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A Little History of Fayon

This is the only map I can find which shows where Fayon is situated in the hills of the AUTS mountains.  The mauve bits on this map is where some of the bloodiest battles in the Spanish Civil War were fought. Those of you who follow my Petanca blogs will recognise various names such as Ribarroja, Asco and Mora de Ebro.

These fairly high dry mountains were to witness one of the most bloody and horrific confrontations during the Civil War (1936–39).  On 25 July 1938 the 42 division of the Spanish Republican Army successfully crossed the river in this area and occupied the Auts area taking positions in the hills.  This feat was claimed as a great victory for the Republican troops, and the Spanish Republic saw it as a positive outcome of the Battle of the Ebro effort. However death was on its way in the shape of  Franco’s rebel faction.

106-Brigada Mixta Standard-Spanish Republican Army.pngNow the 226th and 227th mixed brigades who had taken up position in the AUTS hills found themselves surrounded by the rebel faction who then set about relentlessly massacring them – no quarter given was an understatement. Although they fought bravely they were no match for Fanco’s troups. There were a few and I do mean few survivors, and after having suffered a great number of casualties these few battered survivors had to fight their way to the Ebro and get back across the river.

 

This is the monument to those many soldiers who died in the Auts hills at the feet of the range near the road leading to Mequinensa.  No wonder this little new town has a feeling of unearthly quiet about it, but the people are most welcoming.  Every year on the 25/26th of July (or nearest weekend) they commemorate the battle, and celebrate so those who gave their lives are remembered and the sacrifices they made are not forgotten.

FAYON

Official seal of Fayón/FaióThe Fayon of today is a new town.  The ancestral village was submerged by the waters of the  Ribarroja reservoir built in 1967 and the present-day village was built by the state-owned company that built the dam. After the closure of the nearby coal mine,  Fayón has lost about 50% of its population.  This quiet little town is peaceful and idyllic somewhere to spend a vacation fishing, walking or just soaking up its history, and leave the stresses of the world behind. here are some images of Fayon:

 

Petanca

So here we are today, back with our friends enjoying Petanca. So whilst Michael and the others play I have come here to the café with its wifi and tranquility to write.

They say that you should never work with children or animals they should also add cameras.  When I went to take the pictures BOTH the cameras played up so these are the only ones I have of the winners.

                       

The first picture is of the club President and the Alcalde  then comes the main prize winners and everyone else.  It was a really hot day and people were glad to get going to some shade.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc  – Author

 

 

 

 

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Where Have The Years Gone

                          

The Prolog
These photographs say a lot. When we first put the FFZ (fly free zone) up we planted a walnut tree, I do like walnuts, along with a vine our friends gave us.  Now as we cannot have a permanent construction with out planning permission we built as you can see 4 pillars then I added some support beams (cut when making a fire break) added a wooden roof then covered the whole thing with very large olive nest.  I then constructed a metal door and frame attached these to the house and covered like the rest of the ffz,  making the complete ffz you can see here.
As you can see it did not take long for either to grow but there were consequences.  The vine grew like billio and the tree just tore away upwards.  So I had to curtail that and keep it at a reasonable height.  But it was the vine that went mad.  It clambered up and over the roof and around the netting (second pic) but in doing so it became heavy and began to destroy the netting (we realised this when we found a snake in the ffz).  So what to do? well I simply trimmed and moved the vine to in front of the little house so it can climb over the frame of the gazebo.  Then I looked at the roof and decided that it was necessary to replace it which I did with corrugated effect roofing, that was a laugh putting that up believe me a broom comes in very handy at those times.  Then I bought some new netting which my wife duly put up and also sealed any gaps she found whilst doing so.  I then sealed the edges where the roof butted up against the walls and using the old roofing covered the entrance in front of the door now we could sit out without being bitten and in the shade whilst enjoying the heat.  Then we got the boys……
The Gardens – Sam’s Garden
                   
 Now my wife loves her flowers and when she decided that the olive tree by the house stayed she decided to make a garden out of it well I should have known.  After filling in the centre and planting bulbs, She then built  a semicircle garden in front of it.  Into this went more bulbs (about the only thing that can survive the hot summers remembering we have very little water up here) the result being that I laid a small patio down so we could sit out and enjoy this garden. As you can see when in flower it’s rather attractive, the bulbs have multiplied over the years and every now and then my wife digs them up and plants the young bulbs in other parts of the garden. After the pigs attack on her saffron I think it’s a good idea.
Meet Bobbin Robbin and his  main man Boris Blackbird
 
Yes his name is spelt like that he told me so after introducing Boris. Now a robin talking to me? I should have known (this will be my theme statement). We were sat having coffee one morning when this little chappy turned up. Not content with getting up close and personal with the wife he had demands.  He hopped under the table and pecked her foot then said you’ve got a drink what about us?  and there you have it I was sent off to find an old dish whilst they sat discussing (yes she can and does talk to the birds and they tweet back) how to set up what was to become known as ‘The Water Bar’ (you can find it on https://asoldierswind.wordpress.com). The fact that my wife could understand what he and the others say makes me wonder…….
So there it is life on the finca past part 1.  Nothing really changes, the redstarts are still with us, but its been a long long dry summer and the garden has taken a bashing. So there really is a lot of work to do, where we start depends on my wife but I have a feeling the beds will be first followed by the pots and tubs then the rest of the garden and something done about that Saffron bed and the birds are returning they sit in the now  – of course I could be wrong……..
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – author

 

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The Course and The Club  

Once again its race time on the river at Club Nautique.  As you can see its a long way to the bridge where they round the central pillar then row back.  The downward journey is not too bad as they are racing with the flow of the river (about 6knts), however, on the way back it against the flow and a really hard pull. An awful lot of strength is required for this as pulling against a 6knt flow in a large rowing boat with only oars to get you where you want to be is no mean feat. Not here your Oxford or Cambridge boats these are sturdy river boats that have been used on the river for a long time.

              

As you can see from this photo there are safety boats out as well as canoes, plenty of assistance if needed.  So this people, is what these youngsters do every night of the summer for fun. Out in his boat are Pep and Chris two of the people who are always there for the club, today they started the races.  This is an annual event which we try very hard not to miss.

   

The club is always well attended and this year was no exception. As you can see it was very busy, but they have a good system for the food and drinks area.  You went to the two people sitting at the table who were issuing tickets for drinks and food, paid for what you wanted took your ticket to either the bar or BBQ on the other side of the bar – which was doing a roaring trade with kebabs – and collected your fare.

So to the Races

There are such a lot of pictures for the actual races that I shall just post them hope you enjoy.  Starting with the competitors:

The competitors,line up,the off finish and prize giving enjoy

   

   

 

 

And this young lady won a cup because she SWAM across the river  beating the only other competitor a young man by yards.

 

So there you are our day at the races in photographs, friends and life just get better.   Looking forward to next year boys and girls

 

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cambrils

Cambrils is set on the coast between Hospitalet d’la Infant and Salou. The coastal road passes through Cambrils flanked on one side by a marina and bar/restaurants on the other. It may only be for a short distance but at this time of the year it is heaving. After the terrorist attack in Barcelona and then the 5 terrorists all wearing bomb vests being shot dead in Cambrils, plus having friends living there we decided to visit and see everyone was ok, Boy what a miskaea to makea.

Explanation

We are often driving through here during the winter stopping off at a little bar in one of the plazas behind the sea front. But last winter we discovered that the bar is closed on Sundays, why? well our theory is that when we went for coffee Valencia was often playing football and they would lose, and when they found out that we were at the bar on those days they asked the bar to close and Valencia began to win. Thing is Valencia are not Barca or Spurs you see…. but I digress.

Cambrils Spirit

                                          

Because this is holiday time and parking is always difficult I decided to approach Cambrils from the Tarragona side. I was right about doing this all the car parks were full, cars were parked on cars in some places, even parked well back from the lovely sandy beaches, all this helped to give out a feeling of safety. As always the police were in full view even some on bikes, this was not a town cowering this was humanity at its best. However, more importantly our friends were safe, luckily none of their families had been injured. People were very shaken but the spirit of Cambrils was not broken.

So we left them to enjoy the sun and headed back to town for a meal in Bar Turo which we haven’t done for a long time. Sitting there reminded me that we needed to sit outside with a pizza and good wine whilst watching the world pass by. Yep normality has returned.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Source: Michaels Numbness!!!!!!!

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Example of Computer Hooked

                                                                         Computer Hooked – Me??

I know when I have had enough of the computer because I say so, usually after I have been trying to find some information. My immortal words are “sod it that’s enough dam computers.” It’s around this stage the call of the sea gets me so after a good old winge and a cuppa I have a re-think kiss my wife grab the keys and we drive to the beach.

Some of our best ideas have come from these drives. Got a problem we cant get the answer to, we get in the car and head for the coast. Usually by the time we arrive ideas are flowing and often a solution has been found, and I can have a relaxing swim quite possible I’ll get one today thanks to Kindle….

Writing Frustration

But its the times when I’m struggling with my writing and get frustrated that I utter those immortal words.  Times when I can’t get the story to flow or find the information I need, then realise that it wasn’t there in the first place. I think  this all stems from the days we used to drive back and forth to visit my dr. Twice a year we would drive through France on the way to a port, talk about anything and everything. Problems both real and imagined, health, life and my writing and generally put the world to rights, and we still do although admittedly the longest journey we now make is to Barcelona airport.

Computer Hooked?

So why, I wonder, do we seem more able to talk in the car, or walking or having a coffee etc.,  the answer is simple NO BLOODY COMPUTERS!!!  Being a writer I spend a lot of time on one, most of the day in fact.  During the summer when it’s too hot to do anything (like today) if I am not writing I have the cricket on-line and sit in front of my computer either working or reading the reports that come in (and yes I am listening to it).  If my wife is not pottering around the house she is also on her computer talking to her gardening or FB friends whilst doing research or trying to put the wine book together.

It’s not that we don’t talk we do, but with these distractions it’s a bit disjointed.  So come the evening – like tonight – we look forward to petanca.  My wife goes to play bingo with her Catalan friends two nights a week and I go to petanca then we meet up and either go to the club Nautique for a drink by the river and see friends or Reiner’s if we are hungry.

In the early hours of the morning (well they are to us) when it gets light -6am here  5am UK time – and its cool we can now be found in the garden tidying up or watering.  We don’t water at night because the cubes have warmed up and hot water is not good for plants so they have around 3 hours before the sun get up here to enjoy a cool drink.

So with everything considered I suppose I have answered my own question. For some reason the sea is in me and a trip to the seaside is always sitting there at the back of my mind plus there are no computers ANYWHERE.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc (author)

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Asco

Coat of arms of Ascó

Asco is up river from us and home to the Nuclear Station for which it is well known.  We always know when coffee or meal times are as we can see the ‘smoke signals’ rising over the mountain behind us.  Today as we drove in it was puffing away and the river was ‘smoking’ (where the hot water enters the river from the plant).  Asco is a small town nestled at the feet of the  Serra de la Fatarella mountain range. This is the same range our valley is in only on the other side of the mountains. But it can be crossed as we found out one day a few years ago when a very tired man trotted into the garden asking for water.  This is normal for those running, cycling or walking in the forest, water is never refused to them. There is also excellent fishing to be had here as the warm waters around the power station is a good breeding ground for fish. A lot of our friends live and work here and during term time Michael helps them with their English in the linguistics class at the college in Mora d’Ebro.  Most of the employment here is based on agriculture with the power station providing a lot of work.  Here they grow almonds, grapes (the wine is very good) and of course, olives.

There is a good deal of history attached to Asco, it  was one of the castled points along the Ebro during the Templars time.  They controlled trade, collected taxes and got rich.  Today the castle is slowly being rebuilt/restored as the towns now realises that being part of their heritage it is important to preserve it.

Petanca

We have been coming here to play in competitions since we began playing Petanca.  Our friends used to come and play in Mora when we had a club there but age, time and other things have seen the club disintegrate  to basically three or four people.  We like others either joined Tivissa or Asco to play, but we still see our old friends around town and at the competitions like today. At the time of writing they have just started playing so it will be a while before I go to take the photos. I do this because I like to, it is nice to see the faces of our friends when they get their ‘winners’ photo something so small means so much, I get pleasure doing it and they get pleasure from the photos.

So here we go – PETANCA! This is the ‘family photograph’ winners and losers alike. We had a great day met up with friends and generally enjoyed ourselves.

          

Relaxing waiting for the last game to finish

Here are the winners, first prize large ham, second prize smaller ham, and so on from there. Michael, Maria & Gill won wine and a dried sausage (sausage didn’t last long yumm) and he is in another competition next weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So as you can see here is proof that like golfers, mad dogs & Englishmen, Petanca players go out in the midday sun…..

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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