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.
Building an extension to your home is expensive and too much for a lot of people's budgets. That's one reason why log cabins have grown in popularity over recent years.
The acer family has always been renowned for providing some of the great classical trees found in British Arboretums. Robert Hall discusses his suggestions for the best acers to invest in for your garden.
Hedgehogs are always welcome visitors to the garden, interesting to observe and useful predators of garden pests.
Haddonstone Bird Baths make handsome features in any garden, not forgetting their primary purpose of providing water for birds to bathe in and drink. Nathan James Dodd reviews the range available to gardeners.