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Posts Tagged ‘fires’

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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As you will be aware I have been waffling on about the fact that it has finally rained, well ok, not waffling more like ecstatic boasting.  Well this weekend was the Agricultural Fira in Mora la’Nova.  We like this fira (yep that’s how its spelt here) it has lots to offer and plenty of rides and side shows for kids both young and old.  So whats this got to do with the weather? I’ll tell you.

On Wednesday it rained, not just any old rain but heavy English on and off showers through the night. I know that because I had some buckets outside and I measured the depth, 4inches a lot of water.  All through Thursday it was grey, dismal and wet, the cloud cover making it dark and feeling like evening.  It continued like this through the day and this was supposed to be the first day of the fira.  It was so damp and cold that we lit our first fire of the year.  If this is an indication of things to come we will be wooding for the next two weeks.  Anyway, Friday was, according to the weather people, supposed to be the last cloudy day till the middle of next week.  WRONG……

I had said to my wife that we would go and have a mooch round late afternoon on Friday, then go again Saturday night as we normally do.  We both looked at the sky and thought if we don’t go now we may not get there at all. So around 5pm we set off for the fira, arriving in time to get a parking spot.   Now this fira is spread around the upper streets of Mora la’Nova with everything a farmer needs to look at on display. Tractors, farm implements, plus cars, the latest in fires, plus the newest thing for burning in them. Not forgetting the cheeses, breads, and of course the wine section.  However, the first place we make for is the shed that containes the horses at one end and ducks, chickens, quail and ornimental birds at the other.  This year there in one of the pens was a foal with its mother, which looked as if it had not long arrived.  The horses looked well and would stick their heads out for a scratch or just to be stroked, I like horses.  Next we had a look at the birds but I am not a lover of chickens and such, mind you there were some really weird looking ones there and expensive.

When we came out of the shed we were opposite the  first rides which were for the youngsters. One was a line of bulls which you sat on then they were moved side to side in the hope you could not stay on, lots of squeals and laughter from those on board. Next to this was a very gentle ride called Formula 1 which took a gentle course up, down and around a small scenic track. We spent a few minutes just watching these two rides no we did not go on any too much pernill and cheese.

We strolled round the streets towards the top of the town where the bars and eating places are. Mind you there were plenty of places to sit and snack or have a coffee.  I say coffee as the place was crawling with Mossoss (state police) NO drinking and driving here.   At the top end there were plenty of smaller versions of the large rides for the children, most of the youngsters seemed to be after the bungy jumping ride. Here they were strapped into a harness then the elastic pulled taut, told jump! and they were away, well they liked it and some were quite acrobatic.

We continued to wander up and down the streets, saying hello to our Spanish friends when we met them, it was a nice evening a little breezy but not cold, and the rain stayed away.  We then bumped into an old Catalan school friend Thomas. Very nice to see him and catch up on things, he looked well and insisted that we sampled  wine, ham and cheese.  I was driving and tried to explain to Thomas that I could not drink – just as some policemen walked past – but he was insistant so I had a small glass whilst Tom and my wife finished the bottle – I was definately driving……

After leaving Tom we wandered over to look at the stalls by the large hall, we did not go in as it was full of building stalls and I have done all that.  But what I did notice was a stand with fires on burning away, but they were burning alternative fuel.   It seems the Co-operativas have found a good use for the husks, shells and olive residue – they have recycled it as fuel for the fires.  Good thinking you might say but they mixed the bits with diesel then press it into small pellets so I am not so sure.  What they were actually selling was a machine to make the fuel. So trying to go green and disposing of unwanted bits and pieces like this is the way to go but using diesel?ummm.  My wife picked up a sample of what was on offer it contained bits if almond and cob nut shells and grape stalks, mind you the fires threw out a lot of heat.  We are going to try something similar out on our existing fire and will keep you informed how we got on.  Isn´t science a wonderful thig.

We then made our way towards the wine area. Just before we got there we passed a bread oven where different types of bread were being baked so we bought a cheese and herb loaf, very tasty. Then we were in the little square were the local Cellers showing their wines. It was nice to see old friends, Masroig was there, as were Pascona, and one or two of the others.  I was able to catch up on things and arrange a couple of visits, the Pascona Celler under Vinter Toni Ripoll is one of my next visits they make purely Tinto vino, I really have to visit that..

On our way back to the car we stopped to watch two very large rides that took you high up then dropped you back down, all lit up with happy screaming young ladies on board, however I doubt if they will be working today.  This morning – Saturday –  dawned grey and dark. Where was the sunshine that was promised? I was beginning to think I would have to put the generator on to help charge the batteries but around midday the sun came out.  However, it is the wind that is so fierce.  It has been roaring down the barank, gusting round the house and generally sounding unpleasant. We did notice when we went out last night that a tree had fallen from the railway embankment so in the back of our car is a saw plus some chain and rope just incase we meet a tree across the track.

I really hope that the wind is not strong enough to spoil peoples fun this evening, this is quite a good fira.  I enjoy looking at the tractors and farm implements whilst my wife likes the artisans stalls plus seeing friends.  As I am writing the wind is whipping past the front door and rattling the shed roof, it’s good here!

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The macer and forest

Writing is a consuming occupation. I have been so tied up in other events that I almost lost sight of where I live, and why I live here. We chose this place, our little bit of heaven, from one photograph on a sales blurb.  What makes you choose where you live? well apart from the reason you are looking to move it’s the feel of the house when you walk in the door; it will either say welcome home or I’m not for you.  Very seldom is it the surroundings, but in our case that was exactly what grabbed us.  

We looked at the photograph of a small Spanish house with a cisterna at its side and a large olive tree to the right and fell in love.  We came here knowing that we would have to be very green and inventive in our life style. The family thought we were mad but I am not sure they still think it now.  We have everything everyone else has electricity via solar and batteries, with generator backup for the winter months and to run the washing machine.  Hot water system, cooking and fridge/freezer are run by bottled gas, whilst the fire is fueled by wood.  We are not allowed to cut trees down without permission but being in the valley the wind can sometimes be very strong and trees are often blown down so there is never a shortage.

 Our main problem is water. We do not have a well and the cost of drilling one would be prohibitive, so we have stayed with the cisterna plus a header tank which provides the pressure for showers and washing machine. As I said before we have decided to add a few more tanks so that if the family come to visit there is plenty of water. The one thing we have learnt is how to conserve it, such as the washing is done once a week not every day. We shower quickly not take ages in there, the washing up is the only exception, all in all we have it sussed.

So how do we cope in the winter? quite well actually. The strange thing is last year it snowed and we were very warm and cosy. This year it has been so cold, that we have had to have the portable gas fire on in the bathroom during the evening and bedroom during the day as well as the fire going.  It is unusual in the fact that neither the house nor outside temperature have warmed up, so we have been cutting extra wood, it is surprising how many fallen trees you can find when you look.  Who said can’t see the trees for the wood? it can be very true.

I am pleased to think that when I get cross with the things I see happening in the world I can step outside and get a better prospective on life, its a true place of sanctuary.

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