viernes, 18 de enero de 2013

Bienvenido 2013! Sun and Snow!

Happy New Year to All!  Feliz año nuevo !

Back on diets now, ( including the cats!) after Navidad, which  seems to go on a little longer here, from 24th December to the day of the Kings on 6th January its one long holiday/round of parties - for those with the stamina!      ;)     But in fairness there´s no obvious air of commercialism, which suits us just fine!
January, so far, has been a bonus of warm sunny days and clear starry nights. The almonds are in glorious blossom; when we open the front door the sweet bubblegum fragrance is all embracing!

A good time now, to try to tackle the garden............. AND start  on the maintenance list before our holiday season begins again in earnest.   Before that however, in deference to  the manaña syndrome which  it just would not be nice to ignore (!) we took a trip upto the Sierra Nevada..... hats, double socks, gloves and extra fleeces.... it was a great day, exhilarating, exploring another world, and believe it or not, the first time we have been there in the winter time.  Oodles of powdery snow under a bright blue sky, people of all ages on skis and snowboards................. we are inspired and have booked a lesson for next week, all being well ! 
Sierra Nevada last Sunday, approx 2500m above sea level
Wish us luck!!
Until next time, hasta luego!

Adios to 2012 !

With the Summer season fairly flying by, before we knew it, Winter was upon us, (well, technically the Winter months, as  apart from a blip in November, the jolly old Andalucian sun did NOT really cease shining!) So, we packed away our dusters, mops and other house and pool paraphanalia, ready to settle down to a nice Winter Siesta!

Part of the AR family management team (Eileen and Trevor) waving goodbye to their tools for another Year!

And, as the season of good will approached, we found the  usual quiet time to  reflect on our Year gone by, the new guests and old friends we have met, the ups and downs of  the world of holiday rentals!  One particularly quirky incident was that of Los Petates and the deep seas diver - to the rescue!

Sue´s brother, Phil,a qualified diving instructor, seen here, taking an unscheduled break from his Summer holiday, in order to carry out some tricky underwater tiling to replace some small mosaic tiles that had lifted at the bottom of the pool!  All sorted in the flip of a fin, ready for our new  arrivals to enjoy.....Just goes to show you never know when, in the heart of the Andalucian mountains, an underwater diver and his breathing apparatus might come in handy! (Cheers Phil, sorry we had to get you out of bed so early for that one!)

Continuing the quirky theme, a slightly different take on nest building, perched on an outside lantern under the terrace!
Not sure if this lot have found Terry´s secret stash of cider!!  Hmm, think I will go and check!

Hasta luego

domingo, 24 de junio de 2012



Last night Spain won the football match,  (thank goodness for something cheery amongst all the euro gloom and doom) and down on the coast, celebrations centred around aimiable gatherings on the beach to join in the fiesta of San Juan, where traditionally at midnight you jump over coals, (beach bbq will do!) and then head for the sea!  Followed by much merriment, eating drinking, singing and dancing, you get the picture!   Meanwhile back at Casa Los Petates and Finca Manolo there is a graceful timeless air of  quietude and of  being slightly  above all that fuss, as countrylife meanders on without hustle or bustle!

The weekend, for us, began at Los Petates, where we prepared the house for old timers J and K (amount of previous visits, not their age!) who arrive today.  I know they are looking forward to some well earned R & R and Los Petates gleamed  proudly in the afternoon sun, when we eventually left, as if in anticipation of welcoming back old friends. Well, Ok, houses really don´t  have emotions, but I am tricked into believing they do have character!

Then, inspite of the heat, (note to all Summer visitors yet to come, you really do NOT
need to pack many clothes at this time of Year!) we trundled along to Finca Manolo (with a pool clean in mind - it´s not all sun and sangria you know!)  to greet yet another couple of old faithfuls (David when you read this back home, this IS mean´t as an endearment!)  where it would have been churlish to refuse the  immediately proffered and wonderfully chilled  glass of rioja and downright ungrateful to dismiss the top up! 

So, all is calm on our mountain and we are gladdened to see old friends again; to know that we are  in some small way part of the  restorative process that our dear Andalucian homes bestow.

Bravo y viva España! 
Until next time. Hasta luego!

lunes, 5 de marzo de 2012

Viva Semana Blanca, BBQ´s and Dolphins !!

Yesterday heralded the end of the traditional Semana blanca, which literally means white week, and takes place after Andalucia day, which was on 28th February.  The children are off school, supposedly to go ski-ing at nearby Sierra Nevada, hence the holiday  being named after snow!   The week´s weather has been wonderfully warm and sunny though , with a spectacular thunder storm on Thursday night,  only wish my photography  was upto nightime composition!  Hmmm, only wish it was upto any kind of  decent composition - really!

For snow lovers,  the peaks of the Sierra Nevada can be seen shimmering  in the distance on the way to and from Colmenar. That´s close enough for us, as we just don´t do cold, but beautiful to admire from afar!

Last week´s holiday was yet another excuse to party- fiesta, with large family gatherings and  succulent smelling BBQ´s ........   so, not to be outdone,  we  topped the week off with a Sunday BBQ at Finca Manolo, just soaking up the sun and the views and the quiet............Funny we have been here for over ten Years, and there is always something new to delight in........ Yesterday,  as Trevor sipped his St Miguel and we reflected on the kindness of our Spanish neighbours, Pepe had just dropped off some home grown olive oil, straight from the press with a huge bag of oranges and lemons,  he suddenly said "go fetch your camera quick"  I jumped up expecting to see an eagle bigger than a plane or runaway wild boar, but rushing back camera in hand, he directed me to the mosaic dolphin undulating in our pool!  "Sue" he said in a suitably reverent tone, "just look at that dolphin, isn´t it beautiful?"

He was right of course, but we had been guilty, as one does of all things familiar, of just not seeing it anymore....  There is, no doubt, a moral there!

Until next time. Hasta luego!

miércoles, 22 de febrero de 2012

Farewell to our weekend visitors!

Just waved farewell to our dearest friends from the UK, Alison and Tony, who came for a  long weekend of R and R at Los Petates.... we picked them up from the airport, all pasty, pale and tired looking on Friday, ( sorry guys, but it´s the truth! ) have now returned them rejuvenated with a healthy pink glow - Glorious combination of sun and rioja!!

Alison is a professional  photographer and artist;  click below for her impressions of the weekend!    she is truly talented!

domingo, 19 de febrero de 2012

martes, 8 de noviembre de 2011

Welcome to Andalucian Retreats!

If you are seeking  a holiday in the real Spain, stunning views and an unhurried pace of life, please visit us at

A Glorious winters morning, poolside,  at  finca Manolo