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Archive for October, 2013

It’s almost the end of October the time when I gird up my loins and visit the local Agricultural Fair. It’s strange really because I have not liked fairs since I was in the RAF and visited Marlborough Mop. Here I walked in at one end with a wallet and out the other without it. But these fairs are different. They are a mix of fun fair, stalls, bars and farming equipment spread out around the streets of Mora La’Nova, and who knows we might just have a go on some of the rides….

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We wandered in and came to this little ride.  We stood and watched it being loaded  “do you want to go on it?” I asked my wife “yes but I want to see what it does first” she said.  Am I glad she did!  As you can see it looks lovely and calm with the arms down, but once it got going it not only went up and round IT BOUNCED!!!! ohhhh I could see us both throwing up.  It was fun for the youngsters they squealed and laughed then a big sigh came as the machine stopped and the lights went out, next minuet it started going again BACKWARDS.. bouncing, spinning in the dark, well we may not have been on there but just watching was fun.

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We went to have a look at the horse shed and this little chap caught our eye.  Although they are all together there is plenty of room and lots of hay in the racks.  None of these horses were undernourished, the one thing the people here are fond of are their horses. In fact I would say they were a little over weight. It’s just that with the wire fence – to stop people being kicked – and a horses bum nudging him he did look fed up.

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There were quite a few makes of tractor on display but I noticed that John Deer did not seem to be represented. Now this is strange as last year they had quite a display.  But then I noticed tucked at the end of the line two Lamborghini’s, the sports tractors of the tractor world? Where are Top Gear when they are needed….

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Just opposite the tractors were the various bits of equipment needed to farm here. Compressors, sprayers, rotivators generators, tree shakers and much more.   I am not sure what the large machine is but as you can see it is rather like and octopus with its 8 arms.

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We walked on and came to some rides we thought we could go on. This was a particular favourite unfortunately we were to big but there was no lack of fun for the youngsters.  One of the rides was mechanical bulls.  Three abreast and could seat around 6 people, it started up moving back and forwards then it gave a lurch and the riders all fell off onto the cushioned floor.  The laughter never stopped. So being two big for the rides we wandered off to the other side and the wine section.

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We visited the hall where dried meats, stalls for household stuff were on display and in the middle of these I found ‘Celler Maset Del Lleo’ and yes I hope to visit.  Then out into the balmy night and the entrance to the wine section.  People were crossing the bridge to this area to buy their tickets – which includes a glass – so they could taste the various wines of the exhibiting Cellers.

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I went to visit Pascona’s stand but unfortunately could not get near enough to talk or take a picture as they were busy selling their reds.

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We could see Batea was in the same situation and were reminded that Gandessa Wine Fair is on this week, so more visits. Such a wide range of wines here.

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Now with the harvest just finishing – due to the cool weather at the beginning of the year – I had visited El’Masroig and learnt they have two new wines for export being launched soon.  So when we arrived at their stand we had to wait as people were busy tasting and buying wines.  It is so nice to see old friends and even better when you find they have won awards. The nuclear plant in Asco had given them 4 awards for their wines, wonderful.  There is another visit on the cards so I am looking forward to that.

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To reach the wine area you can either cross the bridge or, as we did, walk round past the church. Here we found some craft stalls and a few more tractors.  Also spread out along the street were traditional wood burning fires, plus new ones especially for burning the new pellet type of fuel which is made from the husks of almonds and the residue of the olives. Here you also find a small bar with it’s tables and chairs set out in front and across the road next to a stall selling Iberian Ham and cheeses. It was to here we came after walking round and decided to have a couple of glasses of wine whilst trying some of the ham and cheese.

It was fun sitting there watching as people came and went moving the tables and chairs to make bigger seating areas. Once or twice friends would turn up invite others join them at their table. So without hesitation table, chairs and drinks would up sticks and march to join the party, I do love this country.

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After this we decided to head home so took a leisurely stroll back to the car park.  I noticed how few people were around although this large eatery was doing very well. When we reached the car the reason was made clear, when I turned the engine on the clock said it was just past midnight.  So although the Agricola section was shut the fun fair, bars and eateries were going strong.   Here’s to next year.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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It’s Just a Little Prick part two..

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3A4E1C57 (640x387)[1] Well looks like winter is arriving, nights are getting colder up here. Over the past four days we have gone from both windows open and just a sheet, to big window closed, plus duvet, light blanket and bedspread brrrr.  If you consider the days which are warm and sunny it says a lot about mountain living.

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This is the view of the maser from our back garden in the last of the evening sun, it is lovely at this time of year with the light throwing shadows it can sometimes look like a scene from an old painting.

So what happened? I’ll tell you.  We had decided to re-locate the wood-burner so when we came home and spent a cold evening I decided to get the job done. Out came the hand-held jack hammer, a few minutes and the hole was cut then came the shaping and fitting of the chimney pipes, followed by the cementing in of same.  So with hole duly knocked in wall, pipes fitted and cemented in (know I did a good job my wife inspected it to make sure there were no gaps for wasps or anything nasty to creep through) I smoothed the outside wall and went to have a rest. I felt really tired and had begun to sniff, It seems flying does not agree with me too well, although the flight was good and the crew were very cheerful and pleasant, I have caught a bug which is not good. DSCF4363 (640x480)

The Villian

It was at this point after making me a cuppa, putting away my tools and telling me to sit still for a while, my wife went off to her potting shed to continue re-potting her plants. However, I decided to finish the job and went to re-place the  whirly gig top on the chimney pipe. Now as you can see it is metal and just sits over the pipe so nothing hard about it except…. it slipped slightly and attacked my finger.  So a few minutes later there I am standing on the patio arm in air with thumb pressed hard against the finger blood dripping from the wound forming a nice little pattern on the patio NCIS would have liked that.

When she saw this my wife didn’t know whether to get the car out or sort it herself, but seconds later she appeared with a bowl of water and walked me into the kitchen hand in bowl.  Then disappeared to get her medical basket, by which time I had managed to dry the cut – which is quite deep – and she proceeded to bandage it up.

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Now for those of you who remember my other events with the ham knife – this is the only one left and its a small one – I can now tell you that unless I am wearing gloves I am BANNED from touching anything with a sharp edge….  I am currently sitting in my chair typing as I have developed a rather nasty cold and bad tummy, not really my weekend.  Still I am being well cared for and get to watch as much sport as I like hehehe.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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DSCF3834 (640x480) We all have our favourite places and in regards to hotels this is ours. I have written in the past about the Hungry Horse and Lodge Inn in Portsmouth, well we were back again last week.  It was like coming home, friendly smiles and whats more the staff actually remembered us, and when you consider that they have hundreds of people walking through their doors that is no mean feat. BLESMA (3) After our journey from Torquay it was nice to be able to relax between travelling and stay somewhere you not only had clean rooms but a good menu.  I can honestly say that their curries are some of the best we have eaten, so much so that we had them two evenings running. DSCF0006 (640x480) (342x445)[1] We decided to do the tourist things again so bought a day ticket and rode round Portsmouth looking at the various attractions. The dockyard was very busy with groups visiting not only the Mary Rose exhibit but Victory and Warrior as well.  The University was heaving but it was the Spinnaka tower that took the night. During the day you can go up to the top and the view is spectacular but at night when it turns blue you get to see it at its best – well I think it is – as all you see in daylight is a concrete building.

But it is to the girls who keep the rooms at the Inn Lodge clean and tidy that I would like to extend my thanks and apologies for not mentioning such important people before.  Everything was in order and when my wife asked for extra milk, sugar etc.,  they were given with smiles and the question “was there was anything else she needed?”, this is why we like staying here when we visit.

Thank you ladies, see you next year.

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

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Well we arrived in Torquay without a hitch in the journey which was fast and smooth, but then that was Great Western Trains.  True to form it was raining when we left but as we journeyed south the grey skies gradually gave way to light cloud.  When we arrived at Torquay the sun was beginning to peep through. Our daughter met us and took us off to her home in the sky.  Now when we were last here I did not notice the hills but this time the steps and hills got to us, well they got my wife.  She suffers from arthritis so it is not easy for her to climb steps and there are about 200 of these little darlings but guess what, she insisted on going up and down them, said it did her hip good.

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Anyway that night Spurs were playing football  and our daughter suggested we went to the Cider Press Sports Bar, so we all trotted off for an evening of sport. However it turned into more than that. We were welcomed by one of the Landlords and the tv’s in the back were duly tuned in so we could watch the game.  So why the back room? well there was a group called Poster Child playing in the front bar, two lads one on the guitar the other singing and very good they were too.  It was quite funny at times, I would be quietly singing along to the music or tapping my feet, whilst watching the game then something would happened on the pitch and the song had new words. Good job the tv and music were loud.  We had a pleasant evening there and I returned with my daughter to watch another match plus my wife and I had a few visits to shelter from the rain when shopping. This is a very welcoming pub with excellent ciders to sample many thanks to them for their genuine and warm welcome.

The Cider Press itself is situated on a slight hill in the middle section of Torquay high street next to the restaurant/bar Camelot.  Both these buildings are old with (real) wooden beams and doors – some offset – that make you duck your head, and a glass frontage that can be opened so you can sit in the sunshine whilst enjoying the atmosphere and still talk to your friends who have gone outside for a cigarette. It reminded my wife of the country pub her village had (yep she’s a West Country Girl).

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Friday the sun came out so we went shopping and a wander round the harbour.  We  had noticed a sign that said 2 pounds for a return trip by boat to Brixham. This meant you could get on a boat cross the bay spend as long as you like there and as long as you got the last boat back to Torquay that’s all it cost. Now THAT is value for money and yes we went, enjoyed a beer had a mouche round then came back to Torquay.  This boat is not the one we went on, this one operates on the river Dart but that’s another story.

So with this in mind we decided to do the tourist thing and our next visit took us by WiFi bus to Teignmouth. Here sitting quietly at the head of the river Dart is a  little country town. Which with it’s history, craft shops, whilst hidden down side streets are shops where you can purchase some delicious local cheeses or wander up or down the high street, enjoy a typical Devon tea in the Anne of Cleves tea shop so much to do in a relaxed fashion.

It was here that they made the beer for the Royal Navy in the days of sailing ships, the malting houses and mill are now flats and shops but the exterior still has some character about it. We spent a week wandering around that part of the country, then on the day we left the heavens opened and we got soaked just getting from our daughters flat to the taxi, still that’s English weather.

Oh and my wife forgot the camera……..

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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Travel!!  Normally I don’t have a problem but this time we (my wife) decided we should take a case with us when we visited our relatives in the UK. Based in Catalunia most of the year it means we fly back for a few weeks, visit and do some shopping.  So everything was booked flights, car parking umm hotels????  But I digress, lets start with last night.

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As the fridge and freezer had been cleaned and turned off  we went out to eat arriving home in the dark under a starry sky with a big moon lighting our way. This then was the start of our little adventure.  Next morning we were up bright and early and off to Barcelona to park the car. Now we had booked the car into a very reasonable parking place but finding it – even with their maps – was not easy. We followed the instructions but somehow ended up lost – not that that’s unusual – so we stopped to ask a garage who gave us directions plus a map.  Easy I hear you say NO…. we were miles to the south and had to head back the way we came only to find we must have passed the car park at least twice but finally we got there.

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Our flight with Easyjet was fine, no problems. But then came the journey from Gatwick to Cosham on South West Trains.  We left Gatwick arrived at Three Bridges and stopped.  Trains came and went there were announcements about the delay and possibility of changing to other trains, none of which went to Pompey. I just knew what would happen, they would turn off all the passengers who wanted to go to Pompey then cancel that service  AND THEY DID…. The train was supposed to divide at the station, however first they said there were electrical problems, then no driver for the rear part, I just wondered why the front of the train could not continue and the rear go into a siding  – oh well now I can see why they run at a loss. At least THIS train ran not only on time but it was fun as well..

By now it was raining, again and I had missed my appointment, it also meant that we had to find a hotel.  So we headed for the Red Lion in Cosham, arriving wet and bedraggled only to find there were no rooms to be had ANYWHERE.  Seems we had arrived on Fresher Week, Southampton Boat Show week and Goodwood.  But the landlord of the pub eventually found us a room for the two days for which we were grateful.

So next day I saw the Doctor, phoned our daughter to let her know when we would arrive, then went shopping and did the tourist thing.  After all this excitement we settled down in the bar to watch some football while I enjoyed a steak and my wife had a curry.  Next morning we were up and away to Torquay.

This then was the first part of the adventure. Oh and the moon? well it’s romantic…..

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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