Inside an Inversion

After the cold front from the north brought snow and ice we now have a reversal of fortune. A warm front from the east, probably a Levant, can cause some beautiful meteorological inversions.

Whilst the land is still cold the warm air, upwelling from the east, inverts the normal temperature gradient, trapping the cold air below, usually in the form of fog.

I live in hope of seeing a Green Flash, a momentory event where the green part of the sun’s spectrum of light is isolated due to the dispersion of fog within an inversion. Alas it was not seen this morning.

This is the view east from Los Gazquez. The rising sun crowns the Sierra Larga, it’s radiation warming the earth, pressing the fog to the deeper fissures of clay and limestone.

Eventually the fog forms a simile of a lake to the north, to the Sierra del Oso, the Range of Bears.

And what becomes the day is sun afore the Levant brings warmth but more rain.


Happy Christmas Brasil…


“Hi, Beckmanns!
I’m just delighted and amazed to having found you here!!!!!!!!!!
I’m from Brasil, and my husband and me have visited Vélez Blanco in October, 2005. Cause my family name, “Fajardo”,
(That’s the family name of the original owners of the castle in Velez Blanco) I’ve found out this beautiful place (thanks to internet!) and visited it for two days… They passed very quickly, but I fell like I had discovered a new land.
When we arrive, the castle was closed so as to be repaired. It was a really shame… I’ve dreamed about my viewing of the rocks from the castle’s “verandas”, so many nights… Anyway, we have a great time here. We spent one night and two days in Hostal “La Sociedad”. Imagine you, that we’ve brought a bottle of water from the fountain in town to my family!!!
I wish I could do exactly what you are doing now: leaving in Vélez Blanco.
But now, thanks to you, I can follow Los Vélez “desde” Brasil, by Los Gazquez.
I really congratulate you on your victory. You have a beautiful place here in this site. Please, keep feeding my memories and my knowing about Los Velez.
Cecília e José Nilton

P.S. Forgive my sufferable English, please.”

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Snow Squalls on the Sierra-Maria


The squall passed by on Sunday afternoon.


Making the school run a chilly affair at 8.30 in the morning.


Thank goodness for Landrovers I say.


This is La Muela behind the snow clouds and almonds caked in snow. Rather than cakes covered in almonds!

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Our Desert Tannenbaum


It’s ironic that we have made a home fuelled by the sun, the wind and wood, that I should feel guilty about chopping down a young pine tree for  Christmas decoration. That was how I felt last year, guilt for robbing a young tree of it’s future. Call me silly if you like, but the guilt is derived from the idea of robbing the life of a ‘life form’ and commodity from it’s future, it’s potential, be it fine furniture, fruit or plain fuel.

This year we have decided to reap the ‘bi-product’ of a life form, the ‘mast’ of the Agave Americana, dried by the wind and bereft of flowers and seeds. Our Tannenbaum shall be painted white, decorated with white lights (Lichtfest) and hauled aloft in the patio, fronds decorated with glass baubles and it’s feet planted in a boot of concrete.

Currently weather conditions are foul here. Rain, snow and deep frosts have turned the earth to clay and the wind is bitterly cold. What better way to spend a few hours than searching the rambla for one’s Christmas tree. These agave are naturalized from Mexico and thrive on the edges of the dry river beds. Not a cactus, despite the evil spines, but a lily or amaryllis. Proudly, we are in possession of an Agave Parrasana bought in Girona last year, now thriving in the garden here at Los Gazquez. Maybe in a few years we can cut the ‘mast’ from this plant for our Christmas Tannenbaum.


Something for the Weekend

Another gravitas performance from ‘Andalucia es de Cine’, this time in the Alpujarras. That’s the area on the south facing slopes of the Sierra Nevada bridging Almeria province with that of Granada and the last kingdom of the Moors in Spain.


May The Force Be With Us


As the weekend approaches Sollie has planned a Starwars fiesta, making drawings like these in preparation.

“The force is strong with this one”.

Or is it just stubborn willpower?


Asociacion Artistica


This weekend saw the Velez Blanco leg of an exhibition by members of Grupo Gabar. (The figure is one of the paleolithic cave drawings in these parts and represents the group). Donna and I participated with some rather old watercolours made in India, being all we had to hand in a frame at the time of the invitation. The first part of the exhibition was in Almeria city (alas we didn’t make that) and the second part was here…


This is the Galeria Estudio La Concepcion and the brain child of our friend Pepe. It’s part of the 16th century convent of Velez Blanco and is extremely beautiful.


Like private views the world over punters never stand back to back admiring the work. They focus in on each other, the food and the wine and conversation. Ok it’s not a crush but the sun was shining for the first time in a while and it gave us the opportunity to say hello to people, especially Pepe who is always a delight.

From here we escaped the cold and went to the beach with the children for the rest of the weekend and a bit of RnR. It’s amazing how much warmer it is down there despite the grey skies. Sun is forecast so I believe that’s the last of the bad stuff until spring which gives you the first of the year’s rain before the big heat.


Pedro The Water Delivery Man, Pedro The Boar Hunter…


Yesterday was the first day of the boar season and the sierras were very busy with gun ‘totin’ hunters. One of them was Pedro, who is only normally seen up here when delivering water in August. He actually flagged us down to proudly show us his trophy.

What ensued was an intense explanation to the children as to why Pedro had killed it and that it was a free animal and that out of respect for the boar Pedro was going to eat all of it and not throw any away etc…

Pedro also promised me a piece of it, so I can guarantee some of it won’t go to waste.


We Are Off To Sunny Spayn…


viva Espana.


Oops! No School Run Today


Here at Los Gazquez, at 1000 meters above sea level, snow is not uncommon. The fact that the road to school climbs up another 250 meters makes  the chance of getting through rather slim. Couple that with the notion of being unable to get back again makes the trip just not worth the risk.

Our young olive grove in the foreground is unaffected thankfully.


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