TWO (and a big white dog) AGAINST THE WORLD…

Last March I published a post describing how we became stranded in Boulogne sur Mer for eight months (https://adamhalevi777.com/2017/03/31/boulogne-blues-the-story-of-how-we-became-stranded-for-six-months-in-the-famous-french-channel-port/) and in which I promised to follow that up with a record of some our  subsequent Boulognaise tragicomic adventures. However, one of the many modern problems associated with a life lived in three disparate European locations is that portable hard-drives often end up in the wrong place. As now for instance, while I am currently in Sweden, the hard-drive containing 99% of my pictorial material is in Spain. This unhappy situation will continue until I and the hard drive are once again reunited in March.

Dido and Aura 1

The significance of this lack of pictorial record is that my posts for the forthcoming five weeks or so will be more sparingly illuminated than usual. Thus, the main visual record of our eight hysterically grim months on the north-west coast of France will have to wait.

Fortunately, I do still have access to some interesting and evocative pictures from that time, like the two presented here which in a way sum up that bleakest episode of Dido’s and my 29 years together more graphically than a thousand well-written words ever could. Someone once said I think, or at least should have said, that there is a profound pleasure in melancholy, and perhaps that is why so many of us are often just a subtle mood-swing away from that condition.

Both Dido and I, if not our canine companion Aura, were feeling particularly melancholic the Sunday afternoon I took these shots early in our Boulogne sojourn as we stared out longingly to the English horizon. It was Sunday blues in every sense and the only thing missing from these shots is the dull stench wafting across the sands from the nearby fish canning plant. Nevertheless, when I look at these images now, whether because of our sweet Maremma sheep dog staring down curiously at a lug-worm, or the fact I’ve been so fortunate with my life partner(s), I can’t help but smile.

Aura 1

Funny old thing, life.

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WALKING OVER ALMONDS

AN ILLUSTRATED STORY OF OUR SPANISH “ADVENTURE”

Our second visit to Finca Camilla - as it was then - in the winter of 1992. We were accompanied by an architect friend from Seattle and he convinced us to buy the place...
Our second visit to Finca Camilla – as it was then – in the winter of 1992. We were accompanied by an architect friend from Seattle and he convinced us to buy the place…
This was our first full day in our new home. We'd just done a massive shop for basic supplies in a supermarket in our local town and you can see much of it here...
This was our first full day in our new home. We’d just done a massive shop for basic supplies in a supermarket in our local town and you can see much of it here…
Our bedroom for the next few months - the main room of the old cottage. Basic, but snug...
Our bedroom for the next few months – the main room of the old cottage. Basic, but snug…
Aura was a large dog who enjoyed snuggling into small spaces and cuddling up with us. She isn't really on Dido's head...
Aura was a large dog who enjoyed snuggling into small spaces and cuddling up with us. She isn’t really on Dido’s head…
Our trusty bucket shower - three minutes of sun-warmed bliss. Only trouble was that across the gorge, in our local village the Guardia Civil had a pair of high-power binoculars trained on Dido every time she showered. She was soon known as the "la mujer ducha". After that we showered indoors...
Our trusty bucket shower – three minutes of sun-warmed bliss. Only trouble was that across the gorge, in our local village the Guardia Civil had a pair of high-power binoculars trained on Dido every time she showered. She was soon known as the “la rubia ducha”. After that we showered indoors…
I made this oven from stones. One of the first things I cooked in it was chicken stuffed with peaches. It was out of this world but I've never been able to replicate it in any other oven...
I made this oven from stones. One of the first things I cooked in it was chicken stuffed with peaches. It was out of this world but I’ve never been able to replicate it in any other oven…
Our "deluxe" camping stove. This was the first time I used it . I had no idea that I would still be using it almost a year later...
Our “deluxe” camping stove. This was the first time I used it . I had no idea that I would still be using it almost a year later…
Good food, good wine, good music, and a view to die for (oh, and good woman - taking the photo). Life was good...
Good food, good wine, good music, and a view to die for (oh, and a good woman – taking the photo). Life was good…
Our "lounge"...
Our “lounge”…
Almond whacking - the finca included over a hundred almond trees. Took two months to pick, hull (remove the outer skins), sort and sack up all the fruit...
Almond whacking – the finca included over a hundred almond trees. Took two months to pick, hull (remove the outer skins), sort and sack up all the fruit…
...then we'd take the fruit down to the local factory where we were paid the princely sum of £60 for over 500 kilos of fruit...
…then we’d take the fruit down to the local factory where we were paid the princely sum of £60 for over 500 kilos of fruit…
We couldn't believe the sheer volume of almond skins. Ultimately we dug a trench for them...
We couldn’t believe the sheer volume of almond skins. Ultimately we dug a trench for them…
Some of our first summer's harvest - small cherry figs, moscatel grape and almonds...
Some of our first summer’s harvest – small cherry figs, moscatel grape and almonds…
Dido and Aura sitting at the back of the cottage looking at the stupendous views to the north and west...
Dido and Aura sitting at the back of the cottage looking at the stupendous views to the north and west…
Our local white village (or pueblos blanco), Canillas de Aceituno - famous for producing the King's favourite olive oil...
Our local white village (or pueblo blanco), Canillas de Aceituno – famous for producing the King’s favourite olive oil…
Our neighbour Curro plowing our land with his mule...
Our neighbour Curro plowing our land with his mule…
Aura doing her thing - guarding the Greens...
Aura doing her thing – guarding the Greens. A few years later after she died, we memorialized her on our wine label as “La Guardia Blanca”