Christmas is a very busy time in the retail trade. The run up morphs into the SALES which means this Christmas I had the 25th December and Boxing Day off, as well as New Year's Day.
Other than that it was work as usual which is why I like to book a week in Spain around the end of January, which I did this year. My wife Kay , and I, flew out of Birmingham and were very lucky to leave the snow behind us.
The timing was perfect and this was underlined when we went walking around the hills of Bolnuevo a couple of days later. This little seaside town sits on the shoulder of the Port of Mazarron (Puerto Mazarron) in the region of Murcia (Costa Calida).
The mid day temperatures got up around 20 degrees, though they drop quickly after daylight fades. I like to look for wild or unusual flowers or birds as well as feel the sunshine on the back of my neck. On this occasion I found some wild white orchids, which are not uncommon in this region.
The combination of palm trees and hillsides is more uncommon, creating a feeling of an oasis. Towards Tallante we were privileged to see 3 ground feeding Hoope's.
This is a bird I have seen once, when in Spain with my brother David, and before that only as a picture card given away with Brooke Bond Tea in the 1960's; so imagine how thrilled we were to see this sight.
The almond trees were full of flower, the goat herders control massive flocks, and the local Casa de la Ermita red wine is great value. This is an area I will re-visit in more detail in the future.
Soft fruit was featured in a recent edition of the Great British Garden Revival and David Coton was impressed by Alys Fowler’s enthusiasm for all sorts of berries that can be grown in our gardens.
Flowering bulbs are popular Christmas presents. They can always be relied on to bring colour and scent into the house. Nathan James Dodd tells you how to care for them after the festive season has passed.
You might think that the expensive mountain bike or lawn mower in your shed is safe from being stolen. David Coton finds that this might not be the case and explains how Gardensite can help if you need to make an insurance claim.
Although the timber used for decking should have been treated to ensure longevity, black mould seems an inevitable problem. David Coton has a few suggestions on how the mould can be prevented or the timber restored.