Archive for January, 2008

Boars in Barcelona

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

The number of boars in Collserola has doubled in the last three years to some 65o individuals, which are increasingly moving into the city’s outskirts to feed. (El Periodico) Here below a group of 30 boars feeding next to the excellent Vall de Hebron Hospital, where I had my kidney stone removed. Thanks to Lucy on the forum for flagging this. Overfamiliarisation can bring humans dangeously close to what is a wild animal, particularly when this is a sow with young. Wild boar numbers are increasing throughout Catalonia mainly due to the recovery of forests to the detriment of farmland, but also due to proliferation of corn crops. See wild boar in Spain

Asturian coast still wild

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

In its excellent series on the state of the Spanish coast today El País looks at the coast of Asturias, which thanks to protection, has so far, on the whole, escaped the ravages of tourist development. But 60,000 new homes are planned. Since 1883 it has been illegal to build within 500m of the coastline. El Pais. More on Asturias here

san lorenzo beach

Walking in Pre-Pyrenees

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Lucy has this report on the forum of a short trip to Sierra de Montgrony “Against the greys and browns there were vivid concentrations of colour: the ruby breast of a Bullfinch, scarlet splash of a Woodpecker and quantities of rosehips. Old Man’s Beard was plentiful, catching the sun. There was a lovely interlude when the route goes through a ghostly beech wood, ankle-deep in coppery leaves. No sign of the dramatic black woodpecker of last spring.” Read

Walking in Grazalema

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Very nice post from Sue on the forum relating a Christmas walk in Grazalema. The follow-up discussion on pozos de nieve (snow wells) is interesting too. Forum

Catalan sea cats

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

I’m re-reading Robert Hughes’ Barcelona, a fascinating history of the city from its foundation to the early 20th century.  There’s a very interesting section on the Barcelonan and Catalan seafaring tradition in which he mentions the importance of ship’s cats – the bigger and blacker the better  – and the custom of Shanghaiing them by tempting them on board with a bit of fish. Under 14th-century Catalan maritime law (Les Bones Costumes de la Mar), ship’s owners were penalised of they failed to provide a cat and rats infested the ship. Here’s the full quote from the law I managed to find:

If good be damaged by rats, and there is no cat on board the ship, the managing owner of the ship ought to make compensation; but it has not been declared in the case where a ship has had cats on board in the place where she was laden, and after she has sailed away the said cats have died and the rats have damaged the goods before the ship has arrived at a place where they could procure cats; if the managing owner of the ship shall buy cats and put them on board as soon as they arrive at a place, where they can find them for sale or as a gift or can get them on board in any manner, he is not bound to make good the said losses, for they have no happened through his default. 
from “Les Bones Costumes de la Mar” (14th-15th c. Catalan text)  from Twiss, Sir Travers, ed. Monumenta Juridica, The Black Book of the Admiralty

Get Robert Hughes’ Barcelona from Iberianature/Amazon