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Well its over for another  year, feeling stuffed, tired but relaxed.  Knowing that we would be on our own for Christmas friends asked if we would like to meet up at Carpe Diem just as we did 4 years ago.  So Boxingday saw us heading out into the Campo in the mountains and a wonderful 5 hours.

Now outside behind the car park live some interesting characters who are obviously used to being photographed so instead of talking I will let them tell the story.

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Oh look everyone more humans and a CAMERA!!!!   This is my good side.

 

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Dont bother with him I’m the one you should be interested in look at my fine feathers and my leg stance all fashion walkway here ducky…

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Well that’s her normal remarks but this is her normal position head in ground I might be smaller but I’m definitely more bird.  Oh dear are they being strutty again  your obviously here for dinner its cold and misty so I’d go inside if I were you  Merry Christmas and enjoy your meal.

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So we headed towards the restaurant and found this little chappy one white Wallaby looking decidedly cold. once inside the magic took over, this place never ceases to amaze, enjoy the photos.

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This is the large dining area decked out, all tables had candles and large gold coloured plates, napkins and crackers.  We arrived early which surprised us as it was very very foggy and getting cold outside.   Michael wanted a picture with the large tree, he looks rather military but once dinner was under way he relaxed.

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Then we were in for a surprise who should walk through the door but authoress Rosie Reay with her two boys. It’s a long time since we had seen her and she looked good.  She has lost weight, had her hair styled and Michael just did not recognised her.  Needless to say we were pleased to see her and caught up later before they left.

IMG_0183 (640x480)So we headed home in the fog calling at the garage to get petrol for the generators.  We really enjoyed our dinner good company, good wine so as it was said here’s to the next time in 4 years……   Happy New Year everybody

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I had been promising my wife we would take a trip to the Delta to try for some photographs of birds and other things for a story I’m writing. So when we woke and found that although very windy the sun was shining and it was warm we decided to go. On the way we passed through an avenue of  Beech trees, it is, in my opinion, a typical continental thing. When they are in leaf  it looks very pretty.  We should have had a warning of what was to come as there were bits of tree’s in the road.  Further on as we neared one of the roundabouts the police were directing all the lorries into a side parking area, ah we thought they are doing a road inspection wrong…  Approaching  the road to go round Amposta, we found the traffic slowing, police and workmen were by the bridge that crosses it and there at the side of the road was the direction sign from the bridge – wind had blown it over the safety rail and down onto the road. 

Avenue of Beech Trees

The drive down there is pleasant. You follow the river Ebro to Tortosa, then on through some of the rice-growing finca’s untill turning right on to the road round Amposta. After this you travel the N340 to St Carles de la Rapita. This is a pleasant little seaside town with a marina, good beaches and some nice restaurants and bars.  We have a favourite Tapas bar and beach bar. So looking for a coffee we headed first to the beach bar which was shut and had also had some slight wind damage. So after watching the men cutting up the tree that had been blown over, we turned and headed along the water front to the Tapas bar, passing the marina and its occupants.

Go Find Your Own Bar

 

At the bar we had Patatas Bravas, Calamari Romanos, sausage’s, spiced and prawns.  Then we drove out to the Delta and the sea. The route we took was an arc, taking pictures as we went.  Driving along we saw the tractor that is used to plough the rice fields a strange contraption, a sort of military vehicle with slatted  wheels. But it travels over the paddy fields with no problem unlike a normal tractor which would soon get bogged down.  

Rice Tractor

My wife spent a lot of time trying to get a close up of a Marsh Harrier much to our glee it proved to be a real task.  When she crept towards it waited until she was close enough to get a good shot then took off, again and again.  She did get a few distance ones but not close up.

Marsh Harrier

 

We then came across  this water-mill. Instead of a windmill with sails to pump the water these are in the form of an Archimedes Screw, which pumps the water round the water beds and ditches.  With the little house painted white,  they are both cared for and in working order. It sits on the bank near to an observation hide where you can watch the various birds on the marshes.

Archimedes Screw

The wild life was fascinating.  The shots of waders, flamingos, ducks, heron and seagull were taken from the viewing hut. Several more were taken as we drove back towards the main road, so all in all it was a success.  I even managed to get a shot of the long-horned cattle that graze there.

You Really Wanted a Seagull

 

 All in all it was a pleasant if windy day.  The Sun was out it was warm 17c and relaxing. So when we reached the N340 we found the wind had picked up a little.  Well, that was an understatement, it had picked up a lot and we had not gone far when approaching a bridge saw just how much.  There on their side were two lorries, a small one and an articulated one. The articulated lorry was on the barrier of the bridge with its window screen smashed from the outside so I suppose they had to get the driver out that way.  I really hope he was ok.  We finished the journey on the flat using the El Perello pass, seeing all the windmills feathered against the wind.   

This brought home just how powerful nature is.

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