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Now living in l'Olleria, south of Valencia

Saturday, 26 February 2011

New Drive-through

On Friday morning, Ed went to the suppliers and asked for a delivery of stone for the drive. We had been hoping to get it through a neighbour, but he could only deliver it when he wasn't working for his normal employers, so we might have had to wait for a very long time.

Can you deliver it today? No. Can you deliver it on Saturday? No, on Monday. Not before then? No, Monday. Ok, see you on Monday. So, off we went, out for the day. At about 4:30pm, we got a phone call, there is a lorry outside your house, trying to deliver some stone! As it happened, we had just got back to the car, and were planning on returning. We went straight to the suppliers and he laughed, and apologised. We quickly scurried back home, and shorly after, 30 tons of stone were delivered.

Ed asked me to drive the digger, while he raked the stone. What a laugh. Thank goodness he has the patience of a saint with me! I managed to get a bucketful, but putting it where he wanted was nearly impossible. I had to think before I moved each leaver. Was it the left of right one I needed? Did it have to go backwards or forwards, or was it left or right? Somehow I managed, and between us we got a lot done before it got too late, stopping at about 9pm. Several times, he said, 'that's it, drop half here and half of it there', but I didn't, only because I couldn't remember how to make the bucket go in or out! Bless him. I saw him smile quietly a few times, but I guess it's the same when I'm showing him how to use the laptop.

This morning, he finished levelling off, and then this afternoon, we hosed (dampened) the stone and whackered it flat. (It is a special mix, not just stone.) I had a go with the whacker too, but spent most of the time laughing, as it dragged me across the garden. I have no idea how Ed steered it with just one hand.

We now have a huge drive, with a tidy area in front of the garage, and even turning points, in case the 'tree' roundabout is too complicated.

La Cima del Viento

There is a goecache in the middle of the windfarm that we have been to before, so I thought that Ed and I could run out and find it.

I had forgotten how windy the roads were ont he way there. At one point, Ed commented that it was a good job that there was very little traffic. He spoke too soon. Shortly afterwards, we encountered a huge truck loaded with tree trunks comming the opposite way. Thankfully, we met on one of the few straight bits!

As we got nearer to the windmills, we discovered that they were putting even more in, and re-doing the cabling, hence the removal of the trees. We saw some men in a very tall cherry-picker working on a windmill and they looked tiny in comparrison.

Finally, as we neared the windmills, the tomtom announced that we had reached our destination. Oh, not next to a windmill then? We scrabbled about in the undergrowth, as I tried to figure out which way to go. The tomtom wanted us back on the road, but obviously that wasn't right! Ed, however, seems to have a nose for these things. He spotted a likely site and within moments I heard him shout "I've found it!". His theory is simple... where would he hide something, that's where to look!

We have been very lucky with the weather on these hunts. I think in the summer, it would be very difficult to undertake some of these. Perhaps, in Spain, this is a winter hobby... we shall see.

Climb Every Mountain

Some friends of ours knew of a geocache at the top of a mountain a few miles away, in Vallada.

With great trepidation, I agreed to go along (Ed was really looking forward to it). As we crested a range of mountains, we could see this escarpment in front of us. I just burst out laughing. We were about to climb it!

We found the carpark, and then bimbled our was along the indicated path. Up. And up. And up. It was actually a good path, although very steep in places. At one point, Mark took a photo of us. I sat down next to Ed, on a small pine branh, but it really prickled as I sat down. Then it was very sharp and hurt! I had managed to sit down on a gorse branch, and then ended up with a spine stuck in my bottom! Finally, we got to the rocky outcrop at the top. The one with the cross on top, and a hidden cache just below the cross. Oops. Nasty steep steps, with a bit of cable for a railing, and a (several hundred feet) drop at the side. I was the last to go up, but managed, even though I was shaking like a leaf. Next, we had to climb around a small tree (nothing to hang on to, and then cross another even scarier bit. No chance!

Ed meanwhile, had gone ahead, found the cross, scabbled down and found the cache. Having found the last few, he thought he should wait for everyone else... but no-one came! Tracey and I bottled out of the last few feet, so only Mark appeared at the very top! The boys filled the book in, while I took a (very) deep breath and managed to get myself back to a spot that felt a lot safer!

Going back down seemed easier, until we realised how slippery the loose soil was. I fell down three times, laughing my head off! Half way down, Mark suddenly shouted for Tracey to STOP. She nad nearly trodden on a snub-nosed viper. One of the venemous snakes in the area.

The climb up and back took us about 3 hours, but it was certainly worth it. At the base was a beautiful picnic area, swimming pool and bar. It will be a good place to visit in the summer.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Keep Left

We now have a roundabout in the garden!

Ed has finally laid out the front drive. Now that the trees have been taken out, and the roots dug up where appropriate, he has been able to even off the drive and give it a fixed edge.

The biggest tree has remained, for use as a roundabout, but there is plenty of space for the truck and trailer to go around, without having to juggle about to get back into position. Previously, Ed often had terrible trouble with the trailer (if it was loaded) as the truck would skid on the uneven ground.

We are now waiting for the special surface stone to finish the job, but we have no idea when it will arrive, as a friend will bring it, when he is not officially working! In real terms, it means that we have to wait for bad weather, so he will be laid off for a few days, and will do our delivery then - although, to be honest, if it is very wet, we won't want it either! In the meanime, it looks nice and tidy, both front and back.

Smile for the camera... "no"

Not Mushroom Here

Instead of taking out the roots near the neighbour's wall, Ed simply chopped the trees off about calf height. He then waited a while, for the worst of the sap to rise, and then secured the tops to the stumps, for seats.

A little trimming around the edges, and, hey-presto - we have a ring of mushrooms.

Room With A View

The front garden is now looking very open, having lost the trees nearest to the house. We can sit on the front terrace, and admire the view, rather than just watch the garden.

We still can't see to the top of the mountain from the front, but I suspect that next door's trees have something to do with that, as well as our own.

It is still winter really, so the plants are looking rather sad, but in a few month's time, it will all be full of flowers and greenery.

Spring Blossom

It's looking beautiful everywhere. Nearer the coast, there are valleys of flowers in all shades of pink. The almond blossom from pale to deep pink, and the cherry blossom almost cerise.

We have had some very windy days, so hopefully the bees have done much of their work, and the flowers will have been pollonated before the petals have ben blown away!

Two of our almond trees haven't flowered at all this year, but the others have! Thankfully, we don't depend on the crop, so it is not a problem. We have eaten all of last years almonds, and they were really nice, but we threw away the walnuts, as they were horrible.

Chip, Chop, Chip, Chop

Again... Ed has cleared the last trees on the hit-list! It has been a gardening month.

We now have enough chopped wood for next winter, as well as a tidy garden. Needless to say, the neighbours are impressed! Thankfully, this time Ed didn't try to chop his foot off, so my first aid skills were not needed. I did listen out carefully for any cries of distress this time!

The lawn (ehem - weeds) has been cut now there is just the hedge to be trimmed. Close insection has decreed that only the tops need to come off, it is not as tall as I feared.


For a bit of outside entertainment, I have logged onto the Geocaching website.

This is a modern verson of hide-and-seek. People hide a cache somewhere in the countryside or in a town, and leave the latitude and longitude as well as a clue or two, and others go and find the treasure.

The treasure can be anything from a film cannister with a record log of finders, to a biscuit tin full of goodies. The idea is, if you find a big cache, then you remove one item and replace it with something of the same value.

You enter your name on the log, then go back on-line, and record your find (and perhaps post a picture).

Our first find was in Xativa (the caches are worldwide) with the help of some friends, so that we got the idea. This particular cache was a big tupperware container, full of bits and bobs (fridge magnet, mini bottle of whisky...).

This seems like a good reason to get out in this blowy but sunny weather, so we'll let you know when we find the next one!