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A Little History of Fayon

This is the only map I can find which shows where Fayon is situated in the hills of the AUTS mountains.  The mauve bits on this map is where some of the bloodiest battles in the Spanish Civil War were fought. Those of you who follow my Petanca blogs will recognise various names such as Ribarroja, Asco and Mora de Ebro.

These fairly high dry mountains were to witness one of the most bloody and horrific confrontations during the Civil War (1936–39).  On 25 July 1938 the 42 division of the Spanish Republican Army successfully crossed the river in this area and occupied the Auts area taking positions in the hills.  This feat was claimed as a great victory for the Republican troops, and the Spanish Republic saw it as a positive outcome of the Battle of the Ebro effort. However death was on its way in the shape of  Franco’s rebel faction.

106-Brigada Mixta Standard-Spanish Republican Army.pngNow the 226th and 227th mixed brigades who had taken up position in the AUTS hills found themselves surrounded by the rebel faction who then set about relentlessly massacring them – no quarter given was an understatement. Although they fought bravely they were no match for Fanco’s troups. There were a few and I do mean few survivors, and after having suffered a great number of casualties these few battered survivors had to fight their way to the Ebro and get back across the river.

 

This is the monument to those many soldiers who died in the Auts hills at the feet of the range near the road leading to Mequinensa.  No wonder this little new town has a feeling of unearthly quiet about it, but the people are most welcoming.  Every year on the 25/26th of July (or nearest weekend) they commemorate the battle, and celebrate so those who gave their lives are remembered and the sacrifices they made are not forgotten.

FAYON

Official seal of Fayón/FaióThe Fayon of today is a new town.  The ancestral village was submerged by the waters of the  Ribarroja reservoir built in 1967 and the present-day village was built by the state-owned company that built the dam. After the closure of the nearby coal mine,  Fayón has lost about 50% of its population.  This quiet little town is peaceful and idyllic somewhere to spend a vacation fishing, walking or just soaking up its history, and leave the stresses of the world behind. here are some images of Fayon:

 

Petanca

So here we are today, back with our friends enjoying Petanca. So whilst Michael and the others play I have come here to the café with its wifi and tranquility to write.

They say that you should never work with children or animals they should also add cameras.  When I went to take the pictures BOTH the cameras played up so these are the only ones I have of the winners.

                       

The first picture is of the club President and the Alcalde  then comes the main prize winners and everyone else.  It was a really hot day and people were glad to get going to some shade.

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc  – Author

 

 

 

 

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Example of Computer Hooked

                                                                         Computer Hooked – Me??

I know when I have had enough of the computer because I say so, usually after I have been trying to find some information. My immortal words are “sod it that’s enough dam computers.” It’s around this stage the call of the sea gets me so after a good old winge and a cuppa I have a re-think kiss my wife grab the keys and we drive to the beach.

Some of our best ideas have come from these drives. Got a problem we cant get the answer to, we get in the car and head for the coast. Usually by the time we arrive ideas are flowing and often a solution has been found, and I can have a relaxing swim quite possible I’ll get one today thanks to Kindle….

Writing Frustration

But its the times when I’m struggling with my writing and get frustrated that I utter those immortal words.  Times when I can’t get the story to flow or find the information I need, then realise that it wasn’t there in the first place. I think  this all stems from the days we used to drive back and forth to visit my dr. Twice a year we would drive through France on the way to a port, talk about anything and everything. Problems both real and imagined, health, life and my writing and generally put the world to rights, and we still do although admittedly the longest journey we now make is to Barcelona airport.

Computer Hooked?

So why, I wonder, do we seem more able to talk in the car, or walking or having a coffee etc.,  the answer is simple NO BLOODY COMPUTERS!!!  Being a writer I spend a lot of time on one, most of the day in fact.  During the summer when it’s too hot to do anything (like today) if I am not writing I have the cricket on-line and sit in front of my computer either working or reading the reports that come in (and yes I am listening to it).  If my wife is not pottering around the house she is also on her computer talking to her gardening or FB friends whilst doing research or trying to put the wine book together.

It’s not that we don’t talk we do, but with these distractions it’s a bit disjointed.  So come the evening – like tonight – we look forward to petanca.  My wife goes to play bingo with her Catalan friends two nights a week and I go to petanca then we meet up and either go to the club Nautique for a drink by the river and see friends or Reiner’s if we are hungry.

In the early hours of the morning (well they are to us) when it gets light -6am here  5am UK time – and its cool we can now be found in the garden tidying up or watering.  We don’t water at night because the cubes have warmed up and hot water is not good for plants so they have around 3 hours before the sun get up here to enjoy a cool drink.

So with everything considered I suppose I have answered my own question. For some reason the sea is in me and a trip to the seaside is always sitting there at the back of my mind plus there are no computers ANYWHERE.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc (author)

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Asco

Coat of arms of Ascó

Asco is up river from us and home to the Nuclear Station for which it is well known.  We always know when coffee or meal times are as we can see the ‘smoke signals’ rising over the mountain behind us.  Today as we drove in it was puffing away and the river was ‘smoking’ (where the hot water enters the river from the plant).  Asco is a small town nestled at the feet of the  Serra de la Fatarella mountain range. This is the same range our valley is in only on the other side of the mountains. But it can be crossed as we found out one day a few years ago when a very tired man trotted into the garden asking for water.  This is normal for those running, cycling or walking in the forest, water is never refused to them. There is also excellent fishing to be had here as the warm waters around the power station is a good breeding ground for fish. A lot of our friends live and work here and during term time Michael helps them with their English in the linguistics class at the college in Mora d’Ebro.  Most of the employment here is based on agriculture with the power station providing a lot of work.  Here they grow almonds, grapes (the wine is very good) and of course, olives.

There is a good deal of history attached to Asco, it  was one of the castled points along the Ebro during the Templars time.  They controlled trade, collected taxes and got rich.  Today the castle is slowly being rebuilt/restored as the towns now realises that being part of their heritage it is important to preserve it.

Petanca

We have been coming here to play in competitions since we began playing Petanca.  Our friends used to come and play in Mora when we had a club there but age, time and other things have seen the club disintegrate  to basically three or four people.  We like others either joined Tivissa or Asco to play, but we still see our old friends around town and at the competitions like today. At the time of writing they have just started playing so it will be a while before I go to take the photos. I do this because I like to, it is nice to see the faces of our friends when they get their ‘winners’ photo something so small means so much, I get pleasure doing it and they get pleasure from the photos.

So here we go – PETANCA! This is the ‘family photograph’ winners and losers alike. We had a great day met up with friends and generally enjoyed ourselves.

          

Relaxing waiting for the last game to finish

Here are the winners, first prize large ham, second prize smaller ham, and so on from there. Michael, Maria & Gill won wine and a dried sausage (sausage didn’t last long yumm) and he is in another competition next weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So as you can see here is proof that like golfers, mad dogs & Englishmen, Petanca players go out in the midday sun…..

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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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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Last Saturday there was a Clotcha (breakfast) at the club and we joined our friends for petanca and food.  Now the weather people said it would RAIN, well it did Friday night so the phone was on the bedside just in case things were rained off.  But as luck would have it the day started fine if a little chilly and we arrived to find lots of people there, friends from our old club and various villages/towns around. The Alcalde was also there with members of the Adjuntamente, they are great supporters of the club which is really nice.

The Clotcha consists of half a small round loaf which you take the middle out of then you fill it with the following bbq’d things:- garlic, onion, tomatoes and either a sardine or sausage depending on your preference, a good helping of olive oil then you toast the piece of bread you took from the middle push it back in and enjoy!!!!  Yes you get messy but that’s part of a Clotcha, and it was washed down with some very nice red wine.   Next we cleared away had our AGM the played petanca, I was with Jordi and Ramon bless them two very good players landed with me who on a good day can knock spots off balls on a bad day well I should have stayed in bed.  But Saturday was a good day we actually beat every team we played.  Michael was with Delores and they did the same so it ended up with Michael and Delores being first and Jordi, Ramon and I second  wine, olives, crisps and dried sausage came home with us  wonderful day.  Oh and the weather? well it held until the prizes were given out that was done in the rain – see Sods Law happens lol.

Well Jason D’ebre has finished his second children’s book, if you thought that was easy think again.  The book might be finished but now begin the rounds of proof reading, editing, description building, re-reading/proofing/tweaking and lots and lots of grrrrrrrs along with the odd ‘did I really write that’ plus the need to get up and wander off.  Believe me, whoever said writing was easy was wrong, they probably have no idea what an author goes through.  The idea of a story might be easy to put together – provided you have your facts/dates etc., (there are plenty of people out there who just love to pull you to pieces even if the subject is pure fiction. They profess to be ‘experts’ on the subject and know more about it than anybody – and as I said that’s ) but putting it into a story with beginning middle and end is not as easy as it sounds. So from quite early this morning Jason has been reading, checking, ooopsing the book  then its my turn. I have to read it make notes of anything I find does not make sense or sound right then back he goes to put things right and so it goes on until we both feel its ok.  BUT as anybody will tell you SODS LAW is a writers bane  there is  ALWAYS something you missed….. so after publishing you sometimes have to go back correct then publish again.   With out the army of people a publisher provides to do it for you, this is what a Kindle author/publisher has to do.

Jason tells a good story, he checks his facts and knows his history.  That’s why the stories  he writes are not only readable but interesting. He checks everything but its hard work believe me.   Those who just fill pages with words then publish aren’t really authors, they don’t know the first rule of writing  THERE HAS TO BE A STORY, without a story line running through it the pages might just as well be blank.

Well that’s what has been happening these past few weeks now it’s getting near to my reading the book, so someone is up as head cook and bottle washer as once I start reading I cannot stop.  If I have to stop reading and return to reality I lose the times and sense of being there, I tend to emerse myself in the story.  This is how I read, it helps me to make the notes for both Michael and Jason.  I am very proud to say that because of this I am actually learning a lot of history. At school all we got was battle of Hastings 1066 and all that, but there is so much more to English history as I am learning from Jason’s writing.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

(c) Jason D’ebre

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I love this sculpture says it all

 

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Humour is a necessity when you are not feeling on top of the world. The ability to laugh is, to us, a must when we are not werry well.  So after a horrendous night I sort of plodded through to the kitchen where I could hear the fire being lit and the kettle on  Michael was making breakfast.  As the morning wore on I began feeling better got up, dressed, and wandered to the desk.  After the ‘hows yous’ we were laughing at the thought of us, many years ago, out in a rain storm searching for roof tiles then fixing a leaky roof. We couldn’t do that now we said staring out of the kitchen window lost in memories, and for a few moments we were back in adventure land being silly billies then I coughed….

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The one thing about our life here is that we have had to source everything we need including those roofing tiles, but at least there were some spare to hand.  So what other daft things have we done? Well although you can’t see the roof very well, but halfway along the wall was an open chimney which would let rain and other things in, so Michael dismantled it covered the hole and replaced the tiles.  So imagine a really wet day rain coming down in stair-rods, and a leaking roof right where the old chimney had been.  We could not let it go as water was beginning to form a damp patch on the floor. so out we went thick coats on Michael got a ladder and found the tiles were loose in fact one or two were missing. so we had to go tile hunting.  Once they were found it was a case of placing them over the gaps weighting them down with a stone or two (yep the wind is that strong up here) at the end of which two soaking wet people went in and got warm and dry (we had a gas fire). Next day we mixed some cement and Michael made sure every gap was sealed. Memories…..

Christmas Fairs and Me and Barcelona

20161210_165638-640x480-480x560In early December we went to the Christmas fair in Tivissa, and guess what I found so I just HAD to have my photo taken with them (can’t get anything like this with Spurs).   After this we went on wandering round looking at the various stalls until we met one of our Petanca friends who directed us to the church.  Not sure what we would find we went in and joined parents and other towns folk who were there to hear the choir and orchestra perform Christmas songs and carols – we spent a wonderful 2 hrs there.

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Then on the Saturday we went to Mora La’Nova  where we saw the children giving the their letters to the king and his helpers,  (their version of Santa) and having their photo’s taken.  The que to do this ran halfway round the hall.

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The Moors were in this part of Spain for ages until El Cid drove them out but their influence remains and so do the fiestas.  Not only do we celebrate the 25th December but the festivities go on till the 6th January.  Christmas day is the religious festival but on the night of the 5th that’s when presents are given as that is the time when the three Kings visited Jesus.  Now this means we get two Christmases with New Year in the middle  NOW HOW COOL IS THAT????

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc – Author

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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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