Wednesday, September 2, 2009

String 'em up!

I never know what I am going to find at the village market on a Tuesday morning, and this week all the stalls were selling red hot chillis. So I bought a bag of lovely firm, bright red ones. It is a case of grab a bag and stick a handful in, but they look at us very oddly if we only buy a couple. The Spanish villagers buy whole carriers of tomatoes, sweet peppers etc, not to mention huge quantities of garlic bulbs and yes - chillis. So I got home and looked at my smallish bag of chillis and thought, 'It will take me a month of Sundays to use all of those', so I decided to dry most of them as they don't keep for more than a couple of weeks fresh. Last time I dried some I layed them out on a big plate and kept moving it around from window -sill to table and back again, trying to catch the sun on them. It was a nuisance and they were always getting knocked over, and it would be even harder now with the animals after them all the time. So I decided to do what the locals do; string them together and hang them out in the sun. I thought if I just tied them, they might shrink as they dried, and all fall out, so I threaded a fairly hefty needle with strong thread and 'sewed' it through the top of each chilli. Now they are hanging out on the porch and I think they look rather fine. The last lot I dried (Last October) I used up when I made 'Hot chilli and ginger jam', which is very yummy and gives a whole new complexion to a cheese butty, so it is good to have some more to replace them. I might buy just a few more next week and make a second string, so they will last me right round until this season next year.
When I was driving to Turre the other day, I saw some men constructing a frame at the side of the road, and when I passed it again today, these two big signs had gone up. As far as I can tell they are talking about the work for the new high-speed train that they are introducing between Almeria and Murcia, to link us with Madrid, Barcelona and other major cities. The section of track from Los Gallardos to Vera is the bit we will see, and they have put in a line of yellow markers just beyond these signs that we presume is its location. It is far enough away from our village to not be a problem noise-wise etc, though there will be considerable disruption to the roads for a while, until it is completed. We all tend to resist anything that may disturb our tranquil way of life, but public transport around here is, at best, very poor, and in the main, non-existant, so this train could make a huge difference for anyone wanting to travel around Spain. We are just hoping that the train itself will not be too expensive so no-one can afford to use it. We are watching with interest. It is a twelve year plan in total, but our bit should be done within about four years.
Incidently, I was amazed when walking the dogs yesterday, to find that all that pretty white blossom I mentioned in Monday's blog, has gone! It only lasted for a few days. In it's place are hundreds of tiny green berries. I did wonder if this is a blackthorn with emergent sloes. From what I have read on the net, this would flower at home during much colder weather and the blossom is very 'resilient', so I am not sure, but in appearance it matches the pictures I have seen exactly. I shall watch the progress of the berries with interest.

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