Swallowtail butterfly on the path very near home.

This, my June edition of the blog, will not be very long this time, in short there is not much to report and I have lost my mojo, still ensconced as we are in unfathomable Spanish bureaucracy. In the words of the Cold Play song “No one said it was easy,” They weren’t wrong!

But it’s summer, it’s very warm, the pool is lovely to jump into when we are wilting most afternoons. The bedroom air con is getting used now as the nights are very sultry. We are waiting for the lounge unit to be looked at as it currently tips cold water onto the floor of the lounge! Somehow I don’t think it’s meant to do that! Update ……. a few days ago it was found that something had crawled into the outlet pipe and died thus creating a blockage……ewwwwwww!! A first apparently. It could only happen to us!

What’s new this month? Well, we got our smart new sunroom doors which we are very pleased with. It means the room stays a lot cleaner as on windy days leaves and debris can’t get over the cill. Now that it’s high summer there are a lot of flies around and the doors help to combat this somewhat.

My view from the hammock!
And what’s nicer on a hot afternoon after a swim than a glass of sangria!

Nigel has worked hard to get the irrigation system working. Schematic diagrams follow…..pipes are mostly buried under the gravel.

Google earth image, annotated to show what’s what.
Installing a tap by the “man cave”
Main distribution point

Current project is resurrecting two cast iron tables and three benches which were desperate for some TLC before he tackles the other side of the garden.

The orange, fig and olive trees are all bearing new fruit, we sincerely hope we get the watering regime right as they all need different quantities and frequency. Another learning curve!

Irrigation completed to the olive and orange trees.

The vines are heavy with grapes, we’ll be interested to see what they taste like, the harvest had finished when we got here last year.

Our Spanish neighbour has told us that no-one harvests the almonds on the fields behind our house and she will tell us when they are ripe enough to gather. She recently gave us some of her first tomatoes of the year which I made into a tomato salad with basil and olive oil for lunch. We also occasionally get deliveries of fresh eggs from her hens which are always welcome. Our other neighbour, Kate, gave me some preserved ginger in syrup which is also lovely and very tasty in cakes and biscuits. I’m going to try my hand at some preserved salted lemons soon but first I need to source some Kilner jars. I bought salted lemons in Morocco where they are very common, to add to tajines etc. Very tasty in small doses.

Tuna and anchovies on toast with Pili’s dressed tomatoes. Delicious.

The jacaranda blossom has all but finished, the bougainvillea and bignonia vines shed many, many bracts/flowers each day and such is the way of things, the Kärcher (other makes are available!) leaf blower that we bought last autumn for such occasions decided to pack up and is back at the agents to be mended. So blossom and bracts carpet a lot of the garden.

Pretty! But not so much when they litter the ground.
A tiny bee dived into this lithops flower to gather pollen

A few flowering cactus images follow……

For many years at “home” in Bolton we had a Purple Shamrock plant, Latin name oxalis triangularis. This was exceedingly forgiving, we would go away for the summer on the boat and leave it on a windowsill where it would shrivel up whilst we were gone but as soon as we were back, after a few days of watering it would send up new shoots. Same in the winter when we were off in the motorhome. We brought it with us last August and because it was so warm when we arrived we left it outside. It thrived for a couple of months then started to look sad so we brought it into the house where it appeared to die off completely. Nigel sent for some new corms as we were sad to have lost it. However it has now returned with a vengeance and the new corms have taken off too and are looking splendid just now on the terrace.

This is the original that we brought with us that came back to life recently Several relatives and friends have been given cuttings from this one. Not sure why it has one green leaf!
Fig leaves a plenty for Adam and Eve fans…. just ask for small, medium, large or extra large!

On an early evening dog stroll the other day I happened upon a couple of little owls next door just above the olive grove. So we have been back the next few evenings and Nigel got some photos and also saw two stone curlews on the ground in the same area.

One of the stone curlews obliging!

We hear them a lot but they are difficult to see now the vegetation is so tall.

Other beasties we have seen this month …….

Our first chameleon made himself known about a week ago. Not often you see one of these passing your front door.
Last seen heading into the oleander
Tiny Iberian water froglets in the irrigation pool for the olive grove next door. Very noisy at night but thankfully not near the bedroom window unlike on a boat where we could have strangled them sometimes!!
Nigel discovered this Natterjack toad while digging a channel in the gravel.
We moved him/her somewhere safe.
This little lady was 12 on 8th June. Short, early morning and late evening calm walks now it’s so hot and they’ve both had issues with their feet/legs as it’s so dry and stony here.

Apologies to any Ditto fans out there, we don’t seem to have taken any photos of him this month!

And it’s Nigel’s birthday tomorrow! He has requested home made pizza for tea and as we went food shopping yesterday, I can oblige. Here’s one I made earlier, cooked on the BBQ.

Eso es todo por ahora. ¡Nos vemos el próximo mes!