Monday, 7 May 2018

Tapas on the terrace

We just had the April/May cooking holiday at the finca, lots of fun and time to relax on the terrace with wine and tapas as the sun went down.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Viper's Bugloss - Echium vulgare

This gorgeous wild flower is at its best right now in the pastures and meadows of Extremadura, it's a vision, lakes of purplish blue among the cork and holm oaks, cows grazing knee deep.
Other names for this wild flower include 'snake flower' and 'blue devil'. It was once used as an anti-venom for bites from the spotted viper.
"Bugloss" is derived from the Greek word bou (meaning cow or ox) and the Latin word glosso (meaning tongue). These refer to its leaves, which could be said to be shaped like an ox-tongue.
Viper's bugloss is loved by insects of all kinds, especially bees, hoverflies and butterflies. The Painted Lady butterfly is particularly fond of it.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

April lunch with jolly American group

We made a picnic lunch for a group of American foodies organized by Teresa Parker and Paul Richardson of  Spanish Journeys  
The group of 10 arrived in a very swish bus and we made ourselves comfortable at the holm oak copse of the barn, it was a perfect spring day with all the wild flowers waving in a light breeze, sunlight filtering through the trees, lots of lovely food made by us and wine provided by Paul from the bodega of Anders Vinding- Diers, Mirabel......delicious!!

The group were charming, mainly from the east coast area, lots of interesting chat and one can only marvel at their amazing itinerary, following the picnic they were off to Caceres to stay at the Atrio hotel and enjoy the taster menu of the restaurant, lucky them!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Celebrating spring in nature and art

It's been a wet spring so far which means some damp and misty walks but also glorious wild flowers, not only some which we didn't see last year but also growing in rich profusion and a particular intensity of colour.
Lucy and I created a new painting when it was too wet to walk, inspired by our dark and starry nights, it's called.... La madre de las estrellas. The gold leaf was a challenge!
Maybe we will do one for every season.

Here are some random shots of the flowers shooting up every day on the finca.....

 The oak trees in the sierra are still bare despite the countryside flourishing around them

Monday, 12 February 2018

Lagos, Algarve

A fantastical group of wind driven installations on the roof terrace of the 16th century Ponta da Bandeira fort in Lagos by artist José Maria S. Pereira. In the background are the stunning bay of Lagos and Praia Batata.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Jurramachos of Montanchez, unique to Montanchez carnival

The slightly sinister jurramachos parade around the streets of Montanchez during carnival time. Usually men dressed as women, not glamorous sexy women in Rio carnival tradition but old crones dressed in rags clasping a little basket and the essential element, wearing a white cloth mask crudely cut with eye and mouth holes, they speak in falsetto gibberish, it's a little unnerving. No one seems to know the origin of this tradition but it is unique to Montanchez, these jurramachos do not appear anywhere else in Spain. Perhaps it's an echo from the past when carnival was banned during the Franco dictatorship for fear of dissension and resistance boiling up with heightened spirits;  Montanchez continued with their own version of carnival despite the repression, perhaps protected by their more remote situation up in the heights of the sierra.
It was a lively scene in the main plaza tonight with all the bars open, colourful costumes and fire eaters on stilts, children running in between having fun and games.


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