Me and my pre-war Land Rover (yikes!) A short story from Posadas, Cordova (Part 1)

When we first came to live in the countryside of Posadas, I needed a car. I never drove in Cordova, though I did help drive down to Andalusia from London in an open-top Alfa Romeo Spider, which was very classic, very old, very draughty and rather unreliable. It was also automatic, crunching back and forward into gears. It was the one I passed my driving test in even though the tax disc was way out of date and the open top roof was flung all the way back. How I drove in it to Spain I don’t know (though I was young and brave all those many years ago!).

Here’s an old, faded photo of the Spider I drove down part of the way to Andalusia 30 years ago. I can’t think for the life of me though what it was doing here in front of olive trees and on top of a load of freshly-picked olives…

However, due to Cordova being a small-sized provincial town and therefore easy to negotiate on foot, we soon sold the English reg. car to some expats who were living on the Malaga coast (and who as yet didn’t realise the complications and costs of legally importing a car, which, needless to say, involved a lot in order to deal with all the bureaucratic red tape and greasing of palms—a process helped by the presenting of gifts such as a wheel of queso curado cheese, a leg of jamón, litres of the best-quality aceite oil etc., etc., etc.). In those days it was much simpler and cheaper to do things illegally (and still is in certain cases, such as declaring, or rather not declaring yourself as a self-employed entity etc.).

Once we moved to the country though, we did need a car—not a delicate Italian vehicle, but one that was solid and sturdy and able to sustain the effects caused by a country track full of grooves and potholes. This track was also flanked by a river-filled gorge on one side and a steep cliff rising on the other, and so in times of rain turned into a perilous, muddy rink due to the set of streams, rivulets and rivers that formed on the surface. This was definitely a track which only hunting aficionados and other incensed country enthusiasts would use in time of hunting! In other words, one that was totally unsuitable for the Alfa Romeo!

No, this isn’t actually me and my Land Rover, though the track was very similar on rainy days the car’s much better than mine — as you are about to see…

So it wasn’t long before we sold it.

As a replacement, I was ‘presented with’ a khaki-coloured, clapped-out, pre-war Land Rover that jittered and shook like a jitterbug. It was also void of modern luxuries, such as power steering, heating, air conditioning, good visibility etc., and although it hadn’t done too many miles, the ones that it had done were certainly off-road, over very rough terrain—something that had definitely taken its toll of the suspension. It also boasted an open-ribbed, rusted-steel roof rack as its crowning glory. After all, it was only the family’s second car, just for me and therefore didn’t need to be so good…(Poor overworked, underrated, full-time, round-the-clock, stay-at-home mothers! I’d be a millionaire by now if I had charged for services rendered!)

Well, the seats were ripped and there were still knots of wool from the sheep that had previously been transported in the car. We had bought it in Castro del Río (another town famous for olives, in the province of Cordova) and considering the way that it jittered and shook, and the amount of play in the almost unresponsive steering wheel and brake pedal, I had been too frightened to test drive it. Also, noticing the dubious looks directed at me from the two pre-Civil War brothers who were selling it not only didn’t help, but were positively unnerving, and so I made the initial mistake of relying on my husband (an enthusiast of off-roading!) to test drive it.

As you can see, it was also useful for hauling things about (when the solid roof was taken off)
The roof of the Land Rover lying listlessly in the shade of an olive tree — but at least my ten cats use it for their shelter!

That was definitely an error, because after doing a couple of rounds in their stony field, during which he had to dodge the sheep (and where the driver’s seat lurched backwards every time the brakes were applied), he seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. So when he got out of the car, the sentence was delivered, deeming this relic very suitable for me:

‘Just needs a little getting used to, that’s all!’

Famous last words!

By the way, Castro del Río, where we did eventually buy the jeep, does have some interesting history attached to it, as do most of the towns and villages that lie within the province of Cordova. This village forms part of the ‘ruta califal’Caliphal Route—which traces the history of Islam in Spain and links Cordova with Granada. It also dates back to the Metal Ages, encompassing the Neolithic, Iberian, Greek, Roman, Visigoth to the more recent Napoleonic French invasion (War of Independence, 1808) etc. It has one of the oldest and current cockfighting pits in Spain—the excuse that pardons the cockfighting is that this ‘sport’ is beneficial for the breed, while improving the stock!—and the previous ground-floor prison in the town hall was a temporary home for Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616), the famous novelist, playwright and soldier. It is claimed by the locals that it was here that he started writing his famous Don Quixote.

The town is also linked to former president John F. Kennedy. It was from this very town (well-known for its furniture made from olive wood) that the he ordered two wooden rocking chairs to be shipped home to him. (This added to his collection of rockers that he regularly used in order to alleviate his back problems.)

Anyway, getting back to my Land Rover… So we were on the verge of accepting or rejecting the deal, (I secretly wished for the latter), and all my hopes were dashed when I heard my ‘better-knowing’ husband pronounce the words:

‘¡Vale! ¡Trato hecho! Lo cogeremos por 400.000 pelas, nada más, nada menos.’ (‘Great! We’ll buy it for 400,000 pesetas, nothing more, nothing less!) — roughly equivalent to £2,140.

(‘What a waste for that clapped-out, old piece of junk’, I thought to myself!)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the deal was signed and sealed and paid for in those very pesetas (though from the look of the car, it should have been paid in reales or maravadises). The aged brothers drove and delivered it to our country abode (only because they were going to look at some sheep that Mateo was selling in one of the fincas just off the Cañada Real Soriana).

I dutifully dedicated the next few weeks to driving round and round the only flat plain that there is outside our house, and getting used to gear-crunching, unresponsive steering and the lurching seat.

However, the day finally dawned when I felt ready (or rather I fooled myself in to feeling ready) to take on Posadas with my new old Land Rover: I had to take the kids to the nursery otherwise I probably would have stayed a recluse in my country abode for a little while longer. Also, I needed to get back to painting furniture, ceramics and glassware in the workshop that we had set up in the village.

So how did it go? Well, in order not to make this blog too long, I will continue with the following part in my next post…

(I am not purposefully making this a teaser, I just know that time is precious to all of us and I do not want to ask too much of your time…)

So next time I will describe with all the embarrassing details of how I got down to Posadas and what fate waited for me once there!

One of the roundabouts leading into Posadas — you can just make out the lettering, ‘al Fanadiq’ in white, which was the Arabic name for Posadas, during the time of the moorish occupation of al-Andalus

Thank you for reading — comments and questions always welcome.

Hope you are well — take care! xxx

Stormy weather over Posadas (Cordova)

Hello all — I hope this finds you in good health and spirits.

I just wanted to share with you some photos I took yesterday evening of the storm that passed over our locality yesterday evening.

Looking east towards the castle of Almodóvar del Río
Looking west towards the ‘sunset’
And finally the rain descended on Posadas!

Thank you for looking — bye for now! xxx

Sunrise, sunset (Posadas, Cordova)

Hello all! I just couldn’t resist putting up these photos of the morning sunrise and yesterday’s sunset. Rain’s forecast for today so it’s got a bit gloomy since then!

You can just spy the shadowy outline of the haunted castle of Almodóvar del Río in the distant left…
…but the sunrise wasn’t as bright as yesterday’s…
…though there was a lovely show of pinks and greys between the eucalyptus trees last evening at dusk

(You can see more of our local sunsets here and here)

Thank you for taking a look — take care! xxx

What I’ve been up to this week in my country abode of Posadas (Cordova)

Hi folks! Firstly, I hope this find you all in good health and spirits.

Secondly — what I’ve been up to. Well, I’ve had a bit of a busy week what with teaching, writing and doing some of my craftwork — as well as a) straightening out my vegetable patch after the wild boar broke in again, and b) preparing the olives for marinating that I am picking from our trees. And so I would just like to share with you some photos of my progress. Starting with a):-

Here he is, the ‘little’ blighter, sniffing around for acorns and roots! (Canva)
I had to straighten the pepper plants after ‘he’ had a go at them (but ‘he’ avoided the chilli peppers this time!)
That’s me hard at work with the roll of black string, tying up the tomato plants that have got taller than me. I tied them to the arched ribs that once used to support plastic sheeting when this used to be a greenhouse, but temperatures soared too high in the summer so I had to do away with it. Note the very blue Andalusian skies!
Old olive trees grow all around. I will be picking some of these too for my marinated olives — the manzanilla and gordal variety for pickling

The first step in preparing the olives is to cut each one of them (you can also lightly crush them, or not cut them at all but place them in caustic soda for a while. I have never yet tried these last two methods.) As you can see, I had a little bit of help…

Bag of small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree
Curious kitten wondering about the small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree
Curious kitten getting all anxious to lend a helping paw with the small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree
But I take command of the knife with which I make a sharp cut in the small alberquina olives from a 2 and a 1/2 year old tree! (And my fingers get oilier, greener and purply by the minute!)

The olives in the photos were picked from my son’s young olive grove…

This grove lies just by the old cattle track, Cañada Real Soriana that skirts the foothills of the Sierrezuela de Guadalbaida, and the Roman quarry, Cantera Honda.  It stretches approx. 500 miles, originating in Soria, NE of Madrid, then across the Sierra Morena continuing west to Seville, passing close to the Guadalquivir River and the Puente Romano (Roman bridge) in Cordova on the way.

The Cañada Real Soriana cattle track is number 7 on the Wiki map. (You might need your magnifying glass to spot it!)

And now to the first theme: my craftwork. Well, I have just finished making my angels (or fairies, call them what you want!) — and they are available to the public. So here are the little‘uns:-

Well, that’s all for this week. Thank you for reading — comments and questions always welcome.

Take care! xxx

Art, art and more art in the village of Posadas and Cordova town!

Hi folks! Hope this finds you all in good health and spirits!

ART‘ has been the key word for Cordova (Córdoba) and my neighbouring village of Posadas these last couple of weeks.

Let me explain: the whole ‘art thing’ kicked off two weeks ago with the annual fast-painting competition in Cordova. The objective was to paint a picture of one of the town’s iconic patios in a maximum of eight hours. As you might already know, the patios of Cordova are famous for their balconies replete with hanging geraniums, pot plants, fountains, orange trees, pillars etc. (You can see my earliest blog for photos of typical patios, houses and courtyards.)

There were many talented, long-standing artists — and then there was my daughter too. (She likes a challenge, but I think she was also motivated by the first, second and third prizes of 5000, 3000 and 1000 euros!) At the ripe old age of twenty-two, she had never entered an art competition before, neither used acrylics, nor painted on a big canvas (56 cm x 70 cm, I think). Needless to say, she didn’t win, but I just couldn’t resist putting up the photos of her painting!

Starting out — a nice array of acrylics
Artist at work, painting in one of Cordova’s typical patios decorated in white and bluey indigo
Getting there…
Her friend’s panting propped up against the well in the background…
… and this little fella was wandering around, presumably trying to help!
The final product, after 7 hours of painting and later hung on her wall, alongside her ‘father-in-law’s’ watercolour of the entrance to the Great Mosque/Cathedral

But this was not the only art event. Last week there was an invitation to the artists of the village of Posadas to display their works. This included items of crochet (photos of which I included in my last blog), as well as graffiti art, paintings on buildings and on the underpass below the rail tracks. (Posadas is well-communicated, with the train taking only eighteen minutes to Cordova, or in the other direction, fifty-five minutes to Seville.)

A crochet ‘banner’ hung on the façade of the Ermita de Jesús

Here are some photos of the street paintings — they were taken by one of the locals of Posadas, Paco Martinez Herrera, a great painter, photographer, nature-lover and hiker! I asked his permission first, knowing that his photos are a class above mine (he has some lovely shots on his Facebook). Anyway, here are some of the village paintings:

This was painted on one of the council buildings

The above and below paintings were on one of the buildings in the periurban park of the Sierrezuela in the hills adjacent to Posadas.

The underpass below the rail tracks was also painted using spray paints:

And in more detail…

There were even bird cut-outs flying above the Plaza de la Estación (Station Square), where my good friend Rosa runs a little bar, ‘Las Ciervas’ (The Deer), on the corner. The trees, by the way, are melias, commonly known as Pride of Persia. (But more about the nature, culture, history and my life here in Posadas and Cordova, in my book An English Lady in Cordova — the ‘Alternative’ Guide, if you like…)

And now for my humble effort at photography: the bird below was painted on the water tower of the neighbouring village, Rivero de Posadas, which lies at about 9 km (9.6 mi.) west of Posadas:

So over the last few days we have been treated to these beautiful works of art which will remain, decorating the village. Over the many years that I have been here, I have come to learn and appreciate the talent that you can find among the locals — from those who pursue art, crochet, needlework, lace-making, basket weaving to actors, musicians, singers, astrologers, mycologists, sports people, anthropologists, botanists, authors, etc., etc., etc., — and all found within a populace of approx. 7,350! One doesn’t get bored here! I’m eagerly waiting for my crochet and lace-making classes with the ‘abuelas’ (grandmothers) to restart…

And here’s how to get to Posadas: (taken from the city council’s page):

Posadas is just 35 km (22 mi.) SW of Córdoba and approx. 100 km (62 mi.) NE of Seville

Anyway, by the time I got home, as if to wind up the lovely, colourful day the sky had also decided to display its own work of art…

The view from my country abode when I arrived home
‘Night all!

Well, that’s it for now!

Thank you for reading — comments and questions always welcome — and take good care of yourselves! xxx

And my thanks once again to Paco Martinez Herrera for lending me his artistic photos and to the ‘ayuntamiento’ (council) for hosting the show!

Cats, crochet and the Ermita de Jesús in Posadas (Cordova, Spain)

“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.” Unknown

Hi folks! I hope this finds you all in good health and spirits.

It became a little cooler last week, so after working hard all day, what with giving my online English conversation classes and working on my next art & craft project, I thought I’d take an evening break and indulge in another one of my favourite pastimes. Crochet!!

Just as well I only thought about it, because as you can see from the following photos, my progress was soon hindered…

Little Grey jumps onto the swinging chair and manoeuvres herself into a comfortable position next to me and my crochet pattern
Then she gradually sidles her way closer until she is right on top of the instructions and looks up at me seeking my approval — or rather, disapproval!
Then she makes a bold move, taking advantage of me having put down my bit of crocheted sleeve when I reach for my mug of Tetley’s (the tea, not the beer variety)…
…and tries her hand (or paw!) at crochet. Is that a guilty look in her innocent-looking eyes I spy? And did I get far with my crochet that evening?

Well, that’s how my crocheting usually goes. I wonder if I’ll ever finish my cardi on time for this winter, especially since I’ve had to do one of the sleeves twice — the first time it looked more like a mutton leg!

Anyway, while on the subject of crochet, I just couldn’t resist showing you the following photos of a little bit of the work that the local crochet group do, here in my neighbouring village of Posadas (Cordova). (I will be posting much more of their work as Christmas approaches, as they do up the whole village in crochet, from Christmas trees with baubles and buntings, to the Nativity Scene, the Holy family and baby Jesus, a village scene of Jerusalem etc., etc., etc. But that’s all to come later.)

The ladies have crocheted a big ‘banner’ that has been hung on the façade of the chapel ‘La Ermita de Jesús’ which lies at the end of the ‘Paseo de Pedro Vargas’ walkway and gardens. (Read on for the history and legends of this little church)
And further down the gardens they have covered the base of the trunks of tall palm trees with their colourful work.
Here’s another, this time on the trunk of a Melia (Pride of Persia tree)…
…and yet another on a similar tree. You can tell we’re in autumn! (In the background you can see a palm tree which is so typical of Andalusia)

But coming back to the 18th century Ermita de Jesús — the little church in the first photo: I would just like to give it a mention as it has an interesting background:

Firstly, the belfry is not the original, but substitutes an earlier one which was situated adjacently, on the former Camino Real (The Royal Road). This route linked Cordova with Seville, and during the Moorish occupation of al-Andalus it formed part of the extensive Ruta Califal. Subsequently, after the reconquest of Spain, this was the route used by catholic monarchy, such as King Alfonso X ‘El Sabio(‘The Wise’) in 1262, or more recently by King Alfonso XIII (who reigned from 1902 till 1931). King Alfonso X was not the only monarch to travel along this Royal Road and lodge in Posadas del Rey: it is recorded that in 1438 Queen Juana stayed there prior to her marriage with Henry IV. Hence the name for the village, Posadas del Rey, which literally means Posadas of the King.

Below the chapel’s floor there are remains of Roman thermal springs, brick canals and cisterns with brick vaults, roofs and walls of mortar. The medicinal water from these springs was exploited at a later date. There were also remains of the walls of a pottery workshop that were constructed from rows of stone, brick, and finished with mortar edges.

It is thought that the Ermita de Jesús dates back to the 15th or 16th century, when it was probably called San Sebastian. During the early 17th century it fell into ruin, but was reopened soon after. However, in 1755, the great Lisbon earthquake seriously destroyed the belfry and roof, and so in 1786 (during the baroque period) the chapel was totally rebuilt. This was not the only damage the chapel suffered: during the Civil War, various religious icons and works of art were destroyed; however, these have since been replaced by new replicas.

The Ermita de Jesús is not without its legends. There is the story that recounts that in 1658, a donkey carrying the statue of La Virgen (The Virgin Mother) was led from Granada towards a certain destination. However, on crossing Posadas the donkey suddenly fell ill and died. The locals (Malenos) interpreted this as a sign from the Virgen Mary that the donkey and the icon of Our Blessed Virgin should stay in the village, and as a consequence they were placed in the chapel. At that time, the population of Posadas was in serious decline because of an outbreak of the plague, but after the arrival of the donkey and the statue of Our Lady, there was widespread recovery and so they named the statue, La Virgen de la Salud (where ‘salud’ means health). From then on, La Virgen de la Salud became the patron saint of Posadas.

Another miracle that has been passed down the generations is that which occurred in 1755, again the result of the Lisbon earthquake. The story goes that when the ground shook violently, the belfry was torn apart and fell heavily onto the adjacent kitchen of the church custodian’s house. His daughter was playing with an acorn in the kitchen at the time, but miraculously, she escaped unharmed, as he pulled her by the hand to safety.

But more about my local village of Posadas, its history, culture, legends, sights to see — and crochet! — in future blogs…

If you’d like to see and read more about this village, then you can have a look at the council’s webpage which also has an English translation.

And if you’d like to read more about my life here in this neck of the woods, then why not take a look at my humorous, illustrated book ‘An English Lady in Cordova — the Alternative Guide.

Thank you for visiting me — take good care of yourselves! x

My photo-guided, piggy walk to the mines of La Plata — Posadas (Cordova)

Hi folks! I hope this finds you all in good health and spirits, especially in these difficult and troubling times…

Well, I just wanted to share with you some photos of one of my walks — and yes, it does involve mines yet again! But there is a hint of humour in the last few photos, if you’ll bear with me. There is also a brief description of the mining history of this corner of Posadas which you can gloss over, if you’re that way inclined! So here goes…

As you can see, the only inhabitants of this Victorian building at the entrance of the mine are wild trees — or so I thought…)
The architecture from the Victorian era was beautiful though…
…shame it hasn’t been preserved as part of Andalusia’s National Heritage, or even turned into a cafe/restaurant.

I parked my car outside the mining complex then stepped over the wire which served as a gate. (At that point I didn’t notice any warning signs as to the potential danger of this area, i.e. pot holes, hollows and old shafts that had been covered over by a dusting of earth or a few tufts of coarse grass. Just as well I didn’t step on one or fall down a shaft!)

These were the first two buildings I was met with as I entered the complex. And no, I wasn’t wearing my hard hat, though I had brought with me my geological hammer that harked back to my former days as a geologist in England. (Oh, those nostalgic, bygone days!)
By the looks of that great crack in the chimney I should’ve remembered my hard hat!
QUESTION: Can you spot an animal in this picture? (Answer provided by the following photos…)
And here were more chimneys, funnels and a steadily-decaying building. There were lines and patterns of Victorian brick embedded in the earthen floor marking out old pits, former buildings and probably old rails on which carts transported heaps of rock and ore from one spot to another. I was well and truly in my element! (Wish I’d brought a picnic!)
I continued walking up the hill, past the slag heaps, stopping frequently to pick up chunks of rock and stones with glittering, metallic sides, hoping to find my bit of silver, zinc or lead…
Suddenly I heard some scratching and grunting, and lo and behold there was the creature! I continued towards the ‘house’ and as I got nearer, there was now a shrieking mixed with the grunting!
I jumped back in surprise — and so did they!
The sound of my clicking camera startled the wild pigs — they came pouring out of the old windows and doors! I needn’t have felt worried by their presence.
They took one look at me and off they went galloping, kicking up the dried up earth in their wake! It was a funny sight!
Mind you, some of the braver ones trotted the other way, down the hill — which is just where I was going too…
…and this is what I was faced with! Another funny sight — oink oink!
And those that had already reached the bottom of the hill went to recover under the low-growing tree.

So that was my morning’s escapade, and I loved every minute of it! I will repeat it soon, but this time with my hardhat, geological hammer and picnic so that I can spend the whole day there, picking my way across dangerous pot holes, crevices and tottering chimneys, and sitting astride piggy-smelling slag heaps sorting through the spoils — and all to the sound of snorting and grunting. What an ideal day out that would make!

But before I go, I would just like to add a couple of paragraphs about the background of this area, for those of you who are interested in mining and history:

This group of mines situated in the countryside on east side of Posadas was collectively referred to as Los Cinco Amigos (The Five Friends). They belonged to the Calamón Group and they were mined for lead, zinc and silver. Some of them were originally Roman mines, as ancient utensils unearthed from the sites date the first exploitation back to that era.

The first license that granted use for mining was given in 1692. Subsequently in 1900 the English company, The Calamon Mining Company of Spain, exploited the mines, under the direction of John Power. (There was a lot of English mining in Spain during this era, from 1849 to 1920, totalling about 670 British companies, with the lion’s share, about 196 companies, in Andalusia with 28 mining companies in Cordova province itself. As a result, many English installations were set up, such as hospitals, cemeteries, parks, tennis courts etc., many of which still exist today.)

Likewise, John Power, who settled near the mineral port close to the train station in Posadas, built his villa with gardens and a tennis court, and named the complex Los Menestrales (The Craftsmen), although it was popularly known then as Jardin de los Ingleses’ (The Garden of the English).

However, during the First World War production ceased. This was probably due to the fact that the silver blende ores were smelted in conflict zones and there were no other foundries to take them to. Five hundred families in Posadas were left out of work. In 1916 the English company sold the business to the French Mining and Metallurgy Society ofPeñarroya — Société Minière et Métallurgique de Peñarroya, SMMP. (This mining village is situated in the northern part of the Cordova province in the Sierra Morena, about 66 miles as the crow flies. It was also mined extensively for coal and other metals, and consequently this large mining, chemical and industrial centre became a focus for bombing during the war. See here for my slide show of the village.)

Subsequently, due to the after-effects of WW1, such as the reduced market, the problems with transportation etc., these French-owned mines closed for good in 1922, and the associated installations, such as the overhead bleichert tramway and the electric plant, dismantled.

Other important factors for the general decline in British mining and investment in Andalusia as a whole could have been the result of cheap, Australian lead flooding the market; also The Spanish Royal Decree of 1921 required mine ownership to be totally Spanish.

Well, I think that’s a brief overview of these mines. Thank you for bearing with me if you have!

And thank you for visiting me! Take care xxx

PS. If you like what you have read, maybe you’d be interested in reading my illustrated, humorous/factual book: An English Lady in Cordova— the ‘Alternative’ Guide (available from me or from Etsy)

My photo-guided, very rainy walk to the Roman quarry in Posadas (Cordova)

Hi folks! I hope you’re all keeping well.

As you might already know from my last blog, the weather here in Cordova has done a turn. From the 38° C hot, desert-like conditions to today’s 23° C thunder and rain.

The rain has been very heavy, so I did the thing that seemed most logical to me, which was to go for a walk. You know — ‘mad dogs and Englishmen’ sort of thing. (Or in my case, ‘mad dogs and Englishwomen’.) But at least I went armed with an undersized, telescopic umbrella the diameter of which wouldn’t even span my shoulders — and clad in a skimpy muscle tee-shirt despite the gale-force winds.

It had been a long time since I visited the Roman quarry, Cantera Honda, and being a former geologist, I was dying to delve back in the past. A past where after the sea receded from this part of the land in Cretaceous times, the ancient civilisations moved in: Stone Age man, the Celtiberians, Phoenicians, Romans, Moors etc. They left their mark upon the land — higher up on the ridge of the hills there are Stone Age dolmens, while lower down, the Romans quarried the land for stone from which they hewed out pillars that were then used in many of their palaces, temples and buildings. The pillars were rolled down the hill, carted by donkeys and loaded onto boats that then navigated their way along the Guadaquivir River eastwards to Cordova or westwards to Seville. (There are also many other mines in the vicinity of Roman, Moorish and modern age. More about that in another blog.)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, being an enthusiast of geology, culture and history, I thought I would mosey on down there, take some unprofessional, blurry photos in the rain which I could then share with you. I hope you enjoy my ‘walk’!

WARNING: There are quite a lot of photos, and they are rather grey because of the grey weather!   

I left home when there seemed to be a ceasefire from the heavy showers
I parked alongside my son’s olive grove, but by this time it had already started spitting. The earth was red from the earlier rain
The path passed by mature olive trees, soon to be harvested…
…and by the many dwarf palms that populate these lower footslopes of the Sierrezuela. (You can eat their berries)
The colours became deeper as the sky gradually became more overcast.
This was the sky that was behind me, but steadily moving in my direction…
…but ahead of me, towards the ‘finca’ planted with new olive trees, things looked clearer.
I passed by loads of giant fennel which smelled so fennelly and aromatic after the rain
And there are wild fig trees growing straight out of cracks in the bedrock
I continued to walk westwards along this path, though the light became dimmer
I passed the bordering palm trees
I paused to look backwards over my shoulder, and I saw how the thunder clouds were quickly catching up with me. There was just one single beam of angelic light that was focusing down onto the village of Posadas in the distance
Onwards I pressed. I reached the sign directing me right to ‘Cantera Honda
and then a few steps ahead I came to the first ancient Roman column that had, with time, become half-buried in earth
And then there was a second just lying under a large pistacia bush
This poster told me I was now close to the quarry Cantera Honda (which is located on the local footpath of the Roman Paterna route)
I reached the entrance of the quarry, and yes, it was raining quite heavily now! (Nothing like taking photos in the rain!!)
Old columns and pillars hewn out from the quarry walls and shaped in rounded form by the Romans were strewn everywhere. (And now it was pouring — you can see the lines of rain if you look at the fig tree in the centre back)
More broken cylindrical rock up the side of the quarry (and more rain too, also noticeable !)
Above the quarry, broken columns just scattered the place, carelessly abandoned as if the Romans (or their slaves rather) had just upped it and left
and more broken columns…
…and yet more
and even more…still having kept their recognisable form after 2000-odd years. (If only stone could talk!)
I was up at the top of the quarry (being careful not to slip — there is no fence) — and by now it was pelting (as you can see in the photo)
I was thoroughly drenched by now despite my measly umbrella, and my photos were becoming increasingly blurry, so I decided that it was time to turn around and leg it back…
I pussyfooted over the squidgy puddles and fast-running rivulets
..and with every footstep I became increasingly wetter — and so did my fox!
The fields took on another semblance than that of before — new rivulets, and the higher fields awash with water: (talk about soil erosion!)
I headed back as fast as I could under the rumbling, menacing sky
…until soon I reached my haven. (At least the rains had washed it clean — about the first good wash it’s had all summer — I hate washing cars!!!)
I thought of taking my wet, muddy trousers off, but then again I thought, ‘Better not in case the ‘trafico’ road police are there doing spot checks on the cars. Could be embarrassing… but then I could always reply in my Englishy accent: “¡Oh, lo siento! No sé…” — pronounced, “Oh, low sientow! Know say”, meaning “Oh, I’m sorry! I don’t know…”
And just as I started to drive off, the skies started clearing. Sod’s law!

However, it was an enjoyable morning when all said and done, and I’ve been able to share my experience and photos with you, which I hope you’ve enjoyed.

If something can be learned from my little escapade it’s this: have a nice mug of steaming Tetley’s as soon as you get back indoors (the tea that is, not the beer!).

Well, at least I won’t be needing a shower tonight!

Thank you for visiting. If you like what you have read, then you might want to read some more. My book An English Lady in Cordova – the Alternative Guide is available from here. (I’ve finally learnt how to do the ‘Here’ thing!)

I welcome your comments and questions.

Take care and bye for now! xxx

More of my neighbours (here in the countryside of Posadas, Cordova)

Hello friends! This is just a quick, short post as I couldn’t resist sharing with you a few photos of my neighbour that visited me yesterday evening.

And here’s the little fella…

 The praying mantis. Their triangular heads with bulging eyes are supported on flexible necks
Not one of my favourite neighbours — they give me the heebie-jeebies…
… even though they were considered by ancient civilizations to have supernatural powers
Their forelegs are greatly enlarged and adapted for catching and gripping prey

Meanwhile, there was some interest from my felines, Little Grey and Handbag, who spied him from near and afar. (‘Din-dins?’ they wondered)…

‘I can see you, but you can’t see me! Mmmmm — yummy!’
‘Is it din-dins already?’

…but then there was Ginger who just couldn’t give a monkey’s…

Well, that’s all for now. As usual, I always welcome any comments or questions.

Hope this finds you in good health and spirits — bye for now! x

PS. If you’d like to read more of my stories, then you could check out my books: An English Lady in Cordova — the ‘Alternative’ Guide, or if you like juvenile fantasy/fiction, then Edward’s Secret and the Enchanted Throne might be just the ticket for you… (Both available together with my art work on my Etsy online shop: https://www.etsy.com/es/shop/GillysWork?ref=search_shop_redirect — the hand-decorated bottles are my friend’s work.)