Wednesday, 25 February 2015

On A Spanish Hillside

In the campo, where we've been staying since crimbo its all been a bit of a drag really Mr Proper has come to visit and he and Elfa have fallen out, she's now in an almost permanent grump, he won't stop needling her. Being a semi-pro martyr I have positioned myself between them to catch any incoming fire before it hits its intended target. But there is a silver lining to this dark cloud.....

I'm up and at it, not hunter o'clock or even builder o'clock, but early enough that I'm out of the door on my own. Down the street, cross the road, past stop off at the bar and on to the dirt road out into the campo. This is as they say where the magic happens!

This is Alicante, but not as I know it. For me Alicante is semi-dessert; gnarled olives set amongst scrub, weird ant nests (?) rabbit poo, and an erie silence where there would normally be birdsong.
I think these fascinating holes are the entrances to Ant nests, not that I've ever seen the occupants come and go.

This is Spain so my morning constitutional features a Carajillo at the bar, not the best Carajillo I've ever had, more a cafe solo with a shot of brandy so I'll leave further description to another day when we can celebrate a better example. What the bar does have that's worth a mention is this novel stove.

Hopper on the left, chimney on the right, tiny firebox connecting the two, the firebox can be that small as the flue extends to well over head height, and then runs most of the length of the room giving out a not inconsiderable whack of heat.
I was wondering about the stove and its relatively small hopper, I have a cousin who has a woodturner that is run on pellets, but I can't see the campisino's  paying to have wood ground up. It turns out they are fuelled by Almond shells. 

Out of the back of the bar, and wending my way up the hill I pass several small terraced olive groves. Here the hills roll away to rocky crags, and its green. Grass grows between the olive trees, caca di conejo lies around in fuel-source quantities and wonder of wonders a wild Perdiz (partridge) whirrs past. Elfa's dad has it that there aren't any more wild partridge due to the desertification, but this is a green Alicante. Its so green you could have a lawn if you were so inclined.

On one of the terraces I stumbled upon this wonderful specimen

At the base it must have been 20ft in circumference, I'm guessing 300+ years old, hopefully a more educated reader will be along to let us know if I'm in the right ballpark?

The next find is one I wasn't expecting, Acorns. But not as I know them, I feel sure I've seen this species before somewhere. So I snaffle a kilo or so just in case.
When I get back to WIFI (which in Spain is pronounced 'wiffy' ) it turns out I have seen them before, and having brought them home to Blighty I even have a plan for what to do with them.

I could bore you with further tales of spousal bickering, but I'm boring myself so we'll fast forward to other adventures that have taken place since we made it home and made up.

More soon
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