Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Hospital and Me

20140516_121451An Update (via my assistant) lol.

Well as I think I told you two weeks ago I had a phone call from the hospital informing me that the operation on my hand was scheduled for 8th of August (yesterday).  Having my instructions and tablets for the night before I was well prepared.  The only thing was our daughter has been staying with us and yep you guessed it, that was the day she was going back. But like her old dad she had a cunning plan, up to Barcelona Sunday stop in hotel by the station and catch the train in morning relaxed no hassle.  So Sunday found us driving up to Barca on a hot sunny morning, chatting about all sorts of things (well cricket actually). We have been listening to the test match on line best sports/comedy show going, anyway I digress.  We arrived saw her into the hotel said our goodbyes and headed home to find England had won the match.

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We stopped at Club Nautique for a drink and something to eat. I do like this club it’s a place where people who sail go, they are friendly and the atmosphere is happy. Here as you enjoy your drink and meal you look out over the river, see the various birds swooping and diving after insects. All against a summers evening of colour and tranquility whilst you watch the boys and girls training for the regattas. Lots of hard work goes into all this but also laughter plus their families are there to support them, a true sailing club. One last Coca-Cola then we headed home to my medication and preparation for the next day.

I Can’t Play the Piano…Or Caught in The Act!!!

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Well Monday dawned early and we arrived at the hospital in plenty of time. As it was a ‘day surgery’ I didn’t need a hospital bed just a reclining ‘trolly chair’ wonderful. The other thing that really impressed me was how the family is included in everything, mind you it really freaked my wife out when the surgon spoke to her after my op, but I’ll get to that in a moment.  So there I am ready for theater, in comes the trolly and off we go. When I get there my surgon asks if I wanted to go to sleep or stay awake – stupid question to ask a writer – stay awake I said, the writer in me wanted to see what was going on. So a torneque was placed round my arm and I was wired up to a couple of machines, then an anethsetic was injected under my arm and a few minutes later we were off.  I won’t go into detail but I really found it facinating and the surgical team were very good. I had two lots of liquid pain killers and a saline drip and when it was over I actually nodded off and it was then that my wife got her fright.

In the UK if the surgeon personally calls you into a room it’s usually bad news, so imagine her reaction when mine did just this. All the poor woman could say was “whats wrong? where’s my Michael?” confused the hell out of my surgeon for  few minutes. When she explained why he assured her all was well then went into great detail of what he had done. He was totally amazed that the families were not included in things in the UK, then told her I would be going back to the room in a few minutes and they would call her, AND THAT GIRLS AND BOYS IS HOW HOSPITALS ROLL IN CATALUNIA! I was a little wobbly but after a wander round, speaking to friends and doing a bit of shopping, I was driven home tired but happy. Tablets for pain, to help me sleep, and antibiotics along with instructions and a chart of when to take them are all sitting on the kitchen table, simple really.

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The Boys were shouting as our daughter used to sit in my wife’s office and talk to them so I showed them my bandaged arm they were not amused, didn’t like that but they are now taking to me through the sitting-room window where I am sat at my desk reading through my latest book.

Well that’s my adventure over for a while – I hope – will hand you back to my ‘blogger’ for updates on our Forest Life.


(c) M.D.Bosc – Author














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DSCF4146Our new septic tank was delivered this week and got me thinking about how far we have come since we moved here 10 years ago.

We have all read the articles or seen the programmes on tv about ‘being green’, but unless you actually have to do it – and I do not mean installing solar panels & supplying the National Grid with surplus energy, or being near a water supply just incase the reed beds don’t work –  you really do not know what it entails or the cost, we had to learn.

When we retired I decided it was time to move somewhere warm. So we looked at various places, saw our finca fell in love with it and moved here.  What we did not know untill I came to see it, was there was no running water, or electricity or sewage. Water for the house is a cisterna with the header tank I installed which are either filled by rain water or spring water brought in by our friend Manell the Tractorista, which is roughly twice a year and of course we have to pay for.


Despite all this my wife and I decided to take the plunge and we have not regretted it. Since that time we have been in a state of evolution, always looking at improving our systems.  When you read the “about Michael” on my pages it says we live ‘in the middle of a forest halfway up a mountain on a little olive farm’, and that is exactly it.  Our families thought we were mad but we knew what we were doing.  The getting where we are today has been a journey of innovation, bright ideas, trial and error plus watching the pennies.  We did not have vast amounts of money and have had to save for things before me moved on to the next stage in our ‘green’ evolution. On the whole it has been fun sometimes it has been ‘what the hell are we doing here?’  however, today we have all the mod cons, and with a little Heath Robinson innovation a bit more. So I thought I would put fingers to key board and give you a little insight into what it has meant to really go green. I will start with the sewage as with the arrival of the septic tank the system is finally finished.


A little info to start: I bought a small generator out from England and for a while this little Briggs & Stratton along with candles was our only supply of electricity whilst we waited for our permissions to build a new casa came through. This is the original Casa de Campo (country house) in which we lived for those months, and the white dome is the access to the cisterna. This typical tiny farmhouse had one window, a fire-place, a mezzanine for sleeping and that literally was it. So what about the loo and sewage system?

We had brought a camping gaz toilet with us from the UK, this was a square two sectioned loo which when flushed meant you had to empty the bottom half. So every so often I had to traipse up to the middle field where I dug deep trenches into which I emptied it then washed it out before re-assembling, mind you the flowers in that part of the field are wonderful….

This little ceremony went on for several months untill the new house and our ‘shit pit’ were built, what a relief not having to do the poo run. I had looked at the various green ways of disposing the waste as at the time of building we could not afford a septic tank.  So the builder dug a large hole in the ground filled it with rocks and boulders to ensure the bacteria had a large biological surface to work on, then it was covered with concrete. This ‘Bacterial Bio Concept’ or (BBC) for short became known as the ‘shit pit’, and untill last week has served us very well.  The concrete cover of the old pit is the base for the septic tank, and as no chemicals will be used it should work perfectly well. The other thing is as we have to conserve our water, we do not flush the loo every time we go only when we poo, and it amazing how much water you can save by just that little action. Something to think on, and no the bathroom does not smell that’s because of the lemons and vinegar.

The one thing my wife had to get used to was NO chemical cleaners or the bacteria would be killed off, the pit would not work properly and it would smell.  We are lucky to have some good friends who are green, and they passed on cleaning and other tips to my wife.  In these days of austerity they are really handy as well as natural, green and eco-friendly. She cleans the toilet with soapy water from the washing up and to get rid of any stains uses white wine vinegar, this also prevents a build up of limescale and helps to keep the toilet shiny white so she is happy.  We have also learnt that lemons which we can pick off the tree do the same job with their natural acid. So there is no need for expensive eco damaging products.  We do not use chemicals on the olive trees because of the birds so why use them anywhere else.  Sorry Harpic and Dettol no go here.

We (well my wife) have learnt how to get the same results but using natural grown things, and are so used to it we do not even think about it unless we have family for a holiday. Then a little info sheet appears and I feel like Sheldon.

A small tip: cut a lemon in half squeeze the juice into the loo after the last flush at night, drop the half in as well and leave till morning, it cleans while you sleep.

This is our life. In the next article I will deal with the water situation.

© Michael Douglas Bosc

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For a week now in the early morning I have been taking singing lessons ( well whistling lessons actually).  Singing lessons? I hear you say, early morning??? well yes.  Take a good look at this little fella this is my Singing Teacher.

It all started about a week ago around 6am just as it was getting light.  From somewhere in the big olive tree outside the bedroom this bird started singing.  Now what you have to remember is the tree literally is right outside our window which in the summer we leave open at night (there is an anti bug and Sid screen built into the window if it was not there my wife would not sleep).

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Waking up to birds singing is quite normal, Boris gives forth as soon as its daylight.  This little chap starts around 6am, like Boris his voice is clear, strong and musical, but there is a distinct call to it.

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Anyway I got up and went to see if I could see him, but he had flown off into one of the other trees.  Next day was the same so by the 3rd day I decided I would join in, well as I was up it seemed natural. So there he sat in the tree trilling with me whistling back, got quite good at it actually.  But we still could not get his photo, until, that is, this morning.

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It happened that last night was really hot so my wife was up around 5.30am making a cuppa when she heard him singing.  Looking out of the kitchen window there he was sitting on the roof of the little house happy as larry.  Well she knew where he was so she backed away and went to fetch her camera.  This might seem strange but we have learnt with this lot, we can be sat outside or working in the garden and up they pop.  Get the camera and whoosh they are nowhere to be seen, how she got Bobbin to stay still for his I don’t know.  Still it is nice to know they are coming back.  We were a little worried as when we returned home after our visit to the UK at Christmas there were no birds at all, not even Bobbin or Boris.  It took around a month for them to start returning, but I am pleased to say they are nearly all home again.

But there is one thing I do not know  who is he? any ideas peeps?  it would be lovely to know the name of my singing teacher……

©   Michael Douglas Bosc

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Who Am I?

This is ‘Spector Thrush’  however there is a slight problem, exactly who is he?  Is he a song thrush who will delight you with his singing,  a Mistle Thrush with a rasping sort of sound  or  Is he just a plain Spector Thrush  in which case I shall have to contact 001 Claude Pheasant.   So who can tell me who my newest visitor is:

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It is that time of year again, when all the birds start their nesting. Now the winter has been rather mild so far which means we have seen the birds earlier than normal.  This morning I woke to see a rather fat bird about the same size as Boris sitting in the olive tree outside the bedroom. 

Now this bird is, I think, a Mistle Thrush.  It’s brown with a cream coloured chest and the markings looked to be in lines. It was just sitting there totally unconcerned watching as the Great Tits and Robin’s as they looked for insects in the branches.   On my way through to the kitchen I saw ‘Bobbin Robbin’ sitting in the almond tree looking as fat and cheeky as ever doing a somewhat subtle bob.  It took some time for me to realise that Bobbin was watching the new comer,  well I thought, are we in for feathers or does this new  ‘kid on the block’ have just a bit more than looks. 

Well that was at the beginning of the week. since then he has joined the ‘Gang’ and can be as bossy as Boris, but I have noticed that Boris is rather respectful to ‘Spector (yes my wife named him) and goes to the olive tree to have a tantrum.  As for Bobbin Robbin he does not take any notice of ‘Spector but, if Mrs ‘Spector arrives he makes himself scarce along with ‘Spector himself.  So I know who really rules here. 

As usual my wife gave him a name  ‘Spector Thrush.  When I asked why she said “well he watches the others very closely and with his colouring he blends in with the scrub”.  Can’t argue with that, but I caught him face on this morning and he  just stood and stared at me, mmm I wonder, is there something  there I should watch out for???

Dum diddy dum dum dum dum dum  dahdah da da da…..

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Since I have not been doing the driving into town I have been able to sit in the passenger seat and watch the river while my wife drove. It was during one such trip that I noticed a heron standing in the same spot at the end of an island several days running, still as a rock looking for his dinner. He looked fit and healthy standing tall and still, until that is Monday, when I noticed he was out in the river up to his bum in water, why I remarked  did he have to move from what looked a perfect fishing site. My wife who when we were home in the UK chased several Herons from our fish pond, remarked that probably being true to form he’d been a right erbert and eaten all the fish in the shallows.   She hoped he could swim as there are some rather large cat-fish in the Ebro he’d make a nice snack for someone…

It has been some days now since I have been down the river road but the other day I saw Erbert sitting on some weed head tucked into his shoulders looking very sad. I did wonder if he had eaten all the fish in that small area of eddies, but later that afternoon things became clear. The petanca courts are by the river and I noticed a large flock of cormorants being buzzed by a fish eagle, who obviously  did not appreciate their greedy ways. So hopefully Erbert has an ally in him even albeit a strange one.

For several days now we have not seen Erbert at his usuall spot and were wondering if he had eaten all the fish there, however, we noticed the river has risen and his ‘perch’ was underwater.  So imagine my surprise when at the petanca courts I glanced across the river and there on the other bank with some Egrets was Erbert, like a swan in a duck pond.

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