Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hottest weather in 52 years, fire in our village, summer solstice, the Queen dresses down for the opening of parliament, to Montrondo for a long weekend and other stories.

Sunday 25th June 2017

Happy in Montrondo this weekend.
Hi my friends and readers,

This week I am writing from our beloved village, Montrondo, where we came on Friday to spend a few days and enjoy the cooler temperatures.

I left off last Monday which was a very flat day after the weekend birthday party which left Eladio and I pretty exhausted. I had put in many months of planning and suddenly it was all over. But on the whole I am really happy with how it went. It also shows I can put on a party without any external help; although I must say it would have come in handy. 

On Tuesday we took Norah to the vet for a check up after 2 weeks of anti tic treatment and also got the results for Elsa our lab's test. The good news was that she doesn't have the dreaded leishmaniasis. Pippa, on the other hand, is allergic to any of its preventive treatment, so we shall have to be careful with her.

On Tuesday we had a respite in the weather or rather, the extremely high temperatures we have been experiencing for the last 2 or 3 weeks gave us a break that day, if only for one day.  It was probably 5ºc less but it was a relief.  It even tried to rain but didn't manage to. Meanwhile in Portugal they were still putting out the dreadful forest fire which took the lives of more than 60 people. A photo later circulated on social media of the fire fighters taking a rest. They must have been exhausted.
Portuguese fire fighters taking a well needed rest
We heard on the news that day that we have had the hottest weather for the end of June in 52 years. Well I certainly do not remember prolonged extreme heat of nearly 40ºc for such a long spate at this time of year. I like the hot weather but this has been just too much. Thank goodness for the air conditioning. I can only conclude that it has something to do with climate change, the one that Donald Trump and the DUP Irish party deny is happening. Well it's pretty evident isn't it? 

Sick of the party food leftovers, we threw them all out on Tuesday and that afternoon I went to the luxury supermarket, Supercor as I had a craving for thick black cherries. It's the time of year for cherries. They are a bit like ham or melon, each one is different. You can only get the standard ones at our usual supermarket, Mercadona, and as cherries are my favourite fruit I decided to buy some of the luxury ones. I also bought the best ham available and dinner that night was just delicious. 

On Tuesday Olivia left for Valencia to be with Miguel. The next day would be their 5th anniversary together and they would be celebrating. What a lovely couple, what a lovely partner Miguel makes for Oli. I wonder when or if they will ever tie the knot.
Miguel and Oli on the eve of their 5th anniversary 
Wednesday was the first day of summer, the solstice and of course the longest day in the year. It was to be a long day for the villagers in Montrondo as a fire had struck the night before on the mountains looming over the village. It had been hot there too, hot and dry enough for a fire to start. It's said it started because of a thunderstorm, from lightning but you always wonder if it wasn't arson. I could not believe it when one of the villagers started posting photos. The area affected is called "Las Calenturas" (the hot place) rather fittingly.
The fire started at night 

In full blaze
It was to be a long day too for the firefighters from León who came with 3 helicopters and over 50 people. It wouldn't be put out till the next morning. I spoke to one of the villagers who told me she wasn't worried as it was 1 kilometre away. That to me seemed very close and dangerously near  the houses. 

It was to be a long day too for the 91 year old Queen of England. On Wednesday she attended the Opening of Parliament and the Queen's speech was much written about after the hung parliament result of the recent general elections. Her speech will have to be voted on and Theresa May still hasn't got the support of the Irish party, DUM. For the occasion Her Majesty dressed down. Instead of the usual ceremonial wear and crown, she wore an ordinary outfit. What wasn't ordinary though was her hat. She wore one that looked dangerously like the EU flag. Was this a sign she is for Brexit or against it? We will never know but of course Brexit is the main issue in the UK now and the hat was much commented on.
The Queen's EU themed hat at the Opening of Parliament
I'm not sure why she did not wear full regalia, one of the reasons possibly being she was in a rush to get the speech over and go to Ascot where she can be more herself. Her speech, written by the Government, was more about what was not included than what was included. For example there was no mention of the dreaded visit of Donald Trump.  The UK government right now is in a shambles, with no clear direction for the future, especially because of the Brexit negotiations. I wonder how that will turn out. 

I should add that my Aunt Valya, the wife of my Mother's younger brother, Nicky, turned 92 that day, just one year older than the Queen. I am sure she wasn't interested in her fellow nonagenarian's speech and would have been celebrating in her adopted country France where there is far more interest in their new and young President, Emmanuel Macron. Happy birthday Aunty Valya.  I look forward to seeing you again soon in August at Marie, my cousin's wedding. 

On Thursday our new Airbnb guests arrived. They were a group of 6 from Italy here for their daughter's graduation at the local University. I knew they would be difficult as Lisa, the lady who had booked, had been writing to me with questions for months. Those that write often with lots of questions always prove to be the most troublesome. She had wanted to hold a party for 15 (forbidden) and turned out to be quite demanding. They wanted to bring friends to our pool (not allowed) and insisted a lot. Eladio had to intervene. I suggested they go to the local pool in Boadilla which is a lovely public swimming pool in huge grounds. That day I hardly saw any of them but on Friday there would be more problems.

It was on Thursday, once again a very hot day, that we decided to go to Montrondo to escape the heat until the following Wednesday when I have to be back for an appointment to do a sleep test to check my apnea. In the afternoon I had a date to meet María an ex colleague from Yoigo. She wanted to give me a birthday present she had forgotten to bring to the party. It was a lovely Tous scarf I shall treasure although I won't be wearing it for a while because of the heat hahaha. The day was running late but I still had to do the food shopping to leave Lucy and my Father provisions and to take some to Montrondo. There are no shops in the village and I usually take everything we need, thus avoiding a boring trip to the supermarket in Villablino, about a 30 minute drive from our house. 

I was up at 6 on Friday morning with plenty of time for breakfast, a short read of the day's news from The Times before I started packing, mostly food, for Montrondo. I had to ring the vet before we left for them to come and give Norah her daily injection whilst we were away. We also said goodbye to the Italians and left them in the capable hands of Lucy. Once again they asked if they could bring friends to the pool and once again we said no. We thought we had been very clear but once on the road Lisa sent me a whatsapp message insisting on bringing them, telling me they had nothing else to do!  She then rang my phone and carried on insisting and even offered money. She got louder and louder with her request and even started crying. We couldn't believe her behaviour. The advertisement says very clearly, no parties and no outside guests. Eladio had to intervene and in the end she accepted. I rang Lucy to warn her and have not heard anything since. They are leaving this morning, Sunday, and I am glad I don't have to see them again. These are the "cons" of being an Airbnb host. There are many more "pros" but once in a while there will be guests who give you trouble.

We carried on our journey until we got to Rueda. You won't be surprised to read that we enjoyed a nice glass of white wine and plate of ham and bread at Palacio de Bornos as we always do when driving to Montrondo.
At Rueda (Palacio de Bornos) on Friday morning on our way to Montrondo.
We got to the village just before 2pm and were aghast to see 2 forest fires. The one in "Las Calenturas" had started again and there was smoke coming from "El Cueto", the mountain in front of our house. There were helicopters flying over them and offloading water. We couldn't believe it as we had been told the fire or fires had been extinguished. Throughout our stay helicopters came every day to check the fires had stopped.  Even though they had been extinguished days earlier, the problem apparently it that the fires go very deep inside mountains and can revive at any time.
A helicopter above El Cueto mountain. 
Thankfully since Friday afternoon they were put out completely and helicopters come twice a day to check the area. People here say that they haven't experienced Montrondo to be so dry in a very long time. Another effect of climate change. Both fires, from what I could see, were very near the houses.

I checked the temperature when we arrived and it was 27ºc, 10ºc less than Madrid. We had a late lunch then I had a conference call with my new Swedish telecom client. Thankfully they gave me a respite until Monday, so I was as free as a bird this weekend. We had a late lunch after which I lay down on a sunbed in the shade in the back garden enjoying my book. Eladio's brother was here with his wife and at around "tea time" we had tea and I served fruit, instead of the usual biscuits. I have plenty of them left from before my dieting which started in October, but prefer to avoid temptation and not serve them.

I was keen to go on my first walk as in Madrid, due to the heat, I have only being going on one early in the morning. My sister-in-law joined me and we would enjoy many walks together this weekend. Of course we were also joined by our dogs. Pippa was in her element. The countryside was blooming and we walked through swarms of pretty butterflies and past past lovely wild flowers. We chose our new path, the one that goes up into the mountains and across fields and woods parallel to the river and above Murias, the next village.
"El Camino Valle", one of the beautiful paths on our walks to Murias
We got back at around 9. It wouldn't be dark until at least 10.30. It was the night of Saint John here, Midsummer in other countries and many people would be lighting bonfires around the world. We didn't. We just had a simple but lovely dinner on our kitchen terrace, enjoying being here immensely. Our night finished with another episode of "Stockholm" on Netflix. As usual I fell asleep before it ended. 

Saturday came and I was awake at 6 a.m. I took Pippa outside and was amazed how cold it was, just 9ºc at that time in the morning. It was a welcome change from Madrid where the lowest temperatures were in the mid 20ºcs. We had a leisurely breakfast and while the men cut the grass, my sister-in-law and the dogs went on a morning walk to Murias and back, as always on the old path which is much nicer than the road. The village was looking at its best. I love it in the winter but far prefer it in the summer. 
Montrondo, our little paradise.
I snapped away and especially love the photo of the village with the horses in the fields. I also took a photo of the sheep in another field just as we approached the old path to Murias.
Sheep in the village
On our way back we took both dogs to drink water in the river. It was such a beautiful spot. That's where I took the selfie which is the photo I have chosen to illustrate this week's post. 
By the river yesterday
I came back to make an easy lunch, after having done some washing. I do like my domestic tasks here as they are so relaxing and also pretty easy if there are only 2 of us. Lunch was roast chicken leg with vegetables followed by a delicious fruit salad.  I fell asleep watching the news and slept until nearly 5. 5, of course is "tea time" and this time we had it at Eladio's brother's place as we watched the helicopters inspecting the mountains. Thankfully the fires were completely extinguished. There was more tea to be had a little while later at Eladio's sister's house and then again I went for a walk on the old paths and above the road with my sister-in-law and the dogs. I just love that new walk. 
Our beautiful and newly discovered walk.
Pippa loves it too and yesterday she walked, according to our fitbits, more than 12km which is a lot for her tiny little legs hahaha.
Pippa enjoying the walk yesterday. Notice just how dry it is.

Again I was home by 9pm and starving for dinner. We laid the table outside but soon realised it was too cold to eat outdoors; what a difference from Madrid. Once again I fell asleep watching "Stockholm". I think it ended yesterday so I will have to ask Eladio for the spoilers hahaha.

And today is Sunday. The sun is shining but the forecast is for cooler weather. I don't mind as I've had enough of the heat. There will be more lovely meals and walks today and not much else to tell in my blog post next Sunday. It is so relaxing here and that's why we came, apart from to get away from the heat.

So my friends, I have come to the end of the tales of this week. As you will have read it's been a quiet week. Next week promises to be so too, although I will have work to do for my new client and will also be receiving more Airbnb guests from both Holland and believe it or not, Australia. Let's hope they are not as troublesome as Lisa's Italian group.

All that remains for me now is to wish you all a great week ahead,

Cheers till next time,

No comments: