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Archive for Family

Feliz Navidad

IMG_3050 2

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Wanted / Volunteer for ‘green build’ studio

studio 2

Cortijada Los Gázquez is looking for a volunteer who (either with experience or is just keen and able) would like to volunteer to help out with a green build. Naturally board and lodging is on the house and all they would have to do is get themselves here.

The construction will be a modification to an existing building in order to convert it into a second studio for the Joya residency. The construction will be cordwood and cob built within a post and beam type of construction. All materials will be taken from our land.

Expect the experience to be rewarding and hard work with lots of sunshine and good company.

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Jasmine’s Eye

jasmine's daragonfly

Jasmine's cane

Jasmine's mule shoes

Jasmine's sky

Jasmine's turbine

Jasmine's vases and sunset

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La Barranca

Running south and west and marking the perimeter of our land here is ‘La Barranca’. It’s a normally dry river gorge, however it can run with water as a consequence of a weather event or the run off from spring rains.







The end of another exploration.

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New Years Day


Ok, it was a little overcast but it was warm and occasionally the sun shone through the carpet of cloud. This is our favourite beach on the Cabo de Gata. It’s reached by driving down a seven kilometer dirt track through the desert. A desert of low growing indigenous palm, agave and long since abandoned homes. Bliss.

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Fish With A Womb!


Don’t worry I’m not going mad. I just looked up the origin of the name dolphin. Hey, even the great Melville, debating whether a whale was a fish or a mammal, plumbed for a fish. I just wanted to see if ‘fish with a womb’ came up in the top ten search key phrases in my blog stats. It probably will.

These three dolphins were photographed by my brother’s postman whilst out water skiing. Damned talented chap I thought, until I realised he was in the back of the boat and not actually water skiing with a camera in one hand. And the reason I am in possession of this photograph is because Robin’s postman also caught a picture of Robin’s lighthouse in the background.

Point Lynus Lighthouse was built in 1835 with a tower of 11 meters. However the height of the light above mean high tide is 39 meters, it being built on a headland. It was electrified in 1951 and automated in 1989. Yes, sadly it’s true. My brother Robin isn’t a lighthouse keeper, more of a lighthouse owner, which just isn’t the same is it. It houses a 1000w bulb with an intensity of 112,000 candela and the lamps character is ‘white, occulting every 10 seconds’ and has a range of 40km or 20 nautical miles. It would take a rather large pv array to power that light bulb.

What is more, should you be interested, he has two pilot’s cottages within the castellated walls of the structure which are self catering holiday lets. If you want to see more look here. So if you like your rain horizontal and your fish and chips in wet newspaper drop me a line and I’ll introduce.

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Happy news from Los Gazquez


Miro lives! We had a call from a good friend last night who spotted her in the Rambla about half an hours drive from here. He put her in their dog pen until I could get there and what a joyful renunion it was. She was hungry and thirsty but otherwise as normal although when we got back I could see her nervous agitation in the direction of the barranca.

I think a little less freedom is in order and she needs to go to bed at the same time as us. Not chasing wild boar piglets in the night.

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Sad news from Los Gazquez


Miro is gone. After two years of nurturing and training this bright little mongrel, she turned from un disciplined ’stray’ to un disciplined family pet. She was a good and loyal part of our family but has sadly disappeared.

I suspect I know what has happened. Last Sunday night there was a lot of barking and growling as she guarded her patch from the wild boar. She was not an aggressive dog but if she saw boar piglets running through the dark the thrill of the chase would be undeniable for her. And if the boar sow was in attendance she would chase and kill a dog being in possession of great speed and agility and some mean tusks.

I have searched high and low for her but alas no sign. It serves as a reminder as to how wild and remote we are here.

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Home at last!


Home at last and a new ‘remote location’ satellite ‘broad band’ system installed. Three days it has taken to align the dish to the satellite, fix, adjust and get working, having persuaded the provider to give us the correct software upgrades etc..

So I would like to say a big THANK YOU to my ‘mega techno’ friend Nick Tudor for such a sterling job.

He sits in the office, in the cool and shade while I am twenty meters up in space in the blazing sun and heat of an Andalucian August. We have a ‘walkie-talkie’ each and he commands me to adjust the dish’s elevation or lateral alignment. It is like having to find a needle in a hay stack but we have done it. Phew, back on-line.

And what’s made me laugh is that ‘Landcroft House’s’ ‘Feejit Live Traffic Feed’ (look on the right) registers a US military ‘armed forces Europe’ visitation on their blog. We obviously share the same satellite. They must be thinking that they are being spied on. Ha ha.

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Pushkar flimflam


One of my nieces is in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India on a summer trip with friends from Goldsmiths. And as people who have spent a lot of time  in India it has been very nostalgic for us to think of her there and we have enjoyed an e-mail her father forwarded to us very much. Nothing changes!

This being India, there is always some money-making catch involved. On the first day, we had barely taken ten steps from our hostel, when a man with a tray of flowers,approached us and gave us each a handful. He told us it was a ‘festival day’. “why don’t you go drop the flowers in the holy lake?” he said, “go now”. we wander down, thinking how quaint and spiritual this all is. At the bank of the ghat we see a swarm of waiting men. They know we’ve come to drop our flowers. We somehow end up spread apart over the bank, each sat with a different man, and we assume that each is just another flower-dropper wishing to help us. They say “repeat after us”. We all spearately chant a hindu prayer, to Brahma, to Krishna, for our families. He asks for your names, dear parents, and include them in the prayer. He tells me to drop the flowers, to pray for my family, ties a band around my wrist and draws a red dot on my forehead. “vishnu” he says. “vishnu” i repeat. “I promise to give” he says. “I promiseto give” i repeat. “3000 rupees” he says. I get a bit shocked. I say I don’t have the money. He says he’ll follow me to an atm, or my hotel. I panic. He starts saying that he’s a brahmin, a priest, and gets pushy. He sayd he will curse my family unless I give 1500 to the poor. He won’t let me shout to the others. After finally getting away, with a 100 rupee gift, we all realise that we’ve beeen throughly conned. It was the nature of the ceremony that was so clever, and all of us felt that to disagree was to offend their very religion, the very town. They’re clever here. Also, beware, you may have been cursed.


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