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Well the past few weeks have been quite entertaining one way and another.   To start with there was Sam who’s job it was to stalk my wife while she was in the garden. Then came Boris Blackbird, a selection of blue and great tits, the black caps, Bobbin Robin, Inspector Thrush and the rest of the gang.  So I have decided to introduce them to you and the ones I have no pictures of are being stalked……

 

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I will start with the newest member Sam.  Sam is a Black Redstart identified by my friend @KierstienRowlands who has unwittingly given my wife and Sam hours of fun with the RSPB birds finder.  She sits in the FF Zone playing the bird calls and when she puts the black redstart on there Sam goes potty thinks he’s got competition.

 

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Next we have “The Gang”  Bobbin, Boris, Dangerous Dan, Elsie and the rest.  I have decided to start keeping an account of the characters up here, they are both entertaining and fascinating.  You never know what you will find when you step out of the door in the mornings or see during the day and evening.   They all congregate around the water bar and still shout and holler when the tank needs filling.  Although if my wife got hold of a few they would have smacked bottoms  digging in her garden is a real no no lol.   Mind you they just stand and look at her so I really don’t think they need worry, however Hunny Bunny might just have a problem.  Wife planted a new rose-bush  two days later one side of the bush had been dug away.  The roots were fine who had done it?  Early next morning we saw the culprit a small rabbit nestled in the dip, needless to say the dips filled in and the bunny sits under one of the water cubes.

This is one of the reasons we love this farm, snakes and all, oh when I was up the top terrace I saw one sunbathing, and no wife was in doors wrapped up she has the flu.  I have been trying to get a tree next to the house to ‘fall down’.  We are not allowed to cut them down but if they fall down ie., still attached to the roots that’s ok, even when making a fire break. So I have cleared the slope of scrub exposed the roots in places and the wind has been howling and blowing a hooley up here – the tree?  still standing!  Mind you if it falls sods law says it will fall across the washing line………..

The bulbs are out in the garden and after the cold its nice to see some colour.  Anemones, crocus, hyacinths, violas, violets, with the tulips, freesias, and dwarf iris out it’s quite a show. the only problem I have just now is that when I am working on the olive trees I come across piggy/goat prints in the ground (not always sure which is which).  But I don’t know where to place the camera on the tree I am currently clearing or the next one along little devils are camera-shy so I have to be crafty.

©  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3A4E1C57 (640x387)[1]We had SNOW!!!  as you can see not as much as the rest of Catalunia but it snowed.  I will admit that this picture is not from last week but because of the weather the signal kept breaking and when I tried to down load the pictures they ‘got lost’, nothing new there….    Anyway it was sunny so I decided that what we needed was a trip out to the coast for a cuppa. So Sunday afternoon we set off towards Ametlla, a little fishing port, only to find when we got there that it was blowing a hooly and everybody had gone indoors.  No bars were open and when we walked round the harbour we both wondered who suggested the trip lol.

So we decided to go to the next town for a coffee, guess what that was shut and the wind was getting worse so erring on the side of caution we decided to head for home via the mountains. Ummm not sure it was the best choice, the scenery was fantastic but as we climbed towards the pass the wind was gusting and the snow looked frozen.  It was freezing up there and we could see where they had gritted so we kept an eye on the pass in case of ice.  My wife was never so pleased as when we started down the other side, when we reached town we called in at Ramon’s bar for hot chocolate and coffee then went home to snuggle up in the warm.

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Meet my wifes stalker, cheeky little sod but rather tame. I first noticed him following her round the olive tree as she weeded the garden, he was obviously looking for food but it looked so funny to see him playing hide and seek with her as she was totally unaware of his presence. She has named him ‘Stalker Sam’ as he has made a nest up under the eve’s of the little house and sits outside the kitchen window watching to see if she is going gardening.  We would be interested to know what he is, although he looks like a robin he has none of the markings anybody help out?  I have attached his water adventure photos:

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Wife is sitting in ‘ff’zone having  a coffee when Sam turns up perches on the watering can and starts tapping away.  The more he taps the more she ignores him but gets her camera. Next thing she knows he’s fallen in the watering can so she fishes out a soggy bird berating him for being so stupid.  Now she has a garden ‘helper’ when I walked round to the rhubarb patch the other day there they were wife weeding Sam by her knee looking for grubs etc., So if anybody can tell me what he is we would be grateful as we like to keep a tally of the different birds up here.

Now one of the things we really need up here in summer are Bats, insect-eating tiny bats.   We are going to see if we can get some bat houses installed in various places in the hope that along with the sand martins they will help keep the ‘black biters’  down, one thing is for sure they will get very fat up here.

One of the things we have noticed is that the forest dwellers are camera canny.  We have cameras around the place but only see signs of where someone has been in places they are not.  Rabbits, boar and, we suspect, goats have left their prints in various places but as is their want NOT where the cameras are.  We will keep trying and one day have some photos to show you.

©  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

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Well it has been a long long time since I last wrote quite bit to catch up on so here goes with the first instalment. First though  HAPPY NEW YEAR PEEPS.

2014 had been a scrappy year what with one thing and another and my major visit to the doctor in the UK looked like finishing it off in the same style.  However I have a good doctor and when he told me I had diabetes 2 he suggested that all the travelling stressed me out and affected everything and that it might be better to find a doctor over here.  So after Xmas I visited the pharmacy over here (they are trained doctors) had a diabetic test and everything was ok  NO DIABETES 2!!!!    So that was the first thing to please me.

Next came the new car.  We have had our old one for years and the rattles were getting louder and louder so that you heard us coming before you saw us.  The trip to the UK was the last she made we treated ourselves to a new one – which was on the cards for our 50th anniversary in December this year – an year early anniversary/xmas pressie.  Its warm, quiet and more importantly comfy for us oldies (as well as being mas baratt) lol.

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I don’t suppose you remember the time we won the Christmas Raffle, but ever since we have been here Ramon has made us welcome and we look on him and Eleanor as our friends who we share our petanca triumphs and where we go to enjoy typical Catalan food.   Normally we do not do anything for new years eve but this year we decided to join Ramon and others for just that.  The food was excellent, company was great and we were having so much fun making noise and laughing that the clock had chimed three times before we realised the new year was upon us.   Then being the only English there we sang old Lang sign then listened as it was sung in Catalan a wonderful end to an excellent evening.

 

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Then yesterday I had a nice surprise my books are selling in Germany, if the year keeps this up it should be a good one.

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One of the things that has been over looked is the olive harvest.  They do not start pressing the olives until the second week of November and that is usually when we are travelling so I have started on the pruning of the trees to bring them back on line for this autumn in the hope that we can pick the olives and have our own oil again.  Some of the trees are over 700 years old and one or two – so we are told – are 1000 years old.

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Talking of which the annual Olive Oil fira in Mora l’Nova is on soon so that’s one breakfast we will be going to. The olive oil on sale is something else, really nice for the table.

Ok that’s the first one done. Lots more to tell you but that will come later with – I hope – the picture of the flat bott badger……..

©  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was looking around various sites and found that Google had placed one of my books An East-end Boy in with the Pet Shop Boy’s listings. I have no objection to that except that my book is nothing like their song.  It’s as the East-end was just after the war with gangs, murder, corrupt police (some things don’t change) prostitution and general criminal goings on with Stanley Saunders at its centre.

It is both surprising and interesting how linking works, especially when my book is linked into a famous pop groups listing.   I am now busy searching for my other titles lol.  Just a thought boys, how about a song about Stanley? now that WOULD be something.

From one old East-end boy (E17) – Good old Google I wonder who they will link to my other books???

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

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Well its nearly a month since I last wrote the news, needless to say a few things have happened so I will start with us oldies.

A Touch of Food Poisoning!!!

As I might have told you, we have been under the weather with the flu, and as it was pointed out to me yesterday it is around a month since I was last out and about. Oh I know we have been here and there for the odd bit but I am talking a full day.  So as it was raining (more on that later) and we were feeling a lot better, I decided that a trip to Tarragona for a mooch round was on the cards.  We set off around 11ish arriving in the city before midday and having parked in the underground car park  wandered up top to find it was market day so one happy lady had a mooch round whilst I went to the bank – can’t eat without money.

But before we ate we wandered round some of the side streets where little shops were tucked away alongside small supermarkets, as we made our way towards the sea.  You can’t actually get to the sea from this part of town but we had a scenic view of the port, railway station and beach beyond.  Even though it had been raining and the sun was now out the day was turning pleasant.

Then the wife decided she was hungry so we wandered round till we found a bar that looked ok and went in.  It appeared clean but there weren’t many people there, we should have known.  We both decided on spaghetti bolognaise followed by French fries with thin slices of chicken and a cream pudding with cream.  so far so good, but this morning my wife could hardly stand without being dizzy and I just didn’t want to get up, neither of us are feeling well just now, so don’t think we will be going there again  no wonder it was tucked down a side street, UGH….

So now to the rest of the events which I must warn you will dissolve into a ramble:

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The forest has been fairly quiet during the day the birds are back in the singing tree calling for mates, and I have threatened the cawing Magpies with a shotgun I do not have, but as they don’t wait around to find that out, the threat works.  At night however the toads are singing their hearts out so it must be mating time, add to this the owls hooting away or screeching – we have both up here – it is not exactly quiet, but sitting out in the FF zone watching the stars with a cuppa makes up for everything.  Then early the other morning my wife heard what she thought were stones falling however no walls were down but she did spy two small boar going up the slope and their piggy prints were round the water bar so we know they visited.  However, when I went for a stroll round I found that an old pot I had placed on the wall near the BBQ had been knocked down so we assume this was the noise she heard and it was probably an owl, definitely need a camera there.  Last night we were enjoying a Sunday evening of tv when there was such a noise outside as though something had fallen from the roof.  Up we got looked around but could see nothing, the generator house was ok, as was the roof of the little house, and other things we looked at no idea what it was.  This morning I was up and about early looking at the mesa to see if part of that had fallen but all seemed in tact, so rumblings in the forest……..

 

Gardening Forest Style

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Now for the garden. My wife has finished the first part of another rose garden and planted some violas she bought when we were in one of the local markets. She also bought me two variegated shrubs which I have planted round the side of the house near the lilac tree, here they get both shade and sun and some protection from frost. did not quite work out and it became – after loosing a wall – the wood shed.

Some time ago I decided to build an above ground ‘balsa’ to hold the water but it didn’t work so minus one wall it has become the wood shed.  as you can see I had built some blocks into the wall which stuck out the idea being they would be for pots and perhaps make the blank wall look colourful. Then we decided to make a garden in front of it so I planted the Yuccas there to hide the wall with a lemon geranium in the middle and in between these ground covering violets – we have lots of them – and two plants that have white bell-shaped flowers and self seed by shooting their seeds out. We have just finished building the small stone wall to protect it from the car, tractor etc.

 

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Since it’s rained the bulbs are coming up and this morning we discovered the saffron crocus are well on the way plus one early one gave us the first saffron of the year which is now in the drying tray.  The bed my wife planted is now covered in blue saffron crocus and has provided us with a good crop and there are still more to come paellas will be tasty next year.  The butternuts are doing well but nearing the end of the crop, however we have plenty to go till next year.  The beans are going along nicely but the potatoes didn’t amount to anything but there are onions down there.  The wild rose that grows in front of the septic tank is strong and healthy, and the other roses in the garden are not only recovering from the wasp attacks but grown new leaves and are in bud.  Violets are out and the anemones my wife planted are above the ground along with the other bulbs. As I have said before the seasons here are totally different to the UK.

I have also replanted the strawberries so that they are spread out more and they are not only flowering but have fruit on them.  I am getting on well with taking the top off the old cisterna the earth is being used to give some depth of soil to the new gardens and the stones to make the walls.   As I am writing someone is attacking the olive tree shoots with the secateurs, not liking the sound of this as it usually means something else is being planned ie., more garden walls……

Then one evening I had a call from our Petanca President asking if we were ok as no one had seen us since the BBQ.  So after explaining about our flu he suggested we went along on Saturday for a few games and supper, so I accepted after all what better way to spend a Saturday than playing petanca with friends and then enjoying a typical evening meal, neither of us can think of one.   We arrived around 3.30pm to find everyone there and that a few like us had been suffering.  Then we spent an afternoon in the sun after which we all sat down to eat.  Fresh bread, tomato’s, sliced dried ham, olive oil, olives and crisps.  What you do is this: First you cut the tomato in half, then you rub it over a slice of bread, next drizzle olive oil over that then place slices of ham on top eat and come again yummmmm.   After that we had hazel nuts with wafer biscuits filled with hazelnut cream, and coffee.   Along with the meal was a very decent red wine (see our wine blogs asoldierswind.wordpress.com) Pepsi and water.

So that I think will do for this new,  Tuesday the 21st of October was our birthday and we had one of our outings, so that and the Agricola Fira  will be for the next one.

© Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

Pass The Buck!

Pass The Buck!.

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This is a mixed news letter, firstly I’ll deal with us.  We have the flu!  Not such a big deal you might think but when I literally cannot stop sneezing and have pulled my ribs doing so it is not good.  So my wife went into town two days ago and got some antibiotics for me and some cough medicine for herself.  It has been two old sods shuffling around looking after each other living off cups of tea, as neither of us were hungry.   Today we are feeling a little better and that’s all I’ll say about that.  So to the real news.

 

 

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Well I know that summer is officially over. The other morning we were woken by the “where’s our water”tweeting of the blue tits who have just returned.   Peace up here is no more. So it was no surprise when we were having coffee to see a bird hovering over the water bar before flying into the tree.  He did this several times before actually landing and taking a bath.  It was then I saw the crest Dangerous Dan had returned as bossy as ever now the only one missing is Bobbin Robin. Boris never left us but in the summer when the weather is really hot he along with most of the others take to the shade of the forest.  They are not currying favours with my wife just now as she was sitting outside in the ff zone listening to the olives dropping off the tree onto her garden, when I heard a shout of “Oi you little sods stop that!”  I went to investigate and she said that Dan along with Elsie and the others were picking the olives off the tree and dropping them on her garden. Well, how I stopped from laughing I don’t’ know, but as I watched they continued to do it.  Now we are picking the olives out of the garden and putting them aside for the birds in winter.

 

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The butterflies are out and some are really large, brownish in colour with striking markings they flutter by potted plants next to the fly free zone (FFZ) looking for water whilst on the netting of the FFZ preying mantis and large grasshoppers lurk it is becoming a regular little restaurant for them.

 

 

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This is the garden wall that the pigs knocked over one night.  The bit in front of the water bottles is made up of heavy stones, well rocks actually, so it was no mean feat to knock it over.  We never heard a thing so I MUST GET A CAMERA….   It is made from the same stone my wife used to build the wall of the tree garden which looks really good.   Yes that is an old loo sitting on the end  she planted a lemon scented geranium in it to turn it into an unusual planter.   The roses in the photograph are looking a little rough but most of this is due to the wasps who have been munching on the leaves to make their nests. Although she has sprayed them nothing seems to work  has anybody any ideas?   The bush in front is dead, I think, and she would like a few more in there so come December I shall be rose hunting nice xmas pressie.

 

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This is our Fly Free Zone nothing elaborate just a simple covered place we can sit away from the biting flies which can give you a nasty bite.   It is also the place where I write and we sit in the evenings watching the birds and animals that come by. Because the netting is dark they cannot see us here as long as we are still.  The other week we were watching and a small rat wandered by.  Not one of the large town ones but just as scary.  Every farm has one or two and now we know we have one as well, mind you how long it lasts up here will depend on how fast it can run.  Birds of prey and snakes are its biggest problem.

 

Ok that’s it for now, more news next week.

 

(C) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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