Collecting water from Montseny

We are muddling along.

Bonnie has good and bad days. In general she is happy and full of energy but her digestion is very unstable and this tires her (and me) out.
There is no way of knowing what will happen next.
Or when it will happen.
That is just a fact of life that I must accept.

Our new kitten Phoenix (Fenix in Catalan) has settled into Granollers fairly well. We keep her in one room until she feels more confident and also to avoid her running out of the front door onto the busy street. Once she is calm and comfortable with us all then we will have to trust her not to be foolish. She is still nervous when we make loud or sudden noises but trusts Bonnie totally

Yesterday we went up to Sant Fe in the mountains of Montseny. There is a natural spring there where we fill up our water bottles.  Sometimes when I am writing English I can’t remember which is the correct way to express something. I reverse translate and end up with funny expressions like ‘gather water’ or ‘collect water’. What is the right way to say this in English? Is it just ‘get water’?

 It was Sunday and many other people had the same idea. When we arrived there was a group of neighbours from Sabadell who were just beginning to fill up about 60 eight litre bottles of water. I timed them for a while and realised it takes about one minute each bottle. The stream coming out of the rock was steady but rather slow. The water is delicious and so cold

As we waited three more couples arrived armed with large plastic bottles. It was a bit of a party

The woods around the fountain are mostly beech and the ground was inches deep in reddy brown leaves which perfectly matched Bonnie’s coat

We filled up 30 bottles which should last us a few months. It is one of my great pleasures here – going to collect, or fetch, or catch, or get fresh mountain spring water.

River bathing in Montseny

It was hot today – around 28 C which doesn’t seem much but in the sun you felt the heat.
So what with the temperature and the fact that it was Sunday we headed for the hills rather than the beach. There are mountain pools for bathing on the wooded slopes of Montseny

The best ones are near the Piscines de Montseny but they get very busy at the weekend and you need to walk a long way along a rocky path to arrive at the biggest and best pool. And even that can get crowded.
So we went to a place on the Riu Tordera – more hidden – less well known

It is lovely to walk along the cool wooded paths, searching for wild strawberries, smelling the herbs that grow along the way.
As I dipped my toe into the icy water I saw a snake – it had zigzags on its back. Pep was sure the water snakes are harmless. But it made me pause before advancing further.
Later we saw another swimming across the water – in its element.
Here is another water spirit – soaking away the cares of the week in this beautiful place.

Where to Live?

We went up to Montseny again today to give a friend a lift to her old home in the hills. Everywhere I go at the moment leads to thoughts about where we can live. Where can we find a home with a garden? Do we want to be near the sea? In the mountains? Close to Granollers? Is it best to buy or rent? What about the boy?
And so on and so on…..
Nice place today with friendly cats, a national footpath going past the garden, beautiful views over the vallley and beds of iris. But it wasn’t a possibe home, just a chance to dream

To get there you drive up a windy road and then along bumpy unmade tracks.  It is quite isolated although there are some other houses which are only visited at weekends.  There is a river running down the hill with beautiful pools and waterfalls.
Duna was ecstatic – how much she wants to live somewhere more in nature!

It’s good to imagine Blue and Bonnie and Duna sleeping happily on the terrace while we potter in the garden, make things and listen to the birds.  But for the moment it is only a dream

Wild swims


Before I left Cornwall last year I read a book called Waterlog by the late Roger Deakin and I find it has stuck with me – memories of some of his wild outdoor water adventures have become permanent images in my imagination and they help me when I am hesitating to take the plunge. If he could fling himself into an icy lake in Cumbria then surely I can do the same in the Pyranees? Over the past year I have swum of course many times in the sea but also in mountain rivers, lakes, woodland pools and, for sometime in the future, there is the tantalising dream of a dip in a totally wild unspoilt natural hot water mineral pool.This favourite pool is deep and mysterious and isolated – you walk a long way up river to get there and are rewarded with a magical setting. I am sure Les Dones D’Aigua live here. That strange shape is my reflection in the water – it was totally clear.A deceptively gentle looking river – it was impossible to swim upstream against the current. Had to wear my bathing costume here so it lacked that ‘je ne sais quoi’ of wildness.Duna’s first long swim – like me she prefers calm waters.These last pictures are of another hidden pool in the mountains of Montseny. Almost too cold even for me – but I did it!
And the dream of an open air natural hot spring? I heard of one close to the Bains of St Thomas in Catalunya Nord but we were leaving that day so it waits for next time….