It’s mid May now as I begin to put together this month’s blogpost. We’ve certainly turned a corner weather wise. Daily temperatures are now in the low to mid twenties, keeping the blinds drawn during the day ensures the house remains relatively cool so we’ve not needed to sample the air conditioning yet. It’s warmer too at night but an open window and the return of the summer weight quilt earlier this week is sufficient at the moment to enable us to sleep comfortably. As you will see from this month’s featured image, Mr. C has achieved a simple lifetime ambition of owning a hammock!!!!

Under the fig trees……

April did not leave us without a fight, a heavy thunderstorm gave us plenty of Saharan sand to clear up, what a mess and we feared for the plants but most seem to have survived the heavy downpour. What’s more we had several rainstorms during April and a few heavy showers this month too. But thankfully no more saharan sand/mud….yet!

We couldn’t see the bottom of the pool as you can imagine
It was a long job!!

Towards the end of April we did at last get our new reclining sofas for the lounge and very comfy they are too. Worth the wait even though it was almost six months. The day before they arrived we made plans to move the old ones into their new home in the outside room …. well guess what? They wouldn’t fit through the internal doors. We umm’d and ahh’d about what to do. They had to go and we managed to get them out of the front door by temporarily removing the wooden legs. We then asked our neighbour if we could store them in her garage until we could get a charity shop to pick them up. Ever resourceful, (thanks, Kate!) she suggested asking a local handyman she knows to help us lift them over the courtyard wall the next day so that is what we did. They spent the night under tarpaulins outside where these benches are in the top video and it was the night before this storm!!

So our plans were accomplished and the men who came to help made it look so easy!

Easy Peasy!! €20 well spent!
Belle and Ditto approve!
New 3 seater
Feet up time.
Errrrrrrm excuse me, we used to be allowed on the furniture!
We have started to use the sunroom as a dining room on pleasant evenings.

And what better than a nice salmon salad and crusty bread.

What else for May? …. Well I had my 70th birthday on the third. Nigel sent off without my knowledge for some new binoculars for a surprise present. The eye cups had disintegrated on my very old Zeiss Dialyts which I had had for just over 40 years. I bought them with a teachers’ back pay settlement back in the 70’s after we had a trip to Handa, an uninhabited bird reserve on the West coast of Scotland. I had tried out another birder’s binos of the same make and vowed, whenever I could afford it, to buy myself a pair so when this pay review resulted in an unexpected lump sum, that is what I spent it on. Probably, apart from our house, the most expensive thing I have ever owned. They have stood me in good stead but now I have my new ones I can see that the optics and coatings are much brighter and clearer and I love them. Though they were supposed to be a surprise on the day, he did actually tell me the day before because the weather played havoc with his plans to go and pick them up and then go on to some salt pans to do some birding and have a meal out somewhere. It was going to be wet, windy and miserable on the day, so we postponed till the next day which was much nicer. We saw flamingoes and avocets and we had a meal at a marina beach bar, our first meal out since moving here, what a treat!

Stone curlew sitting slightly left of centre, well camouflaged.

I continued to be overwhelmed with the quality of my birthday present and was seen around the garden at all hours of the day and evening with them around my neck, I did not want to be parted. And just as well because one evening I glanced down the adjacent olive grove and there in full splendour stood a stone curlew. I’ve never seen one before but knew straight away what it was. I told Nigel who rushed in to get his binos and camera and managed to get some shots of it. We have seen it a few evenings since and I frequently hear it calling.

Whilst waiting another evening for the Curlew to appear again, this hoopoe obliged.

Other bird species seen in and around the garden this month are the bee eaters of my title for this post, a pair of little bustards, linnets, serins, wood chat shrikes, greenfinches, crested larks, red legged partridge, turtle doves (there’s a female sitting on a nest in an almond tree just by the fence in my Spanish neighbours’ garden and a couple of days ago, Pili told me the eggs have hatched), plus the usual suspects. The bee eaters are just delightful with their bell like calls and iridescent plumage. We are lucky enough to have a point on our daily dog walks from where we can look down on them when they sit on a wire between hunting forays and when the sun is on them their backs resemble liquid gold.

Kentish Plover on the salt pans on our day out at San Pedro
Frequent garden visitor, a serin atop an old Yucca flower
3 bedraggled young swallows came to seek shelter in our courtyard during the rain last weekend and then moved into the dry of the sunroom, just as well the doors aren’t on yet!!

The jacaranda trees first gave us a sneak preview of their purple glory on 2nd May, they seem slow to open but are becoming more colourful each day. It is so windy most days I don’t know how the blossom stays put for so long and the ground is already carpeted with purple blooms but there is still much more to come.

Jacaranda, slow to get going but worth waiting for!

The irrigation system is still being worked on, many, many trips to Leroy Merlin for plumbing supplies being necessary. But soooooooon, we will be using our recycled water to look after the plants and trees.

Me in my second Spanish home, Leroy Merlin! Patiently waiting with the trolley……..

The pool is back in use now, we took our first dip on May 7th and the water was at a balmy 26 degrees. We have been in several afternoons, Belle occasionally joins us but Ditto is still a dabbler!

We went been to the beach a couple of weeks ago and finally, at last got him swimming in the Med. We found a sheltered corner where there were no waves and he went in to retrieve his ball. Not elegant like Belle but he did have to take his feet off the bottom. Didn’t manage to get a picture.

As well as pleasure the garden also gives us grief! Aphids have attacked the Hibiscus and Oleander. We are using a home made ecological spray and they are reducing but not pleasant to deal with.
So far the baby grapes are safe!!
View from local hills on one of Nigel’s cycle rides

We are at an impasse with our covid jabs, even though we are both now over 70. I sincerely hope that next time I can report that we have at least been called for the first. Because up until then we cannot have any long awaited visitors. And remember those doors we ordered that were supposed to be fitted by now? Well they weren’t. We are now expecting them this coming Saturday.

Where’s Wally, otherwise known as Ditto…..can you see him?

The grasses in the field at the back of our house are now waist high, thick and turning brown. We have had to stop taking the dogs over in the evening because the seed dispersal mechanisms are lethal weapons, they started to come back with tiny spears in their flanks and legs and so did we, they make their way through clothing and stick into the skin of legs and feet even through trainers and long trousers. Very uncomfortable for us as well as them. So we’ll wait till they die right down before we venture over there again.

And the real highlight for May was undoubtedly making contact with some friends in the UK with whom we had lost touch. Over the last four years we had not heard from each other but somehow my 70th birthday felt rather a significant milestone with much thought and reflection so I decided to try again and kept ringing till I managed to get through to them. It was a great surprise for them to hear from us after such a long time but we think that life simply got in the way, along with a change of mobile number and with us spending so much time away from home, not to mention Covid, we just drifted apart. We had a lot to catch up on but it was lovely to chat and email again and now, Jo and Mark you have another holiday/weekend destination to come and explore when it is all systems go again.

That’s all for this month, Hasta Luego todos.