• Andalucian refreshment

    Since I last left a post on here I've been totally tied up with all matters relating to "ASH" & getting the word out there that this book is now very much here and ready to go. I officially published on 19th September & as I write almost 400 copies have already gone out. A good start!

    The first two weeks of September might not have been the very best time to have chosen for a holiday, but then it was booked many months back and both Jan and I were more than ready for a break. So two weeks of total relaxation deep in the mountains above the white mountain town of Casares in Andalucia was just the ticket. Surrounded by dense forest of cork oak, Portugese oak and Aleppo pines, with the towering twin peaks of Sierra Crestellina dominating the skyline, the gentle breezes wafting herb-rich aromas and the only noises the tinkle of goat bells and the clucks of chickens.

    Obviously I was going to photograph a few trees along the way, but other things too! Studying the cork oaks at close quarters is quite remarkable. It is the only tree that can survive having all its bark stripped off like this every 9-12 years, but the trees do look very strange. Unfortunately we were a little past the period when the bark is cut as I'd love to see it all happening (some good footage on Internet though). The Aleppo pines are incredibly bright yellow-green and many of the older ones absolutely choked with cones along every bough. Probably some of the most characterful trees we found were the old carobs - one superb ancient tree at the Roman baths of Banos de la Hedionda.

    One night after a most singular day of thunder storms we walked to the top of the valley and looked out towards Sierra Bermeja as the sun went down and amazing clouds flowed in along the valleys and washed over the forest (actually the biggest in Europe). We stayed for almost an hour until the sun had disappeared, the view constantly changing.

    But it wasn't all trees - we travelled to various places & the neighbouring town of Gaucin threw up a beautiful suprise - Urban Crochet - a group of 34 women who have been creating amazing street art since 2015.

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