Climbing the Picos


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




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…


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


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

Holding Folder 039

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.

But I Don’t Wanna Go…


Our time here is drawing to a close for now, later than normal, and it is getting harder and harder to leave. This year we have seen the seasons change and the snow on the Picos melt and return.

The house has undergone significant changes with the installation of a wood burner in the sitting room, the water supply sorted out, improved electricity, a new shower and a new roof. We have cleaned and decorated and have made a home.

The dogs have thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we have watched our little Girl Dog grow into a fun-filled young lady and overcome her shyness with strangers, as well as be amazed at how adaptable and downright brave our Boy Dog has been in coping with the challenges thrown in his way.

We’ve spent time with The Eldest and met his lovely girlfriend. We’ve had friends come and visit us which has enabled us to show off the wonderful Asturian countryside, beaches, mountains and people.

We’ve also travelled to France and returned briefly to England all of which has served to show us that here is where our hearts are happiest. Here we can be who we are, freed from the constraints we have made for ourselves in the UK.

However, we have to go. I have promised Himself that I won’t make a scene and cling onto the gate posts (nor sob piteously as the car heads out of Spain) but will be calm and serene secure in the knowledge that we will return in the Spring. Please?

Raising the Roof


We are having a new roof put on, the old one has been in place since 1976 when the house was built so is well past it’s use-by date. We found the company we are using a couple of years ago on a walk up the road. They had been renovating a hunting lodge and the work they had done was real high-quality craftsmanship so we booked them to do some bits and pieces for us  and were chuffed with the speed, skill and price. So, as the roof had been leaking for a while and we were running out of buckets for the loft we bit the bullet and called The Boys.

Thankfully the weather is still wonderful as we’re covered in tarpaulins ready for the tiles to go on. The outside is a building site and getting around the scaffolding needs the litheness of a teenage limbo dancer but our blind Boy Dog is negotiating all obstacles with panache and style.

We aren’t the only ones undergoing structural renovation,  take a look at our neighbours’ website  This boutique hotel is just up the road from us and we’ve been lucky enough to have had the guided tour; it is going to be absolutely amazing when it’s finished In time for Easter 2014. I would suggest early booking!