Looking at this photo you might think that it could have been taken a decade ago. It was, of course, actually taken just two days ago. I walked up through the village to the post office, and there was this lovely mule, complete with panniers, patiently waiting in the shade of a tree for his owner, who I suspect was taking his break at the tapas bar across the road. If I pan out a bit further you can see the modern cars parked all around him. Chris and I never drive up through the village if we can help it. The roads are very narrow and were not designed to carry cars, and parking is almost non-existent. Fortunately our casa is on the edge of the village and we can drive 'in' and 'out' without going 'through'! We were talking to a Spanish friend recently who grew up in Alfaix, another village just down the road from here. He told us that thirty years ago there were no cars in Los Gallardos, no electricity or mains water, and everyone travelled around on a donkey or cart. He moved away to Barcelona for his father to find work, but has now returned here with his wife and family, and he sees great changes everywhere. So I guess my photo would have a been a common sight a few years ago, and there are still a few of the older folk who follow the 'old ways'. It is one of the things that I like about our village; it still has its roots in the old traditions, and somehow the old and the new manage to blend in harmony.
Further news of our garden. First, the pretty orange shrub that we have planted in the front patch, which I referred to as 'santana' is of course 'lantana'. I actually knew that. It must have been a senior moment! Back on 21st May I showed you a picture of the shrub that has finally come into flower in its tub on our front terrace. and which I was trying to identify. Another couple, who are getting to grips with a big Spanish garden in Catalunya (my newest followers; welcome aboard Colin and Carol), have informed me that this is another Oleander. I was quite surprised as it is so different from the big shrubs over the back fence, but I can see now that it could well be from the same family. It is such a lovely colour and the flowers have a very pretty centre. It makes a change from most of the flowers out here which are often bright almost harsh colours. Here it is again, because I really like it. The strelitzia nicolai has continued to do well. It had three 'triple' flower heads on it, and it did seem to benefit from a light misting of water when the sun goes down. I'd like to repot it next year but it only has one crown so I will have to take some advice on that later on. And the stephanotis that we repotted has come on in leaps and bounds. It didn't seem to be set back at all by having a good third of its roots removed, and it obviously likes its new, bigger tub. It has new shoots all over it and is now forming big buds, so very soon we will have lovely scented flowers on it. No doubt I'll be showing you some pictures very soon.
Fortunately little Paco has decided that he is getting too big to always sleep on my shoulder. It is pretty warm for a furry neck scarf right now. I take him outside each time I go and he is getting more confident. He is becoming long and 'leggy' but he still has a tiny face and huge ears. He is a typical Spanish cat. He is very fast and follows me everywhere so I am always falling over him, but he's fun to have around.