Friday, 27 November 2015

Waiting for the postman.

The post man comes every day Monday to Friday at about 10.30am.  And if you live in the village he delivers to your house.  For those of us who live outside the village,  there is no delivery but we have all put mailboxes on to the wall in the square.  About 8 boxes at the moment...
Mail boxes on the wall by the car...

Mail is delivered to the boxes to be collected whenever is convenient and if you have a parcel then the delivery notification is put in your box.  Up till earlier this year,  you then went with note in hand, to the post office in Cadiar to collect your package,  between 08.30 and 10.30 in the morning.  That worked well, and has done for the 12 years we've lived here.

However it's now changed - for the better?  Not sure.  The post man now has your parcels in his car,  the note says he will be at the mailboxes between 10.30 and 11.00.  Sounds straightforward,  but the first time we had a parcel to collect,  I went down to the village for a 10.30 collection and he'd been and gone.  Small village, not much mail that day....  The next day  I went at 10.15 just to be certain and waited and waited till nearer 11.00 as that day he'd had lots of mail to deliver....

The trick is to go and wait in the sun,  take a book - in my case my kindle - be prepared to chat to  every one who is out and about as they all want to know what you're waiting for,  maybe go for a coffee.  Above all, be flexible!

Parcels due this week,  I missed the postman yesterday so went back down this morning for the 10.15 wait.  Talked to one of the Antonio's,  one of the Lola's,  saw some of the women trying to sweep up the piles of falling leaves,  fighting a loosing battle really as the tree has so many more leaves to drop yet,  and finally at 11.05 the  postman arrived with my parcels.

A change for the better? You can see why I'm not sure.  Before the change we knew we had a 2 hour window to get to the post office,  and  while in Cadiar did any shopping we needed. Now it's a case of less distance but more, much more, hanging around.  But on the good side it's much more sociable  as I got to chat with people that I only normally get to wave to on the way past.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The hills are alive..

The hills are alive with the sound of bees buzzing,  mostly in the rosemary bushes but also in the nispero trees - a loquat  (Eriobotrya japonica)  in England.  More info and pics - just click the on the link :)

At this time of the year the weather is generally good although temperatures may fluctuate a lot - sounds like a stock market report - prices may go up or down!   Last Friday  we woke up  to 14 degrees and  got to a high of 22,  then a few days later it was 4.5  first thing in the morning and frost on the ground,  we struggled to about 10 degrees that day.  Although the air temperature in the shade isn't so good,  out in the sun it's wonderful.  We're able to work and walk in sleeveless t-shirts between 11 and 5 - after that it's chilly.

This morning was a bit cloudier that we'd expected so outside painting jobs are waiting for a really clear day,  that gave me some spare time so I took the dogs out intending to go for a longer than normal walk this afternoon.  We went in the direction of El Golco,  although after half an hour we turned round and came back.  Monty has just had his 12th birthday - 12 dog years are 84 human ones,  and he is slowing down a lot.  The bounce has gone,  he is always behind us plodding along and I don't want to stress him too much.  So less distance now for our walks. 

The hills either side of the path are covered in rosemary bushes and all in full flower and buzzing with bees.  Occasionally a bright yellow gorse bush pops out - sort of like the sun in the blue sky. 

At the point where we turned round to come home are the remains of a building,  I'm guessing a shelter for animals once upon a time,  many years ago by the look of what is left.  Certainly needs some work doing!

From here you are looking forwards to El Golco....

and if you look backwards, there is  Montenegro with Sierra Gador in the background.

These last 2 pictures overlap,  sorry but I don't how to get them side by side!  If you click on them they will enlarge.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

IV Rally of Ugijar/Eastern Alpujarras

At the beginning of November I planted out lots of seeds,  salad leaves, lettuce, kohlrabi and a variety of seeds we either bought in Japan in 2012 or have been given since then.  As they are Japanese we don't really know when to plant or how out of date they it was a case of put them in and see what happens.  The pak choi,  2 types of round white radish and 1 type of long white radish have appeared already.  Looking in the diary I planted them on the 10th and noticed them growing a couple of days ago.  So not too out of date then!  Just waiting now for the broccoli,  what look like peas on the packet but the seeds were far bigger than local ones, okra and another long radish.  Will they or won't they?

One of the reasons for going out yesterday was to buy a new watering can - we do have 2 but 1 has sprung a leak and neither of them has the sprinkling end anymore.  (Why is the sprinkling end called a rose??)  The seeds desperately need a good gentle drink - although rain is forecast tonight if we don't water it won't rain, and if we do water then it's bound to rain,  that's the way things work!!   

Got home yesterday,  unpacked,  got out the receipts and shopping list and there in big writing it said WATERING CAN.  And what didn't we have?  Yup,  and that was the main reason for going up to the bazaar.  No pressing engagements this morning so I decided to go back and  get one.  Walking up through Ugijar in the sun,  I could hear engines.  Loud engines.  More than one as well,  and there on the car park opposite the Guardia headquarters  were rally cars and their support teams.  34 of them apparently. 

A bit more petrol needed for this Audi Quattro!
 They do say if in doubt ask a policeman, so I did,  as I had no idea where the cars were going or for how long and whether it was worth waiting around for them to come back.  It is an all day event so I watched some go and then  - yes!  we have a watering can.

This is the "IV Rally Cuidad de Ugíjar - Alpujarra Oriental"  They set off at 4 to 5 minute intervals having first gone down through town, turned round and come back - warming the tyres?  I didn't see any posters anywhere in town advertising it,  but on the Ayuntamiento facebook page is a picture of an information  poster, plus info about road closures and the route etc.

There is also a facebook page about the Alpujarras run by Rafael who lives in Yátor.  He has 145 pictures of last years rally!!

The links are here - firstly the   Ayuntamiento de Ugijar

and also    La Alpujarra"llena de vida"    (the Alpujarra, full of life)

Anything that goes on in the Alpujarra is likely to be on Rafael's facebook, plus loads and loads of photos of food and traditions, some videos - just found a short clip of Yátor on there,  so have a look and enjoy.

John has just come indoors from the garden and said he can still hear the rally cars out there enjoying these wonderful curvy roads, blue skies and sunshine.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Tapas in the sunshine.

Making the most of the sunshine at the moment as the forecast has temperatures dropping tomorrow and Sunday - there is even a snowflake on the forecast but as the snow line is about a 1000 metres above us I think that's unlikely - but watch this space!

We went into Ugijar this morning to the supermarket,  walked round the market, and up to a new Chinese bazaar  that has recently opened  - how does a shop get so much stock into one place!  Then we stopped at La Vidaña for a bite to eat.  Instead of a full meal we decided on a beer and tapas - actually 2 beers and tapas each.

Carne con champinones - pork with mushrooms.

Bacon and cheese in this bun.

Bacalao con tomate -cod with tomato- plus ensalada rusa - russian salad.
And as seems the norm for our area,  each beer with tapas was 2 euros.  At todays rate that is £1.40.

The Christmas decorations are beginning to appear too,  this 'tree' is opposite the church.

Friday, 13 November 2015

A bit autumny this morning.

Yesterday morning when I was out shopping,  the weather was described to me as  'summer from 10am till 5pm then back to winter'.   12 degrees first thing,  up to 19 or 20,  and back down very quickly when the sun sets.

The mulberry tree decided to drop loads of leaves yesterday so after putting away the shopping which included some of this wonderful  'keep you warm when winter comes' drink....

(Not the whole barrel of course!  Just a litre bottle - should be enough for this winter!)

Back to the leaves.....3 sack fulls yesterday.  Luckily there was no breeze as the leaves were so dry they would have blown away at any hint of wind.

This morning when we  got up there was a long low cloud in the valley below us,  stretching as far as we could see.

From the lounge window..
Up the road a little way there was a good clear view of the clouds..

looking further to the right...

and looking South. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

A second Spring.

We seem to be having a second Spring,  although it's about 12 or 13 degrees first thing in the morning,  the sun is out and the sky is totally clear and blue, not a cloud in sight.  In fact I haven't needed anything warmer than a cardigan for the morning walk at about 8am. During the afternoon we've had temperatures of just over 20,  so I'm back into my summer shorts and t-shirts for most of the day.

The seeds for the salad leaves that I put in on the 1st of the month appeared a few days ago,  so today I've  put in different lettuce seeds,  some kohlrabi seeds and transplanted 15 baby rocket plants.  Those are easy to come by as they grow wild at the side of the pista on our walk up to Yegen.  There is already a dark green carpet of baby plants.

The leaves are hanging on tight to the trees but looking glorious especially with the blue sky behind.

There are some trees that grow in towns,  Almeria Berja and Granada to name a few,  we don't know what the tree is but they have very glossy dark green  leaves with a smoothish slightly silvery bark.  They are cut into a donut shape - flat on the top and bottom with round edges and hollow.

In Almeria last Friday some were obviously waiting for their (annual?)  haircut,  not neat and tidy and with what appeared to be aerial roots dangling.  And across the road on  Paseo de Almeria we saw the pruning gang in action...

Then through a side street and onto Avenido Federico Garcia Lorca  where there is a lovely wide walk with fountains in between the roads.  It  reminded us of La Rambla in Barcelona and there is one like it in Granada behind El Corte Ingles and probably in lots more big cities as well.   The Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said that La Rambla was "the only street in the world which I wish would never end."

Monday, 2 November 2015

Autumn is here.

Autumn has come now,  the temperatures are dropping overnight although keeping busy in the day time sunshine means a t-shirt is warm enough.  The leaves are turning colour and when the wind blows the trees rustle as the leaves are drying - and dropping fast!  A sack of leaves went up to the compost heap this morning and I'm sure there will be another one tomorrow,  and the day after,  and the day after,  so long as the wind doesn't blow too hard in which case they will end up a long way off! 

We've been pruning and digging and cutting back plants recently,  I moved a herb bed to a more sheltered space and added some seeds - quick growing salad leaves and coriander too.  One of the compost heaps gave us almost 3 wheelbarrow loads of good rich compost which has been dug into a raised bed.  The next compost heap has been turned over into the empty one and should be done in about 6 months.

A couple of mornings the clouds were down very low,  it almost felt like there was drizzle in the air.  No blue sky! 

Colourful toadstools seen on our morning walks, they are growing out of the drystone walls.

Found this picture amongst this months photos... my favourite shop!

We also buy some of our white wine from the bodega,  it's a grape called Vigiriego round these parts but in other parts of Spain it's known as Chelva.  No picture though as that barrel is in a cooler part of the building.