Trust us to move to Spain just before the coldest, wettest Spanish winter/spring for 45 years! We are still lighting the fire most evenings and occasionally during the day if only to cheer the gloom. Not complaining, just wondering how long it’ll be before we’re moaning about the heat! Needless to say we’ve not ventured back into the pool yet though it does look quite inviting when the sun shines.

The featured image above is of our “Murray Mound” in bloom. It is the spoil heap from when the pool was dug by the previous (Scottish) owners who named it thus, overplanted with these most eye catching mesembryanthemums. They are green and lush all year but come the spring they start to bloom, one or two at a time and then suddenly they produce this most glorious carpet of blooms, there are more to come too! A couple of days ago we had a day and a night of heavy rain, yesterday morning they looked battered and bedraggled. My heart sank thinking that was it till next year. But eventually after a couple of hours of sunshine late in the afternoon, they all perked up again back to their former glory. They can be seen all around the area as ground cover and also come in yellow but this is our favourite colour.

Looking from the other direction

April has seen few changes; still waiting for the sofas; still waiting for the new doors although these are now scheduled to be fitted on 24th May; still waiting for covid vaccines; still waiting for residencia and driving licenses; still waiting for a delivery of gravel to tidy up the garden. The lead time for the doors was longer than we were expecting but we now have all the permissions and have paid the licences: we couldn’t proceed till that was in order. One little piece of brighter news is that having constantly badgered the DVLA via private message for almost a month, they rang me a few days ago about my license being about to expire when I turn 70 early next month (how in the name of all things holy did I become 70????). As I am unable to apply to renew as I had to surrender my GB licence as part of the residencia application, they are sending me a certificate of validity to drive after 3rd May until such time as I get my new Spanish licence.

Yours truly, speaking to Richard on the phone, hmmm, maybe I do look nearly 70 with covid hair especially!
We recently nearly ran out of tea bags but found a source and had some delivered!! I think we’ll be okay for a while now

The new water system was well and truly tested the day after it was finished. The workmen plumbed in our washer waste pipe (which is outside and had previously just emptied onto the garden.) The night it was finished I put a load in on timer as we have cheaper night rate electricity. I went to peg it out in the morning and noticed it was still going. Oh well, I thought, I must have set the timer wrongly. Then promptly forgot about it until about 5 hours later, when I noticed it was still constantly filling and emptying. This had of course caused the fresh water tank float switch to kick into action pumping all over the garden. The olive trees got a very good watering and my washing was extremely well rinsed. So, the washer being old we decided we’d have to get a new one to avoid this happening again. A week later a new machine arrived (yes, with the usual hoo haa of getting here and having to go and meet the delivery driver at a local petrol station). In order to avoid rust and wanting it to last as long as possible we went to Leroy Merlin (again) and bought a plastic shed to keep it in. Nigel worked hard to set it all up and install the machine. This involved moving an electrical socket to the outside as well as all the plumbing. Hoorah. But our watery calamities were not over yet………………………….

The night it was completed we went to bed as usual about 10pm having set a load to finish in the early hours and as is our custom we switched off our phones. In the morning I woke to find I had whatsapp and messenger alerts from both our neighbours. Our closest neighbours had noticed water issuing forth from said washer cabinet when they let their dogs out at midnight. They had rung our bell to no avail. Our other neighbour heard the commotion and also tried to raise us but couldn’t so she let herself in through the gate and turned off the machine and the water which otherwise would have been flowing all night. We were very grateful and it turned out to be a joint that had blown when the water pressure increased late at night, which “simply” needed a jubilee clip. I always maintain I am a light sleeper but neither of us nor the dogs responded to the bell which Kate said she rang at least 6 times!! I think I need to reconsider that statement. And have a word or two with these terrifyingly vicious guard dogs!

Thanks for guarding us, you two!!

We’ve ventured as far as Ikea in Murcia in the last few weeks to pick up some bits and pieces including a table and chairs for our new outside dining space. Sad as it sounds it was almost a treat in the light of current restrictions. On the day we went it wasn’t busy and we felt quite safe. We had tried to do our order as a “click and collect” to minismise the time we needed to be in the store but the website wouldn’t co-operate. But as with Ikeas everywhere it was well organised and it wasn’t hard to find what we wanted.

Pot hunting!
Bottle brush plant, we bought two, sadly the first one is not thriving….

More visits to garden centres and potteries have enabled us to buy unusual specimens to nurture outside and for Nigel to develop his new found creative talents!

A broken branch was brought back from the fields and became the inspiration for this living art installation
Lotus plant
Climbing Jasmine
Countryside still looking splendid
Mallow bindweed
Baby oranges. Need spraying as showing some signs of aphids
We have masses of olive blossom on both trees
This is a bird of paradise plant in the garden centre, we haven’t bought one yet, not sure we’d get it home in one piece but aren’t they gorgeous?

And as for procreating lizards….knew that would grab the attention of some, you know who you are……

First, grab your partner

Choose a spiny plant to canoodle in!
Oi, give us a bit of privacy!

Occasionally there is a shepherd with a flock of sheep, lambs and goats on the field at the back of our house. We have to be careful to keep our two under control when he is around.

Culling the yuccas and more recently overgrown and sprawling cacti and ice plants has continued, made all the more easier to dispose of by us at last (after 7 months) finding our local waste plant where we have taken car loads of garden waste recently………well it’s a trip out!!!!!

Who would have thought a Chinese cleaver from the kitchen would be perfect for hacking cacti!

Good job we had something sturdy to transport these in
to the tip

As far as birds go, we now have a lot of spring visitors that we are not good at identifying. We can hear many different birdsongs but identifying by sound has never been a strong skill for either of us. I have with perseverance got to recognise serins by ear which appear to be quite numerous in and around the garden. We’ve had hoopoes too but we are still eagerly awaiting the arrival of bee eaters, we know they have returned to Portugal and we have friends in Valencia who say they are back in their garden but we’ve not seen or heard any yet. They were quite evident when we arrived last September for a month or so before migrating south. We get the occasional eagle flyover too, one day fairly recently was a two eagle day, definitely two different species, not the same one twice!

We’ve had a couple of beach walks recently which we always combine with our shopping trips. One, during the Easter holidays was not a success, too many people on the beach to let Ditto off his lead. (Belle, being an old lady of nearly 12 will just trot along at our heels). But this week we thought we’d try again on a day when it was quite balmy, expecting the same but we were pleased to find ourselves having the beach pretty much to ourselves.

Ditto still prefers to keep his feet dry!

Looking towards Bolnuevo

I said at the start that we were still waiting for the new sofas which we ordered last October. Well, I had a phone call this morning to say they will arrive tomorrow, so today was spent moving the old ones to their new position, as always in Cromptonland not straightforward but more on that next time. So tonight finds us camping out on folding chairs in a minimalist fashion so the room is ready for the new furniture tomorrow. Again we will be going to meet the van when it arrives in the area to guide it here.

Eso es todo por ahora, hasta luego