When the temperature hits 33 degrees plus, it’s time to head to the beach, where it is mostly six degrees less hot and a nice breeze caresses your body as you judiciously space out the time between swims with lounging around, reading and people watching. We go to a place that is near the chiringuito ‘Heidi Bananas’, a gay haunt and a left-over from the heydays from thirty years ago, when Matalascanas was ‘hip’ and visited by the Germans and English, before they discovered the Costa Blanca, Ibiza and Mallorca. Then the huge camping place with all mod-cons was also in use, but is now completely deserted.

This beach lays to the right of the town, at the end of a winding sand camino, which ends close to the light house. There the beach is fringed with cliffs and stretches endless. It is never full, as there is so much space. There is also a tractor to watch that pulls boats from the water or leaves them down to the surf. The next restaurant is about a km further on and this whole side of beach until the yacht harbour in Mazagon stretches over 25 kms. The other side, in the direction of Matalascanas to the Gualdalquivir river stretches over 30 kms, with a dune landscape. So the total length of the beach here is over 55 kms! On both sides of Matalascanas is the Donana National park, which means no buildings are allowed and there a very few places, where you can actually access the beach. All this area belongs to the Golf of Cadiz and the Costa de la Luz.

But not only can you use the beach to relax, no, Nigel uses it to whip himself into shape with varies circuit exercises while running up and down the beach. Recently two fifteen-year old boys stopped to ask him how many press ups he could do. So they joined him in crunches, planks and press-ups; and that after he had already done his set of 100. There really is no glory to challenge an over 60-year old when you are fifteen and can’t keep up…

Tomato Chutney

A good use for ugly, discoloured or green tomatoes is to make some chutney. The green tomatoes were harvested accidentally; the others just didn’t look nice on a plate so in they went together with two onions, one tired apple and a handful of raisins. Chutney also needs brown sugar, vinegar and some spices, here I used ground ginger and three small dried chillies and a pinch of salt. I have made chutney before so I am not too concerned about quantities, as long as the flavour is good. I had about a pound of tomatoes and half a cup of brown sugar left and added vinegar by taste. Don’t be tempted to add water, the apple, onions and tomatoes have enough juice themselves.

An hour later all was nicely soft and golden brown and ready to put into jars, hey presto.


Blessed Are Thou Amongst Women

It just so happens that we now have an (nearly) all female house, with 5 female guests and I Nigel is vastly outnumbered. Not that he minds…..

We have two mothers and daughters, Italian and Peruvian, and a lady from San Sebastian, all holidaying here for more than a few days.

We do have one of the best beaches, have I mentioned this before? And lots of horse riding opportunities as well as cultural attractions like three of Cristoph Columbuses carabelas, a huge ancient and still working open-cast mine, a venerated Virgin, a vast National Park and in the not so far mountainous region of the Sierra Morena also caves.

Our other star attraction is Jack, the cat, loved by all.

The best guests…

… love animals

…. enjoy the food, the time to read or even swap breakfast for a haircut


One thought on “BEACH BEACH, BABY

  1. Jack O'Sullivan August 11, 2019 / 9:45 pm

    Hi Angelika and Nigel,

    I love your blog, such sunshine, summer weather and interesting activities !

    Here in Ireland, we have the occasional sunny day, but most of July was wet and windy, and during the last few days we had torrential downpours for almost the entire length of each day, and the stream is at its highest level ever. Even though the weather is reasonably warm, leaves are already being shed by our trees, and we can see that autumn is upon us, and winter not far away !

    Our activities in Ballymanus have been mainly doing work of various kinds. Since you last visited us, I have built another shed — a timber building attached to our steel shipping container, and I’m transforming it into a workshop ! I had some help with the structure (Jimmy McEntee who built our Seomra built the walls, floor and roof), while I then lined it with insulation and covered the insulation with an inner lining of old floor-boards (nails removed and the boards sanded) screwed to the walls.

    However, the floor is sagging (we didn’t make it strong enough), and the best way of dealing with it is for me to get underneath with a car jack and lift the supporting beams, and then use concrete blocks to support them. But we have a serious problem — a few days ago Dalia almost filled the building with masses of all kinds of timber which will have to be removed before I can raise and re-level the floor ! So I will have to pay someone to shift the wood before I can deal with the floor — it would take me an entire day to move it by myself, there is so much of it. But Dalia says that she will help!

    Two weeks ago I had a 5-person crew from “Whistles for Refugees” here in Ballymanus — they camped overnight, stayed for two days, and we got a huge amount of work done: hedges and trees were clipped back, stones were moved, our wheel-barrow path to the woodsheds was narrowed from 5-metres to around 3-metres (the house builder had insisted nine years ago that it should be made wide enough for the 17-tonne tracked digger !), and one wall of our new shed was painted before rain stopped work ! The crew lit a campfire, and we all stayed chatting until nearly 02:00 a.m.

    I also fixed vertical wooden laths to our front gate, so it looks less like a farm gate and more like a house gate.

    Dalia was away for three-and-a-half weeks in Lithuania — her brother had a mild heart attack, and he was in hospital for a week or so; now he is at home in Vilnius and recovering.

    Consultancy work was quite slack in June and July — and I was quite happy with that, as it gave me time to work in the garden between rain showers. But last week I got two new jobs, to be completed before 21 August — a Screening Report for Appropriate Assessment of a project to carry out works on a river, and an appeal against permission granted for a housing estate in County Louth.

    Our Seomra-Office in Ballymanus is now fully functional at last — electricity and central heating last year, and telephone last month, with broadband by landline (between 1.0 and 1.2 Mbytes/sec download and less than 1.0 Mbyte/sec upload). We have also installed PV modules on the roof (at last !), and for a week we have been getting our electricity from them. Even on dull days we are getting some current, while on bright days the battery becomes fully charged, and the system is exporting to the grid. But unlike Germany and other EU Member States, we are not paid for electricity we export ! The Government has been considering this since around 2015, but I guess that ESB Networks and Eirgrid are putting up strong covert objections !

    We would love to have visited you this summer; but, as you can see, we have been very busy with various works ! Perhaps next year … if we survive another horrible Irish winter !

    Very best wishes to you both, from Dalia and myself,



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