Sunday, 10 December 2017

Inmaculada Concepción de María.

Last week there were 2 holidays,  or 3 if you are at school, because if Wednesday and Friday are holidays, then why open on the in-between day?  And then it's weekend.  Wednesday was Día de la Constitución,  and Friday was Inmaculada Concepción de María.  We usually notice more people around on holidays,  walkers or visitors to local family, but Wednesday was quiet.  However Friday was busier, maybe because there were things happening in Yator. 

Lunchtime in the village hall - don't think of this as some old quaint building, it's big and basic and quite echoey,  cheap to build but over the years it's getting more comfy,  tiled floors rather than the original concrete,  a proper kitchen and bar and lowered ceilings,  a work in progress....

Anyway I digress.  Lunch was arroz, a general purpose lunch of  rice,  sometimes full of pork and vegetables,  sometimes quite dry and stodgy,  but  Friday's was good.  I'm not a huge rice fan,  but this had lots of veg and stock and garlic and onions,  accompanied by a chunk of bread to mop up the juice,  plus of course a drink.  Wine or beer or a soft drink for your 5 euros.  Not the cheapest of meals but for a reason......

The main fiestas in Yator are San Sebastian in January and Asunción de la Virgen María in August.  The small fiestas such as this weeks are the fundraisers for the big ones,  so most of the 5 euros will go towards those. 

We walked down in glorious sunshine but with those weird spaceship clouds that signify swirling clouds way up high. 

Another way to arrive in the village is by mulo mechanico  a mechanic mule,  otherwise known as a sit and ride rotavator.....

Then the arroz;  Julio was stirring the huge pan

then Gabriel who was the barman for the day also wanted to be included,

About 100 of us sat down to eat, including children,
98 of them were  Spanish

and us.

Saturday, 2 December 2017


After rain on Wednesday and more drizzle on Thursday afternoon,  we woke yesterday morning to our first frost.  The leaves on the ground under the fig trees were golden and crunchy and shimmering with frost.  Very pretty, but a little chilly!  Also the first snow up on the hills to the north and east of us,  again beautiful against the blue sky but definitely cool.  Today the wind is from the north and although we have reached the dizzy heights of 8 degrees today,  it feels much colder.

There are some large black clouds around too,  threatening more rain maybe, although the forecast is clear. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Wonderful colours of autumn

I know that every year is different,  to quote the locals  there is  either too much sun or rain or wind,  but while we wait for the autumn rains and winds we have this.....

The colour of the leaves against the clear blue sky is beautiful....

Sweet chestnut

Pear tree


Peach tree

Mulberry tree

And for breakfast we have had what is possibly the last crop of this years strawberries plus some pomegranates that we picked before they split.  After they split, the birds get inside them and peck out the fruit and seeds.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Colours of the land

Even after 14 years here, I'm still amazed by the colours of the land and plants,  considering that this is a very hot dry part of Spain.  There are always plants with colour, those that don't shed their leaves, such as the rosemary and the olive trees, the wild thyme, the list goes on.  But also, there are a lot of colours that come from the land itself, the rocks that give wonderful scenery.  Colours ranging from dark grey to terracotta,  from dull to shiny,

No words really necessary in these photos

layers of grey with a hint of red

a nearby dry stone wall

and a slowly collapsing almond above the wall

grey rock above the red

shiny stones washed down a stream

over a metre tall,  fallen from way up high

silvery shiny rocks

grey again above terracotta soil

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Fiesta de las castanas

Wednesdays walk down to Yator past Ermita de San Sebastian

turn right onto Calle Era Alta

up the footpath to Era Alta

with seats and the tv/phone masts

and a view to Yator

the path towards Montenegro

first glimpse of our house

The fiesta of the castañas  - sweet chestnuts - starts today in Mecina Bombaron.  And presumably in other places too,  the day on the ayuntamiento (local council) calendar is November 1st but that is another holiday too,  Fiesta de todos los Santos,  or All Saints.  Hard to keep up with all these fiestas isn't it!!

Back to the chestnuts...

1º de Noviembre: Fiesta de las castañas
El sentido de la fiesta de las Castañas hay que buscarlo en la antigua costumbre que tenían los labradores Alpujarreños de festejar la recolección de las cosechas como muestra de agradecimiento a los frutos recibidos de la naturaleza, es pues desde este punto de vista una fiesta pagana. La celebración actual data del año 1986, año en que se recupero la tradición de pasar toda la velada tostando castañas mientras se amenizaba con cantos y bailes la fiesta. En Mecina Bombarón, según los más antiguos, existen los castaños más antiguos de la Alpujarra, algunos de ellos incluso del tiempo de los Moriscos. En torno al fruto de la castaña se ha desarrollado una amplia cultura gastronómica, en la que muchos platos tienen como ingrediente principal la castaña.

And a rough translation is..
The meaning of the chestnut festival must be sought in the old custom that the Alpujarreños farmers had to celebrate the harvest of the crops as a sign of gratitude to the fruits received from nature, it's therefore from this point of view a pagan festival. The current celebration dates back to 1986, a year in which the tradition of spending the whole evening toasting chestnuts was recovered while singing and dancing.  In Mecina Bombarón, according to the oldest people, there are the oldest chestnuts of the Alpujarra, some of them even from the time of the Moriscos. Around the chestnut fruit has developed a wide gastronomic culture, in which many dishes have the chestnut as the main ingredient.  (Source:google translate)  as a double check with my translation!

Moriscos were former Muslims converted or coerced into converting to Christianity. (source:wikipedia)

On to All Saints day,  celebrated in various forms all over the world.  Lots to read about the various customs on this wikipedia link here..  

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Tuesday's walk

I managed to get out Tuesday morning for an hour before lunch,  if Pip sees me anywhere near my shoes she gets all excited, but if I've got a bucket of compost, or weeds and garden prunings then that is ok.  So bucket in hand,  phone in pocket,  walking shoes out of sight on top of the bucket, bottle of water and off I go.  Easily fooled this dog!  Leave  the bucket over on the top terraces and collect on the way back.

The 'road' to Yegen

Looking up to the left

and down to the right,  the poplars are changing colour

the stream runs through at the bottom, with Gypsies Leap above.

When I got up to  the cemetery at Yegen  I sat in the new seating area   and looked at Sierra Gador.  Yegen is about 1000 metres above sea level,  we are 890,  but  from this seat I am looking at a mountain that is 2000 metres high.  And the clouds rolling up from the coast today must have been huge...

The new seat..

and the clouds in the distance..

How hot you may be wondering?  At 4.30 in the afternoon it was still 23 degrees in the shade, so quite warm at midday after an up-hill walk. 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

My morning walk.

Most mornings we all go out for a walk at the same time,  Pip and I go for a brisk walk and John keeps an eye on Monty as he (Monty) is very slow and not aware of any passing cars so needs a minder!  But occasionally Pip doesn't want to go very far,  there is no apparent reason why,  but then during the day we find she doesn't eat much either, and sleeps a lot so maybe there is a reason that only she knows.

So on days like this - today being one of them - I go out later on my own for a walk.   Today I went up towards Yegen, as far as the cemetery,  and took a series of photos, just about a 360 degree view. 

I started taking photos from the left of Yegen cemetery,  then left again and so on until the final picture is back to the cemetery.  Some of them overlap - if you look closely!

The forecast said 19 or so in the shade,  a lot warmer at midday walking uphill!!