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Archive for April, 2011

RNLI to the Fore!.

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The RNLI have always been at the top of my list both charitable and bravery. These are men and now women who give their time, risk their lives for those of us daft enough to go to sea in small ships, regardless of where we are in the world. I say this as a Yacht/Ocean Master, who for over 20yrs spent his time messing around on the sea in boats.  We had many adventures, but the most memorable one was when we came back from the Solent through the Loo Chanel. This is a particularly nasty piece of water, a deep narrow channel between sand/rocky banks and in certain conditions very very rough and unpleasant. This was such a day.

You approach the channel between two bouys Street and Boulder, this is the inside deep water channel going East. This particular day the wind was around  a force7 very rough waves forming troughs so that you slid down one side and climbed up the other, not a very nice place to be, but having no other option there we were heading for the marina and home.  Things were beginning to get a little worrying as at times the waves were giving us a bath, so at one time discussions were underway as whether to call on the Selsea Lifeboat which we could see quite clearly. Suddenly my wife spotted something ‘yellow’ standing near the Boat House.

Someone was watching us dressed in yellow oil skins against the driving rain. Standing there letting us know they had seen us in case we needed their help.  At this point I knew we were safe and would make it back without much trouble, just the sight of that loan man standing in the rain watching (and nothing will convince me otherwise) gave us the resolve to carry on. Needless to say we eventually arrived back tired and wet, but I have never forgotten that incident. Perhaps we should not have tried to sail back I don’t know, but what I DO know is that the men and women of the RNLI are amongst the most reassuring people I know.

Thank you for just being there.

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To Many Cops

To Many Cops.

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A Little Boy and His Doggie.

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On The Way To Exhibition Halls

Yesterday was Sunday, warm, sunny and inviting, so what to do on such a day?  join your friends at a Honey and Olive Oil fair, so we did just that. This is a fair that happens every year to celebrate and promote the local honey and olive oil. Here you can buy oil and oil products such as olive pate and a very nice relish. With the honey you can buy everything from honey already in jars ready to sell or jars filled from large tubs according to your taste.  There was makeup, a rather nice honey based lip balm (so the ladies informed me) creams, lotions candles as well as honey beer.  It is possible to taste your way round the main hall and believe me it is well worth it.  There are different flavours of honey and oil just as there are flavours in wine.  Also on display were two stands which are part of the El Perello structure.

The Freesia Group

The Freesia Group a charity set up to raise money in the against fight cancer.  They are based in El Perello where the lady in this picture has lived for the last 19 years.  Very important people.

El Traginer Magazine

This is the El Traginer stand, staffed by two happy, cheerful people.  El Traginer is a local free Catalan  magazine, containing information besides advertising services and items and property for sale. It also advises you, in detail, of what is on and when with a  programme of activities plus their times.   This then is the  Mel i Oli Fira 2011.

Olive Oil

A Selection of Olive Oil

El Perello  is known for its Olive Oil and there were several producers displaying their oils.  These ranged from a pale green colour to an almost golden green.  One producer Joan Pinol produces their oil using the traditional stone crushed method. The olives are crushed by cone shaped stones then pressed through straw mats.  

 MEL (Honey)  

A Honey Shop - Cosmetics, Candles & Mel

I am under the impression that Honey or Mel as we call it here, is as important if not more so than the Olive Oil, possibly because El Perello is the main village producer in Catalunia. I also think that as it is a continuing, active, occupation which, unlike olive oil, where after the crop is harvested during November/December and the pruning time in March, the trees are basically left to themselves; bees on the other hand, cannot be left as keepers will tell you. It is an all year round occupation and the Bee Keeping Society is very active here.

A Display of Bees

One of the things they do is to get the children interested. In this way they not only see the bees at work, but how they live in the hives, the workers doing their bit, how the pollen is passed to them after collection and of course, the end results. Bees need attention to ensure they are healthy, and content, (angry bees are a bad scenario). An unhealthy bee can spell doom to the hive, so constant health checks are required, keepers are on constant lookout for mites that attack the  bees thus the children are made aware of the pit falls of not looking after the hives properly. This is also when the keeper can discover a new queen and, if caught in time, take her and start a new hive.  The queen is usually marked with either Tipex or nail varnish (I have it on good authority that neither harm her) so she is easily identified when checking the health of the hive and  production of honey. Afterall no queen = no honey. As nothing in this country goes to waste everything is used, from pollen through to honey, the people are very health conscious and know what is good and what is bad. They have been eco-friendly before the rest of the world even thought of the phrase.

 

Wine

 

One of the Wine Stands

 

As with all things country there is alway wine, lots of it and very very good.  Each region has its own distinctive taste to the wines produced, so it was nice to see a stand for wine distributor, disbegrup@terra.es  here you can purchase wines from around the region including the Cava’s and Mont Ferrant Brut Rose Cava. The other stand was Celler Batea from the Terra Alta region they had a fine selection of wines on display. No I could not taste any, for the one reason only, I could not get near enough!!!  When I finally caught the vinters eye, I managed to get information so a visit is in hand.

Herbs and Deli

Honey Candles

El Perello is a very interesting village, with Roman history, cave paintings as well as local history, with a Don Quotx windmill, so these deserve a really good investigation. Therefore I will at sometime be poking my nose in for a good look round.

   

 

   

 

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Debt! Whose Debt?.

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Over the past few days I have woken to the sound of a bird singing it heart out. No, not Boris but a Blue Tit.  This member of the community has decided to join in the spring fever. There is another visitor that it’s a great pleasure to see, the Wall Walker and his mate.  This pair arrive each year and repair the nest in the roof and we enjoy watching them do what they do best Walking the Walls.

Hello I'm Bill the Walker

Oh boy I really hate this time of year, build, clean, repair, go, go, go.  Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but I am so busy, this nest needs a makeover every year. My name is Bill, and you’re the first human I have talked to.  Somewhere around, probably looking for the soft bits is my mate Muffy. She is always shopping or changing the furnishings is your’s like that?  Still as I said this time of year is all go for me, and it won’t stop when the eggs arrive I will have to bring food and share the sitting.  Just now I am concentrating on repairing and rebuilding where the weather has damaged it, making it Hissing Sid proof as far as possible, generally making good.  As for Muffy, she’s getting broody, started moaning about the fact she can’t find enough stuff to make a nice warm soft bed for the eggs, so she is off searching leaving me to do the work. Well must go or I’ll never hear the end of it if the nest isn’t ready in time.

Where's the Wife Gone?

Hello you back? haven’t seen Muffy anywhere have you? I’ve been working away here and she’s been gone ages, I’m beginning to wonder whats happened. Yes I know women take ages when shopping, not like us, we know what we want, go there, get it, all done and dusted in a matter of ticks but hens well…. ah phew, here she comes laden down with soft bits.

Hello Muffy glad your back I was getting worried, did you get what you wanted? Pardon?  You cheeky bird.  Here I am working my wings off repairing the nest for you while you’re off hunting soft bits.  Then you come back here wanting to know where your grubs are. Ohhhh hens….  Now, now don’t tweep I’m sorry.  Hang on I won’t  be a mo.  Here you are, look here’s a juicy grub, you just settle down in the nest and I’ll look after everything.  Strange mood she’s in, she tweep’s for no reason must be getting near to laying.  Well have to get on nice to see you again will have more time when the young have fledged.

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