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!

 

Raising the roof II

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It’s finished! We have a lovely new roof over our heads! Friends of ours very kindly kept an eye on the work in progress and emailed photos of the finished article. How smart is this? Look at the quality of the craftsmanship, that’s all hand finished, we can’t wait to get back to road test it!

The plan is to go back for a week in January to sort out a few bits and bobs – Himself has to take his bike in for a service and we need to see The Eldest before he departs to South America with his girlfriend for an adventurous few months – and to have a bit of R &R after Christmas; always a busy time of year for us.

Can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

And…We’re Back

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Back on Cornish shores…

Because we have a newly blind elderly dog, who has shown remarkable bravery and flexibility in dealing with his disability, we decided  to make other arrangements in travelling to and from Spain. This has meant long journeys down through Brittany and back a couple of times this year and the road home is becoming an old friend, albeit a warty, boring, expensive one.

So, as we needed to get home by mid-November at the latest, we once again girded our loins and set of back through France to catch the ferry at Roscoff. Only this time we planned to do it in one day and without the caravan. It took a  mammoth 13.5 hrs to do 1200km with a total stoppage time of 1.34 hrs. This would have been ten minutes less but I had a traumatic time trying to get out of a locked toilet on an Aire, to the bemusement of a very sweet Frenchman who looked most concerned when I finally broke free. Needless to say Himself, already grumpy with the cost of the tolls, was not impressed with me ‘wasting daylight’! This was then followed by a six hour, nausea inducing crossing, from Roskoff to Plymouth and 90 minutes further driving into the heart of Cornwall. Still, at least we made it home in one piece if not with all dignity intact as, unlike Himself and The Eldest (who is a Merchant Navy Professional) I am not a good sailor.

The Kids were pleased to see us. The Daughter yapped solidly for an hour without drawing breath and The Youngest, very well trained from childhood, had chilled the wine ready for me. The house was spotless, if you ignored the bathroom and toilet, where it looked as if a new life form had colonised in our absence. The dogs were ecstatic to see their human counterparts and even more so to go to sleep in a bed that was not moving forwards!

We are both spending time catching up with friends and those members of the family we like (come on admit it – there are always some family members we would rather not spend time with or talk to) and getting ready for Christmas. Oh, and Himself has bought a new motorbike. A big one.