June, July, August 2013

June, July, August 2013
June, July, August 2013
June, July, August 2013
June, July, August 2013
June, July, August 2013

The death of David’s father in June puts things on hold for a few weeks. Harold was always very enthusiastic and proud of this project, and would have loved to visit it, but sadly was too disabled to travel in his final years.
The main holiday months of July and August sees the refuge full all the time. There are families looking for peace and quiet, nature lovers, walkers, environmentalists, writers, photographers and painters. One guest paints a picture of the view of Fort Saint Elme from the house and donates it to Linda - thank you Georges ; a talented young photographer makes a portfolio of insect photos; eight walkers drop in overnight on their way back from Canigou; a family arrives with very young twins who become David’s helpers for the week; all the children hunt for geckos (real ones and the house gecko hunt); the table football game goes into overdrive; the sun shines and everyone writes positive comments in the house book and promises to return next year.
We make bread, pickles, and compote using local ingredients -(canard aux cerises, with local cherries was a favourite), and local Catalan dishes - escalivade, salade catalan, boles de picolats, tarte aux abricots,
We find a reliable water delivery, 3500 litres at a time. There is competition among the guests to keep consumption low (the winning family manages 18 litres per person per day). Passers by who ask to be given water donate over 70€ towards Water Aid. The photovoltaic panels are installed and work splendidly – we have a fridge for the first time! – but the promised installation of the hot water panels does not happen, so the generator fills in.
The Summer is relatively quiet in terms of wildlife, but the young dartford warblers, stonechats, sardinian warblers, melodious warblers, woodchat shrike and red partridge keep us entertained. By mid-August the reverse migration gets started. The first bee-eaters pass by around the 20th , there are reports of white stork movements, and we begin to see signs of raptors. The butterflies have a great year: with constant swallowtails, (common and scarce) graylings, fritillaries, cleopatras, clouded yellows and even a lesser purple emperor. A blackboard by the front door displays a list of what is about.