Winter Solstice

“And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.”
― Susan Cooper

Contrasts

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The photo above was taken at 8am on 31st October and heralded a wonderfully warm and sunshiney Asturian day.

This photograph however, taken just a few days later, shows how quickly it can change! image

Tomorrow we are setting off for England.

The Girl Dog has been de-ticked and wormed (much to her disgust), the bags are packed, the house is clean and friends farewelled.

It’s always hard to leave but needs must as dinero has to be earned and commitments fulfilled, plus we get to see The Daughter and The Youngest for Christmas as well as catch up with good friends (lunch is already booked with the BF)!

Sadly, our little Boy Dog, won’t be making the trip back as he died, very peacefully in my arms, in September. We miss him so much.

However, one of the best parts of leaving anywhere is the coming back. Spring can’t come soon enough!

Climbing the Picos

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For anyone interested in exploring the wild beauty of the Picos de Europa by rope and piton please take a look at ROCA VERDE an epic bi-lingual book on sport climbing in North Western Spain by Richie Patterson. It is the result of two and a half years of hard work and research on the part of Richie, his partner Mary and their son Jack and deserves a place in any sports climber’s library.

Mary also writes a witty and entertaining blog about their life in Asturias bringing up their young son. It is also well worth a visit on http://www.asturiandiary.com

 

Visitors!

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One of our local boar –  the first of many summer visitors….

Don’t you just love having visitors? I never realised how much fun sharing your home with family and good friends  could be! In the UK we have always been so busy working and bringing up the kids that opening up our home to guests was something on the to-do list for the future. Now, the future is here and it’s fun!

First up was The Daughter who surprised us with a short visit, very spur of the moment, just like her actually. She’s having a bit of a hard year trying to find halfway decent employment after finishing her degree. At the moment she is in the local shop working and beginning to feel a little downhearted. However, after a week of mommy nagging and being daddy’s little girl (again) and talking to her big brother she has decided on teacher training. The decision is one that has been rumbling around in her head for a while, helped along by talking to her ex-deputy head from school, who has said he’ll support her application. So fingers crossed for September.

The next set of visitors were my cousin and his wife. I remember the last holiday we had together as kids…he was 6, my brother 5 and I was 10 and it was a fortnight in a caravan at Polzeath with our mothers. All I really recall is my aunt getting stuck in the caravan window for some reason and if I think too hard about it I may remember more than I want to!

Anyway, it was a great week. They had hired a car (a long story which I can not repeat as the company in question does not deserve any publicity, good or bad) and visited most of coastal Asturias including, Llanes, Ribadesella, Tazones, Cudillero and Luarca, coming back each evening with riotous tales of getting lost, misunderstood and well fed at numerous little places they had found on the way.

Next up is our neighbour here, he’s going to be staying for a couple of weeks whilst his place up the road is rented out. He’s a great bloke, a little eccentric, but good fun. The dogs adore him.

We are making time this year for the odd little jaunt as well. We’ve already been to León on the bike. That was a good time. We got lost at the entrance to the city and ended up having a police escort into the centre – loved it. The police were so nice (and cute). We were going to make it a two centre weekend with an overnight stop at Burgos. However…the road we took from León, although signposted for Burgos actually stopped, dead, in a pile of haybales. Seriously. Perplexed we turned off onto a smaller road hoping to find another signpost but….after another 100km we found a singpost for Asturias and came home. The actual ride was fantastic, up and over the Picos, flipping cold though.

We are trying again next week. This time taking the road to Santander and then down towards Burgos. It should be there.

Himself is celebrating his birthday today with an adventure in the mountains around Pola de Laviana. I have just had a text saying he has absolutely no idea where he is. I may have to send up flares.

 

The gardeners are in…

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We are trying out a new gardening company…Maureen and her son Buster. Aren’t they fabulous? She is so friendly and loves to  start the day having her head scratched between her horns. He is a little darling who is overcoming his shyness.

Girl Dog is not impressed as they are impeding her tractor chasing duties!

 

Proud and Boastful!

I am so proud of The Youngest! He has just published his first book on Amazon!!! It’s called “Faith’s Blind Reach” by Jack Davies and is free to download on Kindle until May 4th.

I know I am not the most objective critic but it’s a flipping good read and kept me entertained (and quietly amazed at the quality of the writing) right to the end of the book. I won’t divulge the plot as I won’t do it justice but would advise anyone to give it a try and leave constructive feedback for him.

He’s only 22 years old, he didn’t enjoy school and, whilst not a bad lad was a challenge for his teachers (and parents), consequently didn’t achieve anywhere near his full potential. This is the first time he has given totally of himself to anything and it is wonderful to see him throw himself wholeheartedly into writing and to realise just how talented he actually is.

Indulge a very proud mother and give his book a try!