Mainly Blue

I read a mindfulness website called Life Unity and on Monday, as always, they announced the task for the week.
It was called Notice Blue.  The suggestion is to be aware of Blue for seven days, the colour mainly but perhaps also the mood, the music, the dog

I added this to my list of serendipitous things which have been around me recently

Blue and Bonnie and I came a week ago to this beautiful country cottage near Figueres

We were refugees from the city life we were finding so hard to handle in Granollers.
We wanted peace, gentle walks, time to rest and tune into ourselves without cars and noise and concrete and an angry and jealous Duna.
We found somewhere perfect to do all this and more.
Somewhere perfect for Blue to spend the last days of her life

She had a strange fall before we left town.  I wondered it it was a fit or a stroke. Afterwards she was normal and we made the journey but some instinct told me she was moving into a new phase.

Here is Sant Nicolau. This beautiful place has his name and his sanctuary at the end of the drive. Remember he is the saint of present giving, of helping children.

As we arrived I had a feeling of coming home, of finding my place, of all the cells of my body saying “YES YES YES’
It is green and wooded, set on a plane with mountains in the distance

Birds are everywhere. Day and night there is always someone singing.
Every single night the nightingale calls to her friends…… every night!
I found this nestled in the fruit bowl

Blue must have relaxed too. She fell over more and more. Wobbly legs would take her outside into the little garden and then give way leaving her stranded.
She looked tired. Slept for hours. Seemed more detached from me and from the world. At other times she was alert as normal. Especially if there was a piece of ham being offered…..

The day before she died she came down the open field with Bonnie and me. We had a football and Blue suddenly wanted to play. I rolled it past her, she jumped on top, I kicked it away and she chased it a few steps. On and on and on. Then she stopped. Fell over. Got up again and turned for home. That was her last game and it was a good one.
Next day I decided to call the vet. The decision is always ‘When?’  I spoke to friends and read lots of accounts on the internet, feeling more and more sure that I didn’t want to wait till she was unable to move or suffering badly.
The wonderful owners of Sant Nicolau helped me in every possible way, accompanying us through the last hour, offering a place for Blue to rest, digging the grave and sharing a ceremony of goodbye.
It was all peaceful, the vet came in the afternoon and confirmed that it was for the best. Blue was calm and almost dreamy and not at all nervous.  It was over in moments and with no fear or pain.
She is now down here at the bottom of the field, just to the right of the little white building on the left.

Bonnie and I will stay here for a few more days. We don’t know what the future holds as we still have the problem of Duna’s jealous rages at home. But for now we are able to listen to the birds, read books from the house collection, swim in the pool and visit Blue where she lies at the bottom of the open field, under the apple trees.
Bye Bye Blue – you good dog you!

A sensible dog

Blue on the beach today at Caldetes.
She had a little swim then settled down in the shade to sleep. As if she’d been doing it all her life.

Bonnie on the other hand……… chased things into the water, dug holes all around our spot on the sand, barked at anyone who smiled at her when passing (well they were all completely naked and she was shocked) and got so hot and bothered than no amount of water would quench her thirst.
Duna had her own umbrella and as usual sat quietly except when she dragged the whole thing behind her in an attempt to get at Bonnie.
I swam
Pep had a dip.
We had lunch in the beach cafe and at last all three dogs were quiet and orderly as they waited for sardine heads to descend from the table.
The waitress warned us that if the police came they would give an instant fine of 100 euros per dog. We’ve never had a problem in the past and noone seems to mind their presence.
But perhaps taking 3 is pushing our luck.

A week in Almeria

I couldn’t send posts from the campsite wifi so that plan didn’t work!
TO DO   *get a phone contract with internet access.
Now there is too much to say but I’m going to say it anyway – sorry, you have been warned, it is long!

Day 1

We stopped off for our first night camping near Xativa. The romantic fantasy of sleeping beside the hill top castle was scored out when we arrived to find it regulated and fenced off. After a long twilight drive looking for somewhere to park we asked some people about nearby campsites.
They were Belgian and said we could use their land. We followed them to a field in the middle of a plain. There was a shed with two horses and nothing much else.
We closed the gate and parked under a star lit sky, feeling safe enough to sleep well without worrying about intruders or irate landowners waking us up.

Day 2
We left around 6am and drove the rest of the way to a beach called Genoveses near San Jose in Almeria. Parking beside many other camper vans, we began to make ourselves at home but around sunset the park guards arrived and moved everyone on. It is common in this area to sleep in the beach car parks but sometimes they do a massive clear out and send you to the municipal car park in town. We drove that way but it was now dark and hard to find so we stopped on an empty road on the outskirts of town. Slept well although my body stayed semi-alert for patrol cars and early morning runners and dog walkers made it hard to have a pee.
The countryside was full of wild flowers

Day 3
Breakfast in San Jose. Three dogs are an extra challenge when it comes to eating out. Especially when two of them fight and have to be kept out of biting distance. We managed this by using the terrace of a lovely pizzeria which served fresh fruit salad as well as toast and honey. Seated by the beach we could watch the stall owners setting up for the day with crystals and nicknacks for the tourists. One stand had rails of those baggy trousers which look like they are made to accommodate adult nappies. And sure enough there were lots of people walking by wearing them!
We moved to a new beach and found many of the other camper vans already there.
This was a lovely day, sunny and hot but with enough wind to keep Blue cool in her black thick coat.
I gave her a haircut – her first ever – with a pair of nail scissors and she ended up looking very chic with a short back and sides.
The sea was very calm. Blue went in almost immediately and swam for a long time.
Lovely to see her

That night we slept very well. No interruptions, all dogs now used to the van and the rhythms of camping. Duna sleeps in the front with her own blanket and the curtains separating her room from the back. Bonnie and Blue curl on the floor space at the end of the bed. In the mornings it’s so easy to open the door and slip out straight onto sandy open space.
Bonnie and I watched the sun rise over the sea.
Day 4
But the lack of toilets and showers and electricity for recharging the phones/cameras does make a camp site a tempting proposition.
We went to Tau Camping in San Jose. I will write about that in a separate post – it deserves more than a few words. It was wonderful in every way.
There is a bakery in San Jose which sells fantastic cakes. Did I take any photos? No – I just seemed to eat them without even thinking of preserving the memory. He also has great bread and little pasties of spinach or vegetables.
Day 5
Now installed in the camp site I began to feel more relaxed which meant a day of descans was needed. Here is where I lay and dozed and read and listened to the birds

Day 6
Now all the days begin to melt into each other.
We explored the park, visited more beaches, ate more lovely Andalusian food.
There is a village which is famous for being used in the filming of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It was very windy – Blue wasn’t keen to pose.  A place called The Middle of Nowhere!

Lunch in a village square with the dogs safely sleeping in the shade in the van.
Duna has to be tied to the seat….just in case….you see, it isn’t straightforward camping with three dogs
The roads were quiet in the interior. Sometimes you are driving along rough tracks, like in the Westerns that were filmed in this area.
Here are rocks in the Mineral Trail, there was once a gold rush around here

Day whoknowswhat
We had a long and interesting breakfast with our camping neighbours. She was for many years a naturopath and he worked in theatre. The campsite has little corners strategically placed for morning and evening sunshine with tables and benches. The sparrows join you companionably, searching for crumbs, the main areas of camping entertainment are far away so there is little noise but the rustle of the wind through the trees

Then the drive back led us to stop again near Xativa. This time we took the inland road, the A7.
As it was Saturday afternoon all the lovely places selling pots were closed.

I drove along a straight and quiet highway with sculptures marking every crossroad

Then we found a hidden place in the hills to park and sleep. The moon was high and almost full. Noone bothered us. We woke early and set off again at 4am. Perfect driving on Easter Sunday.
Stopped for lunch in Altafulla. Tapas by the beach, dogs again peaceful under the table while being fed occasional peixet fregit (little fried fish) heads to keep them happy

Home to find the house unexpectedly dirty, messy and chaotic due to unprogrammed sleep overs by Resident Adolescent and his friends. But that is another story!


time for lunch. we dropped down to the coast and took ther dogs for a dip. i am worrying about blue and the heat so she is enjoying five star attention. as always she loves the beach. this place is beautiful. but dont look the other way. it is fringed with high rise apartments. photo by pepsi!

Two Dogs

Two dogs – Border Collies

lived all their lives in Cornwall

until they moved to Catalunya

when they were 15

and 9

they swam in the Mediterranean
slept in the sunshine

scoured the rocks for discarded sandwiches

with a new companion who shared this interest
One overcame her fear of strangers
and fell in love all over again

And the other found her legs could walk further and further
taking her to places – she’d never been before

(as I typed that she jumped onto the sofa without a  worry)