Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘drink’

50 YEARS AND STILL GOING STRONG!!

Forgive me if I seem a bit excited but Friday saw us celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary, yep we had made it.  Life is not all roses and chocolates, there are a few thorns and bitter almonds in there but if you truly love each other you survive.  So this is what happened:

“Two old codgers enjoying the event went to the seaside for lunch. Muscles then shell-fish in a savoury rice, washed down with Cava and sparkling water followed by postres (that’s pudding to you)  this was the life.  Sitting opposite the marina the boats in rows remembering when they sailed a long time ago.  Then replenished and happy they headed for home, and wishes on FB from friends, coffee and wine saw them put out the lights go to bed after saying Amen to that.”

Well what else can you do or say?  except that we are still going strong, mind you we didn’t get up till nearly midday it was Saturday and we did celebrate….

The Forest

 

IMG_0087 (640x480) IMG_0089 (640x480)

Well what a surprise we had the other week.  Whilst working round the finca – picking the olives – we heard this heavy machine on the track. Not being nosey (yes we were) we went to look and there coming up the track was a heavy tractor dragging a leveler with a blade behind it, our track was being made useable again.  The tractor took three passes to do its stuff and we were very impressed, all the loose stones had gone everything was smooth, the edges were very clearly defined wow!  However, knowing this place like we do it won’t be long before the quad and off road bikes get going then it will be back to normal.  We hope the bikes will stick to the top part of the mesa where it is rough and wild but we will see.

gardens 2423 gardens 2424

The weather has been very misty so we have not had much sun, this is because we are in the Ebre valley so here we have our own little weather systems. But we are having a few ‘grey days’  lots of cloud, dampness but no sun and its cold. This means the fire is going full belt just to keep the house from feeling damp. Although its grey outside is quite pleasant so we can get the various jobs done, like restoring the original cisterna.

The Birds

DSC00010 (640x480) IMG_0121 (640x480)DSC00008 (640x480)

We have not seen much of the birds this autumn but the little Redstarts are here, and we know the blackbirds are around we have seen them as they are becoming rather partial to the leftover bird seed from the boys. We have therefore made an area especially for them with some protection and so far they are loving it.  The Song Thrush is back darting here and there, but no one has visited the tree perhaps we pruned it too sharply. So we have decided to let it grow again to give some cover to the water bar (which is being revamped) and the strawberries, these I covered with hay this morning as they still have fruit growing.

But its these Eagles that have our attention at the moment.  They are large things and look like tree stumps from down here but you can see the beaks are huge.  Thing is though they sound like ducks quacking and these two had two young ones, life seems to be thriving up here.

The Garden

DSCF5295 (640x480)

Well winters on its way and with the cooler weather comes a flurry of activity in the garden.  Our growing year starts in October when it begins to get cooler and runs till April/May when nature turns the heat up.  So there are always projects going  on – several at a time – which is probably why some are still being finished off in April.   This is the Lily garden before and after its makeover.  As you can see there is a water pipe running through it and the wall needed attention plus there were plenty of weeds at the far end. So I weeded then planted Sweetpeas around the oblix, next came a tidy up and covering over of the pipe with stones.  The wall was a little simpler. With a quick tidy along the bottom then cemented in to ensure that it stayed intact and volla job done.  I also moved around to the mint bed covering both the mint roots and pipe with stones making it tidy whilst providing the mint roots with protection from the sun and providing moisture retention at the same time. Although the wall along the path is not finished you can basically see the way it will look.  The other side of the rain gully has to be done that contains the Sage bed so I have a few other herbs to go there once I get to it.

20150905_134220 (640x480)   20150917_082036 (640x480)

This was the start of Sams Garden which is still a work in progress.  Ideas change so often here that I usually find I am back to the original design and this is no different.   I had wanted to make the ‘water bar’ into a small two layered thing, but then Michael suggested that I build a larger bird bath under the olive tree by my sculptures and tyre garden.  But as often happens other things got in the way so that by the time it came to sort this out neither of us liked it so it was back to the original.  My biggest problem is how to make the tank (white bucket) work better without too much hassle.  After clearing everything away from the centre so I could see what was there,  I built a new bulb garden to one side here I have planted Freesias and other bulbs I am not exactly sure of then covered the earth with stones to – hopefully – stop animals digging.   Next the bucket was painted green in the hope that it will prevent algae from stuffing up the filter, I am currently looking for some tubing to replace the old stuff in the hope it will work better.  The plinth has been leveled and I am in the process of building it up to make it more secure. This garden has several aspects to it so I am not rushing anything.

DSCF5166 (640x480)

This was originally destined to be the new bird bath  but try as we might neither of us could decide what to do with it so we scrapped it and it is now being turned into another bulb garden.  When its finished I am hoping it will look different a bit of a seaside theme….

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

DSCF3866 (640x480) (428x428)

Wine is fascinating, well I think so, and I have often been asked why I bother to write about it as I am not ‘an expert’.

Well I do so for several reasons actually, apart from the obvious I find it rather educational. But reasons well:-

First): is to write about wine from a “duffers” view-point. As someone who knows nothing about it except they like to drink it. None of the snobbery that goes with some writers is here, I tell you exactly what the vinters tell me.

Secondly) I have found that each Celler is different in the way it produces wine. If you add to this it’s history and tradition then you have fond a Celler which brings an individual taste to the wines produced there.

Thirdly) The care, sheer joy of the Vinaters in what they are doing and a ‘want’ to share their wines and methods with the rest of us. To listen to these experts talk about how they produce their wine, including their family history is the most gratifying thing a writer could wish for. I have been made most welcome by everyone on my visits and been taught a lot about wine, this Celler was no exception.

DSCF3861 (640x480) (530x468)

I have visited quite a few Cellers in the region around my home, but this particular Celler is rather intriguing.  It is tucked quietly away behind Falset which is the heart and control centre of the Montsant and Priorat DO regions. Unless you knew exactly where to look, you would never find this little mine of a vineyard. Here they grow grapes in several types of soil each field a different grape giving a different taste, and body to their wines.

I first met Toni on his stand at the Mora la’Nova Fira last October, a young man who has studied hard, loves his job and knows his wines. He is the latest vintner in a long family tradition which started with his great, great, great, great-grandfather a Doctor, in 1827. After the devastating vine blight of the 1920’s, his great, great-grandmother Maria Pau and her two daughters re-started growing vines. The wine produced then was mainly red and of one blend, however, today is a much different story.

DSCF3867 (640x480) (626x391)

DSCF3873 (640x480) (624x389)

DSCF3862 (640x480) (640x399)

Toni has worked hard to reclaim more of the fields from the mountain, clearing and in some cases, replanting the terraces. These are south-west facing but each field has different soil. As we walked towards the top of the mountain we crossed a small rickety bridge which linked the lower and upper terraces when walking. Here I could see the different terane, in some  fields the soil was clay in others it was a cross between sand and grit whilst the last soil type had a definite mineral feel.  There are various mineral mines around the area which give vines grown in this type of soil a slightly peppery aftertaste but they also lean towards a more bodied red wine.

Walking on ever upwards towards the top of this little mountain, I could see the hard work Toni had put into this vineyard and I do mean hard.  Each terrace is wide enough for a man to walk comfortably between the rows but there is no room for a mechanical picker. Everything here is done by hand and some of the vines are years old grown in the old way, and Toni is very proud of the history that goes with each variety.

DSCF3860 (640x480) (640x386)

The Celler itself is small with only two stainless steel vats the others in true tradition are concrete. Once the wine is made it is matured in French Oak barrels which add to the wines flavour.

DSCF3857 (640x480)

Well you cannot find a more diverse selection which comes from one Celler than here. There are 5 different reds and Rose.  Because of the ground they are grown in each wine has its own taste, and story to tell the drinker.  So I will start with the Rose:

DSCF3858 (640x480) (368x437)

Besides making his own wine which is made totally by hand and produces around 50,000 bottles of excellent red wines, Toni has been in partnership with Pep and Patri since 2011. Since 2010 Pep and Patri have rented part of the celler for their wine making.  But the wine that they and Toni make together comes from the mineral grown vines, which gives this wine it’s peppery after taste resulting in a very smooth and very desirable and  to coin a phrase ‘lip smacking’ red.

 

These wines are really worth discovering they say more about the talent of this man and his colleagues than anything you could write. Toni tends his vines with the love and passion of a true Vinater, tradition is all, when try them you will begin to understand the hard work that goes into producing such nectar.

You can contact Toni on www.pascona.com  give them a call then you can say you have tasted some of the best Montsant wines going you will not be dissapointed.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

Read Full Post »

BLESMA (2)

On one of my visits to the UK  I stayed at the Farmhouse Inn Lodge which is attached to the Hungry Horse restaurant, so when my wife and I made our winter visit I booked us into the inn in the knowledge that we would be well looked after.

The Inn is situated in Burford Road just off the Eastern Road and next to Portsmouth public golf course. Was she impressed or what, I had a job to get her out of there.  The rooms are comfortable and warm with tv and free wi-fi facilities. The bathroom is well fitted out and the shower is strong and revitalising. My wife’s favourite part was being able to watch tv in bed and not have to worry about falling a sleep – usually when football is on – there, if she fell asleep, all I had to do was press a button to turn the tv off no waking up to go to bed, surprising how little things can please….

BLESMA (7)

But joking apart, we have stayed in a few hotels and this really is a comfortable place, the staff are friendly, helpful and funny, no sour faces here.  The Inn is always busy with functions such as business meetings, wedding receptions and parties. The rooms for the wedding receptions are decked out romantically and whilst we were there an RN Engineering Officer and RN Doctor were holding their reception there.  The party rooms are large and nicely decorated, there is also a ‘Pony Club’ room kitted out for the children to keep them amused.

BLESMA (3)

When we wanted something to eat we just wandered along the corridor to the Hungry Horse, where we could either eat in the dining area or the sports bar (this bar usually won). The menu is varied and value for money, especially the ‘large meals’ which having tried, and found them to be more than we could manage phew were they large, we decided to stay with the normal size meals. There are also special deals on certain days and their curry nights are something to drool over.

BLESMA (6)

The Sunday lunch is a must the carvery is superb, but make sure you arrive early this is a much sought after meal and you could find yourself having to wait mind you there is always the sports bar.

BLESMA (4)

This is a lively bar with televisions showing sport in the evenings but it is also home to Carioca nights and quizzes, so there is always something happening. They also sell a splendid range of wines including some Spanish – this pleased my wife – plus a large range of beers, ciders and the much sought after Guinness.

BLESMA (13)

At the time of our visit the Hungry Horse was due for refurbishment so on the Sunday evening the staff closed the doors and began clearing things ready for the builders and decorators. I wandered down to take a few photographs a sort of before and after thing, so take a good look at these guys, they are the people who look after you and make your time there so relaxed and fun. They are as fond of their restaurant and customers as they are of each other, this is not a job this is a way of life and as you can see they really enjoy it.  So next time you are in Historic Portsmouth be sure to stop here you will be well looked after.

Thanks to all of you see you soon really looking forward to seeing the new look.

© Michael Douglas Bosc

Read Full Post »

 

This weekend was the wine fiesta at Falset. So on Saturday afternoon we drove to into Falset found a space in one of the car parks which was almost full, and made our way to the main street.  This had been closed to traffic and was where the tasting stalls were usually set out, but this time there was nothing. Apart from the tables and chairs set out in the street by restaurants and bars and some of the cellers that had opened their doors for passing trade, the area was quiet,  where were the people?

 

As we wandered on we found crowds moving up towards the castle.  We had visited Falset Castle De Vi, a short while ago and knew the courtyard was large enough and relatively flat, an ideal place for the vintners to display their wines. 

Each cubicle is approximately 2m x 2m with a counter giving each vineyard and co-operative an equal chance to exhibit their wines. One or two also displayed a small selection of their olive oil. 

The idea is that you purchase a pouch which contain a large wine glass. This enables you to wander round the displays and taste the various wines on offer.  People were wandering off with small boxes or bags with bottles of wine inside, but most were there for the sheer pleasure of tasting and drinking the wines on offer whilst noting their preferred ones for purchase later.  A good social atmosphere abounded, friends meeting, laughing chatting more like a club scene but without the music, but this did not dampen their enthusiasm.

Through all this relaxed jollity, to me, something seemed to be missing. People were going straight from the car parks to the Castle, missing the town altogether.  We walked back towards the main street, looking for somewhere to have a coffee, and it was as though we had walked into a different place or time. Although the tables and chairs were in the road hardly anyone was sat at them, even the cellers who had shops in town had no visitors. This was a shame, the fair could have involved the whole town, people would have been able to sit, drink or eat and watch others enjoying the fair whilst the bars etc., would have had considerable trade.  As it was unless like us people were looking for a place to sit and have a coffee, people were leaving as they arrived from car park to castle then castle to car park.    

The wines were of the usual standard, for the DO Monsant and DOQ Priorat very good.  Full bodied reds,  deep in colour with a richness that denoted a smooth taste. Tinto’s that were a little lighter than the dark Negres, light Rose, a clear pink wine delicate but soft on the palet. The whites some a little dry, others more subtle not exactly sweet but again soft. My wife prefers white wine to red so I bow to her opinion here.  The wine I particularly liked was made from the Grenache grape, something I will be looking into. Oh and yes we did take home some wine.

 

Read Full Post »

Well this has certainly been a weekend of mixed events, we had intended to go to the Mora Morisca on Saturday but as is normal things went a little differently.

It started with the inverter going kaput and with the World Cup Final on Sunday we really had to go into Reus to get a replacement. Priorities rule and football being a must my wife did not pick up her camera football!! So about 5pm we set off going round the town as the streets were blocked off for the fiesta.  After purchasing the replacement, we drove back to town and parked the car walking to the old part which was decorated with banners flags and various coulorful awnings. There were stalls selling various cheeses, dried sausages, herbs and sweets with displays of craft work smithies, glass blowing metal and woodworkers. At the top of the town were the birds of prey falcons, owls, an eagle and one or two I do not know. 

Walking down to the main square we found people dressed in medieval clothes both Spanish and Moorish with plenty of bars open. We had been invited to join some friends in their house overlooking the square and spent a very pleasant hour in good company. Whilst there the owner of the bar outside the house asked if he could run a large screen off their electrics to show the football, this all arranged we decided to leave as we needed to eat.  We did not go down town to watch the match it was too hot for us but we saw it on tv and heard the celebrations the flashes of the fireworks could be seen from over the hills.

Then this morning about 7am I heard a noise outside the bedroom and found to my delight a small eagle. It had flown into the  small gazebo outside the sitting room window but was thankfully unhurt, life can be full of wonderful sights at times.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: