Archive for March, 2015

Yesterday was the first day of my Easter break and the weather was beautiful. As usual there were quite a few chores to attend to. The outside metal stairs needed painting and the wooden structure which provided shade on the terrace had to be treated against the sun and the fence needs fixing in the places where the dogs get out and make a nuisance of themselves. Continue reading

We all went out for a late lunch today and afterwards nobody was up to much. Grandad was soon crashed out on the sofa and Trinny and Pippa settled down to watch something on the telly while Leo was plugged into youtube. With everybody else happily occupied, or fast asleep, it struck me that this might be a good time to tie up a couple of flies and sneak out to the river to see what the fish were up to. Continue reading

Yesterday I went off to Concepción reservoir with my son Leo to see if we might catch a black bass or two. The prospects were looking good and the level of the reservoir is as highs as I have seen it. When we arrived we saw a guy out on a float tube. He was out after bass too but fishing more conventionally with lures. Leo and I, of course, are purists and target bass only with flies. We are also, as it turned out, pretty crap fishermen having taken only one fish between us! Continue reading

Big brown trout are hard to come by, or at least, I find them hard to come by. And so I am full of admiration for people who are able to catch them consistently. One person who has caught a shed load of large trout is Dennis Moss and he wrote an interesting account of one of his big fish, taken in Lough Arrow, in his book “Irish Rise”. Continue reading


Everybody knows that cool people take millions of “selfies” and send them out to their flocks of admirers. You just need to look at the Daily Mail to see that the beautiful people out there are busy taking photos of themselves and that the images they capture, which usually portray them wearing little or nothing, become instant “news.”

Inspired by the success of the celebrities in the media, I thought I might boost my own profile by posting some selfies of my own (I could become another Kardashian!)

You will be pleased and relieved to hear that I will refrain from parading in my underwear.

Check out my selfies below: Continue reading

A few days ago I was out walking the dog when we came across a bunch of caterpillars crossing the road. These were processionary caterpillars and are a familiar sight in this part of the world particularly at this time of the year. They walk in a line one after another, a habit that gives them their common name. They produce a trail of pheromones but it is the hairs at the rear of the caterpillar in front provide the main stimulus for the caterpillar following behind. Even though I have seen this behavior many times I had never stopped to consider WHY they should be marching in a procession like this away from the pine trees on which they grow over the winter.

So why DID the caterpillars cross the road? Continue reading

Dances with Gypsies

I´ll tell you a story I heard one time about a young fella at a dance. I don´t remember the details like they guy´s name but I can give you the gist of the story anyway.

It all happened back in Ireland and the dance was really a nightclub somewhere on the edge of some provincial town in Roscommon. But again, these are details.

He was infatuated with a girl but was too shy to ask her to dance. He was also one of these non-drinking types so he couldn´t just knock back a couple of pints and give himself a little Dutch courage. Anyway, after a bunch of false starts he finally managed to approach the girl and ask her if she would dance with him. Continue reading

Pippa´s big day

Sixteen years ago today our daughter Pippa was born. She has lived pretty much all of her life in the South of Spain but she was born in the South Island of New Zealand, half a world away.

It rained heavily on the day she was born. This was the sustained rainfall that the farmers had been waiting for and which put an end to a long period of drought. All day long, as we waited for her to put in an appearance, we watched the water streaming down the window of the delivery room while the radio broadcast interviews with jubilant farmers. It was impossible to get away from the idea that only good things could come of a day like this, and so it proved to be.

There is too much to say about Pippa to squeeze it into a space as small as this one. So I won´t even try. If you know her yourself you won´t need me to tell you what a lovely person she is. She is friendly and kind and has a heart of gold.

So I will state simply that we are all so proud of her and so delighted by the young lady she has grown to become.




The way things work around our way is that if you don´t have internet you can´t watch the telly, or at least you can´t watch British telly. Most of the time this is no great loss but things are different during the spring when the six nations is underway and the best rugby teams in the northern hemisphere are slugging it out.

On Sunday the internet signal was on the blink and I had no way of watching the Ireland England game at home. What was more, the few guys who had been talking of meeting up to watch it over a pint called it off for one reason or another. Continue reading

Goodnight Bonita

Last night I buried my dog Bonita between some fruit trees on our little plot of land. It was late when I started and I finished the task in moonlight.

She had died the previous night and, truthfully, had been in deteriorating health for some time. We all knew that her days were numbered.

I was probably closer to Bonita than any other dog I have owned and for many years we walked together, usually at night, for a mile or so. I don´t know how many times we did this. It must have been a thousand at least, and it occurred to me this evening that our walks, if linked end to end could take us from one end of the country to the other.

Bonita was about as white as you can imagine and she stood out even on a dark night. She was pretty fat too, to be honest and would gobble down, not only her own food, but her sister´s too if she had half a chance. Her tendency to put on weight was one of the reasons for our nightly walk.

If she was close enough to you and her legs were tucked underneath her she looked like a white cloud drifting a couple of feet above the meandering dirt track we followed.

At night you can have the campo to yourself and there is no one around to listen to you. So it was Bonita who heard many of my most private thoughts and listened to many of the songs I would be too embarrassed to sing publicly. She also listened to some comedy scripts that I was writing, some pieces of which were later performed. Nobody else has heard anything like as much as she did.

We will all miss Bonita. I was the last to see her. Her white silhouette stood in stark contrast to the dark floor at the bottom of the cubic metre of soil I had dug out for her and she was illuminated, fittingly, by the light of the moon.