yesterday we walked around the edge of the sierra towards Arroyomolinos; there was a strong cold wind blowing from the north-east and this walk left it behind us. some of the olive groves there are very pretty, full of flowers still; when I left last time this one was a haze of yellow; now itís full of viperís bugloss.

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the path is narrow, often only room for one person, between dry stone walls, and over boulders. the view is of† rugged sierra and little fincas grazed by cattle on the one side, and more cultivation towards the plain.

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at the point where we have to turn round the paths have not been kept up and are too overgrown with brambles to walk through; itís a shame as they would lead up into the sierra.
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yellow flowered moth mulleins are quite common here, growing against the dry stone walls.
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from above this battlement of granite cliffs looms over the little valley, I wonder how long it will take before more of this crashes down, or if the disintegration is much more gradual. below there is a little spring, its run-off full of peppermint.
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the broom is such a blaze of lambent yellow you bathe in it when passing through the bushes which line the path. in English gardens it is a rather coarse plant, growing enormous very quickly, but here it has its natural place in the grey and dusty landscape.
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today there was a small amount of progress on the pool; there is not enough water in it yet to finish it, which is more than a little frustrating, partly due to Spanish switching off everything as semana santa progresses Ė the next two days are holidays in the holy sense. but Graham was able to plant some reeds and rushes, which will fix this orangey clay which appears to be about to wash off the liner.
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he has experimented with papyrus reeds which grow big and tolerate being either in the water or on the bank, provided they survive any frosts.
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the phosphate filter had to be cleaned out, a five foot deep cylinder containing black earth. he is going to consult the solar engineer on the best pump for the job, it may be best to get one which has its own solar panel, meanwhile the far too greedy pump which is currently installed is only running for five hours a day.
so now we have to wait until enough water has been delivered to give an inch or two into the skimmers, and then he will come back and finish the planting. after three weeks these sparse bits and pieces will fill up the gaps, in the warm sunshine things grow very fast when they have their feet in the water.
meanwhile the finca is full of birds; there was a nightingale singing last night in the brilliant moonlight, and I keep hearing snatches of his song from around the place during the day.