Friday, 24 December 2010

Happy Christmas...

and may all your Christmases be white!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Sheep watch live!

More Sheep photos!
Sheep, Laura and Caradoc without snow

Sheep and Caradoc with realistic 'a dusting of snow' effect

Leader of the flock - Peppermint stands guard!

Left to Right: Pawn, Petal, Noggin and Peppermint

This time: Pawn, Petal, Peppermint and Noggin

They get around!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Here are the girls!

They've arrived - we are now officially shepherds!

Expect more photos in the next few days...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Snow business

We are nearly ready for the sheep now after two toe-numbing days spent (hopefully!) securing the field.

Today we went for an icy walk on the Caradoc, a cold and beautiful day.

Six days to go until the Sheep arrive!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Winter WWOOFerland

Hello, it’s been a little while. We have just returned from 2 weeks WWOOFing in North Devon. Despite the freezing weather, we had a fantastic time and were even able to do some work, much of which is described here on Tom's blog

We helped feed the bees

And very much enjoyed taking Poppy the labrador out for walks along the beautiful North Devon coast

There was plenty of time for idling, sitting, chatting, reading and drinking beer as well!

Meanwhile the allotment has gone from damp and muddy

To cold and icy:

Jenny and Anders were the lucky recipients of the giant parsnip:

We are now back in snowy Shropshire for the final preparations before the arrival of Peppermint, Petal, Pawn (really must come up with a better name for her) and Noggin!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Quinta Dos Melros

Another few weeks has passed, and after our lazy month in Medina soaking up the sun we’ve been quite busy – we had a great week WWOOFing with an old school friend of mine - Chris, his wife Filipa and their lovely daughter Maria in Portugal; and now we are back in the UK and feeling the cold!

It was brilliant to catch up with Chris after a long time (at least 7 years) since I last saw him, and what an impressive place he has been creating at Quinta Dos Melros . We spent the week helping out around the farm, which is currently recovering from a devastating forest fire back in August, which by some miracle the straw bale house Chris has been building survived. There are signs of regeneration around as trees and other vegetation slowly come back to life, but it’s hard to imagine the food forest that was growing here previously. We very much hope that in a few years time we will be able to return and see how everything has recovered from this set back. Chris has just completed a diploma in Permaculture design and we learnt a lot from him about various issues that WWOOFing has been throwing our way, and began to understand a bit more about the underlying philosophy of Permaculture. For free and very interesting documentaries on a wide range of issues check out this website:

We sowed seeds, helped chop wood and stack it for use over the winter, played with Maria, helped lay down some new flooring in the house and spent a fun afternoon moving a caravan (to replace the two that burnt down in the fire and for us to sleep in) and then a morning, with help from several of Chris’ friends realizing that the reason it was now flat-out refusing to budge was that somehow the handbrake had become engaged on the last part of its journey!

We had a lot of fun at Quinta Dos Melros, spent lots of time playing cards, drinking wine and eating fine food cooked up on the wood burning range (delicious lasagne and pizza) as well as having a fantastic evening making music – taking part in a drumming circle in a nearby cob walled round house was a really unforgettable experience. We also had an interesting visit to Chris’ neighbour Joaquin’s house full of cats and for some of us also to his wine cellar (men only allowed!!). We really hope we will get the chance to go back to spend time with Chris, Filipa and Maria again sometime!

After Portugal we flew back from Porto to London, spent a night in Surbiton with Dan and Katy, and went to the pub with Mandy before carrying on to Shropshire where we spent two days building a small section of fencing and starting to prepare for the arrival of our sheep in December…

Now we are in Bampton, then later in the week we’ll be in Bristol before we head down to Devon for two more weeks WWOOFing.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Ensalda mixta

Wow, almost 2 weeks have passed since our last post, in a flash! Along with the large amounts of relaxing, reading, painting, lounging in the sun and eating lovely food, we have managed to fit in some other stuff too, including some chores:

We hired a car for 5 days and went exploring, mainly to beach-based sites! We spent one day visiting the impressive Roman ruins of Baelo Claudia, a Roman town.

There we managed to catch a glimpse of a couple of what we think were Ocellated lizards (large ones, like Iguanas). We also went swimming at the beautiful Bolonia beach (next-door to the ruins) with it’s huge sand dune at one end which continues to extend and drown out a forest.

We also spent a number of sunny afternoons at the favourite El Palmar beach, bodyboarding and continuing to better our beach-ball rally scores (172 to beat).

It was lovely to see Katy and Dan at the end of their holiday in Andalucia at the weekend. They were introduced to Pizza Friday, we got bladdered forever, exercised on public gym equipment (and bitten at the same time by beasties), ate random tapas (I ordered a large salad and got given a small salt cod sandwich?!), swam in the wavy Atlantic, drank herbal liqueur, met Eduardo, the happiest dog in the world and rocked out.

We leave Medina Sidonia next week, heading West for Portugal to Matt’s friend Chris for a week of unofficial WWOOFing. Then back to Blighty mid November for 2 weeks of idle WWOOFing in Devon.

This is Gordon, our resident gecko with a stumpy tail:

A sobering article from the Guardian

Better get down the allotment...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


We had a really lovely 5 days in the Picos de Europas with my parents, staying in a tiny medieval hamlet called Tudes with my Dad’s cousin Tony and family. Some (cable-car assisted) mountaineering, lots of sight-seeing, eating and of course drinking in Tony’s bar!

Leaving Mum and Dad in Santander, we headed south spending a night in Madrid visiting a few of our favourite Tapas bars before carrying on down to the warmth of Medina Sidonia last Wednesday.

We've been enjoying the sunshine, a few storms, a little exploring and plenty of relaxing so far. After five months of travelling the idea of having our own space and staying put in one place for a while is very agreeable!

Looking forward to seeing those of you planning on paying us a visit!