It’s Valentine’s Day as I begin to compose my February blog. It won’t be published yet as it’s only two weeks since the last one. However I am just back from my morning walk and have to report that I checked our post box while I was out but there were no billets doux in unfamiliar handwriting so I can only assume that I have not yet attracted any Spanish admirers. However part way back I got a romantic whats app from Nigel who I had left slumbering, well I would have done had I had mobile data and the sound on! So as he is the only one that matters, that will do nicely! The featured image at the top of this post is of a decoration we bought the other day from a pottery we visited. Not normally ones for ornaments such as this, this smiley sun appealed to us so we bought it for the courtyard. There were also some very nice pottery butterflies which we might buy couple of next visit.

Orange blossom opening while the trees still bear fruit. Saharan sand still in evidence, we need some clean rain!

The title for this edition came to me when I realized that it’s almost a year to the day that we first saw and fell in love with this house. We had left Portugal this time last year, viewed a few other houses en route here which we were keeping a fairly open mind about, visited Almodovar, Cordoba, Alcala la Real and then ended up at Los Olivos Camper Park next door before making an appointment to view. Just in the nick of time before the Pandemic really hit. Sometimes as we sit out in the sunshine having breakfast or coffee, Nigel will ask me, “Have you pinched yourself recently?” Indeed it does sometimes feel impossible that we have actually achieved this at all!

And the looking forward part…….as ever to having friends and family visit and getting out and about more. We are also making plans to have external doors on our summer kitchen to make it more weathertight and secure and maybe to knock through from the existing kitchen to give more space. We’ve ordered new sofas which should be here at the end of this month. (Sadly we’ve since had an email to say it will be mid April before they arrive due to Covid and Brexit complications!) The existing ones will go into the summer kitchen to make a comfy place to sit on warmer days. At the moment I like to take my laptop and notebook out there to study my Spanish in the afternoons but if it’s windy it can get rather chilly and my pages blow about! We still have a family of black redstarts roosting in there at night, the count is up to 6. Next winter they will have to find alternative accommodation.

Here are some more internal photos as requested from Jenni (boating friend from “downunder”.) I did post several of the lounge a few episodes ago.

As winter, such as it is here, gives way to spring, there are noticeable changes all around. The sweet smelling almond blossom which covers acres of land around here is now beginning to litter the ground with petals like confetti and the new lime green leaves are unfurling apace. Some of the trees are now bare of flowers altogether. There seem to be many different varieties planted in the same orchards, some have white blossom, some pale pink, others darker and they all lose their flowers at different rates. (SInce writing this two weeks ago, almost all of the trees are now in full leaf and the tiny green new almonds can be seen.)

Our yucca mountain is diminishing being gradually burned on still days only to be replaced with olive branches as the trees both needed pruning. The fig trees have also been pruned but they are not suitable for burning, they produce very rank smelling smoke so they have been shredded to take to the bins.

Another Yucca gets the Crompton short back and sides treatment!

We are still enjoying the oranges, they have stopped falling now and we need to pick them fresh each day for our breakfast juice or to eat. Amazingly, well it was to me, new blossom is apparent even with this season’s fruit still there. We need to do some research as to how to prune them or indeed if we need to at all. The lemon tree is not in as good condition, partly we think due to it having been planted in the shade. However I gave our Spanish neighbour some lemons a few days ago and she told me about a Murcian dish using lemon leaves she is going to make soon called Paparajotes. Maybe I will be reporting on those next time as I am sure we will get a taste.

I’ve also just received some aloe plants from her which Nigel is potting up as I speak. Pili tells me she makes skin cream from the aloe which she mixes with coconut oil. I’ve just attempted to make some, report will follow. It was fiddly and very slippery removing the aloe from the leaves. (Hummm, not a great success, I need to read up on this and try again!! All I got was lumpy coconut oil that went a funny colour after 24 hours!)

Nigel busy at work planting a new acquisition, a bottle brush tree. (Callistemon)

A week ago we got the all clear to travel out of our municipality again so we went to the beach with the dogs which they enjoyed, picked up the post and did some shopping.

Bolneuvo erosions

We bought some herbs from our favourite garden centre and a lovely fancy pot to grow them in. But we decided when we got home that the pots weren’t really big enough. A few days later on another trip to a different garden centre a bit further afield and two adjacent potteries, we found a strawberry planter which we have bought for the herbs so will need to find something else for the original smaller planter. I’m sure it won’t be difficult to find something suitable.

So many pots, spoilt for choice!
And to finish, as they’ve not had a mention yet this time, Belle and Ditto on the beach.

¬°Hasta la proxima, adios!