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The Course and The Club  

Once again its race time on the river at Club Nautique.  As you can see its a long way to the bridge where they round the central pillar then row back.  The downward journey is not too bad as they are racing with the flow of the river (about 6knts), however, on the way back it against the flow and a really hard pull. An awful lot of strength is required for this as pulling against a 6knt flow in a large rowing boat with only oars to get you where you want to be is no mean feat. Not here your Oxford or Cambridge boats these are sturdy river boats that have been used on the river for a long time.

              

As you can see from this photo there are safety boats out as well as canoes, plenty of assistance if needed.  So this people, is what these youngsters do every night of the summer for fun. Out in his boat are Pep and Chris two of the people who are always there for the club, today they started the races.  This is an annual event which we try very hard not to miss.

   

The club is always well attended and this year was no exception. As you can see it was very busy, but they have a good system for the food and drinks area.  You went to the two people sitting at the table who were issuing tickets for drinks and food, paid for what you wanted took your ticket to either the bar or BBQ on the other side of the bar – which was doing a roaring trade with kebabs – and collected your fare.

So to the Races

There are such a lot of pictures for the actual races that I shall just post them hope you enjoy.  Starting with the competitors:

The competitors,line up,the off finish and prize giving enjoy

   

   

 

 

And this young lady won a cup because she SWAM across the river  beating the only other competitor a young man by yards.

 

So there you are our day at the races in photographs, friends and life just get better.   Looking forward to next year boys and girls

 

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Petanca in Tivissa

Well Mother Nature has turned up the heat and the weather is  hot and sunny so on a normal day in these condition we all arrived at the football ground in Tivissa for petanca in the company of our friends.  At 8.30am the heat was on so after breakfast of wine, water and a bocadillo, tables and chairs were cleared away and the little tents were set up at the top of the courts to provide shade for the players during the matches.

              

Once the games were over the International was held and the tents moved to the side of the pitch and again shade was provided for contestants and spectators alike.

 

            

For those not taking part there was the shade of the buildings and tent covering the prizes. However as is Sods´Law´ at the end of the International the wind blew and the tent had to be taken down so the prize giving was in the open.

These are the three who provided the fun whilst presenting the prizes the Sports Jefe, the President of Petanca and the Alcalde.  But take a look at the faces of everyone, they may well have been hot having played for a few hours in the sun, but they are happy laughing having fun and this is why we love of friends and the Petanca club.  Also take a look at the young lady in the wheelchair, not only is she proof that the disabled can and do play sports but she is one mean bowler  and not for the first time won prizes. So here´s the winners and our friends hope you enjoy.

This is the team that came first

                                                                             This is the team that came second

Here are the rest of the contestants who came from other towns and cities to play and meet friends.

                                                                            

And last but not least  the winner of the raffle and another good bowler.

So there it is a day at petanca with friends and `family´ and as I close I can say this really is a family club with young people encouraged to join in and play against us `oldies´ long may it be so.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

 

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In the Beginning

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As you can see from this photograph this was how the back-garden looked a few years ago.  We were just getting sorted out and when it rained the earth would wash up against the wall making it damp. So we laid a path and patio and stood the water cubes there to catch the rain water.  It worked well for a while but when the drought set in and the forest nearly caught fire I decided that we needed a larger cisterna.  Now we couldn’t go up so we went down to bedrock and started from there.  The poles you see here determined the construction as one windy day the whole lot blew down falling on Carol’s roses and taking the ‘false apple’ vine with it.  So after tidying things up and replanting the roses – unfortunately we lost one or two – I got busy.

Got a digger to dig out the hole then had steel delivered along with gravel/sand and cement and off we went. I laid the floor first then started on the sides.  I did the mixing and the wife was down the hole building up the walls.  It took us a few weeks to do as we had to go slow but eventually we were at the top and ready for the beagers and pots.  Once delivered and in place a last few mixes of concrete and job done.  To get someone to do exactly the same thing would have been around 10,000 Euros.

Washing Line and Garden

 

When I started this blog it was into winter and neither of us were fit enough to finish it. HOWEVER, it’s now March sun’s out forest and garden are looking good and we are feeling very get up and go up here.  So after looking at the damage the winter had done to certain plants Carol went plant shopping.  We now have two new lavenders and the lavender patch is beginning to look as it should.  The weeds took over during the winter when we could not get out, so the past few days have been weeding and tidying up days.  The feel of the sun on our backs is doing us the world of good.  I have taken some photographs of before and after, not all the beds have been finished but we are in no rush.

This is the side walled garden before and after. It was full of weeds and dead plants that the frost had damaged, so Carol weeded then planted some violets at this end where the dead plant was, but before that she covered and dug in some of the olive mush and ash mixture to give the ground some goodness.

The next one was end bed in front of the shed facing the house. As you can see it was really bad but after some diligent weeding and another good dose of the mix the red-hot pokers and lavender now have space to grow.

 

This small walled bed forms the other wall of the rose garden and is just waiting for its ‘mix’ to be added.  This is the first year the Hyacinth’ s have been in their own bed although small they all flowered and for a few days the perfume was wonderful. This is the sight I look at from my desk, and the washing line of course.

 

Next was the small patio in front of the bedroom  as you can see it was a bit of a mess but after a good sweep and re positioning of the stones replacing some gravel all is back to normal  –  except that the wind blew just as this photo was being taken  can’t tell you what a certain lady said…..

So this is  just a few photos of where we are with the garden.  However Carol has told me about your photos this spring and how it is difficult to explain the variety of wild ones we have so in ‘Part Two’ of this blog I am posting just photos of 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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Summer Has Arrived

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Last year we never went to Club Nautique because the road was being dug up and the round trip to get there after petanca and school was just a bit too far.  So this year now the road works have finished, we started watching the bar from mid June and last Monday after shopping we drove by to see the netting being put in place and knew summer was almost here and we could return  to evenings by the river in the company of our friends.  So on Tuesday after petanca I drove down to the bar to wait for my wife to join me after bingo.  When I got there Pep and his family were sitting in their usual spot and suddenly it felt like home things were as they should be, I am so pleased that I have been to school to learn more Spanish I can now converse better and understand a good deal more.

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This is my friend Pep who like me is a qualified yacht/sailing master (here he’s called a Captain) and we have spent many hours over the years talking about boats and life in general. He gives a lot of his time to the club and youngsters in the summer and in winter its football, he’s a really nice man and friend.

 

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Above are some of the photographs from years past pictures, of friends and the young people who races and are now grown up but still support the club. I sailed for many years on the south coast of England crossed the channel a few times, made some really good friends and met interesting people doing so. Sailing, racing or just messing about in boats provides you with a ‘family’ made from the bond forged by a love of the water and boats whatever they may be.  That’s what I like about Club Nautique the family atmosphere and a real sense of enjoyment by the youngsters who train on the river.

The Ebre is not a river to be taken lightly, its has a strong main stream of fast flowing water, plus back eddies and large boulders hidden beneath it people have died training on it. So I really take my hat off to these youngsters who every year train for the races under excellent supervision and provide a good basis for a very relaxing (if you are watching) rowing sport.

So Glass raised and here’s to a good summer of sailing and friendship.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc (author)

 

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Petanca at Mequinenza over the years

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One of my favoured places for competitions is Mequinenza in Aragon.  Over the years when we have been playing we have had some memorable times and some we would rather forget, but that’s how competitions go. We have made lots of friends and it always feels like a reunion when we all meet up. besides being a place for Petanca Mequinenza is also renowned for its fishing, and as we arrived this morning there were fishermen all along the banks of the river enjoying their sport.

This town is also known for its castle which sits on the hill behind the town overlooking the river as it did in the time of the Templars when they controlled trade on the river Ebre. Katherine of Aragon also spent time in the castle so the English connection is always there.

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Looking at the Petanca courts from the club house – Old Age Pensioners Club – you can’t miss the castle which looks very impressive.   The statue commemorates the miners which is something you would not associate with Spain.  There were a lot of lead mines around here and in Cataluña (see http://wp.me/pVcwA-Bk) and until they were closed down they were a good source of employment. A certain amount of pride was attached, as a miner you had a job, and that meant money coming in and food on the table.

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These are some of our fond memories friends and colleagues with their prizes. Unfortunately one of them is no longer with us and is sorely missed.

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Reiner who, as President of Mora de Ebre, stands alone with the club trophy, and the one person who never shouted at me when we played in the same team, a real Spanish Don.

Today is no different from most competitions I am here writing and Michael is playing which is as it should be. The photos below are of today, the prizes are sponsored by Proctor and Gamble who have a distribution centre here.  Hams and olive oil for the winners and seconds, cheeses, wines and the trophies this year are little framed photographs of the Jubilate Club. Michael, Maria Cinta and Gill they won a nice round of cheese each.

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Our clubs photos start with breakfast and as you can see it is a serious affair. That’s right wine, olives and a bocadillo consisting of pan tomate and jamón, plus water and coffee.  That is a proper petanca breakfast and really delicious.

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This young lady is special and quite a bowler we were pleased to see our first disabled player win, and as you can see she and her friends are in the group photo wonderful.

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(c) Michael Douglas Bosc (author)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grey Mornings

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The valley is a source of constant change, surprise and stunning views, even on a day such as today.  Up here we can have sunlight and think it’s a good morning. However one glance down the valley tells the true story.  If we can see across to the Mountains clearly then thats fine, the sun will shine it will be warm/hot depending on time of year.  However, if like today we look out and can’t see the mountains then we KNOW it’s going to be a mixed/dull day depending on which way the weather pattern and wind is blowing. So the next sunny but blowy day I decided that after everything in the FFZone being soaked it was time for action!

 

The Fly Free Zone

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Remember this?  Well as you know we have the boys and discovered two things about the roof and the vine. First off the vine was so heavy it began tearing the netting with it’s weight.  This meant that we couldn’t let the boys out without being there incase they found one of the holes.  Then there was the little matter of rain, when it did,  the wooden roof was basically a sieve, water poured in.  So with summer on the doorstep bringing those nasty black biting flies we decided it was time to sort it out. I had already laid a new floor and tidied up round the pillars.  Plant pots placed table and chairs in situ all looked very nice, then it rained!!!! so I thought, lets get this done. A visit to the local builders merchant sorted out the roof, 3 panels of painted corrugated did the trick, and new netting added the finishing touches. We did not remove the old netting it will stop the boys from damaging the new stuff when they fly around.   So on a not so dull day we set to work.

 

 

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I was up the ladder undoing the screws then passing the planks down to my wife, Earlier I had cut some cross members shaped the ends to fit the two supporting trunks then nailed them into positing. Finally with a little ‘heath robinson’ know how plus a wife with a broom (careful folks lol) I had the first panel up, then the wind got up!  So whilst I was getting the bolts to secure the panel in place my wife was up the ladder holding on to the panel to stop it moving, one up two more to go. Surprisingly these went up quite quickly and were soon in place, then it rained.  Not a lot, just enough to test the roof and know what  IT WORKED!!  not a leak anywhere.  So I moved a water cube down to the side ran temporary guttering and it duly rained. We moved the vine to the side of the little house so it has a nice new home and is leafing away nicely, lots of green shoots, plenty of sun so hopefully we will get some grapes this year. The weather then kindly rained on and off over the next few days so the cube is now full.

 

The Boys

Well it appears they were not successful with their first attempt at breeding but they are having another go.  I have turned their nest box to face the wall so that the wind doesn’t  blow straight into it.  A necessity as over the past few days the wind has been blowing a hooley.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc   Author

 

 

 

 

 

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