In my last post I mentioned how unusual it is to see a true blue flower, so I had to smile when I went for a walk the next day and found not one, but two vivid blue flowers. So here they are. The one on the left is like a little speedwell. It was small and grew quite close to the ground, but it was covered in these pretty deep blue flowers. The other one is a larger plant and I think comes from the same family as one that has been in bloom for some time, with both deep pink and purple flowers on it at the same time. This blue relative comes later. It looks lovely growing as it often does, intermingled with yellow coltsfoot, but woe betide anyone who tries to pick it. The tiny hairs which cover the stem and leaves are intensely irritating, so I know not to touch it.
The real reason for my walk was to look for an elusive bird which is sited all around this region from April til June, though it is more commonly seen a little further inland in the foothills. The bird in question is a bee-eater and it is so colourful that you could be forgiven for thinking it is a parrot. A few days ago, as I drove over the bridge on the back road to Turre, I saw a flash of blue fly past my window, and I thought it must be a bee-eater. I was quite excited as I have wanted to see one eversince I first read about them last year. So on Friday I parked along side the bridge and walked down into the rambla in the hope of finding one there. It was quite a surprise to find that the bottom of ther rambla was partially covered with trees and shrubs and there was a small river flowing through it. Although I was only 20m or so below the road on one side, on the other the sandy cliffs towered high above me, and the traffic seemed miles away. It was a little haven of peace, and understandably it teemed with flowers, birds and butterflies, and of course, lots of less desireable bugs as well. I had just about given up hope of spotting my bee eater when I saw a flash of blue on the wings of a bird high above me. It settled on the cliff face which is apparently where they make tunnels to build a nest in, and I knew I wasn't going to get any closer, so I aimed the camera and took a couple of shots. When I got home and zoomed in on the pictures I realised that I hadn't found a bee eater after all. Mine was much too blue. It was in fact a European roller, another beautiful bird in its own right, and I feel privileged to have glimpsed one. I would still like to see them both closer up, and maybe one day I will, but for now, here is my own photo. Click on it and you will see him quite well. The other two pictures need I say, are not mine. I took them from the internet so you could see why I am so keen to have a close encounter with them one day.
Now for a very different tale, that added some excitement to what would have otherwise been a very ordinary Saturday evening. We were just settling down to have our tea when we heard a car horn sounding just outside. When it was repeated several times, and then others joined in, we decided to go and investigate. As you will know from previous postings, when our new road was completed they made the right hand lane a one way passage up into the village, and the left hand lane, outside our house is a parking bay. There have been several near misses as cars chose to ignor the one way sign and try to whizz down when the road looks clear, so at first I thought there must have been an accident. Instead we found that a red car had parked in the driving lane, almost opposite our car in the parking lane, so no-one could drive through. We didn't know whose car it was so the first driver borrowed paper and pen from us to leave a message on the windscreen, and then we moved our car so that they could all squeeze round the parked one and get on their way. Then just as everyone was dispersing, a lady came out of the house opposite ours, climbed in the parked car and moved it so that it was standing diagonally across the lane, nearly up to the new planter, and she got out, calmly locked it and went back in her house. Of course, before long there was another queue of angry drivers tooting their horns because they wanted to get past. In the end she came out and moved it again just enough for them to get through, and then parked it there again. I couldn't believe it. As she got out of the car I raised my hands and just said "Por que?" or "Why". I didn't follow everything she said but I got the gist of it. She owns the house but doesn't live there and only visits occasionally. While she was away, the road had been done and the new pavement is now quite a bit higher then the original, leaving her with a step of about twenty centimeters into her drive, so she is now unable to park in her own grounds. However, if the workmen had built her a ramp she would not be able to close her gates, and as these are usually locked, she wouldn't have liked that. I pointed out the nearly empty parking lane on our side but she shook her head and marched indoors. I have a friend down the road who is more fluent in Spanish than I am, and together we turned away all the cars that tried to drive up. (I had no idea so many cars drive past our house on a Saturday evening!). Eventually a young man drove up that we knew and he phoned the guadia civil for us. They came quite quickly and we pointed out the house where the owner was, so in they went. She had some very heated words with them, but she was forced to move her car and park it properly. I don't really know the outcome, but I understand that she was fined and may have had other sanctions taken against her, but it had caused quite a stir. As you can see, the whole street was congregated outside our house, enjoying the excitement. It went on for a couple of hours, but once the car was moved, everyone drifted back home and things were soon back to normal. Fortunately no-one was hurt, and there was a funny side to it all. It was the sort of thing you wouldn't believe unless you had seen it happen!