Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dali by moonlight

The Dali Theatre Museum has been open to visitors throughout August for nighttime visits. The moonlight and floodlights add to the drama of the theatre building. The cool night air and absence of large crowds or queues make it a much more pleasant experience.

The contents are interesting but as with all artists the more significant of his works are spread far and wide around the world.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Horse and deer flies are two of the nastiest biting insects I have come across.

Don't let those big blue green eyes fool you, the flies eyes not mine, these insects are out to hurt you. Look at the mouth end! It is comprised of a pair of machete like inscisors which rip apart your flesh in an instant causing the blood to flow and allowing the fly to gorge itself.

It is reported that deer flies are the most likely to bite humans but they seem to be in direct competition with the horse flies in these parts. To make matters worse the pests hunt in packs, at times this summer they hunted in squadrons.

The Flies must die! this has been my motto throughout the hot dry summer but the only sure fire way of killing them is to swat them or to ensnare them in a chemical trap.

In windy conditions they lie low around swimming pools and patio areas, conserving energy for future blood sucking raids.

It was on one such windy day that I worked happily away in the garden, shovelling ton after ton of soil and rubble. All was well, the soil heaps were diminishing and one small corner of the garden was emerging from the unpromising land.

As I wheeled my wheelbarrow, along paths broad and narrow, I noticed that the cooling breeze was fading away. I was not the only creature to observe this, crickets and butterflies again took to the wing the swallows too.

Nearby and more sinister by far the flies were stirring.

Wing commander to fly squadron ready for take off…off we go

heading towards the stables and we will approach the target from the rear.

Hold that formation keep it tight.

Target five meters ahead, there he is the barrow boy

We’re coming out of the sun, he can’t see us ok everybody here we go strike! strike! strike!

Argh! The pain in my right shoulder as the first fly bit, I let the barrow fall Argh! A second bite then a third and a fourth, as I tried to swat the attackers away a fifth bite to my shoulder marked then end of that particular attack. My shoulder was sore and already the flesh was swelling, reacting to the bites.

Wing commander to fly squadron, ok everybody back to base! Job well done

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Fig from Figueres

A fig from Figueres Posted by Picasa

Late summer salads in Spain are often adorned by fresh figs, a superb accompaniment to the fine cured ham of the peninsular.

Due to the Iberian drought the yield from this year’s fig harvest was low. The shallow rooted fig trees were denied rain water until late September; the few fruits that survived the hordes of insect pests were small but full of flavour.

I attempted to dry the figs in a domestic oven set to the minimum temperature; the process took the best part of two days to complete. Once dried, I stored them in an airtight container with the layers separated by paper towel to absorb any remaining moisture. After a period of two weeks I found that mould was growing on some of the fruit and had to discard that batch.

A second batch was prepared in the same way but stayed fresher longer. The figs survived a flight to England were they were devoured by my wife Carol.