Days 105 to 144 of New Normal – next 40 days

Day 105 of New normal

A beautiful end to a beautiful day, though it took a long time to warm up and was only 7 degrees when we fed the horses at 8 am – a drop of about 10 degrees!. It is supposed to get warmer again from tomorrow though and be back in the high 20’s next week . The rain stopped overnight and the moon was so bright at 6am it was like daylight . I was so happy that when I went down to shut the chickens in last night Minty had gone into his house without any help, such a relief! He also seemed really happy today, sharing hay with Bracken . The horses had a lovely time running around and rolling after the rain. The 4 new chickens arrived. We kept them in a stable all day and have just put them in with the others tonight, now the others are roosting. They should all be fine together in the morning. One is much paler than usual so we are going to call her Blondie. We don’t usually name the hens as usually they all look the same, unless there is something to distinguish them like Hopalong who has a limp . Bella is doing well, though I’m not having much luck getting her to eat her antibiotics, we’ve tried mashing it into raw chicken and tinned cat food, she just leaves it. Hopefully she has at least had some of it. Elsie is being naughty and teasing her from outside her cage, poor Bella, she does seem to have accepted being shut in very well though. The vet said not to let her outside for 2 weeks so she is going to go a bit stir crazy but it should help a lot to tame her, we will let her loose in the kitchen in a day or two. She has always loved to be stroked but only tolerates being picked up and if anything makes her suspicious she turns savage

Day 106 of New normal

Sadly, we have put the pool to bed for the winter, despite the beautiful weather. We have to save money wherever we can and with no guests we can’t afford to heat the pool. If it is covered we only have to run it once a day to keep it clean. It was Bracken’s turn for a pedicure , her feet are so cute . The new hens seemed fine this morning but they didn’t venture outside. We let Bella out of her cage for a bit of attention today but she started bleeding a bit due to jumping on to a worktop so she is now back in the cage. She is getting very affectionate  though and I finally got her to eat half an antibiotic tablet. The horses were laying down enjoying the sun when I went down to feed them. Poor Blackie was very lame when she stood up though. I thought it might have just been stiffness from laying down as she is 24 but it didn’t wear off so she is spending the night in a stable and we’ll see how she is in the morning. The kittens aren’t missing their Mum, they are totally independent now. Smudge is getting friendlier by the day but the white kitten is very shy. We had thought we would call it Blanca/blanco but now that we are pretty sure it is a boy, we find Blanco doesn’t sound right. As he is so elusive and spirits himself away I started to think of names like Ghost and we have decided Casper ( the friendly ghost) works well. You never know, he might even become friendly . There’s never a dull moment here, when we did the horses this evening Clive rescued a poor sparrow that had somehow got its head stuck in the roof. Luckily, once he’d freed it, it was fine and flew away. 

Day 107 of New normal

Scarlett and Bracken were keeping poor Blackie company this morning . Blackie is still a bit sore but better so I have decided to give her another day of box rest and see how she is tomorrow. Scarlett had her feet done this morning, then Clive made a start on putting the guttering up to catch the water from the stable rooves. Very worrying that 2 months before our normal olive picking time some of the olives are black already! The autumn crocuses that were out a month ago last year have finally surfaced. The little bit of rain must have done the trick. The naughty chickens wandered up to the courtyard today, maybe they want more distance from the new ones . I saw a video of hens eating veg on a string, will have to try that for ours .  Poor Irene, when I went down at dusk to do the last feed and shut the chickens in, Leo and his gang had broken through into her paddock and bless her, she had ended up in theirs. Not what you need when you just think you’re going down for a 5 minute job before sitting down for the evening. Oh well, it all got sorted, with the broken fence tied back up with baling twine – ( what will I do when I run out now that we have round bales?). Irene was fine too, phew! I just had a lovely surprise too, someone made a donation of 50 pounds on the fundraiser, it is really appreciated, things are still so worrying and no sign of any income on the horizon. Someone also sent 5 pounds a couple of days ago, equally appreciated, it all adds up and every little really does help. When you think about it, 5 pounds will feed all the rescue cats for a week

Day 108 of New normal

The pomegranates are ripe now, a good guide is when the birds hollow them out, lol . Oh well, I like to share the fruit with the birds anyway and when they fall on the ground the chickens love them too. One of our old hens is looking very hunched up, I have a feeling she won’t be around for much longer, though she seems happy enough roaming around the garden. We popped to Malaga this morning to pick up a fridge for Lily and Martin and had lunch at theirs which made a nice change. We drove the scenic route home, passing a herd of totally black goats, a rare sight as they are usually mixed colours. I’ll never tire of the scenery around us. Spirit has some great dreadlocks, scruffy boy . Bonnie enjoyed an udder rub, bless her. She’s not a cuddly horse but she’ll tolerate attention if it’s the right sort . Bracken managed to get hay all over her head, she’s so cute . The dogs and cats have wrecked the fly net on the kitchen door, it’s full of holes. Will have to go back to a curtain . I am having a sort out as we have decided to knock down a couple of walls in the kitchen, opening up a bedroom to be part of the kitchen. When we went through the last recession we knocked down a wall between the living and dining room. It’s good to have a project to take our minds off things and keep busy and we can do this work without spending money as we have the building materials we need including spare floor tiles to patch where needed. We tend to live in our kitchen anyway so making it even bigger is a sensible plan. Trouble is, the bedroom was my storage room so I now have to do a lot of rejuggling to find homes for everything but it feels so good to be getting on with something productive . I found this old high chair and decided it would look nice sitting in a corner of the kitchen – Elsie thought so too 

Day 109 of New normal 

What a day! The animals have certainly kept us on our toes . Firstly, this morning one of the new hens ventured out of the hen house but became scared and disappeared. We looked everywhere but couldn’t find it, then I noticed it stuck in a drainage hole. The poor thing, Clive crept up as quietly as he could so as not to scare her further into the hole and luckily was able to grab her by her tail feathers. The silly little thing had a calming cuddle before being put safely back in the house with the others. We then trimmed Sierra’s feet which was thankfully uneventful and Blackie is fine today too which is a relief. The next animal event was poor Casper getting stuck on the stable roof tonight, when I went down at dusk he was crying his heart out and looking very distressed. Poor Clive climbed on the roof but the silly cat then jumped down . Then we went to shut the chickens in and 2 of the young ones were missing so there we were, herding them in, silly things . Apart from that, despite the weather outside being idyllic we spent most of the day inside moving shelves around and reorganising and dejunking our wardrobe and washroom, it’s amazing how much dust and clutter you find! We have nearly found homes for everything in the spare bedroom so will be able to start knocking walls down soon . The evening is so warm and the sky is like dark blue velvet, the perfect end to an eventful day. It started with over 500 euros worth of horse expenses and finished with about 800 euros worth of pledges and donations on the fundraiser, including a 500 pound discounted holiday pledge for next year from lovely repeat guests ! There are plenty more bills to take care of the extra money, they don’t stop coming in just because we have no guests unfortunately. We now have about 20 holiday deposit pledges for next year which at least gives us hope that we will have plenty of bookings once people can think about holidays again, fingers crossed. Thanks again to all you lovely people who were so kind today, we can’t tell you how much we appreciate you

Day 110 of New normal

I have only just sat down after a very busy day. We started by giving Fern a trim, then we got on with clearing out the bedroom /storage room ready for knocking the wall through to the kitchen. Clive also gave the shed attached to Minty ‘s house a sort out, using some shelving from the bedroom that we don’t need now. The only building materials we were worried we didn’t already have in our store were floor tiles to patch up where the walls have been but after emptying out part of the log store I found 40 leftover tiles .  I took a photo of the family photo wall so that I will have an idea of how to put them back up again on another wall.(I have to have my photos ) Facebook showed me a memory from 6 years ago, when we rendered the kitchen fireplace and added a driftwood mantle piece. That job only cost us 10 euros for a bag of render mix, we do get a lot of joy out of making things from nothing, it’s part of the fun. Bella’s scar is heeling well, the vet said she has to be inside for 2 weeks so she has a week to go. We can’t risk her getting out so most of the day she is resting in the dog crate but we let her out in the evening once the kitchen door is closed. She usually goes back in her cage after a while though, I suppose she feels secure there. Going back and forth to the shed I noticed that the acanthus is looking beautiful, such a luminous green after the tiny bit of rain we had. Nature really is amazing

Day 111 of New normal

We got stuck in a Spanish traffic jam on the way to Lily’s this evening. We are taking all her stuff that has accumulated at ours over the years since she left home at 18 to work abroad. Now that she has her own home she can take it off our hands, especially now that we have been de cluttering to make up for losing our storage room. We have had a very satisfying day knocking down walls. The dogs and cats made us laugh, watching every move as if to say ‘what are you doing!?’ . They did take some time out to lay in the sun for a bit though. I am very grateful of Clive’s precision engineering background, meaning he is very precise in everything he does. The floor tiles are pretty much perfectly parallel in both rooms, either side of the knocked down wall so we will only need to replace one row (also feeling very lucky that I found the leftover tiles yesterday). We are so desperate for rain now, the poor Red Robin is dry and crispy, though the pink flowered plant underneath is fine, fortunately. Bonnie and Twiggy had matching hair extensions this afternoon, they do make me laugh

Day 112 of New normal

A beautiful sunset to end a lovely day.(Clive managed to capture a photo of a bat, (bit small but you can just make it out) there were so many flying around this evening. I am at my happiest when building and renovating so today has been great . The floor tiles fitted perfectly into the gaps left by the walls, can’t believe how lucky we are, also that I found lots of bricks in our building store, perfect for rebuilding our computer desk. As well as laying and grouting the floor tiles, Clive re-routed the electrics where needed. We had to devise all sorts of obstacles to stop the animals treading on the wet cement and newly laid tiles.  Not 100% successfully as we have the usual footprint, wouldn’t be the same without it ( thanks to Milly this time). Buffy made herself comfortable on the hose, funny girl . Elsie lay in wait for Bella who had decided to investigate under the cupboard. 

Day 113 of New normal

I had 2 clients for a ride this morning, what a rare treat . The horses were perfectly behaved despite hardly being ridden all year. It was very hot so they got quite sweaty by the end of the ride, not helped by their winter coats. Leo’s side had broken into Irene’s again this morning when we went down. Poor Clive had planned to get on with the kitchen while I did the horses but ended up fixing the fence and re doing the electric tape. We already had a 2nd electric box ready to fence off the hay once winter arrived as we often turn the horses out in the sand arena when it’s wet and they would definitely break into the hay given the chance. Clive decided it was time to put it up and also ran it round the fence and down the middle, hopefully that will stop the monsters! Poor Irene, she must be fed up with all these rude interuptions, bless her. Once back in their field, Bonnie just stood and slept, all the excitement must have been too much for her . I know I say it a lot but Blackie is just so black! She stays shiny too, when the others all start to get their dull winter coats. We did get on well with the kitchen later, Clive built a shelf unit for the corner and finished the electrics, it’s really getting there now, I can’t wait to see it finished . We had a snail in the courtyard with a big spot of paint on its back. I haven’t done any outside painting since early summer so it must have been there a while 

Day 114 of New normal

Another really busy day. Clive moved the light over the table so that it is in the new position and filled and rendered all over the place, like something possessed, lol. I finished moving furniture to new places and brought the sofa up from the secret garden as we are going to borrow it for now. It was originally in the kitchen before we bought our arm chairs so the cover matches the curtains . Peanut and Milly claimed the sofa as their own . Elsie and Archie made use of the dust sheets and baskets dotted around . The mint is suddenly looking lovely and healthy again now that the weather has cooled slightly which made me fancy a mojito. I persuaded Clive that a jacuzzi and mojito would help his aching back (which it did ) and after days of hard work we deserved a treat and after all, it is a Bank Holiday today . We didn’t have any white rum but found some golden rum that guests must have left last year (good thing alcohol doesn’t go off ). We showered the dust off first in the pool shower, so lovely having a hot shower under a deep blue sky. It really is sods law that our gorgeous weather just goes on and on, if we had guests it would be raining, lol. We really are counting our blessings, life could be worse, have to focus on the positives and keep fighting! 

Day 115 of New normal

The sky is such a deep blue every day, it doesn’t look real. The trees are starting to turn autumnal, our apricot tree is getting very yellow. Sierra had her daily morning nap in the sun . The new hens have finally ventured outside the hen house  but only just . Bella is now free to roam, Milly has convinced her to be friends, bless her , she does love cats. It was nice that Bella chose to come back into the kitchen again, despite all the building going on. We have almost finished the rendering and plaster work and I was able to do some painting too. As long as it dries overnight we should be able to finish everything by tomorrow evening, can’t wait . Buffy is so funny,   every time I swept the floor she just lay there and let me sweep around her .  We have both worked non stop today and are exhausted. As soon as I sat down though, Milly decided it was time for a cuddle  

Day 116 of New normal

Feel a bit bad that we are not outside enjoying the beautiful weather but we had another productive day on the kitchen. (peanut was fascinated by everything that was going on and followed Clive around, watching everything he did . We just need to put photos up now and touch up a bit of paint. I am really thrilled with how it has turned out, we should have done it years ago. With a few bits borrowed from apartments and shelf units made to make use of existing storage boxes etc it has all worked out perfectly and cost us just 20 euros for the building materials we didn’t already have. It has been great fun and has really cheered us up . I did find time to pick some almonds and carobs, watched from the Ash tree by Bella . We have 3 Carob trees but only one produces beans. We had assumed it was because 2 of the trees are younger and not ready to fruit yet but we have just realised that 2 are male which means they never will produce fruit, what a pain! When you buy them it doesn’t say if they are male or female. You need a male for the female to fruit so one is earning its keep but it’s a shame the other isn’t female. The other downside is that the flowers on the male tree really stink ( like poo) and the male and female flowers look totally different. I noticed that the yellow rose is in flower again and the vine climbing the fence at the bottom of the pool has turned red and is looking so beautiful

Day 117 of New normal

We got all the photos up today with a family and friends wall and an animal wall so the kitchen is now finished after 6 days of hard work. The animals seem to approve, we have to have a 3rd dog bed for Buffy as otherwise one of the dogs ends up on the floor. Mind you, Milly often prefers the floor anyway. The young hens ventured further afield, they are getting braver every day. Sadly the old hen who was looking a bit sorry for herself died today but she had had a good life. When the pomegranates split open we throw them on the floor and the chickens love them . Lily and Martin came for lunch and we christened the new kitchen . I had a bit of a moment with the hay bales this afternoon when it rolled through the electric fence, they are very heavy when they’re just opened! Irene came over to investigate, she is so fluffy in her winter coat. It was another beautiful golden evening, I need to make the most of it as we finally have rain forecast next week! 

Day 118 of New normal

We headed up to the mountains early this morning to cut firewood. We were very lucky to see the wild ibex running across the track in front of us . After 3 hours of hard work we had a huge trailer load of oak, we are very lucky that when the protected oaks needs trimming, which requires permission from the town hall, we get the chance to do it in return for free firewood. For 3 hours work we have well over 200 euros worth of wood!. There were lots of delicate wild crocuses on the mountain, such a pale lilac. Our yellow rose is now in full bloom too and the ever present antirrhinum are still popping up everywhere!. We felt the kitchen needed a rug so have brought one down from our bedroom. Milly approves but I am wondering how long it will stay clean, especially when we do finally get rain – all those muddy animal footprints, lol. Elsie has found a new perching place on a basket. She really doesn’t like Bella and sits and stares at her. There is another lovely mural on the other side of the building to the other mural in the village, I still don’t know who has painted them but they are amazing.

Day 119 of New normal

Flamenca had her feet trimmed this morning, then we trimmed the oleanders at the front of the house. We now have a better view of the mountains . Bella sat and watched us work, she stays close these days . The dogs are in the dog house, first Milly chewed a hoover brush, then they both decided that they couldn’t bear us being at the front of the house without them and obviously tried to scratch their way through the kitchen door, completely wrecking the fly curtain . Clive sanded down the plaster patches where he moved the lights and I painted over it. That was the very last job, now we can relax and enjoy the new space and maybe, by the look of the forecast next week, even have our first evening fire. It is the latest I can remember that we haven’t needed to light a fire, this autumn has been so amazing. The sky is such an unreal blue every day, I can’t resist taking photos of Scarlett as she compliments the blue so well. I took advantage of the weather for a bit this afternoon and read my book, I think we’ve both earned a rest after a very busy week but it is hard to relax, there is always something to do .

Day 120 ofNew Normal

It started really well, with a trip to Lily and Martin’s to take them a trailer load  of muck for their trees, then down to the beach with their dogs to look for sea glass followed by a lovely lunch back at Lily’s. All was fine when we got home too. Bella was pleased to see us and cuddled up on the sofa. We had just settled down for the evening when it all went down hill. Bella asked to go out and then we heard a terrible cat fight, the noise was really blood curdling. I rushed outside, while trying to hold the dogs back as they were keen to join in the fun, to find poor Bella being attacked by Elsie. She was so terrified that she had poo’d and wee’d herself and it was literally every where. How do you even think about bathing a semi feral cat? Honestly, it’s one thing after another with her. I scared Elsie off (I wish I knew why she hates Bella so much ) and calmed Bella down. I tried to clean her up with an old cloth but she climbed up on the grape vine and started cleaning herself. I just have to hope that she cleans herself thoroughly!        Meanwhile, Clive hosed down the courtyard and after dealing with Bella, and hearing the horses calling I went down to do the last feed and shut the chickens in. It was obviously going to be one of those nights as the first thing I noticed was that Blackie, Fern and Lola had trashed their fence. I decided to put the hay out before sorting it out and then found that the muck heap fence and the alleyway where we keep the wheelbarrows were both open. A big mystery as Clive did the poo picking and he swears everything was locked and horse proof and I know how thorough he is. The 4 new hens were by the alleyway, wanting to get in to their house to roost but despite my shooing them in they were reluctant to go. I finally realised that one of the old hens was in the way of the entrance hole, so that sorted, they went in. Just the electric tape to sort now! Most of the poles were bent and Blackie was laying down looking sorry for herself so I had to run up to the house to get Clive to help. While he fixed the fence I got Blackie up and walked her, and she seems fine, phew! We’ll never be bored, lol. At least the sunset cheered us up.

Day 121 of New normal

Bella was back for breakfast, none the worse for her traumatic incident last night. She had done a good job cleaning herself too, thank goodness! With rain forecast for mid week it was a battening down the hatches sort of day, made more authentic by the strong wind battering us. We got a lot of the firewood cut and stacked and Clive filled some cracks in the roof, checked tiles and painted where needed with a water proof paint called coucho. Hopefully we’re ready for some good, much needed, heavy rain. I rolled the kitchen rug up to do a last bit of painting on the ceiling and Elsie was straight there, funny girl. She looks so innocent after last night’s attack on Bella. Lots going on in the garden, the persimmon are ripe, as are the quince and the false pepper is so pink and pretty. We have an orange orange too .  The bay tree is so tall, we’ll never use all those leaves, lol. We have started putting muck on an area at the bottom of the horses field, ready to start a veg patch once the rain softens the ground. Our soil is clay so it’s not the easiest but we’ll dig the manure in and hopefully by early spring we can start planting things  

Day 122 of New normal

Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning! No rain so far but it has been very windy. We worked on the guttering down at the horses to get it ready for the rain, we now have a network of pipes, running into the well. No more wasted rain water. Irene had a lovely sleep in the sand while Bonnie and Twiggy supervised our work. I did have to tell Twiggy that it was unlucky to walk under ladders, lol. I also had to tell her off for trying to break into the alley – what is the attraction? . Lola had her feet done and Bella and Elsie seem to have called a truce, fingers crossed! As it was a grey evening we thought we would light our first fire but after 5 minutes we had to open all the doors to let the heat out. It has been really warm today, silly idea really . Oh well, it looks cosy and it won’t be long before we need one for real I’m sure!

Day 123 of New normal

   

We woke to rain and muddy horses! It had dried up by the time we fed the horses this morning but more is forecast tomorrow. A huge sigh of relief for the garden . Clive put up a last bit of guttering, making a huge noise drilling underneath the metal shelter but Bonnie and Twiggy carried on eating as if nothing was happening . Smudge now let’s me tickle her under the chin, she really loves it and pushes herself against my hand. Sadly little Casper still won’t come close. Naughty Milly chewed the kitchen rug – she’s 7 for gods sake, hardly a puppy! I managed to mend it with a crochet hook and have sprayed all around the edges with lavender water, I hope that will put her off. Do you like this cushion I made out of an old cardigan! So easy to do – think whether you can recycle before you throw anything away, it’s surprising what you can do . Clive drilled some more seaglass while it was raining, don’t forget, if you’re stuck for Christmas present ideas you could buy a necklace,  or a holiday deposit pledge or sponsor a horse, you can find the crowd funder link on our website

Day 124 of New normal

A wet and windy day. The sky was a dramatic grey, turning into an amazing sunset, reflected in the puddles. The new guttering system is working well, it’s great to think of all that rain water going into the well and instead of being wasted, even if it does look like the old board game Mouse Trap . The Sierra nevada ski resort had it’s first snow fall. Fingers crossed for them that they will be able to open the resort this year, with Covid. Clive forgot to get the dogs raw food out of the freezer, Peanut was so funny, watching the microwave, waiting for it to be ready. . It was an admin sort of day, in front of the fire (it actually did turn cold enough to want one this time). Buffy did her best to help .  Finn hasn’t been able to come out in the kitchen as the cats are all in so I took him with me for a shower. Bless him, he never wants to fly around, he just wants to sit on my shoulder or head. I had to prise him off while I got in the shower but he sat on the edge of the shower waiting for me

Day 125 of New normal

We left the cloudy sky behind and headed to the coast to look for more seaglass and get Clive some new socks . (he gets 5 pairs for 3 euros from Dunnes stores which not only justifies the petrol cost but he prefers English socks as the Spanish ones come up too high, even with his long legs!). We were planning to meet Lily on the coast but her foster dog Chocco had been missing since 9pm last night so we ended up going to hers to help her look for him. Her village looked very pretty with the puffy clouds. Despite driving around the country lanes looking for Chocco we had no luck but as we were driving home Lily messaged to say he was home – phew! Big relief as he is due to travel to his new home in the UK next week – I hope they have a secure garden! We drove home through the beautiful rocky terrain of Zafarraya, enjoying the Autumn colours. It was lovely and sunny once we got home and the horses were waiting to be fed. The new hens have been venturing further afield every day but this evening they were sitting in the door to the hen house, blocking the entrance for the other hens, cheeky things. As we knew we were going out we used our slow cooker for the first time this winter and had a lovely vegetable stew with pearl barley for dinner. So nice when you don’t have to cook .

Day 126 of New normal

Our 39th wedding anniversary and the first time in years that it coincides with the clocks changing. It was the joke at our wedding that we chose the date so that we had an extra hour in bed . Clive insisted that we had photos taken on his beloved motorbike, I remember getting the local paper the following week and being disappointed that our photo wasn’t on the wedding page, only to realise that we had made the front page! The animals gave us a couple of nice presents, Buffy was sick on the rug and Milly rolled in something very dead and needed a shower. Apart from that it was a lovely day, with a beautiful start, looking down on fog covering the village. Clive got a lovely photo of the old oak tree by the house. It’s 6 years  since half of it fell down across the road. It was very sad at the time (and very lucky that no one was hurt and nothing was damaged) but we have got used to it being just the one trunk now. We had a lovely morning walk and it turned out really hot. The mud had dried up by the afternoon and we were able to let the horses back onto their fields. We finished the evening with a jacuzzi, our last as we will be turning it off tomorrow. We had kept it going in case we had any guests but as there is no chance of that we will need to turn it off  as we can’t justify the cost of running it with no money coming in. It is not an easy decision as once we turn it off we have to empty it. Hopefully we can save the water in our storage tank so it is not a complete waste. 

Day 127 of New normal

Another beautiful day, the horses looked so pretty in the morning light, it was nice to have a little lie in and go down at 7.30 which of course felt like 8.30 for us and the horses. Our usual feeding time outside of the hot summer weeks is 8 am but in the last few weeks it has not been light until 8.15 so we were going down a little later which meant that this morning the horses were only waiting an extra 15 minutes. Leo had a cute moment with Caspar, funny how he is not at all shy around the horses but still won’t come close to us. Smudge is getting bolder every day though and loves a tickle under his chin. Scarlett and Flamenca groomed each other in the sunshine . I cleaned the tack room out and put all the bridles etc away for the winter to keep them clean and dust free. Finn spent the day outside, he loves chatting to the birds. I stacked the last of the oak that we got from the mountain last week, it won’t be ready to burn until next year but nice to get ahead of the game. We have more to cut down one day this week. Clive has started building a bonfire with all the waste wood trimmings and garden rubbish. We have lots of pruning to do so will have the fire once everything is trimmed. The cats drive me mad when I’m working on my laptop. As soon as I get up for any reason one gets on my chair. I move to another chair, then another cat takes it, it’s like a game of musical chairs in our house .  It got cool enough this evening to light the fire which pleased Buffy and Milly . We heard this afternoon that the whole of Spain will have a night time curfew from tomorrow from either 10 or 11 pm (to be confirmed by individual provinces) to 6am. It won’t make any difference to us as we don’t go out anyway but judging by the loud music coming from a rural tourism house in the valley last night, people are still getting together and partying so it is aimed at stopping them group socialising.

Day 128 of New normal

We had some unexpected rain over night so woke up to muddy horses and a swamp of a field. Sierra managed to get hay all over her head, silly girl. .  The recent rain has a sprouted grass all over the gravel, it will be a lawn soon! I am really enjoying our pomegranates now that I have worked out the easiest way to eat them. Such a strange fruit but quite addictive and very healthy. I started writing my new book today after a few weeks of collating memories from old Facebook posts and checking where I got to in my first book. Hopefully now that I have made a start I will find time to do some every day, a nice project for the winter anyway . The cloudy sky was very pretty this evening, I quite like it getting darker earlier, it feels cosy.

Day 129 of New normal

I am really pleased with how the round bales are working out. They are lovely and dry inside and I’ve got the hang of how best to use them and how much to give the horses. OK, it has made life easier that we have only had a couple of rainy days so far but we did have some heavy rain so I’m pleased that they seem to be water tight. We went over to Lily’s today, I tried to take a photo of a strange flying saucer cloud on top of the mountain but it came out too small. We could also see the snow on the Sierra nevadas but again, too far for my phone to get a good picture. We said goodbye to Ida and Chocco, we won’t see them again before they leave for their new homes in the UK on Friday. Such lovely dogs, their new families are very lucky. Lily made us a gorgeous lemon tart which the dogs were very interested in. She doesn’t know what to do with all her citrus fruit. We took her some of our pomegranates and quince and came home with some lovely freshly picked mandarins, a fair exchange I think . Clive has a plan to make a hydroponics system out of leftover guttering to grow herbs, can’t wait .   The dogs and cats are so cute when they are all sleeping in the evenings. Buffy likes to have her own dog bed if she’s not sitting on my lap. I found this old photo of Clive the cat man,  sadly 2 of those cats are dead now and the ones we have left aren’t quite as cuddly though I think they will be once it gets colder

Day 130 of New normal

A gorgeous sunset ended a lovely day. You can just make out a bat at the top of the photo. I am totally in love with my new kitchen, it is so cosy with the fire lit. It’s things like this that lift the spirits and keep us going when all is doom and gloom. Clive has a really painful neck so he has spent a lot of the day resting with a heat pad. I joined him to watch a Christmas film, crazy really when it was a gorgeous hot day outside It was cold in the house as we don’t have heating and have just started lighting a fire for the evening but Peanut warmed me up with a cuddle. I did sit outside to finish reading my No time for a siesta book in preparation for my new book. It was lovely reading it and being transported back to when we first moved here but I also felt embarrassed at some of the things I wrote about the horses, (and some of the typos) it’s amazing how you evolve, learn and develop over the years and there are things I would do very differently now, however well meaning I was at the time.I actually came inside as I got too hot, we really are so lucky with the weather. The landrover was booked in for its Itv(mot) on Monday but failed, luckily on quite a small thing so hopefully the bill isn’t going to be too expensive but we can’t get another appointment until Friday which means we can’t go and cut down firewood this week as originally planned. Just as well really as Clive will have a chance to rest. It’s a shame as I would love Clive to come for a ride with me but with his bad neck that is not going to happen for a while. The horses look so fluffy now in their winter coats. I was wondering why we have so much grass growing in the gravel where it hasn’t grown before but I’ve just remembered that we dumped all the sheaths of grass there in the spring when we were collecting it from Pedro’s fields so it must have dropped seeds. Oh well, we don’t have guests so no reason to keep it tidy so we can let it grow and then let some of the horses graze on it . Our neighbour Gracia gave us some membrillo liqueur, made by her Mum Remes. It is delicious. We picked the last of our membrillo (quince) and chillies today and was naughty and made some fried pancake swirls

Day 131 of New normal

 

Well it seems that our village of Villanueva del Trabuco is in a local lock down from midnight tonight for 10 days, along with many other towns and villages all over Spain. This means that we can’t see Lily and Martin as we are not allowed to leave the village and no one is allowed in. This is turning into a nightmare with no sign of an end. Just as when the first lock down happened in March, the Landrover is at the mechanics having some work done for its Itv (mot) tomorrow. Problem is that the Itv centre is not even in our province, let alone our village so not sure what is going to happen there. Oh well, we can’t go anywhere anyway so what does it matter, lol. . We drove over to see Lily and Martin for the last time while we still could and took them some building tools they needed. Our very old little Fiat just about made it there, accompanied by a worrying knocking sound. We really thought we were going to break down on the way home and break the curfew but strangely the noise disappeared on the return journey. We had fun and games trying to shut the chickens in before we left. We got the 4 young ones in after a bit of a struggle, then the 3 oldies went in easily but the cockerel led us a merry dance and when we finally got him by the door and opened it to let him in, the young ones piled out again. Oh well, we just had to leave the door open but they were all tucked up inside when we got home and luckily no visit from a fox, phew! The horses make me smile when I go down in the morning, they are all gathered together like they are having a meeting . The kittens are so big and pretty now, they seem very happy to use the stables as their home. The sky was a deep blue again today. Elsie terrorised Bella on the grapevine, she is such a tease, poor Bella hates her. I found these lovely pictures , the horses were drawn by a helper and the house by a guest – aren’t they lovely

Day 132 of New normal

It’s been a strange day, eerily quiet with hardly any passing traffic, I have felt quite sad with the lock down situation even though the weather was beautiful again. So ironic that the whole autumn has been amazing with no guests to enjoy it. We would have had no trouble keeping the pool heated either. It has been one frustrating thing after another too, we were supposed to get a 3 month holiday from paying social security as a small gesture from the government but today the payment of nearly 300 euros went out of our account as usual. We also changed electricity companies to try to cut our bills but when I paid the bill online by bank transfer my bank charged me 19 euros! (I try to avoid ddr wherever possible as the previous company used to take the money from our account weeks before they sent a bill) We have also spent the day unplugging the rest of the fridges in the apartments and have  turned the electric water heater off in our ensuite and will use the shower downstairs which has a gas boiler for now. Hopefully it will help to cut the bills. We are  living in the kitchen and our bedroom with just the log fire as heating so we can’t do any more than that. I have started making up double haynets for the horses at night to make their hay last longer. It’s funny watching the different styles of eating. Leo’s side (the pigs) shake the nets and eat off the ground. Lola, Fern and Blackie share one huge slow feeder net and nibble away at it. Scarlett is also quite dainty of course. Flamenca just looks at the haynets in disgust and trots around hoping to find loose hay . She won’t go hungry, maybe she’ll finally lose some weight . The old hens enjoyed a dust bath with the cockerel and the new hens looked like they were trying to escape . Clive made a quince cake. It was still too moist after being in the oven for double the recipe time but it tastes gorgeous.He also finished trimming Lola’s feet, he had to do her in 2 goes due to his neck pain and her not being the easiest! He also made more seaglass necklaces so he has been a busy boy! It was another beautiful sunset tonight, Peanut and Milly were so cute waiting for Clive to come

Day 133 of New normal

Happy Halloween!We trimmed Blackie’s feet, for a pony who was impossible to touch when she first came, she is an angel having her feet done now.At 24, she is starting to look her age and has lost a bit of muscle on her rear end but she has always had a belly, when we first got her at the age of 5 we actually had an ultrasound on her as we were convinced that she was pregnant! Bracken very kindly allowed me to dress her up as a ghost, bless her, she is a special little pony. This time last year we were doing a Halloween meal for guests . 12 years ago we were going to a Halloween party and it was an easy choice of what to dress up as – I already looked like a zombie as we had been working ourselves to death building the El Establo cottage and thanks to some scaffolding falling on my head I had a great black eye . Our persimmons looked like mini pumpkins today, they are such a beautiful colour. We had a lovely day gardening, it was so hot that I had to go and change into shorts. The horses all hid in the shade, it was like they had disappeared. Irene made me smile this morning by going to the gate and asking to go out on the grass. She hasn’t been out since the rain, I thought I might as well let the grass grow a bit more but obviously she had decided that it was time to go back out.  Unfortunately for me,she didn’t make me smile when I let her back in. The naughty dogs tried to run through the gate and I was so busy trying to stop them getting out that as Irene came through the gate I turned my back on her to shut the gate, just as she took off in a grass fueled, gleeful canter, kicking up her heels and wacking me in the back. I know you shouldn’t turn your back on a horse, my fault entirely I will admit, but Irene is a sweet and gentle 25 year old horse who normally walks or at the most trots in sedately. I heard the bang as her hoof connected with my lower back before I felt any pain. I must admit that I was filled with panic,I thought I was in big trouble as it was a hard blow. OK, she is barefoot, thank goodness, but I still feared the worst.Luckily and incredibly I was able to limp around,putting the hay out and actuallyfeel OK

Day 134 of New normal

Despite Clive’s neck pain and my back pain we hobbled around in the garden for as long as we could, like a pair of old fogies to make the most of the sunshine.. All the trees are pruned now and we have have a big pile of garden rubbish ready for a bonfire. We have some lovely crocuses in the garden and the kumquats are starting to ripen. The olives are mostly black and a lot are shrivelled, never known it this early. We can’t even think about picking due to the lock down (can’t get the oil processed), probably just as well with our aches and pains. . I think I got off lightly with the kick to my back, I don’t feel as bad as I thought I would. I was really happy to see Bella hanging out with Casper today. I thought she had completely lost interest in her kittens. I used up the last of the quince, making another quince cake using an apple and banana cake recipe which worked out really well, some stewed quince which is delicious and some quince chutney. I also ate one of Lily’s home grown avacados – gorgeous ! Peanut is currently crashed out on his bed, he must have had a busy day too . We have had a few donations on the fundraiser , which, given the latest news is hugely appreciated. We have to stay positive but we really don’t know how this is going to end now 

Day 135 of New normal

The pomegranate tree is looking very autumnal and the trees down by the river are too, it all looks so beautiful against the blue sky. We made some pomegranate juice which was lovely but Clive said wasn’t worth the effort, lol. We had our first orange off the tree, delicious . As with the olives, they are at least a month early. The garden still thinks it’s summer, even the daisies are flowering. Clive had a bonfire to burn all the garden trimmings and trimmed Bonnie’s feet. Scarlett seems slimmer, the vet would be happy, unless it’s just my imagination 

Day 136 of New normal

As it was such a lovely hot day and we have rain and cooler temperatures forecast tomorrow, we decided to act as if we were on holiday and put the cushions out. Just because we don’t have guests and have closed everything down shouldn’t mean that we can’t enjoy our facilities where we can, we need to appreciate what we still have and make the most of it, it might help us to stay positive . We have never had the cushions out with ripe oranges on the tree before, it looked very pretty. Buffy soon left her sunbathing spot next to Milly to sit on my lap . Twiggy had her feet trimmed this morning and I let her have some grass after as a treat. We have lots of cute little toadstools on the muck heap, not sure what type they are. The horses enjoyed the peelings from the quince, just like apple really.  Leo’s side have made a right mess of the wall where they’ve been banging their salt lick, little thugs! . We are planning something exciting and a bit different for next year – who would like to learn to swim like a mermaid? Lily is a qualified mermaid swimming instructor (believe me, it’s not as easy as it looks, that’s me in the photo being taught by Lily ). It’s great fun for all ages and my grandson will confirm that you can learn to be a merman too . Lily is also a normal swimming instructor so if anyone would like private lessons, that can be arranged too. Perfect for adults who have never learned to swim and are nervous or embarrassed about going to a public pool. And for little girls, what goes with mermaids? Unicorns of course! . Our Scarlett would love to dress up and have her photo taken with any little unicorn lovers . Something nice to think about anyway, with all the doom and gloom 

Day 137 of New normal

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday we were in shorts, today raincoats. Scarlett asked to go in a stable, she’s such a princess . Archie and Elsie made themselves comfortable on the sofa, the cats all come inside when it’s raining, though Bella seems to prefer to be outside again now and has discovered the cat flap into the outside shower room so I have put a bed and food bowl in there for her .This time last year we were at El Torcal, having a coffee while sheltering from the rain and watching a fox wandering around outside. The cafe staff said that it came every day for food. Peanut took the darker skies to mean that it must be dinner time by 12.30 .6 years ago we had just rescued Milly, she was such a crazy puppy that we had a puppy crate for her to go in at night and when we weren’t around. She loved it and so did her best friend Tinker who used to sleep with her . Milly loves all cats but Tinker was her favourite. Our little Podenco Suzy sadly died 7 years ago today, just after Peanut was dumped at the bin by the house. Suzy had also been dumped here 12 years before, she was about 2 at the time, so around 14 when she died which was pretty good considering she had epilepsy. She was a very special little dog and like Milly, also loved cats. She even allowed kittens to suckle, I still miss her funny little ways. She was so loving and loved to be carried like a baby.She also did a great meerkat impression .Being an ex hunting dog, she was so scared of bangs, even if we swatted a fly she would shake and cower .Peanut and Milly filled the gap though, they are such characters. They are so funny when they look over the kitchen door when we are eating outside – the Milly and Peanut puppet show . With the UK going into lock down tomorrow and people thinking about maybe using the time for Christmas shopping, don’t forget that you can buy our lovely seaglass necklaces on our fundraiser, or maybe someone you love might appreciate a holiday deposit for something to look forward to, you can pledge a deposit from 25 pounds, or why not sponsor a pony, every little helps – you can find the crowd funder link on our website. 

Day 138 of New normal

 

Isn’t Milly just the most beautiful dog? She looks prettier and prettier as her hair grows. (Peanut gets the prize for being the cuddliest though ). We had a thunderstorm last night and I lay awake, worrying about Minty being out in the rain and hatching a plan to build him a new shelter with easier access, out of pallets and corrugated roofing sheets that we have in our store. We had helped him up into his house just before dark but as soon as we turned our backs he was out again. He didn’t seem to be able to get up the slope on his own though. Would you believe it, after all my worrying, when we went down this morning he was tucked up inside his house, seems he can get in without our help . As it was raining this morning and my back was still hurting we had a lazy day. I made some yeast free oat bread from a recipe Kate Humble recently baked on TV (it was so easy and really nice ). Clive made some chilli oil from his home grown jalapenos and of course our olive oil. I also persuaded him to give my hair a trim again. (he wasn’t keen but fair’s fair, I cut his! ). I was devastated to see that Scarlett has started rubbing again. I really thought the surgery had solved the problem . It must be hormonal, there aren’t even any flies around now, it is such a nightmare. Oh well, back to applying creams and hopefully as winter approaches she might stop rubbing. 

Day 139 of New normal

A very strangely warm day today. We were poo picking at 8 am in T- shirts. Scarlett rolled in the mud and Flamenca had her feet trimmed. We got some more cream from the pharmacy for Scarlett, fingers crossed it helps. Clive also got a big bag of parsnips from the municipal Market, a rare treat as they are not easy to find in Spain. Along with the usual cracks we get every year in our old house with no footings, built on rocks and clay soil, our staircase needs some work. The fronts of each step have old wooden treads but the step up into the bedroom doesn’t and is badly cracked. Luckily I found the perfect sized piece of driftwood in the shed so that’s another little job for Clive . It will match the drift wood banister perfectly. Some people have recently asked about my book. If anyone is interested, it is called ‘no time for a siesta’ and is available on Amazon for kindle and in paperback. It is the story of our move to Spain 20 years ago and our subsequent life and challenges. This photo was taken for our first Christmas. The only animal still alive now from the photo is Blackie

Day 140 of New normal

The sun came back and it was a very pretty day, with white puffy clouds everywhere. Sierra is looking very cute in her fluffy winter coat. She is such a different horse from when she arrived 4 years ago. Her feet were really long, with shoes on and she hated being touched but now she has amazing feet and she is such a sweet horse . Fern and Blackie sunbathed on their sand pit. Clive bought some gluten free flour in the village yesterday so I made him a fruit cake. It was amazing, I think I prefer it! The geraniums are still producing the occasional flower, it is still so warm. We are waiting to see what the latest lock down announcements are tomorrow before we decide when to pick our olives as we really need to pick them soon. At least the little bit of rain we’ve had has plumped them up a bit. So different to 4 years ago when we were building the breakfast room extension. The weather was so cold and wet, it’s a wonder we ever got it done. 

Day 141 of New normal

….or should start calling it lock down again? . Andalusia is going into a further two week lock down with no one allowed to leave their own town or village. This is such a blow, I had just been making a shopping list this morning, for when our local lock down was due to finish. We need raw food for the dogs and other things that our village doesn’t provide. We also were looking forward to seeing Lily and Martin. It is really hard to stay positive now, I’m missing my grandchildren so much too . I am a positive person and I am determined not to let this get me down, it has been difficult today though as my back and Clive’s neck are still hurting, we’re a right pair .Really wishing we could use the jacuzzi, we don’t even have a bath to soak in. Never mind, tomorrow is another day and the sun is shining, I am always aware of how lucky we are and to count our blessings. Scarlett is still rubbing though which adds to the cloud hanging over me. She asked to go in the sand arena with Irene today so I let her in but minutes later I caught her rubbing herself on a wooden post so had to quickly put her back in the other paddock. What am I going to do with her? On top of that Blackie is lame again. A different leg from last time. It seems that every time it rains and they are kept off the mud, when they are let back on she goes mad and pulls something.We feel her pain, it’s no fun getting old. Hopefully she’ll be OK in a day or so with anti inflammatories. I am still waiting to worm the horses. When they are wormed we have to be careful not to let the dogs or chickens down to the paddocks the following day in case they eat the poo. With the new hens still being a bit nervous of the old ones, it would be unfair to leave them shut in together all day. Clive is a big Christmas lover( as am I) and wrote a countdown on the blackboard today, it’s his 60th birthday on Christmas eve too. Archie looks cute in this Christmas photo . I thought I’d post a poppy photo for remembrance day, it is a reminder that people have been through worse. If anyone wants to cheer me up by buying a necklace or pledging a holiday deposit on the fundraiser please do.

Day 142 of New normal

Clive’s bonsai are looking autumnal. Poor Peanut looks very strange, he has done something to his mouth, we think he probably caught it on the wire fence trying to squeeze through, he’s such an escape artist. Hopefully it’s just swollen, it isn’t cut. The Christmas tree that we bought 2 years ago is looking good for it’s 3rd Christmas, hopefully we might get at least next year out of it too before it gets too big to move. It’s a shame we never have a white Christmas here, we do occasionally get snow but not usually until around February. This photo of Scarlett and Lucy was taken when we had a thick snowfall over night in February 2013. Minna was here and she was so excited to have snow, it made her feel like she was home in Finland. Lucy was such a special horse, she sadly died 2 years ago leaving her son Leo devastated for a while, they were so close. I love this photo of Clive having a special moment with her . I have been resting my back today and have now written 20,000 words on my new book. Not sure what I’m going to do when I get towards the end though as the story isn’t finished, we have no idea what is going to happen – I hope I can give it a good ending . The chickens had a feast on the fallen pomegranates, it’s nice that the birds get to eat the split ones and then the chickens finish them off, no waste . Milly, the cat lover, is trying desperately to make friends with the kittens still. She got quite close to Smudge today. Clive has started thinking about Christmas crafts but what he’s making is a secret .  Some of the parsnips we bought had sprouting tops so we are having a go at growing a couple. Apparently sometimes they grow more parsnips, we’ll see if we’re lucky  

Day 143 of New normal

A stunning sunset after a beautiful misty start, it really helps to stay positive living here, I just have to look outside . The horses relaxed in the sunshine, Blackie gave her leg a rest, though she is a bit better today.  The persistently warm weather is tricking the garden, the marigolds are even flowering. I saw a post on Facebook about eating the berries from bay trees so we gave ours a try. They are quite strange but apparently very good for you. Clive is very relieved as with the lock down meaning we can only shop in the village, he thought he was going to run out of tea. He was so happy to find English tea in one of the small supermarkets so he has now become a hoarder . Lily and Martin have another foster dog, a sweet old lady of 10 called Chica. As her possible adopters may not now be interested they will most likely adopt her themselves. We are so proud of what they are doing

Day 144 of New normal

A stunning sunset tonight, the sky was on fire. Blackie was much better this morning, keen to get back and join Fern and Lola. Spirit had his usual style of eating, strange boy. I’ve been looking through old photos, it’s been very nostalgic. I found a photo from 13 years ago, when we planted the courtyard palm, before that we just had the round trough with pansies in and I also found a photo of how it looked when we first moved in, lots of changes! Interesting how slow growing palms are compared to some of the trees in our garden. I also found a photo of our old dog Chichi, she was our neighbours dog until they moved into the village. Just weeks after she moved in she had 11 puppies! We found homes for all but one who we kept and named Buster. He sadly died last year. I found this cute photo of Archie as a kitten too 😍. We heard that Spain is going to make anyone entering the country have a corona test before leaving their home country, more bad news for the holiday industry, they are very expensive in the UK so it is going to put a lot of people off, even if things get better and they are allowed to fly 😔