|Roche with the family group just before he left|
|On my first walk these holidays|
|With Oli and Pippa at Senra on Saturday morning|
|Oli buying bread with Oli|
|Oli and Pippa drinking water in Murias on our walk back to the village|
|Watching the 4wd rally on Saturday|
|Roche outside the gates of our houses|
|Roche in Montrondo discovering his roots|
|With Roche in Montrondo|
|The men playing traditional bowling on Saturday (bolos leoneses)|
After the bowling we took our friends to see the new landmark in the village, La Fleita spring with the restored bridge. We all drank the pure mountain water there which was ice cold.
|By the gate to La Fleita, the new bridge and spring with Dolores and Ana|
|Two good looking men in Montrondo!|
|With Ana and Dolores by the small fountain in the village|
|View of the village from El Barrio|
|Javier and Eladio at the top of the village in El Barrio|
|At the top of the village|
|Dinner on Sunday night|
|Suzy, Chati and Anita in London on Sunday night. They will soon be moving into their new flat in Hoxton, East London|
|With Ana by a hay stack in "El Vao".|
|Roche came to lunch on Monday|
|Lunch with Roche on Monday, our Cuban cousin|
|Afternoon tea and coffee on Monday (Salo's doughnuts)|
|Playing mölkky with the family|
|Javier and Eladio chatting placidly. Notice Pippa posing for the camera!|
We had a lot of fun buying it. Armed with our choices of enamelware, one of the shop assistants took a photo of us. As you can see below I am holding a cowbell in my hand. I had spied it in the shop window and thought it would be a nice ornament for the house in Montrondo. I also thought it might have its uses, such as calling people to lunch or even to call José Antonio and Dolores at their house some 50 metres away hahaha. The funny thing is that cowbell in Spanish is "cencerro" which is also used as a term for someone who is off their rocker or mad.
|With the red enamelware we bought at Recaredo in Villablino|
|The red enamelware looking good in our kitchen.|
Most of us he would never see again and he knew it. His eyes were moist as he clasped his hands together and waved goodbye. My eyes were moist too. But I shall be seeing him again and I much look forward to also meeting his family in Havana in January. Goodbye Roche, it was a pleasure to meet you. You made us all think about the family's roots in this very special little village; Montrondo. See you again next year. So not goodbye but farewell.
It was a very warm day on Tuesday, too warm to go for a walk in the afternoon. I got on with domestic tasks; unloading the washing up machine, ironing, preparing a tuna fish salad for dinner and making apple crumble. Meanwhile the rest of the family took the opportunity to clear out the old buildings in front of our houses; "el portón del caballo" (horse shed), "el corte de las ovejas" (sheep shed), "el portón" (main entrance) and "la cocina de leña" (old kitchen). All of them were full of junk and stuff we have accumulated over the years. Instead of throwing it away it was always kept in these buildings. You can't believe what came out of them but you can see the photo below and at least get an idea haha.
|Just some of the junk we removed from the old stone buildings to throw away|
On Wednesday morning I was up at 6.40; early again. I went for a walk to Murias and back with Adela at 8 o'clock. Pippa joined us of course. She is my shadow here just as she is at home. I spent the morning doing domestic tasks such as washing and ironing clothes, changing bed sheets and cooking. It's a bit like playing at houses here and I love it; at home it seems like chores. That day Eladio and Toño would be treated to fish and chips for lunch!
That morning I plucked up courage and went online to search for flights to Cuba in December. We will be going for Miguel and Claudia's Cuban wedding on 3rd January. And there and then I bought tickets for Eladio and I with Iberia. They were not cheap. We will be joined by Toño and Dolores on the outgoing flight. We will also be joined by Pedro Delgado and his family and my niece Marta and her husband. I wish we could stay longer but we have to be back for Kings' Day.
It was on Wednesday that our neighbour Salo had offered to show Pili, Yoli and I how to make homemade donuts. She had made some for us a few days earlier and we loved them. I'm not a donut fan but homemade ones beat the bought ones hands down. Here she is making the dough in Pili's kitchen.
|Salo kneeding the dough for the doughnuts|
|Rolling and cutting the doughnuts|
|The doughnuts freshly cut. They are left to rise for another hour afterwards|
|Frying the doughnuts|
We all pitched in that afternoon sorting out the rubbish that had been removed from the buildings in front of our house. It was 95% junk. It was funny to find things such as the girls' flamenco dresses Eladio had bought them in Barcelona on a school trip returning from Italy when they were about 8 and 9 years old!
|Dinner on the terrace on Wednesday night|
|Photo of the lounge in Suzy's new flat|
|Eladio and Toño on the mountain walk on Thursday morning|
|Eladio and I at "El abedular" my father's favourite spot on the mountain walk.|
|Pippa loves Montrondo. If only she wouldn't bark so much.|
|The fresh fish van which arrives in Montrondo every Thursday afternoon|
|My homemade "bacalhau à brás"|
|Dolores at the open market in Villablino on Friday morning|
|The stall where I buy our favourite pie in Villablino|
I spent a good part of the afternoon in the back garden reading on our new sunbeds in the shade. I was joined by Pippa. Here she is on my kindle hahaha.
|Pippa on my kindle.|
In the evening Dolores, the dogs and I went on a long walk to Senra and back, stopping for a coffee there and some water for Pippa and Nuba. It was a beautiful evening and as you know I never get tired of the views here.
On Friday the Olympic Games started in Rio but I have no idea how the ceremony went. You will have noticed there is no national or international news in this week's blog. That is because we are absorbed in village life and are completely disconnected from what is going on around us; although of course I do see the headlines on social media.
Saturday was probably the highlight of our holiday in Montrondo this year. I was up early as usual. My body clock just won't let me sleep past 7 o'clock but that's ok as it gives me a long day to enjoy. There was to be a family lunch and Pedro, Paula's fiancé from Malaga, was going to make paella for us all. We were to be 18 people around the table behind our house; the only place with enough shade for all of us. It was to be a hot day too.
|Preparing the tables and chairs for the family lunch on Saturday|
|Making bacon rolls|
|The end result|
I must say the paella was spectacular. You never know with paella how good it is going to be but Pedro is obviously an expert.
|The family lunch on Saturday in Montrondo|
|Alejandro played the accordion after lunch|
Then the older generation; Primo, Adela, Eladio and Toño spontaneously started reciting poetry they had learned from the grandmother and at school more than 50 years ago and it was a joy to hear and watch.
I always love to see the brothers and sisters in this family get along so well.
|Eladio and his pretty younger sister Pili who is the heart and soul of the family|
|Beginning our walk along "el camino valle".|
We walked up the steep path and then turned right into beautiful fields with amazing scenery. The grass got thicker and we were suddenly on a steep climb down not sure what we were walking on. there were some pit holes on the way and I hung on to Eladio from the back. I looked behind to see how Toño and Dolores were doing and they were experiencing the same difficulty.
|Toño and Dolores on our adventurous walk yesterday|
|Crossing the river yesterday - such fun|
Meanwhile in Murias, after we had left, there was a flying ant storm believe it or not. Poor Claudia hated every minute of it. What a funny thing to happen. Strangely, Montrondo was not affected.
And today there is an organised excursion to climb "El Tambarón" mountain, the highest peak in the area but that is only for the fittest. I promise you one day I will climb it but maybe we might cheat and drive up in the car to the base of the mountain. I have heard the last few metres have to be climbed up on all fours but that remains to be seen.
Today is Sunday, the mid point of our holiday here. I shall be telling you about it in next week's post.
Meanwhile I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday whether you are on holiday or not.
Cheers my friends and readers; till next time,
PS You can see the full collection of photos of this year's holiday in our beloved village here.