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Regime Change in the Cypresses

What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there?

Early-flowering Japanese quince bushSpring Again, Already?

Granada’s inspiring springtime is here again. It always takes us by surprise, first with the almond blossoms then in quick succession the Chinese quince and loquat flowers and then the songbirds returning from Africa to nest in our fruit and cypress trees.

Politics in the Cypresses

There’s been a regime change in the cypresses this year. After years of grudging coexistence between the plump wild pigeons and the predatory magpies, the former got tired of defending their eggs and their chicks from the latter and have nested somewhere else. The nests of the pigeons have been taken over by pairs of smaller, apparently more docile birds. We always think of doves as pacifists but that turns out to be a myth. They defend their nests tenaciously and are keeping the larger, more truculent magpies nicely at bay.

Other birds are appearing, as well: blackbirds, European robins, big streamlined black-and-gold orioles, friendly songful finches, wrens and the magnificent (though very plain Jane in appearance) nightingales that nest in the willows down along the river. It only takes two rival nightingale males to form a glorious all-night singing contest which is directed at The Gallinero, and in stereo.

  1. Pat
    21/04/2012 at 8:27 PM

    What’s a Gallinero? And why would you want to stay there? April 2012

    For myself and my daughter Wendy, El Gallinero was the site of three restful nights over ‘Semana Santa’ this year, and during the intervening days, it was also a distraction free space for our creativity to thrive.
    In Wendy’s case, her artistic skills were being aired after lying dormant for a few years. In my case, this was the proverbial ‘kick up the backside’ required to prompt me into creating for me, myself alone… And what surroundings for these creative explorations to take place!
    For such a short stay, we didn’t venture far – indeed, it wasn’t necessary to go any further than Maureen & Mike’s meandering garden paths. We had multiple views along and across the valley to choose from, the spring blooms of the flower beds and containers dotted around the garden paths and walls, not to mention the variety of trees that framed the views and created shadows across the paths and vegetation.

    Thank you Maureen & Mike, for your friendly and generous hospitality, our stay felt like a visit to extended family, with food swapping and artistic advice thrown in! El Gallinero was perfect for our needs and we felt able to borrow even nutcrackers without any qualms.
    The workbench is a real bonus – perfect to stand at, or sit at on the adjustable chairs, what a luxury for the two of us to be able to spread out. We connected to the speakers and listened to an audiobook as we worked. The computer connection was also helpful, for keeping in touch with family back in England for me and in Marbella for Wendy.
    Thanks are due to you Mike, for your tuition in keeping the quaint stove alight and the temperature of El Gallinero at a sufficient level to keep us going through the cool Easter days.
    Thanks also Maureen, for your encouragement and for sharing examples of your work with us in your bright and inspiring studio.
    I look forward to the day when we’ll be able to come to see you again. Next time, now that the creative channels are opened once more, I hope we can join in the printmaking sessions…

    Until we meet again, I shall be watching the multiple blogs!
    (St Albans Herts UK)
    & Wendy
    (Marbella Espana)

  2. 22/04/2012 at 6:01 PM

    Thanks so much for your kind words, do come back and see us whenever you can.

    Maureen and Mike Booth

  1. 04/05/2013 at 8:12 PM

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