Good riddance to this year, which has brought many people heart-break, anxiety, a feeling of doom and insecurity, of hopelessness and loneliness.
And here is hoping the coming year will have much to be joyful, hopeful and proud about.
For us, as for most of you, it has brought both, good and bad memories.
Obviously since the implementation of measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus, we have missed out on our constant stream of guests, who always brought so much diversion, life stories and of course income to us.
In June my mother died, aged 96, in Berlin. No, not of Covid, just of old age.
As sad it is to lose your mother, the person who has brought you into this world and always loves you unconditionally, it turned out to be an experience I will always be grateful for.
I was so lucky to be there with her, as were my two children, her grandchildren. At this stage she was already quite immersed in her own world of dementia, but I still believe that she knew, or felt, that she was not alone, that we were there with her. And she died at home, as was her wish, cared for by a set of dedicated angels, the staff of the ‘Pflegedienst’, carers service. And they also took me into their very big hearts; to this day I receive messages asking how I am.
Back in Andalucia we could enjoy the fantastic beach over the summer, packed as usual, and some guests in July and August.
We made new friends and met not quite old ones, and worked on our finca and me tending to the vegetable and herb garden.
Our olive harvest was very good, considering the amount of time spent pruning and spraying for disease.
LAURIE THE LAMB
Three weeks ago, when we came back from a trip to the beach and El Rocio with our Irish friend Roisin, we came across this little lamb in a field all on its own.
He would probably not have survived the night, so it was either to die or come with us. We managed to get a feeding bottle, milk powder and fed him every four hours. He has now grown already quite a bit, our ram lamb.
He follows Nigel and the dogs out and skips and runs around with them, such a funny sight. He blends in well with his black and white woolly coat and he is the same size as Clyde. Some day he might be matching Sofie’s size.
In the garden, the frost has wrecked havoc with the voluntary beans, tomatoes and sunflowers and my experimental amaranth and courgettes, although I managed to harvest a fruit last week.
But on a more positive note, the about ten year old lemon tree is carrying fruit for the first time. And nice big lemons they are, too. We must be doing something right, because it received lots of organic and also chemical fertiliser, just to make sure, and it worked.
Some mornings the temperature in the house is down to nine degrees Celsius. Then the gas heater needs to keep me warm for breakfast and later the temperature outside will be higher in the sunshine.
Thanks to our neighbour Steffi, we received a big amount of oranges and I set about making cakes, desserts and our morning juice from them.
All food here has to be gluten~ and lactose free, so that I can enjoy some too. Sometimes it is tricky, to transfer recipes to suit my needs.
INTUITIVE TRADITIONAL ARCHERY
This year I have taken up my bow and arrows again. It has been seven years since I took part in traditional, instinctive archery, with wooden bows and arrows, in Ireland.
It was great fun to roam the woods in the west of Ireland, where rubber animal-shaped targets were set up. All day long we practiced our archery in small groups, wise-cracking and having a laugh, because the club I belonged to, the ‘Warriors of Queen Maeve’ were a motley group of guys, ladies and families with more interest in a pint after and a day out then achieving best results.
Anyway, I dusted down my two bows, got my arrows repaired and a practice target set up.
Archery gives me a sense of reconnecting to ancient ways of hunting, it concentrates the mind, exercises the muscles and is rewarding, when all goes well. I suppose, any golfer knows the satisfaction of a good shot or the dart player hones his/her skills to become the champion.
I am missing the support of the experienced archers that even go as far as making their own bows and arrows. What I am missing here is the comradeship, not so much the competition as you can always compete against yourself, improving your technique and aim.
The last night of 2020 was spent in the company of friends. We made up an international group of two Irish, two Moroccans and two Germans. We had live Irish folk songs thanks to Nigel picking up his guitar, some rock, pop and also Moroccan Desert blues. We indulged in delicious home-made treats until we could not move an inch away from the cosy fire. And to top it all, we celebrated a birthday right after midnight, in the very shiny New Year.
This was followed the next day by a walk on the beach in the sunshine and we even received our very first booking in 2021, a very promising start to this New Year.