Sunday, December 30, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Feliz Navidad

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Well Christmas is here and the year has nearly come to an end. Time seems to pass so quickly and despite our relaxed environment, the days never seem long enough. The weather is bright and warm during the day but cool and frosty on a night time. The Christmas festivities in and around Ribadesella and fairly low-key but never-the-less interesting to see and very different to our time in England. We have friends staying this week which has given us the opportunity to visit a few pre-romanesque churches in the Oviedo district. The picture is of San Miguel de Lillo, a beautiful church from the 9th century AD. The fountain in Ribadesella has been decorated with lights and traditional music and dancing has entertained the small number of tourists that have travelled here for the Christmas break.
The is no Boxing day in Spain and the main holiday is for the Epiphany on January 6th when the three wise men deliver the presents (not Santa Clause). Luis and I wish all our friends and Family a happy and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous and healthy 2008. Feliz Navidad.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Winter Beckons.......

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Winter is well on its way now with gathering winds, cooler temperatures and a general slowing down of growth. The last few days have brought strong winds and extremely turbulent seas. The cliffs at Guadamia are brilliant at this time of year with impressive jets of spray being forced through limestone blowholes - sometimes reachin 100 meters into the air. We have been busy painting the garage/workshop, making large batches of membrillo (fruit jelly) from quince and apples, helping to make (and drink) cider, clearing leaves from the garden and going for brisk and sometimes bracing walks along the cliffs.

Luis is due to leave for a few days to assist with the Matanza (slaughtering of the pigs) at his sister's. Needless to say I will not be going. Not that he enjoys it, goes to help as it takes three days to process all the meat into black pudding, hams, joints of pork, chorizo, salami and fat for soap making.

The kittens are venturing further each day and growing in confidence. You may remember we acquired them to help control the rato (small rodent similar to a mouse) that seems to think that the vegetable plot is his own personal hypermarket. The kittens, taking notice of this are sharpening their hunting instincts and their claws, already successfully catching an array of creatures great and small. 

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Those autumn leaves, drift by my window.....

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Don't can enlarge the pics by clicking on them.

Autumn draws on with cooler days in the shade and chilled evenings, enough to light the stove most nights. The pics are more or less self explanatory, bonfire night...(in Spain ?), the kittens, bought one and made one baskets for the kittens......(Luis' handywork - but which one I hear you ask?) The funghi are from a day with the Micology team in Infiesto last week, about 100 of us were teamed with experts and spent the day looking for funghi, a great day out - the specimens were then sent for classification and then can see us on the hunt with an Asturian Cow wondering what we were up to. The view of the Picos was taken on a walk through the Ponga Region. Walked about 15 miles through beautiful deciduous woodlands however we did pick a day when the Hunt for wild boar was on so we had to keep to the paths or risk being shot...........On the way back we came across the hunters who were just about to gut their catch - four handsome wild boar. I fail to understand what pleasure there can be in killing an animal for sport. Take away their guns, 4 x 4s, walkie talkies, beaters and dogs.........then lets see how many they kill - rant rant rant....Anyway, looking forward to friends coming on Sunday.


Monday, October 22, 2007

What a load of.....

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You can take an educated guess what is being delivered here........thanks to our local farmer Luis, we have a good supply of fresh and rotting manure for the veggie plots.

The weather is brilliant at the moment with warm and sunny days and cool but pleasant evenings. The kittens are growing fast and now learning to use the catflap. I am going to the UK for a couple of days ......sadly for the funeral of my cousin Karen who died after a short illness aged 45. is gradually building a customer base and we have undertaken a couple of new pieces of work lately. The Sunday market for chair restoration has stopped until the spring when people return in some number.

Just in case you are interested - another gratuitous picture of Gawber and Wentworth...enjoy.....

Monday, October 08, 2007

Harvest Time

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The vegetable plot has been producing masses of produce over the summer and the new chest freezer is almost full. Together with lots of veg grown by Luis' sister, we have been hard at work bottling, preserving and processing. We have enough picallili, green tomato chutney, jam and pisto sauce to last well into next year. Later crops such as aubergines and peppers are suffering from the occaisional sea mist that comes in at times during the day. Out early picking mushrooms which are eaten on the same day, sauted in olive oil and filled with a variety of fillings......Mmmmmm!
We had a nice day with Luis' sister, her daughter, another niece and her boyfriend, first time they have visited La Pasera. The Walnut harvest has begun with fewer than last year and hardly any hazelnuts at all. The chestnuts are soon ready to drop as the late summer / autumn winds start to gather pace.

Wentworth and Gawber are growing fast and gaining confidence and agility day by day. Next Monday will see them at the vets once more for their final injection before being released to wreak havoc on La Pasera. For those of you with a faster connection here is a short, gratuitous video of them playing in the sunny doorway of the garage......awwwwe.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Life slows down again....

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After a busy summer, Asturias and more importantly, Ribadesella has fallen quiet once more with only a handful of day trippers and weekend holiday makers. Life is returning to normal after 2 months of more traffic and busy bars. The weather has been mixed and certainly not typical for this part of Spain. Generally speaking it has been fine with cooler and wetter periods than normal. The sun has now returned and we are enjoying warm days and cooler evenings.

Having just spent nearly four week in the UK is seems comfortable to be back at La Pasera and slowing down to a more civilised pace. The kittens are growing fast but still unsure and cautious most of the time. They can be handled without too much trouble although Wentworth hisses and spits if he is in that mood.

Dad returned with me on the ship so we had a nice week birdwatching and going for local walks. We also went to see Paca and Tola - two semi wild brown bears that were released back into a protected reserve. Each day at 12 noon and 6pm they come down from their mountain to feed on fruit, nuts and treats the wardens bring.

Luis is busy with chair restoration and translation services, not to mention the veggie plot and garden.............harvesting well.....all suggestions for what to do with Marrows should be sent to our email........

Saturday, August 18, 2007


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Introducing: Wentworth and Gawber

Born 16.7.07 in Barrios de la Vega, Palencia, Wentworth and Gawber have joined us here at La Pasera to help us keep control of the garden pests. Now 8 weeks old, they are still semi-wild as they were born in a barn without human contact for most of their lives. They hiss, scratch and run whenever approached. All bolt-hole bar one have been closed off. It can take anything up to half an hour to find them if they so choose to hide themselves. Coming round a bit since brought to La Pasera but still nervous and prefer the company of each other to Luis or I.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer Update

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Summer sunshine is upon us at last after a disappointing start in June and July. I think we have had the tail end of the low pressure system that has been pouring down on the UK. The weather is bizarre around the world at the moment with snowfall in South America, heatwaves in southern Europe and heavier than normal downpours in the UK.

Our harvest continues to please with plenty of sweet, fresh vegetables and salad crops. The tomatoes are bad this year due to the damper than normal conditions and still air - fungal infections thrive in such environments. The fruit trees are performing really poor this year with hardly any apples, no hazelnuts and a marked absence of peaches and cherry. The garden is growing well and flowering to impress. The sweet peas are a local attraction as they have not seen the likes of them before.

The wildlife continues to amaze us with sightings of deer, pine martins, slow worms (which are now resident in the brushwood hedge - see pic), toads and numerous insects including staghorn beetles, glow worms and butterflys.

We are busy with the Sunday market at Cangas de Onis and Luis has off-loaded the chair caning to me as he thinks he has enough on with the rush........wimp.


Thursday, July 12, 2007


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Found this little fella in the garden - disturbed by the haymaking we think. A young pine martin. Luis wanted to adopt it but it disappeared overnight and has not been seen since. Weather continues to be mixed but generally warm and pleasant with the occaisional overcast day. Harvesting loads from the veggie plot, just got a bumper lot of red and white new potatoes and enough salad to keep Tescos stocked.
We have decided to get two kittens from Luis' sister Rita. Luis has seen them and has already decided on which ones to bring home. A male and a female - both will have to have the snip or chop or whatever, otherwise two will become 22 in no time. A bit too young at the moment but probably ready to relocate at the beginning of August. We hope they will have some impact on the rato (a small but ugly mouse that makes tunnels in the veggie plot and eats things - not a friend of Luis).
More visitors planned for next week - busy painting garage/workshop, had a slight dispute with the builder but issues now resloved and a new door has been ordered.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Setas y Mercado

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Had a busy few days - got confirmation that we can stand the market at Cangas de Onis every Sunday - demonstrating cane and rush seating) hope to sell a few on the side as well). Been to Palencia to collect a few chairs we had in storage at Rita's (Luis' Sister). Went mushroom hunting with Rita and found about 3 kilos of chanterelles and Marasmius....... eaten both and not dead yet!

We have had a few good walks - the Waterfall is along the Chestnut valley in Cabrales, a lovely lovely walks lined with ancient sweet chestnut trees. Garage still needs completion - door not up to standard so having that replaced. Busy collecting our own produce, lettuce, sugarsnap peas, spring onions, beetroot, carrots.........few visitors over the past couple of weeks, weather improving and the warmth returns. The house is filled with the aroma of our own sweet peas - a novelty here in Asturias.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


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It has been a damp and overcast couple of weeks here in Toriello. Plenty of heavy downpours and impressive storms. The village fiesta took place last month and life here is picking up pace again as holiday makers arrive from all parts of Europe. There has been trouble in town since the regional elections......the long-serving Mayor (12 years) has lost his seat, giving way to the Socialist Party in coallition with the communist party. Some feel 12 years of conservative rule is long enough. With a possible conviction pending for planning irregularities, the ex-Mayor has resigned from the party.....

The garage/workshop is completed apart from some fine tuning to the door and a paint job. Lots of hard-landscaping to be getting on with and of course keeping up with the garden and vegetables.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Summer is on it's way

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Summer is coming fast, the trees and shrubs are in full leaf and apple blossom, albeit later this year, is emerging. Ribadesella and the other resorts are sprucing up their act getting ready for the tourists and day trippers. A few visitors planned over the coming months. Thinking about a holiday later in the year. Weather mixed but generally pleasant and warm. Lots to do now the Garage/workshop is almost finshed - landscaping, building steps, pond, patio, drive, beds, ........bring shovel.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

May Gardening Post....

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Spending increasing amounts of time in the garden now with seedlings, young plants and general garden maintenance. Luis has been working hard ensuring our year round supply of vegetables and fruit. Wait for it...including: apples, pears, cherries, lettuce x 4 types, spring onion, onions (300), sugar snap peas, asparagus pea, aubergines, peppers x 2 types, beetroot, carrots, sweetcorn, potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, cauliflower, brocolli, pumpkin, courgettes, cucumbers, tomatoes and beans......PHEW.
The weather is slow to improve but never-the-less pleasant most of the time. The garage/workshop build is progressing well and we are looking forward to having the space.

Hope everyone is well....keep in touch.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

One year in the life of.....

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We cannot belive it is just one year since we were unpacking the van and beginning our new life here in Spain. It has been a good year with lots of visitors and many happy memories. The house is all we wished for and the area is brilliant......if you have been here you will know. Have been for few walks this last week with friends Geoff and Linda - staying with us for a couple of days. Weather great, garage and workshop build coming on well - vegetable beds producing nicely. No regrets.......

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter......

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Happy Easter to all our family and friends. We have had a relaxing time walking, gardening, visiting friends and spring cleaning. Went to Ribadesella over the weekend to watch horse racing on the beach - why don't we do things like this in the UK? Luis has planted up the borders and I have re-done the pots. The garage is going up as you read this (unless you have insomnia), it is going to be huge but we will get used to it.........keep in touch x

Saturday, March 24, 2007


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Had a busy time in the garden constructing a brushwood fence to enclose the composting area. The plan is to grow wild honeysuckle over it to encourage birds and insects. Mum and Dad just returned home after a nice week here in Asturias. Weather mixed. Seeds sown, orange tree planted. Spent a great evening with Vito, Tino, Luis, Tina et al bottling cider in a neighbour's (Tino's) Llagar.
Don't send easter eggs.......dieting, so eating Orejuelas instead.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Wet and Wild, Warm and Mild....

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We have been on a short holiday walking in Limoges for a week. After staying overnight in Bordeaux, we drove north to a small village just outside Limoges in a small cottage owned by Simon and Zoe - fellow downsizers. The weather was wet and wild, cold and unpleasant, not the best for walking but never-the-less enjoyable. We visited Oradour-sur-Glane which if you do not know about please take the time to look it up on the internet - a sobering exprience.

Heading home we drove through Bergerac amongst the many vines and forests. Back for two days then off to Barrios de la Vega (Luis' home village) to visit family. Now back home and getting ready for spring, planting new fruit trees, catching mice in the shed (nibbled through my brand new chainsaw gloves!!!), sewing seeds and planting potatoes. Weather here warm and mild but a few showers and strong winds from time to time..........!hasta pronto!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

New beginnings.....

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Just to let you know that our own personal web pages are being undated so for the time being, our web address will direct you here. Also, whilst on line why not check out our new venture: I would be interested to hear your views and comments on the new web site.

Weather here mixed - yesterday 26 degrees c - today, violent winds and torrential rain.......

Thursday, February 08, 2007


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Well what can I say.....? Winter is upon us and we are still having some great weather. Snow has settled on the mountains and there are terrific views of the Picos de Europa in the distance. Weather generally warm during the day (18 avg) and cool at night - some rain but mostly fine. We are busy in the garden as ever, planting shrubs, a pear tree, 3 peach trees and an avocado seedling (from our neighbour)- they grow well here. We continue to collect wood for the fire and have been given 3 old apple trees that we are gradually felling and cutting up for the stove. It is hard work as they are very mature trees and big to handle. Luis is still teaching english and we are in negotiations with a lawyer regarding some work he wants us to be involved this space.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Highs and Lows......

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We hope you have had a great Christmas and New Year - We spent a lot of time walking and gathering over this festive period, collecting driftwood (burns well), winter lettuce (a great success) and Jerusalem Artichokes (lovely roasted). We have had great, but unseasonal weather with highs of 29 and lows of 1 - most days are warm enough for a light jacket with evenings cool enough for a nice log fire. Two deaths over Christmas in the Village - Santos an elderly man who berated us daily for growing things that we can't eat (we will miss him) and Sn Blanco - an experienced runner who collapsed and died during the Ribadesella road race on New Year's Eve. Spring lambs are already gambling in the fields, Eucalyptus is in full blossom and primroses are opushing through at great pace. Coming to UK for two weeks in January - Hope to catch up with one or two of you - until then, hope you have a happy and fulfilled 2007