Tuesday, 3 April 2012

30th Mar – 1st Apr LOS ROMANES

Friday: I’m sitting outside on the terrace, overlooking the lake, watching the sun come up and writing my blog – it’s a pretty idyllic spot!
The view from Dorothy's house - I have to admit cheating, it's Claire's photo from last year!

On the down side there are several abandoned properties around as the land is unstable; ground has slipped away and parts of gardens/swimming pools etc have disappeared down the hill, some houses have large cracks in the walls and now need expensive under-pinning and retaining walls to make them safe.
Today’s trip was up into the hills to the National Park for a picnic. I’m not going to go into details; suffice to say the road had a very loose surface, it got very narrow, with very steep drops to the side; at times Brett, Henry and I had to get out of the car, as there were such deep crevasses in the road surface, that it was in danger of ‘bottoming out’. It was not a journey you would enjoy if you don’t like heights (I don’t like heights!!). However once we got up there the views were beautiful and we had a lovely picnic of Aberico pate with baguette, crisps and sparkling water.

We found a pool full of orange and green toads mating and then Brett thought he found Wild Fennel and proceeded to eat it – it wasn’t Fennel!!!! I was pretty confident it wasn’t Hemlock or Dropwort Water Hemlock, but I was still worried that it might be poisonous - we tried to identify it when we got back to the house (I had picked some in case I had to take Brett to hospital!), but to no avail; it looked like very lush Florence Fennel fronds but it didn’t have the smell of Fennel (and all the internet could come up with was that Hemlock could be mistaken for Fennel – very worrying). Brett seems to have suffered no side effects; apparently with Hemlock poisoning the symptoms can come on within 15 minutes and you can be dead within the hour!
Our book ‘French Passion’, which we had hoped Henry and Claire could bring out with them, didn’t arrive at William’s until after they had left; so it’s now been posted out to this address, we’re hoping it arrives before we leave on Monday.

Saturday: Whilst Claire and I amused ourselves today, painting and sketching, Brett and Henry did some chores for Dorothy (Claire’s gran); painting walls and gate posts, pruning shrubs etc. The gate post painting was ‘fun’! They had to run the gauntlet of the farm dogs!!! To get to Dorothy’s villa you have to drive through a farmyard with large warning notices (in Spanish, but roughly translated) “Keep Out” and “Dangerous Dogs”; and as you drive through the farmyard about eight barking and growling dogs run at your vehicle. So off Brett and Hen went with their tin of paint and paintbrushes, with instructions to pick up a stone to threaten the dogs if they came at them! Then the dogs started making this horrific noise ..................... when Brett and Hen reappeared (they hadn’t been eaten by dogs!) they were quite upset as the dog noise that we’d been hearing was some of the dogs attacking the boar, and him fighting back – in the end the dogs were caught and tied up, and the boar appeared to be ok.
Sunday: We had a lazy day today; we went ‘scrumping’, we picked lemons, rosemary and lavender, from the garden of the house next door (one of the ones with cracks in the walls) to take with us when we leave tomorrow – the van smells lovely.

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