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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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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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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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Well Me For Starters!

Oi!  and little me don’t forget me!!!!

Ok Thing how could I forget you, I will start again.  Well there’s me and Thing (that ok Thing?) Yes, but I need a hug….  No way, your spikes are dangerous you hug those two.   WHAT!!!! hug those two demolition monsters no way. Look at what they have/are doing to this fly free zone, I mean just look at the floor.  No wonder the boss gets cross with them, plus its a wonder they didn’t eat your dinner yesterday, I saw them eyeing up the plate. You are too soft with them its a good job you placed those two long pieces of wood hard up against these planks or they would have been out and off…..don’t suppose you could???no, stupid of me to suggest.  But they are, oh look there goes another wedge.  Look I’ll do a deal. I wont moan about them anymore IF you replace the wedges so that the rain water runs on me (when it rains) my beard gets just a little dry.  Ok Thing it’s a deal.

Back where they belong haha

Suppose I had better explain to the peeps about things.   I built a temporary anti bugly structure, to provide both shade – which we lack up here – and keep the nasty biting insects and wasps away. The area outside the front door is double planked overlaid plus everything is double netted and sealed. However, I placed two boards right up against the wood basically closing off that section so nothing can get between the planks, (for wife’s peace of mind) then to keep the inside ends up level with the roof I placed wedges between the wooden beam and planks. Then I let the ‘boys’ out!!!!  oh boy, well I suppose Thing has a point. They run up and down the channels between planks and roof, play hide and seek, shout at the other birds, run along the beams sit on top of the pillars and generally enjoy themselves.  However, as you can see from these photos they can move things that are well tapped in and as big if not bigger than they are. So rule No: 1  if all is quiet out there THEY ARE UP TO SOMETHING!! but they are great fun and keep me on my toes.

This is Sam he was her gardening companion

They also tease my wife (the boss) by either bouncing on the branches of her Bottlebrush tree or sitting on the edge of the flower pots and flicking the compost all over the floor.  But like me she loves them, I can tell by the way she greets them ‘little sods what are you up to now?’ just like she talked to the little Redstart Sam.

Anyway they are playing hide and seek again whilst I am working and keeping an eye on them.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

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Well as you may have seen a while ago up here we have a huge variety of plants some which you will recognize from your own gardens and some which might be new to you.  Whichever way you go please remember these are growing wild like weeds here, and no we don’t use weed killer on them too many birds, anyway a diluted wash of Fairy Liquid does just as well.

Now before I get started there are a few things you should know.

1) gardening up here is totally different from the type of gardening you do round your house.  There you have ample water and boundaries.  Here we have a shortage of water with only 2,000 ltrs of water (2 cubes) to see the garden through the summer (unless we are lucky and get a storm).

2) So this means I garden in a slightly different way.  Most of my garden is down to bulbs so once the hot weather comes only the roses,   pots and an odd drought resistant plant need watering.  But there are also some  really lovely wild plants, with various differences  and

3) Please don’t expect their Latin names as I have no idea what they are. I garden for fun and the love of nature and nothing else. If I see a plant that I like and it is drought tolerant I will buy it, but I have to admit that it’s mostly bulbs.  So here are the pictures of the plants and grasses we live with, grab a cuppa and hope you enjoy them.

                                                

There are several varieties of this plant around some with tiny heads, larger ones and one or two with a pinkish centre, all wild and abundant in the forest.  The herbs well there is rosemary, thyme, aniseed, asparagus and fennel the asparagus grows around the base of the olive trees makes lovely omelet’s the local people can be seen at this time of year gathering it from the hedgerows.  As for rosemary that’s everywhere and the thyme I have planted in the back garden to hopefully form a hedge around the lavender garden.  The wild fennel is nothing like the bulb type it’s the feathery leaves we use and I collect the seed heads, this is not easy as it grows during the hot period in the lower field and as is one day the seeds are green then a day later I go to collect and they are gone so this year I shall tie bags around the heads and catch them that way.

The Strawberry Tree and its fruit we have a few growing in another part of our land very sweet but a bit pippy. We also have Carib trees on the farm but I leave these for the animals, the local farmers gather them for their goats and donkeys.

Also the various cacti are beginning to do well Michael made a Cacti Garden on the flat and after a few years it is starting to come together. Even cacti like a little bit of water more often than we get but after experimenting I have moved several of the species that do well in any condition into the garden along with a few my friend has given me.  Although the winter can and unfortunately does take a few the garden is looking well.

 

These are a few poppy photos I have counted 6 different natural varieties my favourite  one is the day poppy that looks like a tulip. (first one up)

  

 

 

 

Ok that’s some of the photos of the wild flowers that abound here.  I am always discovering new ones although I don’t know their name.  But my garden has taken a hammering recently and the culprits have finally been caught on camera…….

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

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Last Saturday there was a Clotcha (breakfast) at the club and we joined our friends for petanca and food.  Now the weather people said it would RAIN, well it did Friday night so the phone was on the bedside just in case things were rained off.  But as luck would have it the day started fine if a little chilly and we arrived to find lots of people there, friends from our old club and various villages/towns around. The Alcalde was also there with members of the Adjuntamente, they are great supporters of the club which is really nice.

The Clotcha consists of half a small round loaf which you take the middle out of then you fill it with the following bbq’d things:- garlic, onion, tomatoes and either a sardine or sausage depending on your preference, a good helping of olive oil then you toast the piece of bread you took from the middle push it back in and enjoy!!!!  Yes you get messy but that’s part of a Clotcha, and it was washed down with some very nice red wine.   Next we cleared away had our AGM the played petanca, I was with Jordi and Ramon bless them two very good players landed with me who on a good day can knock spots off balls on a bad day well I should have stayed in bed.  But Saturday was a good day we actually beat every team we played.  Michael was with Delores and they did the same so it ended up with Michael and Delores being first and Jordi, Ramon and I second  wine, olives, crisps and dried sausage came home with us  wonderful day.  Oh and the weather? well it held until the prizes were given out that was done in the rain – see Sods Law happens lol.

Well Jason D’ebre has finished his second children’s book, if you thought that was easy think again.  The book might be finished but now begin the rounds of proof reading, editing, description building, re-reading/proofing/tweaking and lots and lots of grrrrrrrs along with the odd ‘did I really write that’ plus the need to get up and wander off.  Believe me, whoever said writing was easy was wrong, they probably have no idea what an author goes through.  The idea of a story might be easy to put together – provided you have your facts/dates etc., (there are plenty of people out there who just love to pull you to pieces even if the subject is pure fiction. They profess to be ‘experts’ on the subject and know more about it than anybody – and as I said that’s ) but putting it into a story with beginning middle and end is not as easy as it sounds. So from quite early this morning Jason has been reading, checking, ooopsing the book  then its my turn. I have to read it make notes of anything I find does not make sense or sound right then back he goes to put things right and so it goes on until we both feel its ok.  BUT as anybody will tell you SODS LAW is a writers bane  there is  ALWAYS something you missed….. so after publishing you sometimes have to go back correct then publish again.   With out the army of people a publisher provides to do it for you, this is what a Kindle author/publisher has to do.

Jason tells a good story, he checks his facts and knows his history.  That’s why the stories  he writes are not only readable but interesting. He checks everything but its hard work believe me.   Those who just fill pages with words then publish aren’t really authors, they don’t know the first rule of writing  THERE HAS TO BE A STORY, without a story line running through it the pages might just as well be blank.

Well that’s what has been happening these past few weeks now it’s getting near to my reading the book, so someone is up as head cook and bottle washer as once I start reading I cannot stop.  If I have to stop reading and return to reality I lose the times and sense of being there, I tend to emerse myself in the story.  This is how I read, it helps me to make the notes for both Michael and Jason.  I am very proud to say that because of this I am actually learning a lot of history. At school all we got was battle of Hastings 1066 and all that, but there is so much more to English history as I am learning from Jason’s writing.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

(c) Jason D’ebre

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Fighting Goats!

Well it rained (stop laughing) so we went shopping rather later than usual, didn’t rush and got back just as the sun came out (briefly). After unloading the car I went to look at the cisterna to see if we how the water level was going. However I didn’t get there as rounding the corner of the house I heard this THUMP CRASH! I wasn’t sure what it was it sounded a bit like a gun going off but the hunters weren’t out. Then it came again only this time it was louder and more defined.  Looking up at the masa I first saw two eagles circling then I  saw the cause of the crashes, there were two large goats fighting it out on the edge of the masa with one using a boulder to gain height over his opponent.  I called to Carol and she came out with the camera so up to the terrace we went and these were the shots we got. the story went something like this:

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So you want to be leader do you well lets fight it out. Winner is leader of the herd looser goes over the side ok? Ok except I’m not going over the side. CHARGE!!!

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Stop pushing and get off that rock that’s cheating! No it’s not I’m king of the masa you’re the one I chase sir..

dsc00068-640x480Owww that hurts mind where you put your horns and stop pushing me towards the edge, fight fair.

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Ok that’s enough time to go home. Did you see them down there with the camera? think they have any good shots? No humans are all the same they see us and the cameras come out and they start trying to get closer. Either way we will finish this later on.  Then all was quiet on the masa front.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

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