Saturday, 12 August 2017

Hello! Still here :)

Another 3 months or so has passed by so quickly,  I've been looking through photos taken over the past few weeks and have come up with a selection......

May was sunny as normal,  we had our usual fiesta here in Montenegro for Santa Fatima,  but instead of everyone bringing food and drink to share,  this time lottery tickets had been sold with the addition of 3 euros on the price - the extra going to pay for all the food and drink.  It's the norm here in the villages especially at the December lottery of El Gordo,  the extra 3 euros paid by people goes a long way to helping cover the costs of celebrations during the year.

the start of the food selection,  meats and cheeses but more to come, plus wine, beer and soft drinks.


ripening mulberries
In June we went down to Playa Granada,  Motril,  where there is an airshow every year.  Parking along the beach roads,  food and drink at the chiringuitos where we stopped for coffee and tostadas before the show started.

A date for your diary..... next years airshow is June 17th.

And it's free.

Just bring your deckchair and some sunblock :)

There are a lot of unusual and spiky plants around,  one of which is the agave.    The agave puts out a spike, a flower / seed head but then the main plant dies off.  This year we seem to have a lot of them flowering - we counted 13 or so just on one area of land.  At first the  spike looks a bit like a piece of asparagus...

April 20th

April 24th

June 5th

June 8th

June 20th
July 22nd
Now the seed heads are starting to form and the birds are constantly flying in and out eating.  The base of the plant is more or less dead and the flower spike - probably because it is top heavy - is starting to lean to one side.  Eventually it all dies  and collapses.

Spectacular while it lasts. 

I read on this blog which is written by a couple who live near Cabo de Gata, a Natural Park at the coast, that the agave is under threat from a black beetle - picudo negro.  So enjoy the photos while you can.  The relevant post - amongst lots of wonderful photos of the scenery at the coast - is back on May 15th.  But a lovely blog to look at.

July was as hot as we'd normally expect - until it wasn't!  We had a heatwave,  not the Lucifer that's been in the papers recently - I think that was a more widespread across southern Europe thing - this was perhaps just Spain and before the main tourist season.  But it was hotter here than Lucifer,  overnight temperatures of 28 and we peaked one afternoon on a shaded terrace at 40 degrees.  That was nothing compared to Granada, Sevilla etc but super hot for here.  Thankfully it's cooled down a touch and after a day last week of "hairdrier" weather which brought dust and hot air,  it is now a very unusually cool 20 overnight and 30 today max.

This weekend is fiesta in Yátor,  music and food last night, lunchtime today, tonight and lunchtime tomorrow.  The fiesta day is actually on Tuesday, Asunción de la Virgen María
Tomorrow is the day they have the foam and water fiesta,  this is what you can expect...
(pictures from a few years ago.)

So that's it for now, or on my current form, that's it for a few months.  I must try harder,  I do take photos but not so many,  but I will try to keep up to date. 

Thanks for sticking with me!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

At the end of another month!

Time does seem to fly by,  we've had at least a month of glorious weather and the toe-dipping in the pool that I was doing last time became a proper swim session over the Easter weekend. 

Just after Easter, on the 20th April,  at 2.30pm, smoke started billowing from behind the hill that comes out of Yator and runs up parallel to us.  Our land goes down to a stream,  then the hill rises up from there and this is not the first time that there has been a fire the other side of it,  no doubt it won't be the last time either.  After about half an hour of smoke,  we heard the fire engines coming into Yator.  Another half  hour,  and a helicopter came and dropped off guys above the fire line,  then it went off with its water bucket collecting and dropping load after load of water.  We watched 20 or more trips,  some from the village water deposit, but most from further down the valley in the direction of Ugijar where there are vegetable growing tents and larger water deposits. 

hovering over Yator's water deposit

lifting off, turning round ready to drop water

the fire is close to the village
taken from our side garden....

By 5pm the smoke had almost gone and the helicopter stopped dropping water.  Until next time......

The wild flowers are in full bloom - there is a lot of colour at the side of the road at the moment - poppies are the most obvious as they're so bright, but so many other flowers too.

The most spectacular of all at the moment are not wild flowers but the ice plants in the garden.  They adore sunshine,  they are just wonderful....

Carpobrotus edulis and C.chilensis (yellow and dark pink)
Otherwise known as..... the Hottentot fig,  the highway ice plant or pig face! 

Tomorrow,  in common with many countries,  is a holiday.  Fiesta del Trabajo.  Labour day.  Workers day.  However you call it,  it's a day off work.  We have noticed more people passing by today,  walking, cycling,  and  enjoying the long weekend. 

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Blossom time.

Probably one of the prettiest times of the year when the plants have had some winter rain and now some unseasonably hot sunshine. 


at the end of February we had a week of totally white skies, hot, no wind and just odd.  Then it rained, hailed, thundered and lightning all in an hour or so and it left this....

.....the Sahara sand.  It covered everything,  cars, tables,  chairs,  it  eventually sank to the floor of the pool which took some time  to clean out!

Friday of last week - the 3rd - started fine.  Then it drizzled,  then it rained,  then the wind came and oh boy! was it windy!!  Sideways rain,  howling gales from early evening until about 4 or 5am.  Very noisy as  the wind howled round the house,  although we know everything is safely put away,  the noise makes you wonder what damage will occur.  Apart from a few  pot plants that blew over and lots of leaves and dust in the pool,  no problems.

Monday dawned bright and beautiful,  warm and sunny and about 20 degrees.  Tuesday the same, maybe warmer.  Wednesday a bit warmer and by Friday we were up to 25 and it was so hot out in the sun that I ventured into the pool.  OK, not exactly a swim but down the steps to chest depth for a cool down.  Same on Saturday but a bit cooler today. 

 And lots of flowers are now in full bloom...

Plum tree

Pear tree

a succulent from a friend - blooms almost all year.

Grape hyancinths


Another succulent,  we have lots of these.

And daisies,  they bloom almost all year too.

Friday, 27 January 2017

New Year, new road.

Not a complete new road but a long section leading from the chapel here in Montenegro up a long slope in the direction of Yégen.  Maybe about 500 metres in total,  the road gets very slippery when wet in the winter months and very very dusty in the summer.  I'm talking dust up to your ankles almost,  and although it's not a very busy road,  you can see that vehicles have a problem getting traction. 

Just before Christmas the first of many trucks laden with gravel started coming up,  plus a mini digger,  a water bowser to spray the gravel,  and a roller to pack it flat.  Sheets of reinforcing steel were at the Yátor end of the road waiting to be brought up too.  Obviously they had to start at the top and work their way down,  so they parked the equipment on a flat terrace and reversed up and up to the top.

The start of the gravel base.

The first of 29 mixers.....

A few days later there's concrete.

They started laying concrete on Monday 16th,  10 mixers went up that day.  About half an hour after one went down empty,  we'd hear the next one coming up,  except they got it wrong once.....

José was coming down empty and John managed to flag him down and tell him another full load was coming up.  José pulled off onto our neighbours land and although the chutes of their lorries got tangled somewhat,  the other lorry squeezed past.  That driver then helped José reverse back out from a tight spot.  What isn't clear on the last photo is that the rear wheels of José's lorry are not on the road anymore but hanging over the edge! 

Tuesday 17th - another 8 mixers,  and Wednesday morning another 6.  But by lunchtime it was cold,  windy and trying to snow so they stopped work.  The road was closed....

road closed sign at Yegen

and blocked in Montenegro.  Plus a dusting of snow!


It was opened over the weekend for the fiesta of  San Sebastian in Yátor  and then this Monday morning came  the final 5 mix loads to finish the road. 

Rumour has it that the next project is from the chapel down past our house to the existing concrete road that goes to Yator.  Time will tell.  We only heard about this project when Fernando told us - and he knew because his brother is José the driver of one of the mixers.