We took the car on the Bibao-Portsmouth ferry at the beginning of January so we could be at PG's mum's 80th birthday celebrations. It was great to see all her extended family, catch up on what was going on and tell them how we were doing in our adventures over here. We also managed to squeeze in visits to other friends and my family before getting the ferry back 6 days later.
The only day it was sunny was the day we left.
Usually January in Catalunya is a cold but sunny month with morning frosts then beautiful still and sun filled days. This year was a big exception. Mistral winds blew almost continuously throughout the month, with average speeds of 35-45kph and gusts up to 125kph. There was hardly a letup of more than one day at a time. All this put paid to any chance of working on the finca and burning off the huge piles of branches from last years pruning. At least our olive trees were spared to many broken branches due to the good pruning they had received in previous years.
Our trip to the UK meant we were able to bring back all the things we had ordered for the house that didn't get delivered before Xmas, so we spent some time putting up light fittings and pictures, which made the house look much more lived in. The plumber still has not completed putting in the ensuite bathroom sinks and a few other little problems need resolving, but all in all everything is working smoothly.
The pleasure of being able to sit in a warm room with the log burning stove blazing away after 6 years of living in the flat with its ambient temperature of 11c and two electric radiators cannot be described.
On the 18th January, the village held the annual Festival of St. Marc. Luckily it was one of the less windy nights, so the houses next to the celebrations survived the burning of the thatched hut. For each of the last three years the festivities have got bigger. This year march therough the village included a drumming band and then the songs afterwards went on for about an hour.