Butterflies and bagpipes

Miles walked: 80.1           Miles to go: 419.9

There are butterflies everywhere this week, clouds and clouds of them, flitting around us like fragments of rainbows. It’s so hard to take photos of them, they flutter about but hardly ever land. So colourful, so beautiful.

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Another real beauty is this flower that has been opening slowly over the last few days. It’s lovely to still be discovering little surprises like this around the garden. I have no idea what it is: it has obviously grown from a bulb and looks a bit like a giant schizostylis (Kaffir lily) but I don’t think it is. Perhaps someone could enlighten me?

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Far from beautiful was this ‘monster foot’ carrot we lifted yesterday. Ridiculous! Time to sack the gardener, I think!

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Also not remotely beautiful is the nocturnal visitor who has decided to turn my flower bed-in-waiting into a latrine: there are now four very deep scrapes down the length of the border, each blessed with multiple layers of very black fly-infested scat.

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I do feel this is a bit rude, especially considering how hard I worked to remove all that rubble and import all that manure. It smacks of badger activity to me but I’m really not sure: we’ve seen deer, wild boar, fox and polecat since we arrived, but neither hide nor hair of badger. Whatever it is, I’m going to have to use some powers of persuasion to change their habits before I plant up the border in the autumn.

To the house now, and slowly, slowly, like a fragile new butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, a kitchen is gradually taking shape from the chaos. Ordering it was good practice for our Spanish; giving directions to several delivery drivers over the phone was more than a test (guiding anyone here in English is hard enough but in our fledgling Spanish? Help!). By a minor miracle – and with much credit to the staff of Leyroy Merlin for their endless patience and good humour – we’ve ended up with exactly what we ordered and couldn’t be more impressed with the speed of delivery and quality of the kitchen. The instructions, however, leave a bit to be desired: diagrams only, with very little explanation. It’s a good job we’ve done this plenty of times before.

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Beam and ceiling detail: before . . .

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. . . and after

While Roger has been busy building and fitting the units, I’ve been painting the ceiling and walls. Is it possible to suffer from snow blindness whilst wielding a roller? We have opted for white on white, not to be boring or clinical but to maximise the light in view of the windows being small. Colour – plenty of it – will come in other things. We have two lots of family coming to stay next week (yes, our offspring are just like London buses!) and food is going to be a major focus as it always is when we get together, so a lovely new clean kitchen, albeit unfinished, will be just perfect.

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Cudillero is a pretty harbour town about half an hour’s drive from here; with it’s narrow, twisty steep streets, colourful houses and abundance of restaurants, it’s definitely on the list of suggestions for our visitors.

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Last Saturday, after dark, over 150 runners picked up their torches and hurtled around the town, great fun according to Roger participating in his first ‘night run.’ Coming second overall and second in the over 40s class (no over 50s class, so he had to compete against the youngsters), he brought home two trophies.

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Now these are very unusual, unique pieces of the ‘ceramica negra’ (black pottery) of Llamas del Mouro, handmade in a traditional fashion. I think we will be visiting the pottery,  and it’s worth visiting the website, if only to listen to the beautiful Asturian music. http://www.ceramicanegraasturias.com/ Mmm, I wonder if Roger has plans for a trophy cabinet in that new kitchen?

On the subject of traditional Asturian music, someone was playing the bagpipes in the village this week while I was weeding the veg patch. It was lovely to listen to as it echoed off the hills, haunting but not mournful; in fact, quite upbeat in a sort of Riverdance way. As I paused to listen and watch our neighbours’ flock of sheep grazing below the garden, my thoughts turned to knitting. (Bear with me here, there really is a link.) I always have a knitting project on the go but we have been so busy since we moved here that I haven’t given such things a single minute. Musing on all things wool and Celtic, I remembered that there was a part-knitted aran hoodie for our little granddaughter Annie languishing in my knitting bag.

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She is coming to visit next week and, although there is no chance she will need a thick woolly pully while she’s here, it’s a good excuse to ditch the hoe and paintbrush, dig out my needles and get busy. I don’t like to repeat patterns too often – let’s face it, life is too short to knit the same thing over and over – but I really enjoy this one, and having already knitted it up for Ben  and William, I just had to make one for their cousin Annie, too.

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William’s jumper

I love this sort of pattern, there is such a satisfying mathematical logic to it that I can put the instructions to one side and work from sight. All those cable stitches, twisting and turning, weaving in and out like musical notes, it feels like creating Celtic knotwork in wool. With the soft melodies of bagpipes and sheep bells ringing up the valley, that seems very apt just now. 🙂

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Coffee break and a quick knit: just the hood to go!

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2 thoughts on “Butterflies and bagpipes

  1. Nice-looking kitchen! You must be so pleased to have that done in time. We finished ours on New Year’s Eve at 9pm last year. Another just in time. I hope the mystery droppings are indeed badger. A wild boar in the garden would be devastating!

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  2. Mmm, too right. The wild boar are wonderful to see but not the best of gardeners! I can’t help feeling they’d have found their way in by now if that’s what’s responsible for the droppings. We could do with one of those night vision cameras to catch the culprit. At 9pm on New Year’s Eve I hope you were ready to break out the bubbly! 🙂

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