April 2018….. the collapse of the chimney and other nicer things

May 11

April 2018….. the collapse of the chimney and other nicer things

This year we flew into Granada for the first time, we knew it was a lot closer to the cave but had never tried this run previously, we are definitely coming this way again at every available opportunity. We picked up our pre-booked hire car from AVIS who were very helpful and didn’t try to hassle us in to buying upgrades or extras, the car was better than adequate (bearing in mind we always use the cheapest cars we can get our hands on). We were out of the Airport within 1/2 an hour and on the road. The scenery along this route is amazing, you’ve got the edge of Granada City then the Mountains of the Sierra de Huetor and the snow capped Sierra Nevada followed by the Red and Orange, Outer Space like scenery of Guadix and then finally the Altiplano in the Baza Region – We arrived at the cave within 1.5 hours. On arrival we heard from the locals that this was the coldest spring they could remember and that it had been snowing overnight in Castril, we ended up getting getting handed three days of cold winds, cloud and light rain. This then picked up and turned to intermittent sun and cloud.  A few weeks before our arrival we were informed by Clive that he had found some issues with the chimney, basically some of it had collapsed. It was around the chimney where my initial water leak had appeared back in 2014 (catch up with the original Story Here). To cut a long story short, this area of the cave had been left until last and when attempting to fit the new woodburner the mantelpiece collapsed bringing with it a big pile of mud,clay and stone. I hasten to add that I didn’t like the existing fireplace so I was somewhat happy to have it worked on. I am very happy with the outcome and it is nice to get some more organic curves replacing harsh straight lines.  This visit also saw the last few bits of furniture being delivered from the UK, stuff I’ve had stored firstly in Devon and then in Merseyside since 2013. The Cornish Methodist Chapel Pews for the dining room,...

Read More

A visit to Cortijo Búho (The Bird of Prey Experience)

Apr 25

A visit to Cortijo Búho (The Bird of Prey Experience)

April 2018 and we visited Cortijo Búho’s Bird of Prey Experience. Not being seaside attractions kind of people: Kiss Me Quick Hats, Slot Machines and Benidorm Karaoke (you get the picture) we were very excited about this trip, particularly because it is only 20 minutes away from our cave. Cortijo Búho is just outside Benamaurel, a reasonably large and typically rural Spanish village in cave house territory with quite possibly more bars than people. They run what they call a “Bird of Prey Experience” which is aimed at small groups and families, forget waiting around for 20 minutes for the people in front to get a move on so you can have a look in the next cage….. This is actually Really Quite Special !!! We were booked in for the 12th April, It was a dull grey and cloudy day but it had at least given up raining. On arrival we were greeted by a Mat and Lawrence who immediately invited us in to their fantastic Vaulted Cave House which dates from the 11th Century, I’ve yet to see two identical cave houses but this one is spectacular. We were given a rough itinerary as to what we should expect…. It Pretty Much went as follows: 1: Meet some Birds. 2: Have some Food. 3: Meet Some Birds. (I must stress here that this is nothing like meeting birds at a Benidorm Karaoke). First of all we got to meet and handle the Barn Owls Molly and Magic, a lovely pair who quite happily demonstrated their silent indoor flying skills and their ability to chose who to land with, somewhat dependant on who had a little treat for them. Next up was Mystic a gorgeous 2 month old White Faced Scops Owl who has recently learned to fly but seemed to quite enjoy walking around on the table and being very attentive to anything that moved. Time for Dinner……. WELL WOW ! Three Course Thai meal, created with organic produce from Mat and Lawrence’s own garden….. This was certainly one of the best meals I have had in Spain in the seven years I have been visiting. During dinner Mystic fell asleep on top of a candle but had...

Read More

This week I have mostly been flicking through this: Once Upon a Time in Almeria by Mark Parascandola

Feb 24

This week I have mostly been flicking through this: Once Upon a Time in Almeria by Mark Parascandola

I stumbled across Mark’s Blog about a year ago while looking into the possibility of visiting “El Condor” (the remains of the purpose built filmset Fort used for the film of the same name). His blog had a post talking about his visit to the site then going on to explain that the land owner had turned up with a gun and loosely threatened to shoot him. Obviously I was rather put off by this idea as I never trained to be a teacher in Trump’s America and would therefore be unable to overpower him. Reading on I discovered that Mark was a photographer with a fondness for the Almeria region and also a huge interest in Spain’s historical Spaghetti Western film history. He has spent many years documenting the villages, forts and farms that are slowly being reclaimed by nature. So much so that to the untrained eye there isn’t a village with a bar, a church and a ferreteria at all where Alex Cox filmed his 1987 movie “Straight to Hell” and previous to that Charles Bronson took the lead as Chino in “Valdez the Halfbreed” in 1973 right beside the  Autovia A-92 just outside Tabernas…… ……. after reading through Mark’s blog I discovered that he had book that was very close to being published featuring lots of photos of his visits and naturally I had to own one. To cut a long and tedious story of how my mind (doesn’t) work it arrived at the beginning of this week and It is fantastic…. Lots of lovely photos of places I’ve visited and some that I haven’t  that aren’t all totally overexposed like mine always are. Fun Fact: The “Flagstone” Set for Sergio Leone’s 1968 Once Upon a Time in The West Movie was also used in the KLF’s 1991 White Room Film (find it here on Youtube). If you have any interest in the Spaghetti Western genre then this is a great book to have, It’s about £25 (find it here on Amazon) ** I’m not selling it by the way ** ** I’m just informing you because I like it very much 🙂 ** BOOK INFO Paper over Board, 10 X 12 In. / 148...

Read More

Pop’s Cave Story and a nice bit about The Correos (Post Office)

Feb 20

Pop’s Cave Story and a nice bit about The Correos (Post Office)

I felt I needed to write some more but as I haven’t been over to Spain for a while I thought I’d be lazy….. I met this Guy on Facebook who lives in my village and he seems ok (which is a bonus). It turns out his cave is a couple of hundred yards down the Rambla from mine, he and his wife moved over from the UK a Year ago this very day…… this is their story 🙂 Pop & Gelda After 40 years living in Kingsthorpe, raising 3 sons who are all married with children of their own, my wife and I decided to follow a dream that had long been on our minds and moved to Spain. Friends of ours had bought 2 cave houses in Andalucia, near Baza, and intended living in one and renting the other, and were happy to let us stay in their second cave while we looked for a place of our own. So on a cold, damp morning in late February we boarded a plane to Malaga, collected a rental car and drove through stunning scenery, past Granada and the snow capped Sierra Nevadas, to our temporary home – a 2 bedroomed cave with a large open fire, fairly basic cooking facilities and a bathroom with shower. Over the next few weeks we opened a bank account, bought a car, obtained our NIEs (identity documents) and looked at a number of caves in the region, some of which we liked but never quite ticked all the boxes for us. Then we were shown a 4 bedroomed cave home, with 2 bathrooms, a large wood burner, carport, good sized garden and views across a valley to distant mountains – and we fell in love with it. It came fully furnished – a great help as we brought no furniture with us, just books, records and the like. It’s a short uphill walk into the village of Cortes de Baza, with 2 small supermarkets, a bank, bakery, builder’s yard, and 5 or 6 café bars. Everyone says Buenos Dias to us as we walk around, and the market on Saturday is a bustling little affair, with vegetable, clothes, plant and shoe stalls....

Read More

Our Friends Eco Campsite Project in Vera

Dec 03

Our Friends Eco Campsite Project in Vera

I haven’t updated in a while…. as there hasn’t been much going on in my life cave-wise since I was last in Spain, today however I thought I’d pass on some information about a project one of my friends in has been working on. Camping VerdeVeras The plan is an eco friendly (offgrid) campsite on a piece of land that she has recently purchased in Almeria Province.  She has been planning the site for over two years but now the purchase of the land is complete it is finally moving along and will almost certainly be an interesting place to go and stay. Situated on the outskirts of Vera the site is a sunny, level plot about 14 minutes from the sea, just under an hour to San Jose, The Cabo de Gata and Almeria and good place to start if you are wanting to explore the Spaghetti Western locations in and around Tabernas and the Cabo de Gata. Vera town itself is just a short walk away and is full of the usual amenities, Supermarkets, Bars etc. The site is taking shape slowly but surely but at present she is looking for some help doing stuff clearing, heaving, building and generally being helpful (obviously having a skill in eco stuff would be more than handy)…. there is already a small team onsite doing stuff but any help would be or could be useful…… so if you have some time free between now and next summer and fancy a cheap holiday in a lovely part of Spain get in touch via the Verde Veras Facebook Page. When the site is open it will be a great spot to base your explorations in this area of Spain….. There are several Airports within fairly easy access: Almeria 50 Mins / Murcia 1 hour 22 minutes / Alicante 1 hour 56 minutes / Granada 2 hours 10 minutes / Malaga 3 hours. and of course the drive from the ferries in the North is well worth the experience. Also if you are in anyway interested in exploring this region pop in and LIKE the Facebook page for updates Camping Verde...

Read More