The ranch style property I am looking after.

This trip I am going to try to blog daily or every 2 days and see what it is like, so it will be in real time for my friends and relations. It also means I will not have lots of writing to do on my return. Let me see what the difference is doing it this way and if I keep it up!

Setting off on my walk.

8 / 9 March 2018

I arrived into the familiar velvet Spanish air and exhaled deeply. It is possible that Spain might have been my home in another life because I think if you had flown me here blindfolded and then put me out of the plane I would have recognised that sensation.

Spanish garden plant: a succulent in full flower in March.

My phone was out of battery like many of my air bnb guests when they arrive in Edinburgh, but I was pretty sure I’d find a charging point easily at Valencia airport and I did. It was on the front surface of a broken bar and the Señora asked me if I wanted anything and accepted when I said no. This was quite a contrast to the Ryanair hostess who would only give me hot water if I paid for it!

Vegetable plot with the Sierra Calderona in the background covered in trees.

In fact I was so hungry that I did have a decaff mini cup in a while – black with sugar, something I never do at home – and it hit the spot as I looked to see if my hostess had left me a message.

Almond blossom with a few nuts from last season.

Georgie happily met me soon afterwards which allowed us to start to catch up on news since I visited to house-sit in July 2017. Lots has happened since then, so we sat up until midnight over the vino rojo and delicious Spanish/Thai curry she had prepared for us.

I slept well, amazed at how tired this virus was making me, but my chest was clearing the more I rested (KD supports LU of course in Chinese Medicine), and my eyeballs were not quite as sore when I moved them. This illness has an emotional cause which has given me quite a shock – I am not sure I have ever had one like it but it is definitely a sign that I am now letting go and moving on.

I woke to the chickens clearing their throats outside my window, and the sun was shining on the surrounding Sierra Calderona.

Taken with the zoom so a bit blurry.
Severus Snake.

Later G took me round and updated me on the house and menagerie before she left me in charge of the house. She showed me how to feed Severus Snake: ugh! Not easy to watch or contemplate doing myself, given I am a vegetarian and it involves a rat as food.

Sophie, the 7 month old puppy.

The new puppy bought me a goldfish she had fished out earlier, presumably as a welcome present.


My daily walk was for strengthening (preparation for the camino in 10 days time), to try out my new trousers, and reacquaint myself with the gorgeous area where I am house-sitting.

I have visited here in December and July, but this is a different landscape again.

Previous Olocau blog 1 and 2.

What a wonderful place this is! At ground level there is some green grass (all was of course dry in July 2017) with violets, clear water, and jumpy insects which look like little logs for the second they are still.

Spring water for irrigation and dogs to bathe in.

At eye level flutter cabbage whites and flies with whirring wings. There is straggly rosemary with lilac flowers, scratchy silver bushes left over from last year, and egg-yolk yellow broom (see photo above).


The first half of the walk along Les Macollades (a route with ancient olive trees and irrigation channels for the vegetable and fruit plots) was amidst almond blossom orchards and orange groves. I picked up two windfalls and juiced them when I got back to boost my immune system – delicious.

Almond blossom.
Orange groves.


Towering above me were the rosy hued crags, some of their tops softened by trees in full leaf, and some jagged and sharply pointing heaven-wards. I taught myself this landscape last year to avoid more calamities of the getting lost variety, and thankfully my Body Mind remembered it well. This time the dogs were perfectly behaved – maybe Pollo and Louis recognised me too.


Sophie, Pollo and Louis – my companionable charges.

I met only one person: a gentleman in a cloth cap with an axe under his arm. When he bade me good afternoon, he revealed a toothless smile.

The majestic Sierra Calderona Natural Park.

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