January-March 2016

January-March 2016
January-March 2016

The New Year is seen in on Collioure beach, in fancy dress, with champagne, oysters and fireworks. With the house closed up, there is a chance to enjoy other events in the area, a visit to the olive oil festival in nearby Espolla (photo 1 human pyramid) and later on a holiday! (there has not been much time to do this in recent years) in Soller on the Spanish island of Mallorca (photo2). Soller has links with this area as for centuries sailing boats brought oranges and lemons to Port Vendres from Soller –the reason why Port Vendres is still France’s main fruit importing port.
Bookings start off earlier each year, with the main holiday weeks nearly full by the end of February. There are minor repairs and redecoration to be done, as well as debroussaillage (ground clearance for fire prevention) but the main task is to repair the roof which has been leaking more and more in heavy rain. Our friend Julian helps out and we discover some basic faults in the way the roof was tiled, and the problems are soon repaired. Living off-grid is like being on a boat. You need to be able to do work yourself and not rely on “experts” to know what they are doing! Before the end of March our first visitors arrive. An early group are the local amateur apiculturalists (beekeepers) who hold their training course in Refuge Madeloc.
After a relatively mild winter Spring migration gets under way in February with the first migrants, white storks as usual. Pretty soon the raptors are on the move, with good passages of Black Kites, and black redstarts too..