As Jonathan is only with us for a couple more days, and I knew I would be doing a traditional roast for dinner today (Yes I still do most Sundays, even when it is just the two of us. Old habits die hard!), I decided to make us a proper Spanish supper last night. And what could be more Spanish than paella. Non of us are great fish fans so I did carne solo (meat only), which is actually more traditional except on the coast. Rabbit is the really traditional meat to use, but, although I have some in the freezer, I forgot to thaw it in time, so I used chicken and pork with a little choritzo and morcilla, or black pudding. I used Valencian rice especially for paella, loads of garlic, real saffron from the market to turn it yellow, and red peppers, sweetcorn and corgettes to give it some colour. I put the pan on the table Spanish style, so we could help ourselves. Then I made a big jug of sangria, and we all tucked in. It was very nice, though I do say so myself. We sat outside with our wine until quite late and then Chris and Jonathan went in to watch football! At least it was a good win for Arsenal which will keep the men in the family happy.
This morning we were up at 6.30 as usual, and we saw a lovely orange and yellow sunrise. After our cup of tea we loaded the dogs into the back of the car and set off for our usual long walk with them. We take them to a place called Huerta Nueva which means New Orchard. It is a newly built urbanisation which comes under the umbrella of Los Gallardos, but it is separated from the village by the main road, and a long unfinished street. Basically it is a group of houses and apartments which would have been a completely self-contained community if the shops and bars on the original plans had been built. Unfortunately for the residents who had already bought properties there, the work petered out when it was only two thirds finished, so there are lots of empty plots of land, and no amenities at all. It is a long walk, but it is possible to walk, into the main village from there, so that's what they have to do. In the mornings we drive through all the housing to the top end where it opens out into fields and campo, which is where we walk the dogs. But when we got there today we found we couldn't use the usual route. There were several parked vans and trucks around, and from each one, there emerged two or three men, a dog or two and guns. It was obviously a big hunting group, maybe hoping to catch a wild boar. They will certainly get some rabbits. We saw a few around and they won't all make a lucky escape. So today our dogs had to stay on their leads and we walked them around the urbanisation. We drove all round it once when we were looking at properties, but we knew it wasn't what we were looking for. But, had it been finished off properly, it could have been quite nice, and it may well have some more done to it when the market picks up again. In the centre there is quite a lot of 'empty' land, which has been taken over by wild vegetation, and in the centre of that we were surprised to discover a really attractive ornamental pool. There was a small island which had a lovely reflection in the water in the early morning light. The water was very clear, but there was, of course, a haze of flying insects hovering on the surface. We saw lots of pretty bushes just coming into pink flower. They are probably considered to be a weed as they are very prolific, but I like them, and I am trying to find their name. There were lots of nice seed heads which I had to take pictures of. They are often just as attractive as the actual flowers. This little shrub was covered in tiny yellow thistle type flowers. When you see the cracked, parched ground around it, you have to wonder how any of them survive.
I took this view as we walked back down to where we had parked the car. The orange houses in the foreground are part of the Huerta Nueva urbanisation. Up in the hills you can see the little white village of Bédar. It is very pretty but the drive up to it is a bit 'hairy'. Between the two, the group of white houses centre left of the picture is part of our village, Los Gallardos. Hopefully the men will be back to work tomorrow so there'll be no more guns, and the dogs can have their proper run again. Maybe it is something we will have to contend with every weekend now. We shall have to wait and see.