Tuesday, 12 November 2013

November visit

Bit of a grey start at Plymouth and blowing a gale. 

Too windy to get to the edge of the heli-deck

Had a good sleep due to being rocked all night and woke to a lovely dawn, we should have been a few hours off Santander but due to bad weather we were about three hours behind schedule. The sea in this pic looks fairly calm but it wasn't.

Sometimes we could see out of the front window...

…and sometimes we couldn't.

By mid morning the swell was calming down a bit although there was still a big ground swell every now and then.

No more photos for a few days but yesterday there was a wonderful sunset that turned the sky to fire.

I really miss the view from here when I am in the UK.

Our new tenants have done some good clearing in the jungle of brambles and autumn is just starting to turn the chestnut trees.

Composting vegetation getting ready to enriched the earth.

Last year's lemon tree pruning seems to have led to a growth spurt, plenty of small flowers starting I hope we get a good crop in the coming year.

Brugmansia still flowering very well.

This young banana recovered well from being strimmed and a young echium sprouting right inside a fuchsia ah well the fuchsia might survive.

We took some time out on Sunday and headed over to the lake near Cabanas, despite being overcast it was a very warm 19C.

 Not a very wide path a couple of hundred meters of vertical drop and very little protection.

Dunno what the iPhone did to make this shot seem so dark it was bright enough at the time, the white streak is where a waterfall streams down the canyon wall.

Having explored the steps of doom by the dam we jaded for a gentle walk along to the old quarry higher up on the valley side. managed to pick another carrier bag full of chestnuts to bring back.

They are replacing the big discharge pipes that run inside the dam, on the outside at the bottom is a load of shuttered fresh concrete and works that are not complete, the water looks only a few cms from starting to pour over the lip, I guess they know what they are doing.

Mark decided to get a closer look over the edge, I did not. 

Somewhere in amongst that bracken on the left is a herd of wild goats, we smelled a few but did not get close on our side.

That is the top part of the waterfall that cascades down the valley sides.

Autumn is only just starting over here.

Earth star just starting to do its slow motion hydraulic explosion...

…a few minutes later and it is growing...

Another 20 mins and it would have looked like this and stunk of rotten meat.

mmmm tasty boletus.
We had a break on our last day, an hour of kayaking down at club nautico

Not a breath of wind when we set off and comfortably warm with glimpses of sunshine.

it was a stunning paddle, we hardly spoke to each other it was so still we didn't want to break the silence.

We eventually stopped and let the ripples play with the reflections.

From here our house looks like it is very close to the lake.

 At the west end of the lake there was a forest of trees to negotiate, the water level was lower than I have ever seen it.

The invading crayfish are not hard to catch, Mark tried one as a hat ornament.

Galicia is vibrant in the sunshine fields turn emerald green.

We could have spent all day looking at the reflections but we had to head home and get on with clearing the house out and packing a trailer full of furniture to take back to the UK.

24 hours later we were in Santander waiting to board the Pont Aven again.

We left in similar weather to that when we arrived but we saw a fair bit of sunshine and the night temperature was often over 17C so it felt a little like a summer trip.

Friday, 6 September 2013

August 2013

Rowan and I went out via ferry to Roscoff and a long drive as we left it too late to book via Santander.

23 and a half hours of slow driving with a heavy trailer and a few hours of stops and we were passing the wind turbine blades at Samosas and after 24 hours and 4 minutes we arrived in Cerdido to say hello to Auntie Mel and Uncle Sam.

Lorenna looking lovely at Mel's birthday party over at Pantin.

Alfie all grown up and smiley

Jose and Vio enjoying birthday food.

Rowan trying to look like he was being run over by a toy car.

Finding things in the river at Rioforcado

Captain Pete has a beautiful 1950s sailing boat available for day, weekend or longer trips.

Lake view from our garden.

Wonderful creamy birthday cake at Cristian's birthday

Birthday crew

Back in St Neot in the UK Callum was being Prince Charles in the carnival

and scaring his nephews with a fluffy dog.

A couple of weeks later after glorious weather the mist rolled in on the morning Jenny and Callum were due to arrive at Santiago airport but it did not last long.

Playing shipwrecked at Pantin

Wonderful fireplace being restored in a friends house near Pantin.

 Two green woodpeckers are trying to clear the crickets from our garden.

Cedeira fiesta rather busy and noisy, loads of children out and about well after midnight.

TIny ponies going round and round but they do seem in good condition if a little bored by their work.

The fireworks were more than spectacular these were the first proper fireworks I have seen in galicia. We sat on the beach and marvelled for what seemed like ages...well done Cedeira

Rowan's highlight was the go-kart riding, Carlos and Cristian are in blue tearing along like they had been driving for years.

Down at club nautico a chap was demonstrating a hydrofoil bike, he made it look easy.

It is a fairly long walk down to the beach at the far end of Valdovino 

and there was a cluster of redish brown grasshoppers near the walk way, most on the dunes are grey or sandy colour. 

We headed up to the 'secret' mushroom place to see the semi-wild horses but it was baking hot and far too many horseflies so we just had a wander about for half an hour rather than the long walk we had envisaged.

Soil was parched but flowers were blooming, amazing how adaptable heather is - this is a very different environment to the N of Scotland but the same heather varieties thrive.

Autumn crocuses blooming in Summer

Os Botes on the North side of the Valdovino / Meiras peninsula was looking lovely I don't know why we did not visit there very often when we lived there it is a great place for kayaking snorkeling etc. 

Wished we had taken more beach kit with us - never go to the coast without swimming stuff.

Always meant to and never managed to kayak north from here, there are plenty of fiddly bits to explore.

Then the camera did this...that is the second Lumix that has needed repair within 4 years of purchase.

We had to head for Roscoff but stopped off for a few days camping in the Picos near Cangas de Onis baking hot during the day but rather chilly at night, so so worth it though it was stunning.

There are always people who put tents up perfectly without a wrinkle or a fold - I am not one of those people.  

The boys spotted a Zoo near Covadonga it was a bit grim in places but there were some rescue animals there and a breeding programme for rare birds. This fella was growing new antlers and well proud of them.

And this guy was just lovely and impossible to stare down.

One of Callum's ambitions for the trip was to see a wolf in Asturias, this was not a native one but an arctic wolf was good enough for us.

A fine set of horns but they don't look very practical.

One foot on the ground and eyes on the horizon

Now that is a proper Harley.

Covadonga was busy so we did not stop but would like to revisit and take a look around this place one day.

We headed off up a different valley through lovely foothills

stunning mountains

tight tunnels

 sparkling rivers

ancient water mills

and more lovely mountains with a scattering of caves.

 On the way back down we stopped at an old bit of road and I scrambled up a scree slope to look for rock samples, down below Jenny and Rowan were watching hundreds of butterflies all fluttering about on the edge of the old road. We wondered whether their ancestors inhabited the same spot when the old road was an old track and whether ancient people also marvelled at them. 

There were also hundreds of lizards

Meanwhile I was faffing about looking at weathering - very like that in various parts of N England on limestone land. 

That's me being gobsmacked by nature and wishing the good camera had not broken.

 Further down this old bridge was too good to miss, I always wanted to build a stone bridge, there is still time I guess.

Rowan ahead as usual and leaning too far over as usual, lovely time worn cobbles and a crystal clear river below.

Just above our campsite we found this old cobbled road in the woods, it may not look like a road but the better bits were very carefully laid like the cobbles at Edinburgh castle all tipped at an angle to help hooves get a grip.

A few hours at Playa Vega on the Jurassic coast there were plenty of shell fossils and Rowan found a bit of an ammonite but the dinosaurs eluded us.

 The moment the ammonite was found.

We headed North for Brittany at a stately speed, it took all afternoon all night and some of the morning to get there with a few stops at French service stations where the toilet facilities were absolutely disgusting not even fit for animals. A night camping near Roscoff was a disappointment after Spain and spirits were fairly low as Plymouth came into view but we will be back in Spain ASAP. 

The  burning question we came back with is: Why are Pringles retailed at a standard price of 1.30 euro in galicia but £2.30 in UK? 

The key observation was: It is far easier when 99% of produce is not on buy one get one free or three for one or other supposed special offers, in Galicia most goods are at a sensible standard price that remains constant so you know where you are and don't have to calculate whether a big family pack is actually any cheaper than individual packs etc...rant over I am sure I will settle back into the UK again eventually. Hasta Luego.