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Weather Report and Christmas!

gardens-2392Well as you can see we were in Grey Land for a time, well actually weeks.  All we had were cold, damp misty mornings with no sun and if the sun did come out it was literally just before it set!  So when Michael finds himself wondering why he has another really bad cold……

My friend has told me that the hospital was going full-out with people who had the ‘Gripe (flu) from children through to us oldies.  Then it rained which made it damper but finally the sun came out.  Then of course it was cold at night as well as in the day and one evening Michael sneezed……..

Pleased to say he is on the mend sitting in the kitchen where the fire is and its warmest working for the first time in weeks sitting at the table and on the lemon and honey with the odd Lemsip and Frenadol to help beat this lurgy.

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So how was your Christmas? we spent a quiet day at home and on Boxing day we went to dinner with our friends to Carpe Diem as we did last year.  The decor had changed but the ambience hadn’t it was classic, slightly opulent and cosy all at the same time.  The food was excellent and served with an easy that comes from good staff in an excellent restaurant. And as usual we took a look at the birds and animals as we left, our friend fed the swan and parrots and how could we not say hello to the Big White Mouse……

Grey Land and Radar Traps

Right New Year – Happy Belated New Year to everybody – For years every new years day we have driven to the coast this year was no exception. So we headed for the pass in the hope of leaving grey Land behind us and we did.  However, those sneaky Mossos had put radar traps every so often up and into the pass all we knew was that at the beginning of the run up they put up a warning and you saw the first one very clearly, after that if you were a speed merchant the new year was going to cost.   We were driving in thick mist and sometimes could not see very far in front so it was a good job that in these conditions we drove under the speed limit as every so often I would spot a camera.  If you could see the accidents that happened over the holidays you would have crawled up and over that pass.  Anyway, once over it we found the sun, beautiful warm glowing sun.

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We drove into Tarragona and stopped near the beaches before finding a typical Catalan restaurant where we had lunch.  Now they have done some sand sculptures and people were milling round taking photos and generally admiring them.  Unfortunately some were slightly damaged by the rough weather that had gone through but as you can see they were still works of art.

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Then we drove home back to Grey Land and if you think I am kidding THIS is the entrance to it…. That cloud that the road disappears into is the start of the other pass and as we climbed it got really foggy again it’s what you get for living in mountain ranges and valleys.

A Brief Round Up Of Other Events

You know I am always telling you about the pigs, well we were coming home one night and as we turned into the track there was a WARTHOG!  Now we could not believe it either but after Googling it we were right.  Description: lower back legs, mane of hair, little sticky up tail and went like the clappers when it saw the car.  I have often said we don’t know what we share the forest with and I am now convinced this is the little sod that has been after the saffron bulbs.  Good news the Robins are back, now the boys have someone else to shout at when the robins aren’t having a go at the redstarts or blackbirds. So that’s it really not a lot happened but the year is young.  When it gets a little warmer I shall be out sorting the garden and finishing the wheelbarrow tub bulbs and geraniums in there.

Oh and the other thing Michael has done is put an add out for Clearing In The Forest by M D Bosc if you see it click and take a look won’t cost you anything and who knows you might like the story…..

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

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Clearing In The Forest Now Out On KINDLE

 

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As I have said before writing is a funny business, your writing away happy as larry or pretending to be a Christmas tree. Then something pops into your head, totally different from your normal work and its SCARY!!!  So what do you do ignore it or go for it? well I went for it and submitted the story to Kindle Scout who accepted it for consideration.

This was something new to me and to be frank a little scary, like waiting for the letter from an agent or publisher. But I did enjoy writing this book witches, demons, good v evil, with English history as the pivot for all the events. King John dies and the King of France sends his son Louis to become king of England using the black arts to do so. Three children growing up trying to survive in a time when life was cheap are all that stand between England and this evil. Hope you enjoy the book.
Well Kindle decide not to publish it so I have put it is out on Kindle myself and Kindle Scout have been very helpful in letting people know.
A lot of people have said they would like to buy it when it came on Kindle well ITS ON KINDLE NOW FOLKS!!!!
A Date With The Surgeon
Well the phone call finally came, they will operate on the 8th of August.  So at long last I shall have my hand sorted out and be able to look at the countryside as I wont be driving for a while, lovely….
The Boys
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They have enjoyed themselves over this past month, toys and stuff they have had a whale of a time. A palm ball is their favourite as they can pull it to pieces and swing around on it. It has been fun watching them trying hard not to fall off, and hear them shouting and squabbling over small bits of palm, funny little things.
Club Nautique and Birds of the River
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Having finished school I have been going to the river and taking photos of birds.  This is really nice as Club Nautique is now open and the boys and girls are back practicing for their races.  As usual my friend Pep is there with his family, looking after the youngsters and generally.  It is nice to just sit in the cool of the evening chat with friends and enjoy a glass or two or even a bite to eat.  The youngsters who are running the club bar this year are polite and very good waiters.  They are supervised by adults who make sure they are ok and help with any problems that may arise, this is truly a family sailing club.
There will be more photographs to follow of the club and our friends.
(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

 

 

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I hope you will excuse me if I repeat myself here but I am rather proud of our roses. This one was given to my wife by her friend, also a keen gardener, who found it difficult to grow roses where they live. Every time we visit my wife comes away with cuttings or small plants, some of which take whilst others die, so it really does depend on our little ECO system here as to what we can grow.

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So this morning we were weeding the edge of the terrace where I have planted Flags and Lilly bulbs in the hope that they will hold the terrace top together, building a small retaining wall was not an option here as the original terrace wall has crumbled in places – ant works.   This was their first year and to my surprise and joy they put on a good show, especially the white Flags that the our friends in the local Petanc club gave us.  I was a little worried about whether or not these would survive as down by the Petanc courts they got plenty of water up here they get some, but basically like the wild Flags they are on their own.  We were well pleased not only when they flowered but as we weeded we noticed they had begun to spread, always nice when that happens. The other nice thing about the garden are the Cacti they are in flower now and looking well.

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I often mention the fact that although there is rain all around we never seem to get much if any.  Living in a valley in the mountains you would expect to have a fair bit of the wet stuff, but no! the clouds gather grumble then ‘bog off’ somewhere else to drop their water.  Realising that it might be difficult for some of you to grasp I took these photos on such a day in question, and no – no rain!  Think I might get one of those rockets the French wine producers use to make the clouds drop their water now where’s Google…………………………….

Right now for a little titter.   Those of you who have followed our stories when we go out and about, know that nothing is simple where we are concerned.  If there is a way to get lost going from A to B in a straight line we find it or if we try to get something done again it turns into a saga or adventure depending on how you look at it.  So being in town and doing something simple like sitting in the café working on the laptops should be plain sailing shouldn’t it? well grab a coffee and try not to laugh too much.

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Let Us Out!!

Monday morning found us heading into town around 10am as my wife had a dentist appointment. So with laptops in the carry bag off we went.  She was supposed to have a small filling plus a small adjustment to her new dentures which would not take long so she had already decided to be a ‘big girl’ and go on her own. Therefore when we found ourselves outside the dentists an hour early (see where this is going?) I headed for the car park which is near the top of town not far from the dentists then we descended on the café opposite. We often use this little café its friendly, clean and upstairs there are plenty of plugs for people to use laptops/tablets.

The ladies in there are used to us so while I headed upstairs to our normal table my wife ordered the coffees then joined me.  Everything sorted out she began to type up my Social Freedom blog so I could carry on translating another of my books into Spanish.  I noticed the time was getting near her appointment so off she bravely trotted – must be horrid to have a fear of dentists.  Anyway she was soon back and a happy bunny, ordered more coffee then settled down to finish typing.  We were so engrossed in what we were doing that it was a while before I realised that it was quiet – too quiet!  No music, voices, door opening or closing. I looked at her and said ‘they wouldn’t have forgotten we’re up here and locked us in – would they?’  she thought for a moment then stated the obvious ‘yes!’  So I decided the alarm needed to be set off, the fact that we could be clearly seen by passers-by was no good as most people had gone to lunch.  Whilst my wife packed everything away I wandered down stairs towards the door off went the alarm we waited no one turned up.  Ummm so with my wife sitting at a table in front of the door I took a few steps  into the café then off went the alarm again, bloody noisy.   This time it worked there they were two slightly concerned ladies but chuckling away as they let two OAP’s out who acted like two puppies let out to play.  The result was we were so traumatized we had to go to the coast for lunch – well that’s our excuse and we are sticking to it.

So today is hopefully peaceful but we are going into town I have school this afternoon……………

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

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006 (640x480)[1]It’s been a couple of action filled weeks for us so I will start at the beginning, so grab yourself a coffee and I’ll tell you of the drama that unfolded that first Monday – oh and please forgive me if I chuckle a little things always seem funnier after the event and as no one was hurt well………

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Monday arrived bright, sunny and warm.  So I thought we might as well go to the seaside and do the shopping on the way home.  Mrs B always enthusiastic for a trip to the seaside was up housework done and ready before I could turn round. So off we set around midday calling first at the hairdressers for her to make an appointment then off to Hospitalet.  We like it here, nice sandy beaches long and wide plenty of space, however today we had the beach to ourselves. After a short stroll along the water’s edge we went for coffee at El Pescador  the seafood bar/restaurant that faces the sea, sat in the shade and read the ‘menu de dia’  decided that it was very good and we would come back on Friday. However things decided – as they do – to conspire against us so it was Monday when we finally went it was well worth the visit.

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We had just reached the Club Nautique when a large rock fell into the road narrowly missing 5 ladies and their dog.  There were workmen placing netting then wire mesh over the cliff face and somehow a rock had been dislodged. Needless to say the ladies told the men what they thought of this  then walked off. We were behind them in the car so could not pass as the road was blocked, so I turned off the engine and we sat and watched as they tried to move it bending a very large crowbar in the process.  Finally they managed to break it into small pieces clear the road and we went home. Phew a few minutes earlier and I dread to think what could have happened.

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Next thing to happen was the weather turned and we actually got snow!  Now please take a look at the first picture and that tree. Not very big you might think but believe me it was a tenacious beast.  I was clearing the rock face of scrub to make a fire break so had cleared round the roots which made it lean this I assumed would need one really good blast from the wind to bring it down not on your life!  We are not allowed to cut the trees down but if they fall down that’s ok,  so for a week we watched and waited for the event. The wind came howled and gusted not a movement then one morning a small puff of wind and down it came, sods law or what.  Now after all this time I wanted to make sure it really was down so taking a pickaxe I went to inspect boy what a hole and some large rocks so the wife is pleased as she can now make her wall round the rose garden double thick then the goats/wild boar wont be able to knock it over.

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Our first foray of the season into petanca began with a ‘clotcha’ breakfast at the club and the AGM.  First picture is of the cooks, last picture is of the setting and the others the rest of us enjoying breakfast and very good company. We had such a laugh and the games after were really fun even though they were as always serious.

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This is Sam, my wife’s little stalker, gardening friend and all-round bossy little sod.  He was part of our life for weeks then one afternoon we arrived home from town to find him lying on his back feet in the air dead. I didn’t think I would be affected by something so small but I was, my wife wandered around for days like a lost soul even the other birds were quiet for a couple of days.  We will and do miss Sam he will not be forgotten.  R.I.P. little Sam.

Right that’s enough for this piece of news. I have started on the next one which also has some more events.

©Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

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Yesterday we visited the annual honey and olive oil fira in El Perello. We like this fira it shows the produce of the area and gives people a chance to taste both the honey and oil locally produced.

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amongst the stands displaying honey and oil were wines, breads, cheeses, a large herbal display and various other items.  I found old friends there

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Celler Pinell de Bre  which is just up the road steeped in the history of the Spanish Civil War and producing some very special wine of the Terra Alta  http://bit.ly/LJWX4V you can contact them here.

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Also in their usual place I found the Co-operativa Batea, displaying their magical wines. We were informed trade was going well and were asked if we would like to sample some of the wines – sadly their offer was declined driving and the Mossos – but if you would like to sample some of their magic http://bit.ly/QmshfT talk to them.

But this year the large hall was curiously barren. The honey sellers were there but even the stall where you can purchase bee keeping equipment was smaller.  Also missing was the herbal stand, here you could buy various herbal medicine and teas along with those for cooking.  The stand which demonstrated various massage chairs, the music stand where you could see fine instruments,  neither were there.  Even outside the stalls were muted and no wood carving demonstrations by young men with chain saws.

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We wandered around the town square for a while then as it was getting late I decided to take my wife for a meal in L’Ametlla de Mar, the little town just up the coast.  We rather like this town, it was the first place we stayed at when we arrived before buying our finca.  I parked the car in the car park by the marina and we climbed the steps to the town.  After wandering around looking for a restaurant we came across a small one down a side street called The Gramophone.  The inside is nicely decorated with tables enough for  28 people inside and 16 outside.  There is an old-fashioned gramophone and radio which have been converted to play discs and which played old standards whilst we ate. The food was excellent we shared a blue cheese and apple salad the dressing was superb and a plate os patatas bravos, followed by a plate of various fresh seafood all washed down by a bottle of really good full-bodied red wine from Marca http://bit.ly/KuRyC8.   We then drove home through the mountains, all in all it was a perfect day.

© Michael Douglas Bosc

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The last time I spoke to Claude he was sitting on his fence and very worried about Farmer John who, it seems, had gone missing. At first Claude had not paid much attention to this as he was busy being a daddy. But as the days passed, Mrs Farmer John was getting very worried indeed and Claude liked her, she kept Farmer John in check.  So one morning when she seemed particularly upset he came to a decision, he would find Farmer John and bring him home.

Now this was easier said than done especially as Claude had no idea where he had gone to. So he decided to contact his friend Bruce Gull in case he had any ideas or perhaps knew where the missing farmer was.  However, he discovered that Bruce had also gone missing and this was  a very big blow to Claude.  But he was determined to find Farmer John so he flew off to the air strip to see if he could find any clues. On his arrival there he was in for a small shock. The hangar was now occupied by the Royal Canadian Goose Squadron (R.C.G.S. for short).  The Air Commode there was called Stuffing or Chestnut for short. Anyway he listened to Claude while he told the story of Farmer John, made a couple of phone calls then said he would do all he could to help.  He had around three squadrons at his disposal, with one of them on a training exercise over at Langston Harbour, if Claude would give him a couple of minuets he would call up the S.B.S. and get them to ferry him in on one of their ribs.  Then they hit a snag, there was no spare flight available so Claude would have to fly himself to Selsea Bill where he would be picked up and taken to the exercise ground.

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Well this was not the first time Claude had had to fly himself around, so donning goggles and helmet he took off for the short journey to Selsea Bill.  When he got there he found a strange-looking man waiting for him, he was wearing a hood type woolen hat and covered in dark clothing plus he had a large boat they called a rib full of other men dressed like that. There being no seat just hand holds Claude took a deep breath and climbed aboard. Then the engines were started and with a roar they were off.  As the boat bumped and bounced along poor Claude was thrown all over the place but eventually they arrived in Langston harbour and started to look for the R.C.G.S.  Whilst doing this Claude asked what ‘S.B.S.’ stood for ‘Special Boat Squadron’ came the reply more like ‘Silly Born Sailors’ Claude thought but as he could not swim he never said so out loud.

They eventually found the squadron and left Claude there whilst they went off trying to look mean.  ‘Right young man have to get you to the C.O.’ the Flight Sergent said,  ‘he’s called Goose Grease’  ‘Oh why’s that?’ Claude asked then regretted it ‘because he can slip in and out of trouble, especially if the army’s Territorial Fox tanks are around’.  Claude was introduced to a young goose in a fine shiny black and grey uniform, who greeted him cheerfully.  “Well now what have we here? an ’00’ agent eh?’  he beamed ‘yes that’s correct’ Claude said looking at this goose with a slight mistrust on his face.  “I’m trying to find Farmer John and I need air assistance to do so’.   ‘Well I can do better than that, I can tell you where he is.’ Goose Grease said.  “Every year I take my squadron to Salisbury Plain where we practice maneuvers and landings.  This year we were chased off by a Hawker Hunter outfit, seems we had gotten to near some secret maneuvers, very secret not even told their families. According to Bunny and Badger thats what Farmer John is doing with the Territorial Army and Commando 42. Territorial Fox tank division and the Hawker Hunters mob are all out there as well so it’s a big thing, and you want to go in?. He shook his head as he said this, “Claude you must be mad, but I’ll get you in then you are on your own”.   Claude thanked him then went to get some lunch.

Around 4.30 that afternoon a strange-looking creature arrived at the camp.  He was rather skinny, lots of hair with a lethal looking tail. As he walked through the camp to the officers tent the air crews moved out of his way, silently watching him.  He reached the tent walked in dropped his kit on the floor and asked for a beer.  Everyone stood there looking on, and it was then that Claude entered.  “God what a pong” he said holding his nose “Don’t you ever wash round here?”  The man put down his beer and turned slowly to face Claude “I’ll…” he stopped short “By all that’s good double o’ one at last, someone sensible is here” this last statement was made with a big smile on his face. “Easil Weasil is that you?” Claude gasped as he looked at the very dirty very tired looking S.A.S. man. “What are you doing here?”  “Same as you my friend, looking for Farmer John and Bruce Gull”  Claude was suddenly serious “They are in danger aren’t they!”  Easil nodded and hung his head.   Without saying more Claude turned and headed for the CO’s tent. “I want the fastest Goose who can fly low and get me to Salisbury Plain asap  I will be ready in 1 hour” “Better make it a two-seater”  Claude turned to see Easil standing in the entrance “I’ll be ready to go just got to wash and change my clothes” so saying he turned and headed for the sea.

An hour later saw them high above the downs heading for Salisbury. Their pilot climbed higher to be out of the Hawker Hunter’s range this gave them a good view of the country.  Easil had told Claude that Farmer John and Bruce were in danger from Puffin Billy because they had stopped him from stealing the bombs.  When at last they saw the exercise ground Claude realised it would be harder to get to his friends than he first thought, Commando 42 were not a pretty bunch.  They had landed on the edge of the exercise ground and were watching their plane flying away when they heard a rustle in the hedge turning round they came face to face with the biggest rabbit and badger Claude had ever seen. Easil was relieved, “Billy, Growler, so good to see you what news my friends?”  It seemed that the T.A. along with Farmer John and Bruce had been sent to the other side of the wood to act as the attacking group, thus taking them away from the main body of the army so exposing them to Puffin Billie’s attack.  Puffin had  laid traps in the area where the T.A. would be crossing the next afternoon there were even booby trapps.  So it was decided that Billy, Growler and Easil would go to their aid whilst Claude would tackle Commando 42 and the dreaded Sergent Major Chris.

They said their goodbyes and he watched them melt away into the woods, then taking a deep breath he headed towards the camp. As he approached he was challenged then taken to the guard tent where he faced a rather mean looking Sergent Major, who grabbed him by the neck saying “well well well look here lads, dinner sh…” that was as far as he got, the next thing he knew he was on his back with a wing at his throat and a mean looking pheasant on his chest.  “My name is Pheasant, Double-O-One Claude Pheasant! and you are?”  The Sergent Major looked stunned, he had been stuffed by a pheasant and a talking one at that, not to mention he was a secret agent.  “Sergent Major Chris sir” he stammered. ” Well Sergent Major if you don’t mind I have a little problem and I need your help, so do we talk or fight?”  Before Sergent Chris could reply the tent flap opened and in walked a troop of scruffy, dirty looking men, “Well Chris I see you’ve met our Claude then, we’ll just clean up, rearm then discuss our next move, ok Claude”  “you say so Bertie” “Ok then let Chris up he gets a bit narked if he stays like that for too long” the man chuckled. Claude let Chris get up. Chris looked at him rather bemused.” I have heard of you but never believed it till now you want to join the brigade? anyone who can put me on the ground is more than welcome.” Chris held out his hand and shook Claude’s wing.

Well what do we do now Claude wondered. ‘Big’ Chris cleared a space on the table so that Claude could see the map, after a short study Claude realised that things did not look too good for Farmer John and Bruce.  What they needed was 1) a plan to catch these baddies and 2) some desperately need information, in other words Easil and his squad, where were they? Claude wondered.

Actually Easil along with his squad were busy creeping carefully along damp hedge rows covered in stinging nettles and ditches filled with cold water, disabling the booby traps they found.  This was not an easy task as the traps were well hidden, but they had a secret weapon of their own, Digger Mole.  It was Digger’s job to check the  tunnels then when he found a stick or something sharp in the ground he would carefully pop his head up and mark the spot with a flag so that Easil would know what to check out. In this way Easil’s squad were able to clear a path through some very nasty traps, disabling trip wires designed to trip the humans or fire missiles into the air thus endangering Bruce and his boys. By the time they reached Farmer Johns camp they were tired, wet and covered in dirt. Easil and his squad crept up to the biggest tent where there was a light on. After skirting it to make sure there were no enemy around he pulled back the flap and entered.

Bruce, Farmer John and three mean looking T.A. officers were in the middle of forming their plans.  “What’s all this?” said a surprised T.A. officer.   “Easil what you doing here mate?” Bruce was now concerned.  If Easil and his boys were out at this time of night then something was up, Easil liked his home comforts.  “There’s big trouble out there Bruce. I’ve just got through a load of traps that Puffin Billy had set for you lot. No questions just now what we need is a hot cuppa and a bath THEN, I’ll fill you all in on whats going on. Oh and they have recruited Steevburn Seagull”   Dumping their gear Easil and his squad headed for the wash tent leaving some puzzled humans behind, Steevburn Seagull, what did he want here?

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When at last Easil returned he explained the traps he had found and how they were dismantled but more worrying was the fact that Steevburn Seagull had taken some chicks hostage just in case things went wrong. “This is a job for Claude” Farmer John said “Can we get him over here?” A message was sent to HQ and a little later Claude flew in. Easil told him about the hostages “Where are they being held Easil?” “There is an old barn just at the edge of the wood and he has them in there.”  Claude thought for a moment turned to Easil saying “I’ll take care of Seagull you just get the chicks away.”  “right I wont argue with that” Easil said.  They finished their drinks and knowing that Farmer John and Bruce were now safe headed towards the barn.  They arrived to find it empty except for a ferret guarding a hole in the wall. After knocking him out they squeezed into the barn and found the chicks huddled in a corner.  Easil had begun to usher them out through the hole when he heard a deep evil chuckle Seagull had arrived.

Claude told Easil to get the chicks away whilst he dealt with Steevburn.   Claude walked into the middle of the barn facing Steevburn Seagull the biggest seagull he had ever seen.  “Well who have we here?” sneered Seagull”  Pheasant 001 Claude Pheasant”  Claude answered.  “Ohh am I supposed to be scared?” Seagull said  “Considering I am bigger than you it will not take me long to dispatch you then I think a nice dinner of chicks will make my day.”   Claude said nothing, he kept his eye on Steevburn waiting for his move.  When it came it was sudden and hard. Claude flew across the barn hit the wall and slid to the ground.  For a second or two he sat there then slowly got to his feet. “Ok Seagull if that’s the way you want it its fine by me.”  As he said this Claude jumped into the air aimed his feet at Seagull and flew across the barn.  Seagull saw this coming and dodged hitting out with a wing as Claude passed him. But Claude was quick, he landed and turned crouching low waiting for Seagulls next move.  They circled each other waving their wings looking for an opening. Seagull made a few darting movements looking for an opening, but Claude gave him none, so he got a little closer and dipping on one leg kicked out with the other. Seeing what he was doing Claude grabbed the leg and the fight was on. Backwards and forwards they flew each getting a strike in feathers flying all over the place, suddenly Claude hit Seagull and for a moment he was stunned.  Claude seized his chance, he jumped on Steevburn and started plucking at his feathers. When Easil arrived with some of the SBS he found a rather unhappy beat up Steevburn Seagull trying hard to cover himself with his wings.  “You ok Claude?”  “Yes thanks Easil a little bruised but ok.” Claude said.

Well the story went round the wood and hedgerows making Claude a real hero.  Then to top it all Sergent Chris arrived and made Claude a honnery member of Commando 42 with his own beret.  It was a very happy pheasant that went home that day. And Farmer John? Well he gave Claude a hero’s welcome home even Mrs Farmer John was pleased to see him.  Well done Claude!

© Michael Douglas Bosc

p.s.  You will not find a photo of Easil as for security reasons his face cannot be seen.

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Our daughter has been over for two weeks holiday so we eventually got to the seaside book and all.  Writing put away for a short while just relaxing eating out and generally enjoying ourselves.

The past week had been eventful, her birthday, a meal out with a friend and my wife getting stung.  In between this there was Petanca plus a club meal, then we had Sunday lunch at the beach, returned there for an afternoon and got rained on by a small cloud in full sunlight lol.

So on the last day of her visit  we went to the seaside again for lunch and a swim.  Now I know most parents show photos of their offspring or tell tales of ‘when she/he was small’….  Here’s a story.

Our daughter has always been an avid reader so it is no surprise to us that a book goes with her.  Whilst here she has been reading my books on the computer (including the ones in progress).  A long long time ago in a country far far away we took her sailing.  Unfortunately on our way out of the Medina on the Isle of Wight the propeller became dislodged.  ‘Over the side’ I said, she looked at me then her mother stood firm and said ‘I’ve read Jaws you go!’.  After some coaxing she went over and pushed the prop back, she has not let me forget it either lol.  So when we decided to go to the little seaside town my wife and I stayed at when we first arrived here, she donned her cossi grinned and said ‘don’t get any ideas this is for sun bathing, remember, I’ve read the book’.

We arrived at the coast on a sunny day found a good restaurant and sat down.  Muscels followed by paella, washed down with white wine, plus fresh bread green olives then ice cream and coffee. This was our choice of menu of the day eaten whilst looking out on the harbour. Well my wife and I were, you know who had her nose in a book.

From where we were sitting we had a good view of the harbour which is also a thriving fish port, Whilst we were lunching the Tuna trip boat arrived. This boat takes people out to the fish farms where red tuna is farmed and you can, if you so wish, swim with them.

On the beach I decided to brave the water it had turned a little chilly.  After a paddle I was joined by daughter, who stood looking left and right. ‘What you looking for?’ as if I did not know.  ‘Nothing just checking’ was the reply.

So we stood for a while letting the water surge round our feet.  It was then I noticed a swimmer coming along in front of us  ‘Jaws’ I said.  Well she decided retreat was the better part of valour then saw ‘Jaws’.  Well getting my own back now and then is quite fair. This was her last full day and we all enjoyed it very much.  Mum drove us home and to the airport the next morning.

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We decided to have a morning out and go to the market at L’Hospitalet de l’Infant on the coast.  The day was sunny and warm around 21dgs which for March is wonderful.  As we drove through the Darmos mountains, my wife mentioned that the road was quite steep and was wondering  how lorries managed.  Now I am not saying anything, but from the time you turn onto the road you start to climb it is a mountain pass after all, bless.

We  like this market because it has a wide range of things for sale but more because it is just above the marina which is surrounded by beaches so you could go shopping then spend time on the beach.  After we had walked round the market and bought what we wanted, we drove a little further down the road to a beach we like.  Here we  parked had a coffee and enjoyed the sun.

The little restaurant we had coffee at is one we’ve visited before.  Today there were tables and chairs laid ready for lunch inside a tented area, and whilst we sat drinking our coffee’s the place began to fill up, so we decided to take a walk to the beach.

 

The town has a backdrop of dramatic scenic mountains which give the impression there is no way in land it is surprising how close they look from the beach.

This beach has soft sand and stretches round the bay towards the point and the resort of L’Ametlla de Mar beyond. Today the sand was warm, soft and golden, so we took our shoes off and strolled along, unlike when in full summer then you need sandles or else you get a hot foot.  

We strolled past palm trees which line the curbside giving some shade with a walkway on the edge of the sand which runs over a ‘run off’ dried river bed so when it rains the town does not get flooded

Whilst we walked along we noticed a speed boat leaving the marina passing the dredgers who were working in the marina entrance getting things ready for the summer, there are some large boats that go in and out of there so keeping the marina from silting up is always an on going job. 

 We watched for a while then took a last look at the scenery landscaped to perfection.

Then we returned home my fix of sea and boats taken for today, ‘Once a sailor always a sailor’, but I’m getting to old for all that now, I find it much easier being an author, or do I?

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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DSCF4966 (640x480)

 

The RNLI have always been at the top of my list both charitable and bravery. These are men and now women who give their time, risk their lives for those of us daft enough to go to sea in small ships, regardless of where we are in the world. I say this as a Yacht/Ocean Master, who for over 20yrs spent his time messing around on the sea in boats.  We had many adventures, but the most memorable one was when we came back from the Solent through the Loo Chanel. This is a particularly nasty piece of water, a deep narrow channel between sand/rocky banks and in certain conditions very very rough and unpleasant. This was such a day.

You approach the channel between two bouys Street and Boulder, this is the inside deep water channel going East. This particular day the wind was around  a force7 very rough waves forming troughs so that you slid down one side and climbed up the other, not a very nice place to be, but having no other option there we were heading for the marina and home.  Things were beginning to get a little worrying as at times the waves were giving us a bath, so at one time discussions were underway as whether to call on the Selsea Lifeboat which we could see quite clearly. Suddenly my wife spotted something ‘yellow’ standing near the Boat House.

Someone was watching us dressed in yellow oil skins against the driving rain. Standing there letting us know they had seen us in case we needed their help.  At this point I knew we were safe and would make it back without much trouble, just the sight of that loan man standing in the rain watching (and nothing will convince me otherwise) gave us the resolve to carry on. Needless to say we eventually arrived back tired and wet, but I have never forgotten that incident. Perhaps we should not have tried to sail back I don’t know, but what I DO know is that the men and women of the RNLI are amongst the most reassuring people I know.

Thank you for just being there.

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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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