Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Rocky arrives!

Our Doberman puppy is 8 weeks and 2 days old and has started his life with us today!

We've called him Rocky as the name suits him now and no doubt will suit him throughout his life.

Hopefully, he will get to know his name soon. He has a lot to learn.

Rocky is very well behaved so far and has plenty of growing to do, today he weighs 5.3 kg.

He has a lot to live up to!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Les Moles again!

We love having lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, Les Moles.

I had to take a photo of an aperitif we were presented with which was described as a sandwich.

First course for me, Fideua...

...followed by revuelto de gambas y setas. Margaret had sauted vegetables then the pork.

To finish, I always have Crema Catalana, Margaret had the melon.

Fideua, revuelto and Crema Catalana! I think I'm becoming Spanish!

Thursday, August 31, 2017


Friday 18th August was the first day of celebration for the village fiesta with the Chorizada...

...BBQ sausages with friends.

In addition to the sausages which are provided, people bring their own contribution... make the otherwise simple celebration into a splendid feast!

After the meal the musicians lead the people around the village from peña to peña where they consume a Catacrock - a gin and tonic downed in one. 

The only problem is that between the peñas other villagers are prepared with buckets of water and hosepipes to drench the participants!

Saturday 19th and there is a mass in the church at midday...

...and San Ramón is paraded around the village.

Sunday 20th: This year, as Margaret is still recovering from her back operation in June, we did not take part in as many aspects of the fiesta as we do normally.

However, one event we did not want to miss was the performance by the Jota group,...

...Mini Grupo del Bajo Aragón.

They were quite outstanding; accomplished musicians, excellent singers and superb dancers!

Their costumes were excellent and authentic.

To see them in action, click on the links at the bottom of this posting.

They gave one of the best performances we have seen over the years from various Jota groups.

Thursday 31st: At 12:00 midday another mass in the church in honour of San Ramón. This time, several members of the congregation wore traje regional, regional costume.

San Ramón was again paraded around the village...

...and through the Plaza Mayor...

...where we all met after the church service for the paella which was served for lunch.

The wine flows, people bring other delicacies to share...

 ...and everyone has a good time.

This year, we brought one of Margaret's raspberry cheesecakes - delicious!

A great end to another superb fiesta! Cheers! / ¡Salud!

Here are the links to the jotas:

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Margaret's regional costume

Margaret bought the fabric for the skirt 6 years ago from an internet seller in the far east and finally produced it to an authentic Spanish pattern on a sewing course in spring 2017.

 Here the skirt is modeled below with one of the 2 corpiños, the other is purple.

The picture below features the handmade lace which has been inlaid into the sleeves and bodice.

In the photo below, the outfit is being modeled with a summer silk mantón with long fringes.

The outfit also features traditional style Spanish earrings and brooch which holds the mantón in place.

Jasper couldn't resist this photo shoot!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Vultures, Picasso and San Salvador

To see the vultures at Mas de Bunyol have their breakfast we were met by José Ramón just outside Valderrobres at 9:00 am and taken a short drive and a short walk through the forest to the observatory.

The idea is that the approach is at the back of the observatory so as not to scare the vultures - however they are flying overhead and keeping a watchful eye on everything on the ground.

They wait patiently knowing where José Ramón is going to appear from...

...then suddenly he appears pushing a wheelbarrow full of dead rabbits and the vultures flock around,...

...some even jump onto the wheelbarrow, as he tips their breakfast out near the observatory...

...for everyone to get a good view of this amazing spectacle.

And José Ramón does this another 4 times until at last the vultures seem satisfied.

This is certainly hard work although it is only for 15 minutes!

Fortunately the vultures only eat dead meat and he is perfectly safe.

After having their breakfast the vultures wander up... the top of a nearby rocky clump...

...which is their preferred point for take off as they can just launch themselves and with a couple of flaps of their wings become airborne. 

To see my short video of the Vulture's Breakfast, click here.

We then wander back through the forest to the car and drive... Horta de Sant Joan to El Centre Picasso D'Orta. Picasso spent some time here during his youth, 1897-98, and returned in 1909 to develop his Cubism style of painting.

No photographs are allowed of Picasso's work although the painting above is sold as a poster which I bought for 3€. It is Picasso's view of Horta de Sant Joan and I love it.

Inside the museum are other artifacts used by the village.

From the museum it was a pleasant walk through...

...small, winding, steep streets... the centre of the village...

...with the Ayuntament, town hall,...

...and the rather grand Església de Sant Joan Baptista, The Church of St John the Baptist. 

Note the Catalan spelling rather than Castellano as Horta de Sant Joan is in Catalunya.

The church was built between the 14th and 16th centuries in the Gothic style...

...although the windows are 20th century. 

Out the back of the church, nestling near the foot of the Muntanya de Santa Bàrbara is El Convent de Sant Salvador which we are going to visit after lunch which we have booked at... 

...the superb Hotel Restaurant Miralles.

We were brought to this restaurant the day we discovered our house in Torre del Compte...

...and have been back many times since. The food never disappoints.

After lunch a visit to the Convent de Sant Salvador, also called El convent de la Mare de Déu dels Àngels, St Mary of the Angels,...


...founded in 1543 although the buildings range from the 12th to the 17th centuries.

The village is clearly visible on top of the hill... is the back of the church we visited before lunch.

The Franciscan convent took the name of Saint Salvador after he stayed there between 1547 and 1549...

...shortly after which the convent increased in size due to his work and miracles

Many of the original buildings are now ruins.

Although the sky had now clouded over this had been a wonderful day out.