In the Beginning
As you can see from this photograph this was how the back-garden looked a few years ago. We were just getting sorted out and when it rained the earth would wash up against the wall making it damp. So we laid a path and patio and stood the water cubes there to catch the rain water. It worked well for a while but when the drought set in and the forest nearly caught fire I decided that we needed a larger cisterna. Now we couldn’t go up so we went down to bedrock and started from there. The poles you see here determined the construction as one windy day the whole lot blew down falling on Carol’s roses and taking the ‘false apple’ vine with it. So after tidying things up and replanting the roses – unfortunately we lost one or two – I got busy.
Got a digger to dig out the hole then had steel delivered along with gravel/sand and cement and off we went. I laid the floor first then started on the sides. I did the mixing and the wife was down the hole building up the walls. It took us a few weeks to do as we had to go slow but eventually we were at the top and ready for the beagers and pots. Once delivered and in place a last few mixes of concrete and job done. To get someone to do exactly the same thing would have been around 10,000 Euros.
Washing Line and Garden
When I started this blog it was into winter and neither of us were fit enough to finish it. HOWEVER, it’s now March sun’s out forest and garden are looking good and we are feeling very get up and go up here. So after looking at the damage the winter had done to certain plants Carol went plant shopping. We now have two new lavenders and the lavender patch is beginning to look as it should. The weeds took over during the winter when we could not get out, so the past few days have been weeding and tidying up days. The feel of the sun on our backs is doing us the world of good. I have taken some photographs of before and after, not all the beds have been finished but we are in no rush.
This is the side walled garden before and after. It was full of weeds and dead plants that the frost had damaged, so Carol weeded then planted some violets at this end where the dead plant was, but before that she covered and dug in some of the olive mush and ash mixture to give the ground some goodness.
The next one was end bed in front of the shed facing the house. As you can see it was really bad but after some diligent weeding and another good dose of the mix the red-hot pokers and lavender now have space to grow.
This small walled bed forms the other wall of the rose garden and is just waiting for its ‘mix’ to be added. This is the first year the Hyacinth’ s have been in their own bed although small they all flowered and for a few days the perfume was wonderful. This is the sight I look at from my desk, and the washing line of course.
Next was the small patio in front of the bedroom as you can see it was a bit of a mess but after a good sweep and re positioning of the stones replacing some gravel all is back to normal – except that the wind blew just as this photo was being taken can’t tell you what a certain lady said…..
So this is just a few photos of where we are with the garden. However Carol has told me about your photos this spring and how it is difficult to explain the variety of wild ones we have so in ‘Part Two’ of this blog I am posting just photos of them.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged birds, boats, farming, flowers, forestry, gardening, gardens, spain, trees, wild animals | Leave a Comment »
I love this sculpture says it all
Humour is a necessity when you are not feeling on top of the world. The ability to laugh is, to us, a must when we are not werry well. So after a horrendous night I sort of plodded through to the kitchen where I could hear the fire being lit and the kettle on Michael was making breakfast. As the morning wore on I began feeling better got up, dressed, and wandered to the desk. After the ‘hows yous’ we were laughing at the thought of us, many years ago, out in a rain storm searching for roof tiles then fixing a leaky roof. We couldn’t do that now we said staring out of the kitchen window lost in memories, and for a few moments we were back in adventure land being silly billies then I coughed….
The one thing about our life here is that we have had to source everything we need including those roofing tiles, but at least there were some spare to hand. So what other daft things have we done? Well although you can’t see the roof very well, but halfway along the wall was an open chimney which would let rain and other things in, so Michael dismantled it covered the hole and replaced the tiles. So imagine a really wet day rain coming down in stair-rods, and a leaking roof right where the old chimney had been. We could not let it go as water was beginning to form a damp patch on the floor. so out we went thick coats on Michael got a ladder and found the tiles were loose in fact one or two were missing. so we had to go tile hunting. Once they were found it was a case of placing them over the gaps weighting them down with a stone or two (yep the wind is that strong up here) at the end of which two soaking wet people went in and got warm and dry (we had a gas fire). Next day we mixed some cement and Michael made sure every gap was sealed. Memories…..
Christmas Fairs and Me and Barcelona
In early December we went to the Christmas fair in Tivissa, and guess what I found so I just HAD to have my photo taken with them (can’t get anything like this with Spurs). After this we went on wandering round looking at the various stalls until we met one of our Petanca friends who directed us to the church. Not sure what we would find we went in and joined parents and other towns folk who were there to hear the choir and orchestra perform Christmas songs and carols – we spent a wonderful 2 hrs there.
Then on the Saturday we went to Mora La’Nova where we saw the children giving the their letters to the king and his helpers, (their version of Santa) and having their photo’s taken. The que to do this ran halfway round the hall.
The Moors were in this part of Spain for ages until El Cid drove them out but their influence remains and so do the fiestas. Not only do we celebrate the 25th December but the festivities go on till the 6th January. Christmas day is the religious festival but on the night of the 5th that’s when presents are given as that is the time when the three Kings visited Jesus. Now this means we get two Christmases with New Year in the middle NOW HOW COOL IS THAT????
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged books, choirs, football, gardening, music, sex, singing, Spurs football club, weather | Leave a Comment »
A Catch up from December 18th 2016
Yesterday saw us celebrating our 51st year of marriage, a long time these days. Unfortunately what with our colds back again and very dodgy weather forecast we didn’t get to have a meal out as planned, but we did get to the seaside and have coffee and cheesecake after a walk along the beach watching the surf being pushed in and admiring the sand sculptures before they were damaged by the weather.
Our pressies to each other were our normal style Michael bought me an artisan necklace in a amber colour (that’s it gift wrapped) He wanted a new torch and stuff which I bought him a few days ago, so we were well chuffed with ourselves. Oh and when we were in Tarragona yesterday Bauhouse was open and as is our want we went in and guess what we treated ourselves to as a Christmas pressie??? A WHEELBARROW!! just what we needed.. So here’s how our weekend went:-
Weather and Worthogs!!
We have seen a lot of really bad weather down south and just above us but according to the weather men it was our turn for some on Monday. Now we had a small dilemma, should we go to dinner in the evening at the coast or go shopping thus ensuring we were indoors on Monday. Logic and shopping won so Saturday saw us in town at the supermarket getting our usual Monday stuff so that IF the rain that was promised arrived it could do its worst and we would not need to go out. We were also kind of whacked plus neither of us wanted to drive across the mountains not be able to have a drink then drive back again. So we headed for home and just as we were turning into the forest we saw him. A WARTHOG!!!!! short body slightly lower at the back-end with a shaggy mane and boy did he go. Now I know there are lots of animals up here we have not seen but he was a real surprise, could be the little sod that been digging my bulbs up.
Christmas came and went we spent boxingday with friends as normal. The meal was well cooked and the decor was plush.
Then new year saw us in with colds – again – hence the late publishing but we are now on the mend and will be heading out again looking for that dam Hog…. Oh and it didn’t rain….
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged books, forest, gardening, mountains, restaurants, sailing, spain, warthogs, weather, wildboar, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Weather Report and Christmas!
Well as you can see we were in Grey Land for a time, well actually weeks. All we had were cold, damp misty mornings with no sun and if the sun did come out it was literally just before it set! So when Michael finds himself wondering why he has another really bad cold……
My friend has told me that the hospital was going full-out with people who had the ‘Gripe (flu) from children through to us oldies. Then it rained which made it damper but finally the sun came out. Then of course it was cold at night as well as in the day and one evening Michael sneezed……..
Pleased to say he is on the mend sitting in the kitchen where the fire is and its warmest working for the first time in weeks sitting at the table and on the lemon and honey with the odd Lemsip and Frenadol to help beat this lurgy.
So how was your Christmas? we spent a quiet day at home and on Boxing day we went to dinner with our friends to Carpe Diem as we did last year. The decor had changed but the ambience hadn’t it was classic, slightly opulent and cosy all at the same time. The food was excellent and served with an easy that comes from good staff in an excellent restaurant. And as usual we took a look at the birds and animals as we left, our friend fed the swan and parrots and how could we not say hello to the Big White Mouse……
Grey Land and Radar Traps
Right New Year – Happy Belated New Year to everybody – For years every new years day we have driven to the coast this year was no exception. So we headed for the pass in the hope of leaving grey Land behind us and we did. However, those sneaky Mossos had put radar traps every so often up and into the pass all we knew was that at the beginning of the run up they put up a warning and you saw the first one very clearly, after that if you were a speed merchant the new year was going to cost. We were driving in thick mist and sometimes could not see very far in front so it was a good job that in these conditions we drove under the speed limit as every so often I would spot a camera. If you could see the accidents that happened over the holidays you would have crawled up and over that pass. Anyway, once over it we found the sun, beautiful warm glowing sun.
We drove into Tarragona and stopped near the beaches before finding a typical Catalan restaurant where we had lunch. Now they have done some sand sculptures and people were milling round taking photos and generally admiring them. Unfortunately some were slightly damaged by the rough weather that had gone through but as you can see they were still works of art.
Then we drove home back to Grey Land and if you think I am kidding THIS is the entrance to it…. That cloud that the road disappears into is the start of the other pass and as we climbed it got really foggy again it’s what you get for living in mountain ranges and valleys.
A Brief Round Up Of Other Events
You know I am always telling you about the pigs, well we were coming home one night and as we turned into the track there was a WARTHOG! Now we could not believe it either but after Googling it we were right. Description: lower back legs, mane of hair, little sticky up tail and went like the clappers when it saw the car. I have often said we don’t know what we share the forest with and I am now convinced this is the little sod that has been after the saffron bulbs. Good news the Robins are back, now the boys have someone else to shout at when the robins aren’t having a go at the redstarts or blackbirds. So that’s it really not a lot happened but the year is young. When it gets a little warmer I shall be out sorting the garden and finishing the wheelbarrow tub bulbs and geraniums in there.
Oh and the other thing Michael has done is put an add out for Clearing In The Forest by M D Bosc if you see it click and take a look won’t cost you anything and who knows you might like the story…..
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing | Tagged books, catalunia, forestry, gardening, mountains, restaurants, sailing, sea, weather, wild, wild animals, wild birds | 2 Comments »
This time of year sees the local towns and villages having their Christmas Fairs, Tivissa is no exception. So last Saturday evening we set off for the town. When we arrived we found a parking spot and followed the sound of children singing until we reached the old part of the town. Here the narrow streets were packed with various stalls selling christmas decorations, perfumes and soaps as well as pottery, wines, cheese and other food goodies. But it was as we entered one of the squares that the smell of christmas hit us Freshly baked bread and local sweat meats, Michael had to drag me past but I got my way when we passed the square as we left. Michael was a happy bunny he found a Barcelona grotto with the La Lega and Champions Cup had his picture taken as well.
It was a wonderful evening lifted our spirits and we saw quite a few of our Petanca friends. I bought some wine, bread and goats cheese. But the best part was when we were directed to the church by one of our friends to listen to a children’s choir and orchestra. Trying to describe it is difficult but their rendering of various songs in both Catalan and English brought tears of joy to my eyes and it was very hard NOT to sing along a truly wonderful evening hope you enjoy the pictures.
Sunday found us just across the river at Mora l’Nova’s Christmas fair it was here that we saw their King and his two helpers giving presents to the children and taking and placing the children’s wish letters in a large post box to send to Santa. Here because there was a large Moorish population before El Cid, they use the Three Wise Men (Kings) as Santas and celebrate the 6th of January as the day they say the three Kings gave their presents to Jesus. So there is a lot of tradition here and in the large community hall there were baton twirlers and drummers marching round the stalls escorting the King and his helpers to the stage. Then a long que of children with their letters for Santa who received a bag of sweets then had their photos taken with the King. Here’s the photos:
So We then wandered round the stalls and I found a yellow poinsettia so bought that and it came with its own Nadal Donkey then we were looking round and as our 51st wedding anniversary was the following Sunday Michael bought me a lovely artisan necklace it was gift wrapped and yesterday I wore it when we went out.
We had a really lovely evening at both fairs. Merry Christmas everyone may it be a happy and peaceful one.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged Catalan wines, choirs, christmas, christmas fairs, churches, food, music, orchestras, wines | Leave a Comment »
Being Good For Big Sis
This is our big sister she brings us presses
These are the presses: palm balls to chew and a wooden rope ladder to play on
So earlier this year we had a visit from Michelle (Big Sis) to us. She spent most of her time here relaxing in the FFZ (Fly Free Zone) with us either reading or on her computer, either way we had a great time. She would talk to us and tell mum when she thought we wanted more seed or another piece of millet or a honey stick – we put on quite a bit of weight hehehe. But it was the afternoons when mum and dad went to petanca or school we had most fun.
You can see from this picture that we were in the sunshine with a table placed in front of our cage (dads idea) to stop us being blown from one side of the ffz to the other, think it was our cries of wheeeee that did it. Anyway when they weren’t around and the wind was blowing she would remove the table drag us across to the other side and laugh as we rolled by even joining in with the wheeeee’s. Never told mum and dad though, mind you, we nearly got caught we were having so much fun one day we nearly didn’t hear the car coming up the track…
When I Upset The Wife
Then I went and upset the wife. She had been busy making a nice warm nest for her and the eggs I know I was watching her. But I thought well she’s going to be in there for a while I know I’ll get some clean bedding, so whilst she was busy eating I threw out some of the old stuff and put some clean fresh stuff in there, thought she would be pleased. Boy you should have heard her, she squawked on and on for ages we weren’t speaking at one time sat back to back but hey we soon made up.
Dads Hand and Cricket
Then dad had something called an operation on his hand. Came back one morning with this thick material stuff on it, showed it to us but can’t understand why he wouldn’t let us out we could have saved him all those visits to that hospital we would have removed that and things called stitches for him there and then. Still he used to sit in the ffz with us and listen to something called cricket on his lap top. That was really cool especially when a man he called Tuffers was on, we liked him we talked to him all the time.
Sticks and Palm Trees
One day dad decided that we needed a nice clean bit of wood to chew so he found this long piece that we couldn’t pull through the bars and said “there you go try chewing through that”. Well a challenge is a challenge so we did only in the middle and one day it broke in half, can’t think why. Dad then moved the two bits around so we wouldn’t hurt ourselves and left us to our chewing, no fun any more. Then last week we had a nice surprise, it rained.. Not that we were in any danger of getting wet but those two decided to go to the SEASIDE I ask you in the RAIN???? but when they returned they had a piece of a palm tree with them wow. So mum got some wire took the two palm ball links (including the bells) cut two pieces of the palm threaded the wife through them plus a bell joined it all up and hung it up for us. You should have heard the wife when she saw it, talk about squawking she turned out some old bedding and I have been busy getting new stuff.
So that was our summer. We enjoyed it looking forward to next year, but first comes the lights on the Walnut tree – that’s mums idea. Tweety Christmas Everyone.
(c) Bluebottle and Eccles The Boys
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged birding, birds, cricket, cricketers, forests, gardening, Phil Tuffnell, summer, trees, weather | Leave a Comment »
So it’s raining! squalls coming and going thunder rumbling can’t work in the garden or on the finca, and looking out of the window does not help. All is grey and – if you can see anything – it’s even grayer, and we are getting bored what do we do???? Go to the SEASIDE of course. Well usually its go shopping in the hypermarkets where you can wander round looking at things and be warm and dry all at the same time, well that’s the theory but Michael says we tend to spend money on things we don’t really want but think are a good idea at the time – we have a few of those purchases knocking around.
So with the shops in mind I did not take my camera, tablet or phone, as who wants to take photos of shops?? So off we set in weather that by rights should not be allowed, and headed up out of the valley towards the mountains and the pass to the coast. We had not been going long before the rain came in again window-wipers going fast we began catching up on others heading the same way, then we found we had a convoy with a lorry in the lead. Nothing we could safely do so we sat in the convoy as we weaved our way towards the mountains. Then the rain lifted and we could see a clear stretch of road overtaking was on. Three of us managed to get past the lorry before a car without lights on came hurtling along the road towards us, (obviously some people like dicing with death). Every car on the road was lit up like a christmas tree but not this one, he was almost up to us before we saw him and the cars colour made him almost invisible. But we didn’t have time to ponder on his stupidity, the rain came down again so holding onto the tail lights of the car in front we drove on.
This is not the worst weather we have been in, I remember the journey home from St.Marlow one winters night. We had returned from one of Michael’s medical trips and I had driven down France in torrential rain with thunder and lightning (of which I am terrified) going off. We finally made it to the Pyrenees then it began to snow!!! So Michael took over the driving and the higher we went towards the pass and tunnel the harder it snowed. When we reached the pass we found it was blocked there had been an avalanche but there was a hotel…. We stopped took a good look and both thought of the ‘Bates Motel’ then turned round and with another car who’s occupants had the same thoughts returned to the town and spent the night there – but I digress. As we approached the uphill climb to the pass there was a 40fter in front so we were all thankful for the crawler lane and sped past him once in the pass we were back in a convoy with a 40fter in front and behind and 6 cars in the middle. It was when we arrived at the tunnels we saw the snow…..
No this is not where we went but its a better picture than we saw that day. SO, on the way into Tarragona Michael said you know I’ve always wanted to see the beaches the other side of the city and the Roman ruins, we can shop later.. With that in mind we headed off towards the north side. Now we thought that the squalls over the mountains were bad enough but boy you should have seen the ones that came rolling in from the Med. By this time we wanted a cup of coffee and found this beachside café/restaurant open with a covered in area. There was a good surf running but no takers we soon found out why proving that not all surfers are daft. So as it was lunchtime and wet we decided to hell with it we would eat there and watch the seagulls and the surf. The food was really good we had a cheese and jamon pizza with a seafood salad followed by the most delicious cheesecake. Whilst eating we were treated to a grandstand view of the squalls speeding in. There were large ships anchored outside the port and one minuet you could see them then a squall hit and they vanished whilst the rain shook the covered area as it beat against the windows. So that was our day out.
There was some more good news the robins are back. we thought we had lost them as we didn’t see one last year but this week we saw two. Oh and don’t forget Clearing in the Forest by M D Bosc – a book for Christmas.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc
Posted in About my writing, Forest Life, Our Life | Tagged birds, books, catalunia, clearing in the forest, cold weather, heavy rain, mountains, rain, restaurants, snow, surfboards, surfers, surfing, weather | Leave a Comment »