Thursday, 16 June 2011

Wild flowers

We have both always had a keen interest in wild flora and fauna and in fact my husband along with his sisters used to collect samples for the artist, Barbara Nicholson who was an illustrator for Oxford University press. I when at boarding school had the nick name of ditch watcher, if there was something unusual to be found I would spot it. We normally manage to identify the plants that we spot, but sometimes we do draw a blank. Here we have the wild Gladioli and a mystery plant. Growing just above a river, standing over two metres tall, with an distinct aroma we have been unable to identify it.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Living in rural Spain you are always aware of the danger of forest fires, Spain has many very big forests and are very hard to access, this is even more so in Galicia. We had our first experience of such a fire in Catalonia several k away from us, but we could see it and smell it, it was then that we realised that we had no evacuation plan set out. There is nothing like seeing an out of control forest fire to focus your mind, especially if you keep live stock. This particular fire took four days to get under control and several people lost their homes.
Today we have seen our first close by forest fire in Galicia, we became aware of it with the helicopters flying above the house every four minutes with water bombs, so far the planes have been flying for over four hours, dropping their water bombs every two minutes. This fire is only four k away, and there is a fairly strong breeze, having had no real rain for three months or so does not help matters and every thing is tinder dry although most of the local farmers have cut their meadows, the field behind us is uncut and surrounded by trees. We know from our neighbours that the forest above us went up in flames a few years ago and all the neighbours are out, keeping an eye on the situation.