“The Mediterranean has the colour of mackerel, changeable I mean. You don’t always know whether it is green or violet, you can’t even say it’s blue, because the next moment the changing reflection has taken on a tint of rose or grey.” Vincent Van Gogh
I know what he means about the changing hues of the Med, but for me it seems to change in size too. Some days it’s a thin blue ribbon, other days it’s covered in a luxurious duvet of sea fog, but on days like today it looks just plain huge, and so near you feel you can almost touch it. At night it’s fascinating to watch the shipping, especially the massive ocean liners with their aggregated blob of orange lights.
There is no sign yet that the golden eagles are back. Apparently in this country, illegal shooting and poisoning remain one of the most serious threats to golden eagles. In Castilla y León, about 2% of the Golden Eagle population is killed through shooting and about 3% of the nests are either robbed or destroyed. Because golden eagles often feed on carrion (especially the young and during the winter) they are easy targets for illegal poisoning, which is on the increase in Spain.
Every year they patrol around us, mewing as they go, and the crag at the end of our hill is the usual lookout station for them. Like swans, they tend to be monogamous and their territory stretches over a wide area of 20-200 sq km! Amazingly they can live for 38 years in the wild, and about 57 years in captivity! Fingers crossed their so-far no show is not down to nefarious activities of our friendly Spanish hunters.
Joe has laid more stone steps around our land including a small flight around Foggiehenge. I can now walk from OJ (Ode to Joy, the ‘artwork’ made from pine logs) down towards the front entrance – totally inaccessible to me before as, even two years on from my hip replacement, I’m like a great girl’s blouse on rough and hilly terrain.
“The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone.” Robert Plant
Towards the end of last year, Joe did battle with the spiky agaves which had grown to massive proportions. They needed pruning drastically and one or two of the biggies had to be removed via Nissan and rope. All the uprooted baby plants have been planted elsewhere. In fact, almost all of our land now has the benefit of row upon row of spiky sentinels; it’s nice to think they’re protecting us from fire and trespass.
Agaves are vigorous and hardy and constantly throw out tubers with long white succulent stems (a bit like asparagus), culminating in green, sharp leaves. Before long, I think we might run out of places to replant them.
“The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.” Bertrand Russell
I took a few photos yesterday in the bright sunlight of the first terrace above what I grandly call ‘the car park’ – you may remember the gigantic 40,000 litre water deposit lurks beneath it – looking up towards our hill. The agaves have really flourished here, and the bare trees you see along the terrace are mulberries and figs.
A peaceful life is what we have in abundance here, and if we allow anything to ruffle our calm waters, we only have ourselves to blame for allowing it to enter without first challenging it with those immortal words, “friend or foe?”.