Any more tea, Ern?

Since my post about our worries relating to the toxicity of plastic water bottles and deciding to ditch same, we have now taken delivery of a 25L stainless steel urn.  We struggled to find one without its cable and plug, but seems like we’re sorted if we get a sudden influx of walkers around us, and we feel inclined to start up a temporary tearoom.

??????????????????????Tea and cakes, mmm! I love baking and have always fancied myself as the doyenne of an olde worlde tea shoppe. Spending all day at the Rayburn, creating basic delights such as my peppery cheddar scones, fluffy Victoria sponges, moist Bakewell tarts, sticky old-fashioned gingerbread and buttery flapjacks!

Water urn 31 Mar 15

I digress. Here’s a photo of our splendid new addition.  Because we don’t have drinking water on tap, and now that we don’t store our agua potable in the 30 or so plastic bottles, it’s a great solution. Before our solar system was updated last year, I admit it was a bit of a palaver as we had to start up the increasingly reluctant Robin generator (the newer one has died). It was often easier and cheaper to gather water from the mountain spring, a pleasurable experience so long as we didn’t run into Ricardo too often.

30 May 10 (43)The operation is now very simple and quick by flicking a switch in the inverter house. This fires up the pozo (well) pump and hey presto, using solar power alone, fresh water rises up 150m and magically appears in a tap by the stone seat. From there it can either be diverted to the three depósitos above, or to the big underground depósito nearby, or syphoned off for drinking. Here’s a photo of the seat and tap (to the left) a week ago.

Water filter box & table 31 Mar 15 (5)Water filter box Moorish paint 3 Apr 15Joe then decided to add a battery of three filters for our drinking water that he encased in a brick box to protect them from UV light.  Such a joy to use!  He didn’t stop at that as, wouldn’t it be nice to use some of the spare wood stored (rather unwisely) underneath the cabin to make a table?

Water filter box table cups 2 Apr 15Within a couple of days, we not only had filtered water, but also a sturdy table sunk deep into concrete footings.  It’s a great place to gaze across at the Med and take tea.  The seat and tap are adjacent to the metal fence that separates our land with the Parque.  A good vantage point the other day to watch the goats as they made their weary way up the hill with Ricardo standing at the bottom waving his arms, firing his catapult and generally shouting encouragement.

We were interested to see just where they were getting through what we thought was an impenetrable fence.  Over the last few weeks, we’d had a spate of ‘break-ins’ and had to resort to herding goats off our land, their mouths crammed full of our tender, succulent new buds, shoots and leaves.  All a bit mystifying as there didn’t seem to be any weak points and Houdini like, one minute one side of the fence, the next they’d popped up on our side!

Ricardo goats by fence 1 Feb 15 (3)As we sat there sipping our tea, it soon became apparent exactly where they were getting in.  The vibrating fence and swaying bushes gave the game away. A few persistent girls had discovered a hardly discernible gap in one square of fencing and managed to squeeze themselves and their inflated udders through it. And I always thought that goats weren’t the brightest animals on the planet – they remembered exactly where to get through to reach the riches beyond and were beginning to share this secret with more of their friends!

Curious to see whether I was right, I did a quick Google and sure enough, the first item on the page related how clever goats really are, according to research recently carried out by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London:

Goats learn how to solve complicated tasks quickly and can recall how to perform them for at least 10 months, which might explain their remarkable ability to adapt to harsh environments, say researchers. The goats’ ability to remember the task was tested after one month and again at 10 months. They learned the task within 12 trials and took less than two minutes to remember the challenge“.  Article in “Frontiers in Zoology” reported in “Science Daily“, 26 March 2014).  Well, there we go!

Cat prints water box table (2)Joe had put a coat of dark preserving varnish on our new table, and the next morning I was surprised and delighted to see these delicate little paw prints. Most likely a cat, but I haven’t seen one around here for years, and these prints were really quite small. My fanciful imagination went into overdrive and I decided they were obviously from a genet.

Small-Spotted-GenetThese cat-like mammals look adorable and are about the size of a large ferret with a pointed nose and big ears.  Two other facts supported my rather thin theory.  Firstly, genets are not uncommon around here apparently and favour forest areas, making use of their very long tails to swing around in trees. Secondly, they mark their territory with small dark poos on elevated objects – just like the one on the fly agaric I noted in the previous post.  BTW, I can’t take the credit for this lovely picture!

Curly wurl Moorish paint 3 Apr 15 (2)Maybe you noticed that the water filter box had been decorated with what I hope vaguely resembles a Moorish design – the same one that I have used on a few other rendered walls around the place.  Our ubiquitous matt brown paint can look a little flat and this gives a bit of a lift.  Emboldened by the results, I decided to give the curly-wurly seat the same treatment.





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