We were away for all of July and August and left the windmill, dogs and finca in the capable hands of Arvid. Arvid is Dutch and is so there was an immediate interest for her to live in a windmill! Though we were disappointed that she she didn´t bring her clogs with her. She looked after the house and garden extremely well, and especially Goofy and Pongo. They became good friends.
We travelled down to Australia to see Tristan and his new wife Cat. A bit surprised to find it was only 3°C when we arrived in Sydney at five in the morning. Well, it was winter. A few things of note here regarding Oz. Firstly there was a terrific green wall display in the Sydney Botanic Garden. The largest (they said) in the southern hemisphere. Though, of course, there are not that many countries in the southern hemisphere! Interestingly the display was made up of plastic gutters of an appropriate shape to take standard 9" plant pots set at 45 degrees. This made a seamless floral display.
Secondly we discovered that Rainbow Lorikeets can be tamed using honey. They love it! They came most mornings for a feed on the balcony.
Wallabies are not quite as fussy. Dog biscuits will do. This was at a small private zoo near Nowra, south of Sydney. An absolute gem of a place.
A fascinating day was spent in the Daintree rainforest in far north Queensland with an Aborigine, Michael, who showed us how his ancestors utilized the various plants of the rainforest. One species of Acacia produced a soap when the leaves were crushed and rubbed with water. Another trick was to grab a handful of stinging ants from a tree, crush them to release a zingy citrus smell (the formic acid), and then eat them! Later he collected some pebbles from the beach and by rubbing them on a stone with some water, was able to produce paints for body decoration.
With a couple of weeks in England before returning to Fuerteventura there was time to visit the Blandford steam fair where there was good a selection of very wacky and eccentric people in addition to the steam engines. Here they are threshing the corn. Thank God for modern combine harvesters where all that work can now be done by just one man sitting down.
It was so nice to get back to the windmill. The space, the peace, the quiet, and of course, Goofy and Pongo. The garden was looking good. A new bunch of bananas has appeared, the Desert Rose is flowering, and the Christmas trees have grown!
This time of the year the Pampas grass throws up its creamy white flowers. A good plant for the windy conditions here, accustomed as it is to the plains of Argentina.
I am having yet another go at the vegetable garden, sowing in situ, but this time under a shade net. When I checked this morning there were carrots and beetroot seedlings appearing, so maybe this is the answer.
The Pine trees planted out in June, just before we left, have survived extremely well and put on a few inches growth. I think only one of all the trees we planted didn´t survive.
Last Friday 14th September was the day of the annual pigrimage to say hello to the little statue of the Virgin Mary at the church in the village of Vega del Rio Palmas. We decided to give it a go. This involved a 45 minute slog up the mountainside, taking time to look back and admire the lights of the walkers snaking up the track from Antigua far below. Then it was down the other side of the ridge through Betancuria and along the track to Vega del Rio Palma. The whole trek took us from 9pm to just before midnight when we were in time to see the fireworks. There was a terrific party atmosphere with bars selling food and drink, people dressed in traditional costume, a large dance hall, and everything to cater for as many as 25,000 people.
I love watching people dance in Spain. They are so unselfconscious. This fellow, obviously short of a partner, seemed to enjoy very much dancing with his dog! We didn´t dance. Too selfconscious of course but also too knackered!
A major decision has been made. We are going to sell the windmill and finca and move on. This also means selling the language school in Puerto. The plan is to be able to spend more time with our families. Where we move to hasn´t quite been decided....