We’d only been home a couple of weeks from Portugal and decided to make the most of the fine weather and head off again in the camper for another couple of weeks to a wetland birding area about two thirds of the distance from our house to Madrid.

In between the two trips I harvested some lemons for preserving in salt and made some lemon curd.

Nice and small, just right for packing into jars.

The lemon curd is delicious, just the right degree of tanginess

The lemons were just the tip of the iceberg because just look at the glut of oranges we had and still have!!!

Takes about three to four weeks for them to be ready, I’ve still not used up all of some I did last year!!
The “beer” fridge, currently still full of windfalls plus a shelf full in our main fridge! We took several litres of juice with us in the camper though we had to throw the last 2 litres away when it got fizzy!

Whilst we’re on culinary matters……when we were boating in France we became very fond of Iles Flottante for dessert, in particular at L’Ecu in St. Jean de Losne. I subsequently tried and failed to make them at home. I’ve recently had another try at making them, this time with much greater success! The spun sugar wasn’t great but the custard and meringues were spot on!

I wish our departed friend Angus Eaton could see these, he would have been most impressed!
Pamela and David…..I’ll try to replicate them when you come!

These Californian Pepper trees are due for the chop…recently in a storm some branches fell into our neighbour’s garden. We’ve decided they need to be curtailed before they do any damage. They will be cut to about 3 metres tall next month and as they grow very fast, will soon get going again!

We enjoyed our next trip enormously with mostly good weather and a mix of birding days and lazy days. The birding areas we were in were alive with rabbits so Poco and especially Ditto were on high alert all the time and covered some kilometres in the chase if they got the scent before we realized.

Hearing about the wet weather in the UK and seeing friends photos of their muddy dogs on walks I thought I would show you just what we had to put up with …….

Just look at the mud we had to deal with on Poco’s little feet! 🤣🤣🤣
Ditto and Poco on high rabbit alert!
Many lagoons to choose from around the Alcazar de San Juan area
This area is north west of Albacete and we spent several days around and about at different lagoons.
A new tick for us, the rather splendid and fairly rare white fronted duck. We saw a pair here.
We can’t fathom why there are cut off plastic bottles adorning many of the old vines in the lagoon areas.

Of course it wasn’t all about birds, no Crompton motorhome trip would be complete without a castle or two and this one was no exception. Add to that a number of Don Quixote windmills and we have certainly rung the changes!

Waiting in the rain and wind for the open hour when one of the windmills is open for tours.
Inner workings of a windmill
One thing we learned: the purpose of small windows around the top of these windmills (which used to be un-glazed) allowed the miller to judge wind shifts by the draughts blowing thro’ them.

In the middle of the roundabout in Alcazar de San Juan where we spent several days
Letting off steam in the dog area of the park

The next set of photographs were taken at the lovely old town of Alcala del Jucar in Castilla-La Mancha which we stopped at on our way north. We visited the castle and then had a meal down in the town before departing. We had actually been here before when visiting Bob and Ann Brown, friends originally from the UK who moved out to the Valencia region of Spain many years before we came to live here. We had lost touch and then “found” them again in 2011 with the help of their local tourist office who passed on our phone number to them. They took us to Alcala, we have photos way back in the archives of Belle and Dash cooling off in the river.

Cave houses

A cave house, seemingly permanently occupied. (Many we’ve seen in other areas are holiday homes)

The old hydo-electric plant at Alcala del Jucar

Bullring on a hill

Tiled roof a la Burgundy

Alcala del Jucar by night.

The first set of windmill photos above were taken at Alcazar de San Juan, then we read up about some more, further north at Consuegra, near Toledo. As we were only half an hour’s drive away we decided to go and investigate.

Swallowtail butterfly spotted on the walk up to the windmills
Some of the 12 windmills and the Castle of Consuegra

Old sails repurposed as a barrier

Next we stopped at a nature reserve to walk up to this waterfall. A week or so after we got home, we read in the local news that the whole area was almost cut off due to heavy snowfall. Glad we left when we did.

Rio Mundo

Nearby was the town of Riopar where we stayed a couple of nights., before driving up to the old town up many hairpin bends but the view was worth it!

Good dog walking area in Riopar
Riopar’s little municipal hydo electric plant. Decommissioned in 1968, if I interpreted the interpretation board correctly …
Looking down on our Motorhome overnight spot from the Castle ramparts
Looking across the valley from Riopar Viejo
In the castle ruins in the old town of Riopar
Gravestones in the castle grounds
Riopar Church and mausoleum from the castle ruins

As we headed south towards home, we visited the town of Yeste for yet another castle fix. Had a very pleasant menu del dia in the town afterwards before moving on to a barrage (reservoir dam) near Cehegin for the last night.

Yeste Castillo
The church of Yeste from the castle ramparts
This wasn’t the reservoir we stayed by which was fairly full but this shows the low water levels in some and how desperate the lack of rainfall is becoming

Meanwhile back at home it has remained fairly chilly, we’ve not had an evening without the pellet burner being on yet, although last night, 18th March, we only needed it for an hour or so. It is very warm during the day but as soon as the sun goes down we need some warmth.

Despite many beds being available they still prefer to snuggle together in the same one!
Ditto, please don’t F***

I’ve just had another quick visit to the UK to see Andrew, Alana and the grandchildren. It was grand to see them and collect my Mothering Sunday cards in person, Richard had thoughtfully posted his to Bolton so I could collect it on the day. On the Saturday we went to RHS Bridgewater, still waiting for spring to arrive it was not particularly colourful but I have wanted to go since it opened and all the better for being with the family. No photos as requested by them.

And finally, we have spent some more of their inheritance to make life easier for ourselves as we get older and frailer and what a difference it has made!!!! We’ve had the gates automated so that they open and close with the press of a key fob or phone app!


When did I turn into my mum???? Thousand yard stare!