Monday, 25 January 2016


So there's been an earthquake according to the newspapers.  Too far away for us to feel anything although we read here on a local expat forum that people living near to the coast and the Malaga area were aware of it. 

From the same forum a few years ago,  comes this link,  from the Instituto Geográfico Nacional,  which has a map of the Spanish peninsular and every tremor that occurs.  I've changed the  link to  English for ease of use,  if you look at the 'more info' link next to the chart of tremors it shows close up where it happened.

The first we knew about it was a 'breaking news' article in the online version of one of the UK papers.....but there were 5 today,  4 yesterday.... and that is not uncommon.

As they used to say in Dad's Army - don't panic!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

San Sebastian 2016

Another year,  another sunny fiesta,  and horses.  More than were at last years fiesta we think,  this time 33 were there. 

But first the food.  Paella was being prepared when we arrived at about 1.30pm,  two large pans - by large I reckon over a metre diameter - olive wood burning underneath,  1 lady was preparing the roasted red peppers,  the water and spices were heating with the rice, a sack of garlic was waiting to be added,  bunches of flat leaf parsley were being chopped,  and at the end......35 kilos of fish.   She said they were catering for 400 people.

There were so many horses,  all glossy and some with their manes plaited,  couldn't get photos of all of them!  But here are a few....

 What wonderful ornate stirrups!

Waiting for the race..

After the service in the church,  there are fireworks,  then the procession goes through Yátor to la ermita de San Sebastian when there are more fireworks and that is where  the statue stays until next year.  The brass band plays somber music on the way up and happy music afterwards. 

A little video for you to watch of the procession...

And something a little different!  Lots of places celebrate San Sebastian and I saw this article in the Guardian newspaper,  do take a look at the pictures ...I really do not envy the guy of this village!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

A hint of blue ;)

I'm sure the electric guys get paid well for what they do,  at least I hope they do,  because when the power went off last Sunday for the major works they had told us about, the temperature was only 4.8 and with a cool breeze.  Working on the top of a hill in that....not my ideal Sunday,  or any day actually.   But the sun shone though and the power came back on just after 1pm. 

Monday and Tuesday were sunny too,  and a bit warmer,  although these photos make it look like summer  appearances can be deceptive!  Lovely in the sun and walking but cool elsewhere.  Thursday was very chilly and it never got above 10 degrees.  No blue sky that day!

We'd been for a walk up to the fuente  and as we came back past the chapel,  Paco's chickens and turkeys were out for a walk too.  Much clucking and running around, then almost as if one of them said 'alright, follow me'  they went off in a line, one after the other.

Monday at just gone 4pm,  and the moon was up,  full moon is tonight I think, I wasn't sure if the moon would show up on this photo but it's there almost in the middle and if you click on the photo, it'll open in a new window nice and big. 

Wednesday 20th was San Sebastian,  Yátor is celebrating this weekend so more about that in the next few days.  Fireworks going off at the moment,  tonight will be music and dancing in the salon until the early hours - or later - sometimes it doesn't stop till sunrise.  And tomorrow more of the same;  church,  the procession,  then  food and fireworks but less music and dancing. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Day by day...

I might as well start  the same as usual - with a sunrise picture! 

That was last Sunday morning when we went out for a  slow walk due to Monty's leg.  Actually he only hobbled for a day or so,  but since then he has slowed right down and  so I spend a lot more time looking around at the scenery.  We still do the same distance only it takes longer than it used to.

An unwelcome visitor on Monday morning in the pool,  about a foot long,  no idea what type it is but any snake is an unwanted visitor here so we fished it out and put it in a sunny spot to recover outside.  The ripples on the floor are the result of the windy week,  the dust has settled now - if it was swimming weather we'd have cleaned it out,  and although it's sunny it's not that warm!  This spring we have plans to empty it,  sand-paper all the paintwork,  rinse off the dust that makes,  repaint and then refill.  Sounds easy but it takes a couple of weeks.  Empty and wait for it to dry,  sandpaper and rinse, wait for it to dry,  1 coat of paint, wait for it to dry,  2nd coat - yes, wait for it to dry, and then we can start the slow refilling process.  Is it worth the work?  Yes, most definitely.

Another of our succulents is in bloom,  another one that we have no name for although the Triffid tree that I put a photo of before, we think is either a Tree Aloe (Aloe arborescens)  or maybe a Good Luck plant (Bryophyllum daigremontianum)  or so our plant book shows.

Yesterday morning I picked all the oranges from our tree,  not so many this year but so sweet!  Almost too sweet to drink.  But nice this morning for breakfast with a strong cup of coffee.

And 3 lemons but they are for our evening drinks.  Maybe they should have gone in with the orange juice to sharpen the flavour!

On our way out yesterday afternoon for a walk to the fuente,  there were 2 horses coming along the footpath from El Golco towards Montenegro.  Neither dog is happy near horses so I kept an eye out for them so we would have time to wait by the side of the path but they were tethered near the acequia while Rafael watered his olive trees.  Monty ignored them, and they ignored us.  I think they are probably used to the village dogs in Golco,  Pip was a bit unsure and kept her one good eye on it as we went past.

The last of the pomegranates.  They ripen and start to split open about October and then if not picked the birds get in and eat the seeds.  Now all that is left are the dried shells on the spiky twigs. 

It seems the reservoirs are getting low on water.  Not in danger of drying up but at a 5 year low.  There are 11 reservoirs in Granada province but only 55% full.  More info here as usual on the Seaside Gazette.

Tomorrow we will be incommunicado from 8am till 2pm as the electric will be turned off.  The electric company are doing some major maintenance and upgrades.  We saw a large lorry in Yátor with a big transformer on it,  another one with a large reel of cable, the sort that goes between pylons,  a JCB has carved out a new track up the hill just outside Yátor that rises up behind the Ermita de San Sebastian and the cemetery and then earlier this week 2 guys from the company came up with official notification of the works.  They gave us a copy and have put one on the door of the chapel here in Montenegro for those people who weren't around at the time.

Have a good weekend!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Forgotten photos.

When I was sorting out my photos and writing yesterday,  somehow this one got forgotten. 

Taken early on Monday morning,  this spaceship cloud was hovering above the chapel and  catching the sun's rays giving it a lovely lavender colour.

We have a lot of unusual plants in the garden,   tubs of aloe vera which are now blooming, plus various other succulents that we have been given as cuttings or seeds.  The leaves of this plant produce tiny plantlets for want of better word,  they root really easily and grow and grow and grow.  This particular plant outgrew its pot and is now in a large  4 foot diameter old tin bath type of container that we found years ago out on the land.  We put it under the olive tree and against the ivy clad fence for protection from the sun and wind.  It has now reached over 5 foot tall and has loads of flowers.  Salmon pink tubes is the best way to describe them. 


Any idea what it is?  Apart from big!  We call it the triffid tree!

Friday, 8 January 2016

A mixed start to the year.

It's been a bit of a mixed bag as far as the weather goes so far this January,  mostly blue skies and warm in the sun but for a couple of days we've had very strong South Westerly winds hurtling round the house.  When you have leaves blowing past your lounge window you know the wind is strong, especially when your lounge is upstairs!  And the trees outside that we look down onto are olive trees - evergreen - and there aren't any leaves left on the fruit trees, so I don't know where these leaves are coming from.  The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same,  so I'd planned a nice long walk in the sun today but the wind has come early and we are not going out.  There's dust in the air from the pista,  Pip really doesn't enjoy the wind and tends to hide in the bedroom,  and Monty has developed a bit of a limp overnight.  He struggled walking when we went out this morning,  in fact we only did half our normal walk,  he seems to be having a problem with his back leg/hip.  Something to keep an eye on. 

So to go back a few days, our first windy weather warnings were last Sunday;  most of Monday and into the night was very gusty,  up to 70 km/h apparently.  Tuesday the 5th was gorgeous again,  and in the afternoon the dogs and I walked up to the cemetery at Yegen.

The night of the 5th we heard lots of fireworks from the nearby villages celebrating Fiesta de Los Reyes - the 3 Kings - then the next day the 6th Epifaniá del Señor was a national holiday.  Time to take down the Christmas tree and dust the decorations......we put the tree up outside on the terrace and when the winds had finished hurtling round the house - you can imagine how much dust collects in tinsel and as for the beanie reindeer and Father Christmas that were sitting on the window sill,  well they were washed 3 times before they came clean!  Actually I washed the tinsel as well!

Clouds gathered in the afternoon, ones that look like they might turn into spaceships which normally give us clue as to how much wind is coming, but instead we just had a colourful sunset.

Twice it's tried to rain but only managed a few drops - not enough to keep the dust down.  Certainly not enough for the garden.  The vegetable seedlings and salad leaves I've done with the watering can, everything else with the hose pipe.  The main water deposit is overflowing and  the acequias are full of running water which we use for the garden. 

And so to today.  Monty is resting his poorly leg,  sleeping soundly by the sounds coming from his bed,  Pip wants to go out but it's just too windy for her.  The forecast now says we have  "Riesgo de rachas muy fuertes hoy" -  a risk of strong gusts -  right now 50 km/h rising to 61 km/h overnight.  And maybe some rain early tomorrow too. 

We were reading the online papers over lunch today,  and saw the UK has changed it's guidelines to safe drinking.  Oh no!  We're doomed!  A glass of wine is about 3 units and they say 14 max for the week!   What about my one before dinner,  one with dinner,  one after dinner...... Until we read the upper limit recommendations for other countries.... and Spain has a different outlook so that's ok then.

Thanks to the Guardian newspaper for this info.

I've always been a believer in   'a little of what you fancy does you good'   way of thinking and if my only vice is red wine,  so what? 

Off now to check our supplies  :)

Happy weekend everyone.