authors.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged birding, building, catalunia, ecology, farming, forest dwellers, forest life, wild birds, wild life | Leave a Comment »