The Sun Returns

With the unsettled weather of the early weekend over, we wandered along the Jalón river to meet a couple for coffee in the Lliber village square. More accurately, we wandered along beside the dry river bed that marks the occasional course of the river between Jalón and Lliber. Our friends are in the process of becoming full-time Spanish residents so we spent an interesting couple of hours chatting over a few coffees each. Now, get this: 8 coffees and two portions of tostada y tomate [toast, olive oil and tomato – standard Spanish breakfast] – 10.60€. [I know, I’m getting repetitive but … for Darwin’s sake!]

We wandered back towards Jalón through the vineyards which, by the way, have just been harvested. With the sun out and with my elbow on the mend from its first brush with the Jalón river, we once again couldn’t resist having a squint at the ford to see who might be around. One again, I was not equipped with camera and monopod so, perhaps inevitably, we saw something that caused me to get excited.. Francine did have her camera but an inappropriately short lens – only 200mm. Nonetheless, I tried snagging my suspect.

J17_1597  Desert DarterThis was too frustrating. I left Francine watching my quarry, which seemed perfectly happy to return to its favoured perch, while I drove back to Casa to get my camera and lens. Sure enough, Mr. Suspect was dutiful still on its perch, watched by Francine. It was, indeed, what I suspected and hoped for, a Desert Darter (Sympetrum sinaiticum). This is still the only place I’ve seen them and I feared for them after the winter torrents. They were still here. It may have been a favoured perch but it wasn’t the most photogenic of perches so t was never going to be one of the greatest pictures but it proved the point.

J17_1610  Sympetrum sinaiticumWe scrambled further and I found another example, perching better, but the poor thing had a malformed abdomen. Continuing further, however, eventually I found a more cooperative and accessible example in very good condition. This time I couldn’t have asked for a better pose and I managed to get a photograph that I was really happy with. Contented camper.

For our Sunday evening meal we were once again trying Spanish lamb. I have to say that I have been nothing but disappointed with Spanish lamb which is, in my opinion, for too young to have any flavour. The lambs are tiny, about 12kg only. I have the same problem back home with so-called spring lamb, which is considerably older than Spanish lamb but still too young. Tender it may be but flavoursome it ain’t.

This evening, we tried a paletilla [Shoulder] but, instead of buying it from a supermarket, this came from a proper meat stall on the market in Denia. it weighed just over a kilo. I gave it 90 minutes on our Cadac with the lid on, essentially a gas powered oven on the balcony, and it was better; still not as tasty as British or New Zealand lamb but a definite improvement. Oh, it was quite a bit fattier than those we’ve had from supermarkets.

A reasonable end to an interesting day.

Posted in 2017-09 Spain

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