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Posts Tagged ‘forest’

 

 

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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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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WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

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A Catch up from December 18th 2016

Yesterday saw us celebrating our 51st year of marriage, a long time these days.  Unfortunately what with our colds back again and very dodgy weather forecast we didn’t get to have a meal out as planned, but we did get to the seaside and have coffee and cheesecake after a walk along the beach watching the surf being pushed in and admiring the sand sculptures before they were damaged by the weather.

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Our pressies to each other were our normal style  Michael bought me an artisan necklace in a amber colour (that’s it gift wrapped)  He wanted a new torch and stuff which I bought him a few days ago, so we were well chuffed with ourselves. Oh and when we were in Tarragona yesterday Bauhouse was open and as is our want we went in and guess what we treated ourselves to as a Christmas pressie???  A WHEELBARROW!! just what we needed.. So here’s how our weekend went:-

Weather and Worthogs!!

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We have seen a lot of really bad weather down south and just above us but according to the weather men it was our turn for some on Monday.  Now we had a small dilemma, should we go to dinner in the evening at the coast or go shopping thus ensuring we were indoors on Monday.   Logic and shopping won so Saturday saw us in town at the supermarket getting our usual Monday stuff so that IF the rain that was promised arrived it could do its worst and we would not need to go out.  We were also kind of whacked plus neither of us wanted to drive across the mountains not be able to have a drink then drive back again.  So we headed for home and just as we were turning into the forest we saw him.  A WARTHOG!!!!!  short body slightly lower at the back-end with a shaggy mane and boy did he go.  Now I know there are lots of animals up here we have not seen but he was a real surprise, could be the little sod that been digging my bulbs up.

Christmas came and went we spent boxingday with friends as normal. The meal was well cooked and the decor was plush.

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Then new year saw us in with colds – again –  hence the late publishing but we are now on the mend and will be heading out again looking for that dam Hog….  Oh and it didn’t rain….

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

 

 

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In the Beginning – (more…)

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To look at Bluebottle you would think he is a contented sleepy little parakeet, WRONG….  He is a bossy, noisy, scheming little git.  If you look closely at this picture you can see where he has been hard at work on the nesting box trying to dig his way out, hence his nickname ‘Big X’.

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Mind you this one is no better.  He watches whilst ‘Big X’ gets going then joins in especially when I have placed clean tissue in the box to keep them warm whilst they are outside, we sat and watched them one afternoon.  I had just cleaned out their cage put clean paper – in bits I might add – in the box and they were sitting on top in the sunshine behaving.  So we sat there enjoying the sun and their company when Bluebottle suddenly dived into the box then emerged with tissue in his beak.  He then hopped up onto the top and proceeded to pull it apart.  This of course made Eccles want to join in there then ensued a small squabble – which is normal with these two – before we noticed each had a bit of the paper and were pulling from different sides.  Needless to say after another small squabble  Bluebottle regained control of his prize whereupon Eccles turned his back on him and we saw he had a piece of paper to nibble. it went something like this:-

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Look what I’ve got mum Eccles hasn’t got any its all mine….

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What you got there Bluebottle? I want some I want to play.

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No! I got it out it’s mine you go get your own..

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Ok I will, but you can’t share it and I’ll get a bigger bit than yours….

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Oh alright, here you can share it with me be friends.

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Right lets play tug of war winner gets the paper ok?  Ok!

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Hehehe got a piece,  he didn’t see that!

They are also control freaks.  If we get up early and open the shutters to see what the day is like they start shouting and hollering to be taken outside. Well the other morning I got up to make a cup of tea and they started, so as I could see it was not only cold but very misty out there I simply opened the front door and put the cage there in about 5 minutes they were quiet and in their box heads poking out as if to say ‘close the door mum’ it’s cold.  Now I don’t know if other people who own parakeets have found this, but we bring them in at night because it gets really really cold up here, and when we go into town for school they are left inside all nice and warm with the bathroom light on.  However, on returning home we would be met with shouting and screeching because the lights go on along with the kettle and television. It was a case of ‘we are tired YOU go to bed’….  So now when we come home I open the door turn the light on and sing out ‘hello boys and what about the workers’.  Know what? no more shouting or screeching, they have learnt we rule at night – at least I think they have……

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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Then It Rained!!!!

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Right now most of you who read the blogs will know, we have been bemoaning the fact that there has been very little rain this year, in fact as a local pointed out if the river wasn’t there this part of Cataluña would be a desert.   Well Monday it rained, yes it did  and how. It began in the morning with the sort of thing we have got used to, a sort of drizzle that can’t decide whether to go full on or bog off somewhere else.

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We had been into town to get the shopping when it  began to get wet and windy, very windy. The drive home was interesting loads of twigs, leaves, rocks and stones on the road plus the odd tree by the river blown down.  When we got back we unloaded the car then parked it and we just had time to grab a few logs and get the generator going before it hit.  First the rain came down sideways as the wind was so strong, this led to a puddle on the bedroom floor under the closed (I might add) window it was that fierce.  Next it began to come in under the front door so the mop was in action, then Michael looked out the back. We are glad he did but at the time I wished he hadn’t, it was just like a river  flowing. It was so strong that it was literally flowing over the sumps of the cisterna, all that water gushing away then the generator began to splutter.  So with umbrellas up jackets on we were out as action was needed and quickly.

 

Firstly Michael had to sort out the flow channels to get rid of the huge puddle that had formed in front of the house and was in the process of washing the sand away and had made its way into the generator shed where water was steadily rising.   I held the umbrella whilst he pulled the weeds up that had grown in the  channel and also blocked the runoff drain. Once this was done a deluge of water began to either rush down the slope towards the track where it continued its down hill run towards the river.  The water that came out of the pipe onto the lower level would not have disgraced the effect of a water pump had we used one.

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Next we tackled the shed. This was simple knock a hole in the back wall and the water came out with a little help from me and a broom.  Whilst I was getting the generator shed sorted Michael went and sorted out the sumps to the large cisterna.  Now this went on for around an hour and a half during which time the water from the roofs, gullies etc.,  filled the 5000ltr small cisterna, one of the 1000ltr cubes and 3/4’s of the large cisterna not to mention the wheelbarrow, buckets and sundry that were outside.  There aren’t any pictures as we were to busy getting rid of the water, but this morning the first saffron crocus appeared in the saffron patch in the garden, the ones in the field have also begun to arrive, says everything really.

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This is not how the track looks now, it’s full of gullies where the water dug it out rocks and stones everywhere, what was once a fairly smooth track now exists.  The road into town was strewn with rocks and mini slides which had come down but these were the usual suspects,  the really worrying bit is on a bend where there are two trees with roots exposed and they are leaning a bit. We have no idea what the top end of the track is like but the town hall has been out having a look at things so must be bad.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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Introducing the Boys

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Do not go ahhh they are not as sweet as they look but we love them.   I suppose I’d better start at the beginning.  There is a market in one of the little towns every Wednesday, and at the top of it is the pet stall.  Every time we went there Michael would stand and look at the birds. This time he went and looked at Bluebottle a couple of times muttering I really do like him, so I said if you want him buy him, which is how we came to go home with Bluebottle sitting in his cage in the front seat while Michael drove and I sat in the back.

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At home he had the coffee table to sit on but as the week progressed he became quiet and a little uppity. So the next Wednesday we went back and bought Eccles – that’s right Bluebottle and Eccles!  Now as I have previously said, nothing we do goes exactly to plan and Eccles was no exception.  He was placed in a cardboard box with air holes quite secure so you can imagine how we felt when driving home he suddenly starts flying round the car – little devil had chewed his way out – so Michael pulled over and Eccles landed on his knee then sat on the dash-board which was how Michael was able to catch him. Once back in the box with my hand covering the hole he behaved, so the drive home was fairly quiet.  When we arrived home all we had to do was put him in the cage, easy….don’t you believe it.  Michael opened one of the cage doors held the box up against it and waited, and waited and well you get the picture and I know you’ve heard it before.

We are slowly learning about them and they are very different individuals. Bluebottle is both noisy and cuddly whereas Eccles is fairly quiet but also cuddly.  If one sits on a swing the other one sits on the same swing, so we got them one each waste of time they still sit on the same one.  They chase one another away from the seed trays, but when they think we are not watching they cuddle up together.   Night time is regulated by light, it gets dark they want to go to sleep, gets light and they want to get up and go outside.  We cover them with a blanket but I have to admit they love sport they will sit cuddled up on their mineral block and watch the tv. Michael thought they wanted to sleep and covered them over you should have heard them so that’s how we know they like tv.

During the day they are either outside hanging from the olive tree or in the fly free zone depending on the weather and wind.  The wild birds are interested in them and we have a Black Redstart that sits in the tree and shouts back.  You will probably hear a lot more about them as we go on, a trip to the Jardi Land is on the cards with ladders, bells etc., on the shopping list.

Talking of which must get the boys in as the winds getting up and they are swinging, stand by for shouting and squawking.  If either of them ever talk first words will be  SHUT UP!!!!

 

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

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The Usual Stuff

 

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These past weeks have seen some spectacular skies what with the moon turning red and the end of the world predicted.  We even had a partial rainbow but, of course, no rain. So these spectacular skies, the moon (and no we didn’t stay up) and the rainbow are our only reward. Then I discovered my camera wont work so now I can’t use it so have to rely on my phone and the tablet not good….

Olive Oil…

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Right as you will have gathered by now we own a small olive farm and over the years we have not had the time to tend it properly.  Most of the trees here are 100’s of years old some – so we are told – being  1000 years old, which I can believe as the trunks are like small oak trees. To get the trees to produce fruit they need to be pruned which means taking all the branches that are growing up right out leaving the centre clear with plenty of light, removing all the dead wood, which encourages new growth which in turn produces the fruit.  However, because over the years we have had to travel to back and forth to Michael’s doctor it became a bit difficult.  So this year after little rain we expected to be pruning but not pressing the olives  WRONG!!!! On inspection I discovered the trees were covered in fruit, not much rain at all here so yes Sods Law is alive and kicking…..

Normally picking olives and taking them to the commercial press is done sometime in the first two weeks of November with pruning in early spring.  However this year everything seems to be early and if we left them till then the olives would all have fallen and been no good,  so it was off to visit Keka (think that’s how his name is spelt) to purchase a small press.  Now we could get going.  We started on the first tree of the left side of the fields then moved to the small ones on the first level. Lots of pruning and picking later we had our first pressing, so Michael got his trusty pulper going and before long the first batch was ready for the press.

Because of his hand I won’t let him use a chain saw up and down ladders with that in hand is not good, so until his hand’s sorted out it’s literally hand pruning. There is a lot of dead wood up there so we find it easier to using the hand saw. It is rather nice working away in the early morning suns just getting warm, birds are shouting and hollering at our two, conversation is good and when he’s cut enough branches we sit go and pick the olive together. We are obviously not the only ones who work like this, when we were out yesterday we passed another couple doing exactly the same.

Sitting in our kitchen/diner is the first container of oil which is resting to allow the water to settle on the bottom. Once this happens I will syphon it off then leave it to settle again before straining it several times into clean fresh containers.

Autumn Hunters

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October brings a new sound to the forest, the sound of dogs, bells and guns, the hunters are back.  The season is from October to March and only on two days a week last year it was Thursday and Sunday, not sure which days this year. I have to say that until the guns go off we don’t always know they are here and they do not hunt near the house.  Hunting is a subject that is full of holes, sometimes it is necessary to cull the wild boar because this is farming country and they do do a fair bit of damage to crops. However, being a National Park they have to get permission to hunt and the wild boar have not suffered, in fact they are beginning to thrive again.

New Additions

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This is Bluebottle. We were out shopping in the market last week and as always stopped to look at the birds.  Michael was particularly taken with a parakeet very pretty with a blue bum, so he’s called Bluebottle.  Twice he went back to look at him then I said “if you really like him get him and a cage” .  Next thing I knew bird in cage in front of car me sitting in back and sir having a conversation with a passenger who didn’t talk back…..  Well he seemed a little lonely so today we went back and bought another one a Grey this time named Eccles what else…..  Now I am not casting nasturtiums (I know what I wrote) but it has to be a male.  The chap put the bird in a box with air-holes and we started for home, calling into the supermarket on the way.  We opened the boot and loaded the shopping opened doors and got in. Drove along then all of a sudden Eccles was flying around in the car – good job the aircon was on –  Eccles had chewed his way out of the bird box so we stopped the car and when he landed on Michaels knee he caught him, replaced him in the box and with me holding the lid on and covering the hole Eccles had made drove home.  Once home Michael took him into the livingroom  opened the cage door placed the box against it and waited… and waited…. and oh you get the idea.  The result was that he had to up-end the box to get him into the cage.

Job sorted you might think but oh no!  They spent the next hour shouting at one another and every time Eccles went to feed Bluebottle chased him away. Same thing with the swing to the point where Bluebottle dislodged his swing then tried to commandeer Eccles, so Michael went out got some wire and sorted this out. Then I had to lay the law down to the pair of them.  Know what? it worked!  I re-hung the swing they had knocked down then we watched as they both sat on it, no squabbling no noise and when Eccles went to eat Bluebottle sat and watched.  Michael has made a hanging place for them in the fly free zone where they can sit and shout at the ‘gang’ who come sit in the olive tree and tweet, shout and screech back at them.  Believe it or not they are now under their cover cuddled up and QUIET!!!!!

Petanca Birthday Party

Last Saturday we had a really lovely day.  Now this weekend here it’s a bank holiday so we wont be petancing and next weekend is a competition so last weekend was the only one free. We bought the wine and our friends did the rest we played a small competition Michael won Beer and Olives and I won wine and crisps.   Then we went and sat down to  pernil, pan tomate, olives, crisps, several different meats with wine, beer, small alcohol wine (4%) Pepsi, lemonade and water.  This was followed by melon, then sweet cakes served with the coffee and either brandy or whisky.  I didn’t drink so drove home Michael just had a really relaxing good time.

Michael also had some good news about his operation on his hand.  He has a cyst growing on the tendon of his hand and it became infected so his doctor sent him to see a specialist who said they would operate but there is a two month waiting list so in December along with his scan it will be sorted. And no he can’t type very well at the moment.

 

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

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Well another week with the weather people promising rain and not delivering. Mind you all around us its been pouring, and my wife even did the washing in the hope it would rain but it was all dry before the clouds got here and no still no rain.  Oh well at least the drop we had during the Tuesday night watered the garden, and yesterday afternoon it got so hot and humid that I really thought we were in for a storm, but even though the clouds gathered nothing came of it as they decided to bog off somewhere else mind you I did my impression of ‘The Flash’ as I dodged the six drops of rain that did fall.

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Now this picture of me working at the airport is about as near as you’ll get to me in class.  Last day at school today and we got our certificates to say we can speak and understand Spanish (oh yeh??).  Oh yes and here’s something you did not know Walthamstow has moved to Ireland, they had got me down as Irish…I do so love these people. Mind you its not as if they don’t know me I spent two years trying to learn Catalan Oi Vey…..

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I found this old photo of the tree outside the house so I put a few together to give you an idea of how things have changed.    From an overgrown lump to a clear space for the birds water bar and ‘Sam’s’ garden, with a new wall plenty of bulbs plus the odd plant.  You can also see the beginnings of the new flower bed (just in front of me) this was taken through the netting of the fly free zone and the grape vine which this year has taken off.

 

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DSCF4915 (640x480)Now the reason I have included this last picture is because a friend of mine will appreciate it,  This is the tree I have been pruning and managed to pull my shoulder muscles – and no Pat NO chain saw…  So the result is that I shall be missing the petanca competitions this year but no matter there is always next year.

Right we are off on a road trip. I have always wanted to see the white horses of the Camaguey and as France is just up the road we are off for three days.  Now it should be an interesting trip as once we are on the E17/AP7  it goes all the way there but I bet we get lost we always do so cars filled up clothes packed maps at the ready hit the road Mike…….

 

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

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A Little Moan…

Well here we are again in the wifi cake shop with a good signal so am able to use our photos.  I made the mistake of telling my wife she should put her photos on Google then we could access them from her tablet.  What I didn’t realise was that she has taken over 2,000 of them, Petanca, (however I understand she has those on disc) wines blogs, fiestas, garden, finca, Club Nautique and the birds etc., not to mention all the odds and sods. What I am not happy with is the length of time it is taking for Google to down load them all as she has taken to using my laptop (she’s feeding her dragons on her tablet now) anyway we are using the stronger signal here and it should only take another 27 hours?????  Not really.

 

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Yesterday afternoon I decided to go to petanca, so I dropped the wife off at the bar Casells so she could continue to down load the pictures and also get some work done (that didn’t work as the download was using so much of our wifi) plans of mice and men….   Anyway I had an enjoyable 3-4 hours at the club, we played several games with people coming and going every so often the sides went up and down but we had a good laugh I do enjoy my petanca.  Our president – second from the left front row – informed me that we had new t-shirts so this Saturday we will find out what they are like.  I am not sure if I will be playing in competitions this year we will have to wait and see, but if not I expect we will be visiting various places like the Camarque as I have always wanted to do that and it’s just up the road so to speak.

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 Criminalies Mentalies or Those Dam Piggywigs

Yesterday morning we took our morning wander round the house looking at the gardens and generally checking for signs of visitors.  The first thing I noticed was the flowerbed in front of the shed had large round foot prints in it and one of the violas had almost been up rooted.  This didn’t go down too well with my wife and when I suggested it might be the Wabbit  she pointed out Wabbits don’t root, worse was to come.  She had bought a new white rose to replace the one we lost and was so proud of the fact it had a really nice perfume, not all the roses over here have that.  Anyway we found the rose bush not only dug out of its spot but something had chewed at the roots, I quickly checked it over gave it plenty of water and re-plated it. Then turned round to find the bird bath I had placed in the Strawberry patch had been moved and the ground under it ‘rooted’ so I have now moved it up into the tree garden near the water tank.  Mind you they did dig up the ground in front of the tree but managed to knock some of the wall down.  My wife declared war on them and I set up a camera to try and ‘get the goods on em’ but the really are crafty little beggars.

 

 

Honey Candles

Honey Candles

This weekend was the annual Honey Fair at Perello so along with our friends we spent a pleasant morning wandering round the various stalls and exhibits.  I did not think there were quite so many stands/exhibits there this year as the main hall was really roomy.  I think it might have something to do with the cost of the plots which is 80Euros  a lot of money for some people.

Well that’s about it for this week, I shall keep you informed on the Piggywigs situation and who knows I might even have a picture or two hey who am I kidding.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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