Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last post of 2009

This really is the last post of the year....just found this clip of Cadiar's river in full flow. It comes via

this is a blog by a guy in Cadiar, if any one's interested in someone else's view of life over here.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

A bit of music.

...we were joined in Bar Tinao in Yegen by Antonio (centre) and 2 of his friends with their mandolins. Do you realise how difficult it is to dance in green wellies? - or any colour wellies I expect.

If this is the last post of the year, have a good new years celebration. We will be starting off here, joined by Mariano and Sigrun for food, up to Mariano's for drinks and midnight fireworks then to the chapel to ring in the New Year. So a multi-national evening ----1 spanish, 1 german and 2 english but all talking Spanish. It seems to me that the longer the evening, the more fluent you become. Sigrun's Spanish isn't bad, her English is not as good but we have surprisingly good conversations. Mariano has good German so between us we get on well.

So, Happy New Year, may the next one be drier than this.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

The "road" to Yegen

We went out today for a walk to Yegen with Mariano and Sigrun - she's house sitting for neighbours - and then on to a few places for drinks and tapas. Luckily I went in my wellies and John and Mat had boots on, as did Sigrun. Mariano went in shoes, even though he knew it was rocky and likely to be soggy underfoot. Only 1 photo of him about to slip over, kept that for his family, it looks like he's dancing!

If anything, the road up is worse than the road down to Yator in that there are more boulders. Soil and rubble can be bull-dozed out of the way, or used to fill ruts and holes and ravines, but boulders are more difficult. There are places where the edge of the road has collapsed and it's extremely narrow and with crumbly edges, there are places where you have to clamber over soggy soil and plants, places where the rocks have collapsed underneath the outside edge and washed away the soil (didn't go too close but we could see it from higher up around the bend) waterfalls and streams we've never seen before ("we" includes Mariano too - he has been coming here all his life and this is all new to him) ruts/ravines caused by rushing water....and then there are stretches which are relatively normal!

We had an interesting walk into Yegen, and then met a man carrying a falcon - not something you'd expect on a Sunday (or any) afternoon!

PS: Yes, I know, for some reason this uploads the photos in reverse order so what I write about first, comes last as a picture. Still, what do you expect for free!

PPS: J has found another blog by a man in Cadiar...they had either brown or no water the day before yesterday, yesterday the supply was cut off by the Ayuntamiento to prevent disease so everyone's having to buy bottled water to drink or catch rain water to use for flushing the loo. The road to Torvizcon is virtually shut, down to half a lane in places as the landslides have landslides on them!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Pista or river?

No snow here this year just 5 days of torrential rain with the ground getting more and more sodden, to the point Monday when we left the 4x4 in Yator along with the Polo so we always have a car available. Yesterday John went down to Almeria airport to pick up Mat, they changed into wet weather boots and coats in Yator and walked the mile up last night with Mat's stuff packed into a rucksack and his case and shoes left in the car. This morning J and I walked down to nip into Cadiar for last minute things and found the car still can't go anywhere as there has been a land slide between the car and Yator, just by the chapel! Still, the Polo was ok but as we drove out of the village, there were loads of people standing on the bridge looking at the river. It's running extremely high, full of mud and stuff and if the bridge goes, we are really stuck so we've left the Polo the other side of the bridge - just in case!!

Berchules is cut off, so is Torviscon, the river in Cadiar has burst it's banks and flooded all the farm land either side. Saw on the news that Cadiz had a tornado as well as flooding, Malaga is flooded, so is Motril, so is Almeria......

Took some photos and video of the track this morning, the rain has washed boulders and mud down from the hills onto the track making is impassable by car, it's also cut rivers into and across the track which you can jump over but not drive over or round. In fact, in one place the track is now only just over a metre wide with more river than ground!

We are well stocked up as normal, and can always walk down, shop and walk up. Not sure about gas bottles though as they are too heavy. We only use them for the cooker and shower, changed about every 6 to 8 weeks and have 4 in reserve. Hopefully someone will have done something about repairs by then or maybe the new concrete road will be done. There are people here for Xmas who need to leave early new year, and a family who need to get back here after their holiday in Germany. And its a long walk back to Valencia for Mariano!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Frost on the car!

Oh so cold last night, we had the first cold snap of winter, woke up to only 2.5 degrees outside, and when I went into Cadiar at 10am it was still only 0! The house was still lovely and warm though from the wood burners, but outside we had ice on the windscreen and on the grass edges of the pista. Just been to check the strawberries and sweet potato cuttings and all is well. Only 1 plant looks a bit sad and that's the basil, most of which I have cut and dried, just left enough in case we needed fresh for something. Not so fresh looking now, a bit wilted round the edges!

We had a trial run of figgy pudding last night, I found a recipe in the summer when we started to dry figs and thought we'd better try it out before Christmas day in case it wasn't nice but it was scrummy. Sort of like a white Xmas pudding, but not as rich. I only made up half the recipe and that was large enough for 4 to 6 portions. So if anyone has lots of dried figs and wants a recommendation go to

Instead of cooking in the oven as it says, we did 20mins steaming and 50mins on low pressure in the pressure cooker and it was fine. We did have custard with it but I think probably brandy butter and/or cream for Christmas :)

We'll look like figs soon as we are drinking fig wine as well! Last night's bottle was labelled MWF - mostly white fig - as it had some black figs in as well and produced a very deep rose colour.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Christmas strawberries

Our strawberry plants continue to flourish, some of the runners which we potted up have now got flowers and some also have more runners which have rooted into the ground, there seems to be no stopping them at the moment! We have at least 6 ripening in time for Christmas - only 2 each for us and Mat but there may be more lurking under the leaves.

We are now road legal again, both cars ok. We got a phone call from Luis at 7.45pm last Wednesday evening to say that the tyre was in and he could fit it on Thursday morning. I dropped the car off and collected it an hour later and that evening we booked a new ITV test online. There were 2 holidays last weekend, Sunday was Dia de la Constitucion and Tuesday was Immaculada Concepcion, which meant Monday was taken as "Dia del puente" - a bridging day - so in effect everything stopped from Saturday lunch time till Wednesday. We booked in for Wednesday morning, first available time, and now have a yellow sticker on the windscreen (clashes a bit with the pink one!) which takes us up to December 2011 - it costs €35.45 every 2 years.

More news on our road, it definitely is going to happen, it's not just a rumour, as the plans/project are available to see in the Ayuntamiento (town hall) in Cadiar. Not sure of a starting date but it has to be completed within 4 months of starting.

Another 48 chillis strung up to dry today and still more on the plants! Shouldn't really call them plants as they are about 1 metre high - more like bushes than anything. They - the chillis not the plants - are hanging on the terrace and look really colourful against the white wall.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Ajo for Paco

On Thursday of last week, I was asked if I was busy Friday as Paco - who has land in Montenegro - needed a hand planting out his garlic. His wife, Amelia has a back problem, something to do with 3 discs in her lower back, and can't do any work on the land. So instead of making bread and other baking that I had planned, I met him in Yator at 8am and we went off to his land outside the village. It was already dug over and leveled, and all we had to do was plant. Most of us plant enough garlic for ourselves, he grows and sells vegetables for a living so I was facing a patch 10m by 40m and more crates of garlic cloves than I have ever seen! The land nearby had frost on it (it's right next to the river) and I was in 4 layers of clothing - fleece, shirt, t-shirt and strappy top. The soil was cold and you can't plant garlic cloves in gloves, it's a hands-on thing. (By 10am I was down to my strappy top - lovely sunny day by then)

Anyway, we soon settled into a routine, he started to mattock out a row, I started putting in the cloves and worked towards him, while he worked back towards me. There is a technique for doing this.....stand legs apart, wider apart than body width, fill your hand with cloves and bend over, stretch out to your right and start putting in the garlic working from right to left until you have gone from full stretch right to full stretch left. Keep your hands as close to the soil as possible so all movement is really economical. Then move yourself left and start again!! Each clove goes in 4 fingers apart and each row about 15 to 20 cms apart. For those mathematicians out there, we did about 10,000 cloves altogether - all of which have at some point got to be dug up, dried, plaited about 20 to a string I think and then that's when he gets his reward as each plait sells for 10 euros. (minus of course enough to repeat this next year)

We stopped at 10am for food, chocolate for me and fruit and yoghurt for him, stopped again at 12, water for me and wine for him, then from 2 till 3 we went back to Yator for lunch, he went home and I took my sandwich and met John for a much needed beer. Amelia came back with us as we needed more garlic cloves to finish the last section. She took apart some strings of garlic and broke them down into cloves for us. We finished at just gone 5 o'clock. I must have the tightest thigh muscles in Montenegro now, but no back ache at all.