February '11

Ferry Well

At the beginning of the month, we drove the car across to Santander and caught the Brittany ferry Cap Finistere to Portsmouth. I was a bit nervous about crossing the Bay of Biscay, so made sure I was dosed up with Dramamine as soon as we got onboard. Pondgirl was just getting the first stages of a nasty virus. After a really good meal, we retired to our cabin and sure enough, the ferry started to roller coaster up and down some pretty big swells. The ride only lasted a few hours, but by then PG's temperature shot up and with the combination of the bouncing and a splitting headache, she had an awful night. The next mrning, I got up to a much calmer sea and left her in bed until we reached Portsmouth.

The last leg into Portsmouth meant working our way past some traffic, incuding this freighter. We eventually berthed just opposite the Largs Bay, which I liked 'cos I was brought up in Largs.


Soon we were in Henley working through a busy schedule of catching up with family and friends. One of our objectives was to hand over all the bottles of our olive oil that we had brought with us. A busy night at The Unicorn saw a bottle being given to each of our friends, while more were passed on to family and a few to prospective distributors.
While we were by the river, I saw these Grebes courting and a lovely little Blue Tit eyeing the bird feeder in my parent's garden


At the weekend, we drove down to Plymouth to visit Pondson. He was just shooing his girlfriend out the door with a kiss when we arrived, much to their surprise. We had a wander around Plymouth and lunch in an Italian bistro, before meeting up with a gang of friends for a drink, a long supper with vigorous discussion about world changing stuff like "which are the five best films ever made?".
We would like to thank Naik and Alanah very much for their hospitality, a great supper and for giving us a bed to sleep in for the night. It was a memorable visit. All the best Naik for the future. You obviously have what it takes to overcome the problems being put in your path.

After getting a nights sleep and a final meet up with Pondson, we were back off to Henley for the last couple of days of our trip, then it was a dash down to Portsmouth and a onto a much larger ferry (Pont Avon) for the trip back to Santander in what turned out to be a flat calm. While we were having an early breakfast, we saw two pods of dolphins playing around in the water. Later PG spotted one right next to the ship rolling through the side wake.
The approach to Santamder was much more senic than the one up to Portsmouth. First we passed a lighthouse on a small island, then a headland with some impressive building, before docking right opposite the main part of the town.

Back in Mas

The weather had got colder again and we set about preparing for the next seasons olive crop by pruning some of the trees we have already worked on for a couple of years. We are still waiting for the project book for our house at No. 11 Ave Catalunya, so it is going to be another couple of months before we get started on pouring concrete. We have just had a geotechnical survey done, which establishes what foundations we will need to ensure the casa doesn't slide down the hillside in the first shower of rain. As you would expect, they will have to be deeper than we had hoped, but as long as they are solid, thats OK.

Village Cats

Pondgirl stopped on the way through the village to get these pictures of the village cats waiting patiently for a food handout.

Next month we want to get back to pruning our trees that are on terraces further up the hill and have not yet been touched. It will be hard work.