Sunday, February 14, 2010


After four happy and stimulating years we sold our cortijo in Guajar Alto last month. We shall miss the beautiful mountain scenery, wonderful walks, the fascinating flora and fauna, our friends and the ambience of Spanish village life.

Unfortunately it has been extremely difficult to earn a living in Los Guajares. The remoteness, lack of cultural interest and a market for art were the main problems. We feel we have experienced everything the area offers and it was time to move on.

We have bought an olive farm in El Poniente Granadino near the towns of Loja and Huétor Tájar. The new property, although you have to ford a river to get to it, is within easy reach of Granada city and many historical towns - see

The landscape, although not so dramatic and awe inspiring as the mountains of Los Guajares, is very pretty with its rolling hills of olives, river valleys and the vega of Granada with its backdrop of the Sierra Nevada. There are going to be endless subjects to paint and we are converting outbuildings into a studio for me and a room for an office and print production.

My current blogs and will continue and my guajar blog will be replaced by a new blog - although I will keep it posted as it is a useful refernce for people interested in Los Guajares.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Yesterday we repeated the long walk which I recorded on this blog on the 30th April. This time, our fiends Mike and Trudy came up from Salobreña, on the coast, to join us. It was another beautiful morning and very warm for late October.

The first part of the walk is a long climb up a track through almond groves and pine woods until the top of the ridge of Entresierras, at an altitude of 1,000 metres, is reached. Here, there is a crossroads where we encountered another group of walkers, the first we have ever met on our rambles. Although the group comprised only 8 people, there were Spanish, English, French and Germans in the company. They had driven up from Almuñecar on the coast and parked in the village of Lentegi below. The steep climb to the summit was as far as they were going. Meanwhile, we took a right turn and followed the ridge. To our east we could see the mountains of the Sierra Nevada with almond groves in the foreground. Unlike the end of April, there was no snow - very unusual for this time of year - on the peaks. To the west was the jagged outline of the mountains of Malaga, while to the south a thin veil of sea mist obscured the coast.

We continued along the track behind El Fuerte, the mountain that dominates Guájar Alto, and stopped for a picnic lunch. The late autumn sunshine provided beautiful light for photography, casting long shadows that accentuated the relief of the mountains and illuminated the dried grasses in the foreground. We then began the long winding descent down to the Rio Toba. Just before we reached the country road that follows the river, we stopped to look at the old oven which was once used for extracting the essence from juniper berries.

Our mountain track joins the river track about 7km from Guájar Alto and we made our way along it back to the village and a well earned beer at Carmen’s Bar. We had set out shortly after 10am and arrived at the village at 5pm. It was a very enjoyable day but the walk is quite demanding and both humans and dogs slept well last night.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


After our morning walk we took a short drive up the rural tracks to the highest mountain, Giralda, in the Sierra de Las Guájaras (note the feminine ending here) situated directly opposite our house, passing Guájar La Vieja (Old Guájar) on the way. This is an isolated group of houses which once was an important farm. Over generations the land has become divided and the hamlet deserted. A few of the buildings have been converted to barns as some villagers who own parts of the original estate still farm bits of the land.

The light was wonderfully clear and the panoramic views were stunning. We took many photographs. Even at that height, it was exceptionally warm for late October. The rich greens of the pines and the leaves of the almond trees, now russet, contrasted strikingly with the grey and brown rock of the mountains. From our elevated position we could see the the sierras of Motril and the Mediterranean shimmering in the distance.

We collected firewood in anticipation of the colder winter nights, and on the way back, stopped to pick some pomegranates on an abandoned piece of land. The Spanish word for pomegranate is ‘granada’ and I think it’s a great pity that the fruit which symbolises this province is nowadays not considered worth harvesting.


In contrast to Thursday’s rain and rainbows, yesterday was much brighter, and this morning was even more glorious. We took the dogs for a walk first thing, before it got too warm in the unusually hot sunshine, and repeated the photo I published on the last blog. Also, here is a photo of the village of Guájar Alto taken during our walk.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


At last the October rains have arrived. There is thick snow on the Sierra Nevada and the temperature in Los Guajares has dropped to 19C. After a long dry spell the rain is welcome particulary for the vegetable garden and the olives which we will start harvesting for oil in about 2 weeks time. Here is a photo taken this morning from our land of the mountain, El Fuerte. In the clear mountain light the colours of rainbows are always intense. The unsettled weather is not set to last as we are promissed a fine weekend with temperatures bach up to 25C.
Country House For Sale - check out

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I posted the article, Ghosts of Granada, on this blog in October 2008.
Please have a look at it again.

Some time later, I was asked by someone who'd read the published piece if
I'd ever seen any physical manifestations while we were living in the
villa. I replied that although I hadn't seen anything or anyone, I had
formed in my mind an impression of a man. He was bearded, wore spectacles
and was neatly dressed in - unusual for a Spaniard from the area - a light
coloured tweed jacket and a shirt and tie. I sensed that this person had a
deep loathing of dogs and that our presence in the house was resented. My
husband said, on hearing this, that he'd seen the landlady not long ago in
the company of a man -evidently her new boyfriend - who fitted this
description entirely. From this, I conclude that she's attracted to this
type of man and that the person whom I'd pictured in my imagination was
her dead husband.

The other day, I was chatting to a woman who asked me to drop in on her
should I be passing. When I asked her where she lived, and she told me
that her house is on the same urbanization as the rented villa which we
were forced to abandon, I explained that I was reluctant to return to the
area in question and gave her a brief account of what had happened to us.
She then told me that she, too, has experienced strange happenings - in
this instance, the kitchen- where objects have been moved, lights
unaccountably dimmed and a strongly felt presence of whom she believes is
the son of her friend, a young man who committed suicide from an overdose
of drugs.

I'm wondering if it's possible that some kind of unusual radiation,
emanating from the geological fault lines with which the zone in question
is riven, could be a reason for these curious events. The whole area has
an unpleasant 'feel' about it, and there is a sense of it having a dark
history. Indeed, it is known that a number of Nazis, fleeing retribution
after the German surrender in WW2, settled there.

This article is being set up for discussion on the American web site on 19th October
and will be talked about on the radio (link from the site) on the 26th October.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Today is a public holiday in Spain - el Dia de la Hispanidad - so we decided to take a drive over the mountains to Lentegi. As the eagle flies (no crows up in these mountains) Lentegi is only about 6km from Guajar Alto but to drive to it up and down the winding mountain track takes about 40 minutes.

The journey is worth it for the spectacular mountain views, particularly on a day like today in the lovely light of the soft October sunshine. As you climb above Guajar Alto you can look back at the Sierra Nevada mountains but no snow has settled on them yet. In the opposite direction the jagged peaks of the mountains of Malaga, the Sierra de Almijara, soon come into view.

Lentegi is a pretty, well kept village and we sat on the terrace of the little bar next to the church and had a glass of wine and tapas before going for a stroll through the avacodo and nispero orchards that surround the village. The rock formations around Lentegi are fascinating and the soil must be fertile to support such an abundance of fruit trees. I hope you enjoy the photos.