Photo or Video?

I want to try and show a bit more of Colombia, and it isn’t always ideal to just publish photos, I would do, as many do, and take video using a drone, but, I have had at least four, and either crashed them, or watched them disappear into the sunset!

I follow Casey LaDelle on Youtube, with his off-road Recoveries, and he appeared to start using a drone, then he admitted he doesn’t, he uses a 3m selfie stick, and his work looks amazing, so I decided to give it a go, and I still have a long way to go, before it looks anywhere near as convincing as Casey, but I’ll stick with it for now.

My first attempt, didn’t go too well, I was passenger whilst Marcela was driving, from the house down to town, we hadn’t got out of our lane, when I got the selfie stick stuck in overhead branches, nearly losing it and the camera, however I persevered, and we arrived in town, with me getting a few weird looks, only to find the camera turned off, for all my efforts, about 30 seconds footage, the overhead branches had turned my camera off!

Today, I had to take Nala to the Vet, so decided that I would give the selfie stick and camera another go on my return journey, unfortunately it was only just after 8am, so cloudy and miserable, but it worked… sort of!

The only unfortunate part is that YouTube appear to reduce the quality of the videos. I have had this problem in the past, I’ll play around with the settings, and see if I can’t do better next time.

I am sorry that this drags on a while, it starts outside the Vet, takes the road bypassing the town centre, and then the main road up to our mud track! You can at least move the screen around to get an idea of the 360, if you look down, I don’t think you will catch me poking my nose ha! ha!

It’s my intention, to repeat this every now and then to give you a flavour of Colombia, if you think it’s a bad idea, leave me a comment. The other option is to just put the link in my Blog, and you can decide if you want to go and watch it. Suggestions on a Postcard.

All Change

Tuesday was a day of appointments, firstly I had an Orthopaedic review with the Specialist, I had always had respect for, he had been looking at the possibility of surgery for my right knee, however it appears that the Government changes here, have begun filtering down before they have even been officially introduced.

The Doctor stated that neither of my knees were bad enough for surgery, and despite in the past, my weight not being an issue, now it appears it is, he wants me to lose 25kg. Now don’t get me wrong, I know I am not slim, but that would take me down to 78kg, which I haven’t been since probably my early teens, throughout my Police Service I was between 111-113kg, and physically fit. I appreciate that losing weight will help my knees, but there is losing weight, and becoming ill.

He went on to say, that he would like me to go on a ‘meat only’ diet, like he was on, and yes he had lost a lot of weight, but he looked gaunt and ill, he is younger than me…I think!… but now looks a lot older. Initially the idea seemed appealing, I love meat, but later I realised the financial cost was going to be enormous, no bread, arepa, biscuits, vegetables or fruit, just meat, eggs, cheese, and best butter.

I have looked this up on the internet, and it appears to be a dangerous diet, especially as I already suffer high blood pressure, am pre diabetic, and a few others near to the line, which this course of action would probably take me over.

I also have the other problem, that every Medic I see, tells me to go on a different diet, it is time they got their acts together, and one Doctor be responsible for making the recommendation.

At the end of the Consultation, I came away with an order for 20 sessions of physiotherapy, 10 sessions of hydrotherapy, and a nerve block in my left knee, to be possibly performed by the Doctor who damaged my hip prosthesis, I wasn’t feeling on a high!

That afternoon, I had another appointment with the ophthalmologist, to see if I needed minor surgery on my eyes, fortunately I don’t, drops and creams for six months should resolve my streaming eyes first thing in the morning, some of the medications I can get from my Health Provider, others I have to buy, so we will see how it goes.

Going back in time, over the week-end, which was a Bank Holiday, so Friday to Monday, I finished installing the new lighting system on my trailer, the Amazon comments that said people installed them in 20 minutes, must have been people that removed one set of lights, and replaced them using the same wiring. I knew it would take a bit longer, because I was changing the system entirely, on the car and trailer, but it took me three days! At least I know it works, and if there is a problem in the future, I know where everything is.

Yesterday, I made a decision, I was fed up with Marcela’s business associate, he had been saying, that he was coming to cut the undergrowth in the orchard for weeks, but never came, so even with my physical problems it was do it myself, of pay someone else, out came the brushcutter, filled up with petrol, ensured it had enough line on the spool, and started from the top working down.

It wasn’t too bad at first, but then it got steeper, with all the rain we have had recently, the ground was soft underfoot, and kept giving way, making it hard work.

It was like clearing a jungle, I wasn’t happy, I hadn’t had to do this much work, since we first moved in.

However I was glad, I had made the decision, because two trees, that two years ago I had spoken to Marcela’s associate about, were still in the same state, less that a dozen fruit on each, and only a leaf or two, then, he told me they were dormant, all I can say is that they have had a bloody long sleep, I think they have a problem, and need removing, replaced with new trees, there was another higher up, which was totally dead, that will have to be replaced, if this continues, Marcela will have no business. I have seen the man today, and told him to look at them and make a decision, Marcela can’t afford to keep losing trees and doing nothing about it.

Anyway, I continued cutting the undergrowth, I got to within four meters of our boundary, when the earth moved literally,

where my brushcutter is in the photo, my feet went from under me, and it was like being on a helter-skelter, myself, along with the brushcutter went scooting head first down towards the quebrada / stream, it was only the small tree, you can just see directly below my brushcutter, that stopped me, and saved me the two meter drop into the water! It might have looked funny, but at the time…!

Anyway, I decided someone was telling me, that it was time to call it a day, however with the state of the land, it took me about half an hour to get back to the house, two steps forward one back. I was not in the best of humours when I arrived.

In the afternoon, I paid the price, it wasn’t my back or hips, it was my knees, having to stand as if I was a mountain goat on the side of the mountain, took it’s toll, so I took to my bed, with the tens machine, which certainly helped.

Today, is a day of rest, I’m sure I will find some small jobs to keep me occupied, but nothing exerting.

A mixed Bag!

It has been a week of small instances, some annoying some uplifting, but nothing of significance.

It started with the Mayordomo, stopping me on my morning walk, to say that the timber was ready for collection, it had been delayed due to a few days non stop rain, which wasn’t a problem, as I was only going to put it into storage, so later that day, I arrived with the trailer, ( minus lights, but as he only lived a couple of hundred metres away, I wasn’t bothered) and loaded up, with his help, and his son’s, it made life a lot easier.

I then took it home, and using some spacers I had cut earlier in the day, I stacked it outside the workshop, where it will stay until it dries out.

I had him cut the timber into 2m lengths 4″x4″, an ideal size for any project I am likely to have in the future.

Nala is living up to her reputation, we all had to go out the other day, on our return Marcela found Pepe’s leg support

minus all the velcro tabs, Nala had jumped up, helped herself, chewed off all the tabs, and left her tooth marks all over the support. We were not best pleased, Pepe was grounded until Marcela could sew on new tabs, fortunately I had a roll of velcro.

To look at her, you wouldn’t think butter would melt in her mouth!

However she is proving herself to be worth her weight in gold, she hears the smallest sound, and is asking to go out and checks the perimeter of our fenced garden. That was probably our best investment, along with the topped razor wire, a number of Fincas within walking distance have now been burgled recently, and even though Marcela has now spoken to the local Commandant (Policia Marinilla), there has been no Policing presence at all in the area.

Also yesterday, a lone woman was accosted by a strange youth in the road, as she was driving by. As she didn’t immediately stop, he threw a stone at the car, when she stopped to take a photo, he ran at the car, throwing more stones, that’s the nice thing about walking with Nala, others keep a respectful distance when they pass us, and if they don’t, Nala lunges, which I had tried to stop, but now…

I still haven’t got the trailer lights sorted

with the constant rain, there was no way I was lying on the ground, it will get done, when time and weather allows.

My main gripe this week has been Bancolombia, I have been with them since I arrived in the Country over eleven years ago, starting last year I had been asked to complete a Form to comply with FATCA and CRS, which mainly relates to US Citizens, you have to declare if you pay taxes in another country, they state they do this on behalf of DIAN, the Colombian Tax Authority.

No problem, until I received another in February, which I again completed, and then last week, I had reason to go onto my online account, where I found that Bancolombia had been taking a Tax payment called ‘Rentencion en la Fuente’ on behalf of DIAN, it was only a couple of Pesos a time, but over the year it will add up. Marcela rang Bancolombia on my behalf, and they told her that it was nothing to do with them DIAN was taking it. She rang DIAN, who checked my records, and stated that I was fully compliant, there was no reason for any such payment, and anyway, they don’t have access to my account, so only Bancolombia could be responsible. After again talking to the Bancolombia Call-Centre and getting nowhere, the following day, we paid the local Branch a visit.

The Assessor, was helpfulness itself, but even after seeking advice elsewhere, she couldn’t establish why the sums were being taken, and she sent off an information request to HQ, which I was informed that I would receive a reply within 8 days.

The following day, I received a reply by email, informing me that the payments were being taken because I was registered as a US Citizen, and if I wanted more information, to go to a Branch, which is exactly what we did.

I received loads of apologies, they tried to tell me that it was the Branch I signed up with 11 years ago, but we all knew that was a load of rubbish, I signed up with my UK passport, and have been receiving monthly pension payments from the UK ever since, anyway, I was told, that it had now been rectified, and no more payments would be taken from my account, no suggestion that I would receive a refund! but for the value involved, I wasn’t going to push it.

Blow me if two days later, another payment wasn’t taken, I am hoping it’s just taking a day or two for the information to filter through, but if not, I will be back down at the Branch, and not quite so polite this time.

Yesterday, I had an appointment with the Pain Specialist, my right hip, and knee are playing ball for the time being, they are not pain free, but it’s certainly bearable, and not stopping me getting on with life. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the left side, my hip has started giving me pain, if I try to lie on my left side at night, I can’t do it for more than ten minutes, however my left knee is the main problem now, and totally different pain to that I had in the right, so the Specialist referred me back to my Orthopaedic Specialist, and got me an appointment for Tuesday morning, that is fast in anyone’s book, so we’ll have to see what he says.

Security, What Security?

I haven’t been able to do any work on the trailer lighting, it has been raining every day, and not just drizzle either, fortunately there is no urgent requirement to use it, so I am happy to leave the trailer alone for the time being.

Tito’s new furry bed arrived early in the week, so on Thursday, it was an excuse for lunch out, and off we went to Rionegro to collect it, much to his delight. The other two had their furry pieces of heaven. Tito was stuck in an old foam bed, during the day, he did his best to bed down in one of theirs

which didn’t go down well with Pepe and Nala, but there is no need for a bed war now, Tito has his own fluffy paradise

Like all his others, it is under our bed, hidden from the thunderstorms and fireworks, so he is happy!

We had been contemplating re-gravelling the parking area. Since having Nala, it became even more important, because, she was digging up and ripping the material under the stone, to reduce weeds, it was starting to look a mess. We had started getting quotes, for 5m3; when Jaime was working for us, it cost $500.000 COP including Transport, the cheapest now costs $700.000, but we had to bite the bullet!

Yesterday morning at 7.30am, it arrived

It didn’t look much, and I wondered if I had ordered enough, until I had to start shovelling it!

By mid-day it was done

Please excuse the blur, I used the fisheye lens. Marcela, had offered to help, but first she had to take Nala for her first set of injections, against further incidents of Papaloma virus, she timed it just right, I was just finishing, as she returned, so she did a bit of raking. Finished or not, I was happy to have the help, as my back was killing me, despite having worn a support belt, I ended up on the bed for most of the afternoon.

For now, we will have to use 4×4 to cross the gravel, until it has bedded down, but it looks 100% better, there is an additional 2 to 3 inches of gravel across the whole area.

On Wednesday, I happened to go into the lane to weed the Hydrangeas, only to find this mark on both our Electric pole, and meter box.

In the UK, we are wary when seeing this unexplained sign, it’s often placed there by Thieves, marking the property for a return visit. It didn’t look professional, so I was happy it hadn’t been done by the Power Company, I checked outside neighbour’s houses, nothing. I then got some thinners and cleaned it all off.

I therefore decided to put a warning on the Neighbourhood Group WA page, and then started revising our own security arrangements. Marcela tried to contact the local Police in Marinilla, but neither the Captain in charge, not the local Patrol answered their phones, which was not encouraging.

Later that evening someone from another Group saw the entry, and got in touch with Marcela, admitting it was them, because one of the access roads is closed for upgrading, they are using ours, and there is a distinct shortage of lights, so they had gone out in the night, looking for lights that needed upgrading, or poles that could be used for lights, and marking them for the Power Company.

Funny how this happens when the rich and powerful with a voice are effected, they can get things done, 12-18 months ago, they asked for money for all the roads to be lit, some of us on our road, contributed, but nothing happened, then we heard, they spent all the money in the other area.

Anyway, I had some spray paint, went out and put an X on the post, it was rediculous to spray the post, my meter and everything else in the way, I wasn’t happy.

As a result of this incident, we found that there had been two daytime burglaries in the immediate area, in the last week, one, the offenders hadn’t been caught, in the second one, the offender was captured.

When Marcela explained that the town Police failed to answer the phone, one of the Group got in contact, and again asked us if we wanted to purchase a VHF radio, which has contact with 26 other Property Owners in the area, and direct contact with the Police of Antioquia, based in Medellin, which guarantees an immediate police response. This would mean us getting licensed, having to go to Medellin to be vetted, and checking that we are suitable to hold such a radio, Marcela said that if it was down to one of us, then it would be me, due to my past, ha ha ha ! We had been asked previously, but no one explained the detail, and we had declined, it’s not a cheap option, but for peace of mind, and lack of local police response, we are seriously considering it.

Anymore for Anymore?

Saturday, I spent nearly seven hours under the car, I decided to start the process of rewiring for my trailer lights, and because I have always installed a European 7 pin system here, and had made the decision to change to the US 4 pin system, it meant some work, firstly to the car. I had bought all the parts needed, including an adapter to convert from seven to four, however like all these fiddly jobs, that I am not that confident with, it took a lot longer than it probably should have. At least now the car wiring is done, and it all works.

I have stripped the lights and cabling off the trailer, now I have to do a complete re-install, hopefully it won’t take me seven hours…will it? Maybe tromorrow, I’ll have to see what the weather is like.

The other day, I was walking Nala, when a Mayordomo (Caretaker) down the road, started a conversation, and asked if I wanted any eucalyptus wood, as he was clearing his Bosses land ready to plant crops, I had seen it piled on his drive, it looked good, but I have never worked with it, other than for fence posts, so told him I would research it, and get back to him.

There were some contradictory reviews on the internet, some for, some against, but seeing some of the furniture, I decided to risk it. This morning, I saw him again, and put in my order for twenty 4″x4″ by 2m, I don’t need it longer for my work, and that size allows me to easily cut them down to sizes I will work with. In the mean time 2m lengths can easily be stored undercover to dry out. They should be ready next week, I’ll take the trailer, lights or no lights to collect it.

Nala had her surgery yesterday, the Vet removed twelve lesions, which have now been sent off the the Laboratory to turn into an antibodies, which will be administered weekly for four weeks, along with immunotherapy, the combination which will hopefully stop her having a re-occurrence.

We were able to bring Nala home three hours after the surgery

She was dopey and off her feet, but still had her appetite, and slowly came back to her old self.

Now we just hope that Tito doesn’t decided to go down with anything, just to make a threesome!

Whilst on route to take Nala for the Surgery, driving along the main road through Marinilla, a motorcyclist blew his horn at us from behind, I thought he had been trying to overtake us down the inside, but then he drew up alongside, and Marcela shouted to him.

Fortunately I had the dashcam working, he told us that a bolt had dropped from the wheel, Marcela was immediately suspicious because he was Venezuelan, not that she is racist, it’s just that many don’t have a good reputation, and most of the crimes are committed by them in town, which is a shame, because we also know some really nice ones.

The motorcyclist sped off, and we looked for somewhere to stop and check the wheels, it took a while as the road was busy, but I pulled over, and out of habit, turned off the engine, which turned off the dashcam, I was looking at the wheels, when a man in his fifties came over, and asked what the problem was, he then put his hand behind the wheel and came out with a spring and broken rubber washer. Let’s get this straight, I can change the oil, and do some basic work, but cars are not my thing, and I readily admit to knowing nothing more!

The man said I needed to have the wheel checked immediately, and if I wanted, he had a workshop nearby, this made the hairs on my neck stand up, how convenient! Anyway, we had to get Nala to surgery, and we have our own Mechanic in the town, so thanked the man, and drove off, at which Marcela said the man had something in his hand when he approached, i.e. the spring and washer, so it appeared to be a set up, either to get us into a back street and rob us, or to discover that there was more immaginary, serious damage to the wheel and charge us a fortune for work not needed.

After dropping Nala off at the Vet, we went to see our Mechanic, Erick, who is Venezuelan and so far, a great bloke, he checked both front wheels, and found nothing wrong with either, confirming that it was a Scam.

Marcela was 100% right, and I was just suspicious, I couldn’t work out how they knew where we would stop, however she said there would be a gang of them, near to all stopping points down the road, waiting. Had we not stopped, they would have just written us off, and looked for another pansy, starting again.

Would I have fallen for it, had I been alone? no, I wouldn’t have taken the man up on his offer of the ‘workshop´, I am safety conscience all the time here, had we not had Erick to go to, I would have gone to one of the wheel/tyre businesses nearby.

Never a dull moment!

Happy Birthday Pepe!

The Elder Stateman of the Family is 10 years old today!

It’s hard to believe how he has grown, and the struggles we have endured together, hopefully he will be with us for a while longer.

Our concern has moved on, now it is Nala, the other day Marcela noticed some growths on Nala’s lower lip, they stood out because they were pink, against her black lip.

Off we went to the Vet, who examined her, and found some rather big growths on the roof of her mouth. He said he believed that she had Canina Viral Papillomas, which he said 90% of the world’s dog catch, a surprise to me, as I have had dogs all my life, and never heard of this, I guess my dogs were just lucky.

The Vet, said, most dogs recover on their own, but Nala’s is more serious and will require surgery to remove them, followed by vaccination, and continued treatment, until she gets the all clear, yet another another expensive time ahead, anyway she goes for surgery on Monday.

In the mean time, she can’t understand what all the fuss is about, as we caught it early enough, before pain sets in.

I now have all the parts for my trailer lighting, so this morning, after burning all the tree trimmings in a garden fire, I started by stripping both lights and the cabling from the trailer.

I am changing the whole system from 7 pin to 4 pin, which means the trailer rear lights will also be the turn signals, that meant buying an adaptor, so the cables from the lights on the car, will change at the adaptor, and continue to the trailer lights. I have bought a trailer cable from Amazon, here in Colombia, they install individual cables then wrap them in tape, anything to create more work!

Marcela is out in the car this afternoon, I didn’t want to risk cocking up the car lights, by blowing fuses etc. so I will continue the process tomorrow, weather allowing.

Along with my trailer parts, yesterday another gadget arrived, I have bought a set of four camera lens for my Smartphone, it’s only a cheap set, but I have my 360° Ricoh, and don’t want to spend out on another camera, so will see what I can do with my Poco X4 Pro.

The lens are:

Left to right, Wide angle, Fisheye, and Kaleidoscope, the fourth is Macro, not sure how much use I will get from that, but you never know. For a total amateur like me, these don’t seem too bad, although I am sure the Experts amongst you will disagree, but starting out, they will do for me.

Oh well, time to go and make a fuss of my four legged Kids! I hope you all have a great week-end.

You Live and Learn

I am a member of a couple of Expat Forums in Colombia, to be honest I don’t participate much, as most of the content is from U.S. citizens, with whom either I don’t agree, because the advice given is contrary to local laws, or for cultural reasons, and I rather not start something that ends in bad feeling. However from time to time, there are some good ideas, that get around a law or regulation, without it being illegal.

When I moved to Colombia, I applied for a Pension Visa, because it was the easiest to obtain at the time, however that meant entering the Colombian Health System in my own right, which I did, and I have been paying ever since, I know I was advised, by the Representative of Confenalco, who was my Provider at that time, the law states you pay 12.5% of your income, the Representative said, that’s rubbish, you pay 12.5% of your disposable income, after all the bills are paid, and that is how it has continued, I still pay more than most Colombians, increasing my payment when or if I receive an increase in my pension, but not on my gross income.

After I was married, Marcela came under the umbrella of my payments, and that is how it has continued. However, I was reading a Forum post, where someone said that he does not pay into the System under his name, his Colombian Wife is the main ‘account’ holder, and he is the Beneficiary, thereby saving them a fortune. Nothing illegal, it’s the system.

Today, Marcela has contacted our Provider to ask if it legal to change how we contribute, to put the account in her name, with me as the beneficiary, and they have said that is perfectly legal, it would just mean I would not only have to pay the Health portion of the Social payment, but a pension contribution for Marcela, which is no bad thing. So we are waiting for confirmation in writing, and not just the spoken word, and if correct, we may consider changing. Marcela has been given a quote of COP $340,000pm to change, I am only paying $15000 less at the moment.

Marcela has found the Regulations pertaining to this, and is studying them, apparently the amount you can claim against your gross income for food etc. before imposing the 12.5% health bill, are set, so we need to look at those, before deciding if change is required. To be honest it’s difficult, because of the Exchange Rate, at the moment it is the highest I have seen it, and I am benefitting , but then at some stage it will drop, and if I increase my payments to reflect current rates, I can’t then reduce them, which would leave me financially bereft. At the end of the day, it may pay us to change over.

Recently, I decided that it was time to change my trailer lights, some of the LEDs are failing, and I don’t think it is legal.

Just over a year ago, I had my trailer overhaulted, new wood and light cables, the wood and painting was done well, the lighting was atrocious, the “Technician” took the cables up the moveable front leg support, and left little for the connection to the car, I ended up having to reroute that part of it.

I was checking the cables for conductivity the other day, and couldn’t find the indicator or brake cable on the trailer, even thought the connector from the car was showing current. I have decided to rip out all the cabling and start again, but this time, I am not installing EU type 7 pin connectors, I am going to fit, US 4 pin, which means a bit more work initially, but overall it should be easier. The parts are waiting at my correspondence address in Rionegro, I will collect them tomorrow, then work begins.

My Mother-in-law returned yesterday, after a month away, she is here for a couple of weeks before returning to help out her other Daughter again, we’ll see how it goes, hopefully better than last time.

I am determined to do a better job on training Nala, than I did on Pepe and Tito, who more or less worked out what to do for themselves. She is doing a good job on the walking, with, like this morning, the odd hiccup, where she decided to go back to being her old self, forgetting I had the added help of the prong collar, so we had a couple of yelps, when she lunged. The rest of the training is on hold, I am waiting for more equipment to arrive from Amazon, it should be here next week, such as a “long line” for doing Recall training, I also want to incorporate whistle training into the commands, so she can be contacted from a distance.

The problem dog at the moment is Tito, we are monitoring him, because we are not sure if he is just unwell, or has a more serious problem. The last couple of days, he has been off his treats, and only eating one meal a day. Last night he woke us a total of six times in the night, not once did he want to go out, just cuddles, and then this morning he attacked Pepe, yes I know Pepe likes stealing Tito’s treats, and even if he doesn’t want to eat them, Tito guards them, but he hasn’t gone for Pepe for about eight years, it is totally out of character. It things don’t go back to normal, it will be a trip to the Vet.

Pepe on the other hand, is showing signs of improvement, he had his ultrasound last week, and the Doc, found no sign of the cancer on his liver, so believes he is in remission, she found other ailments, but put those down to his age, he is ten next week. With the leg support, when Pepe goes out for a walk, he seems to be better with his ligament problem, running around the garden more, and resting when he has had enough, this is encouraging, and more than we hoped for.

Today, I am doing non physical work, mainly in the Office, and tomorrow we are out, I have an eye appointment, so work will have to wait for later in the week. Fortunately with the Mother-in-law returning, I cut the hedge and grass over the week-end!

Hey Ho! time for biccies and coffee, so will sign off.


I have found myself to be deeply wanting, I have been updating the Blog, and neglecting my other pages, I also found that unwanted insertions have been made on the Site, in the form of punctuation, where ever I had ‘apostrophes’, the system had also inserted a ‘slash’ beforehand and after, there were also other insertions. I can only assume that when WordPress handed over to Jetpack, this has occurred, although I have not seen reports of others suffering the same problem.

I have to be honest, I have no idea who, or what Jetpack is, I received notification when it occurred, but just carried on as normal. I have tidied up the most recent entries and posts, but since this goes back years, we’ll just have to live with it!

Whilst sorting out the above, I noted that my pages outside the Blog have been severely neglected, especially the Restaurant Review page, which I hadn’t added to since we moved house, and Covid struck, I will do my best to remedy that. I have added our most recent visits, and will endeavour to keep up to date in future.


There has definitely been a change in the weather, not a day has passed without rain, it looks as if summer lasted just over two weeks, it’s an absolute bummer, I love some heat. I think my first few years here spoiled me, but it’s still better weather than back in the UK, I’ll just have to hope that winter is as short!

We have had a naughty week, it was our eleventh Wedding anniversary on Sunday, so we went out for lunch, to Terrasole Restaurante in Marinilla, it was our first visit there, a place we would consider for Special Occasions, my pension doesn´t stretch far enough to make it a regular haunt.

However we were both glad we went, it is an Italian / Mediterranean menu, pricey but worth every peso, these were our Main courses

the descriptions of each course would take half a page, suffice it to say it was delicious, and the Staff both knowledgeable and attentive. We both decided that we would renew our “Contract” for another year, just so that we can return!

Then yesterday, we had to go to the Registrar in Town before lunch, I also had a Dental appointment after, so decided to have lunch in town. Again a new Restaurant for us, El Portrero,

We only had menu of the day, but it was excellent value for the money, and nicely presented, which for menu of the day can be hit and miss.

After lunch, we headed back to the car, where I grabbed my toothbrush, and headed into the medical center, where I gave them a scrub before my appointment.

The Town Hall has decided to upgrade one of the rural roads near us, from dirt to concrete, not ours unfortunately, but it does mean that the access road for many is closed for five months, and all the traffic has to pass us. The Residents affected are being considerate, which is more than can be said for the Contractors, who are driving past in their Dumpers as if they are partaking in Formula One. The problem not only causes dust, but the vibration from these heave vehicles is causing damage.

Our entry Canopy, has tiles moving as a result

If not dealt with, they run the risk of falling on a passing Pedestrian, or worse still on top of the car, so this morning the ladders came out, and I have pushed them all back in line,

I’m sure it wont be the last time I have to do this, and may well speak with the Authorities for all the good it will do.

Finally for today, yesterday, I got the ball rolling, having rounded up all the documents I need, and applied for Colombian Nationality, now we wait and see, if the documents are acceptable, and if the Government will approve or deny the application. I anticipate that it will take months rather than weeks, so don’t hold your breath.


To be honest, I’m not sure how to describe the Seasons here in Colombia,. when I arrived and for decades before, there were four seasons, Dry, Wet, Dry, Wet, they were predictable, and each lasted about three months, so in effect we had two summers and two winters, but that has changed over the last couple of years, and now, it’s any ones guess, much like anywhere else in the world.

Two weeks ago, it looked like the Dry season was here to stay, it has been gorgeous, blue skies, nice and warm, even hot on some days, which up here at 2300m ASL is a bonus, but all that has changed again, two days ago, the clouds returned the heavens opened, and tropical storms were here. It looks like we are all going to have to buy a warmer wardrobe!

Life at home has been run of the mill, I’m not complaining, it’s been quiet, I’ve got on with the gardening, and done some repairs around the property. One of the walls in the Cabaña shower room had a patch of plaster coming away, so I scraped it out replastered and repainted it, whilst Maria Elena (Mother-in-law) is away, until next week at least, it was an ideal opportunity to get on with it.

The garden itself has to a large extent been abandoned, until Nala is a little older and less destructive, there really is no point in trying to introduce anything new, she would just destroy it.

One of my garden maintentance sessions last week was pruning our plantains in the garden rather than the orchard, after cutting down the ´trunks´I cut them up and pile them around the base to self compost, Nala had other ideas, believe it or not, with the help of Tito, much of that mulch is spread around the garden

She loves it, and if it allows the rest of the garden to survive, who am I to argue!

However in contrast, Nala’s training has come on leaps and bounds thanks to the prong/pinch collar, she is now walking to heel,

As for our morning walks, the pleasure is all mine! I can only hope that the rest of her training comes on so fast.

People keep asking me why in the past I referred to the bottom of our land as the ‘Abyss’, it’s hard to describe, and photos really don’t do it justice, but any steeper, I would need crampons, on our land the view is blocked by Avocado trees, but our neighbours plot is pretty much identical,

This shows about half way down the plot, the ridgeline before the land drops away, and then!

The land drops away, down to stream which forms our boundary, I haven’t been down for ages, due to my knees, but am planning to get down there soon, I just have to ensure I organise it, so I have everything I need, and don’t have to make multiple trips up and down.

Marcela’s Associate, Joachin, who maintains the Orchard, skips up and down like a mountain goat, it grates, but then he was brought up on the terrain.

He came around the other day, and said the current crop of Avocados is ready for picking, he thinks there will be about two tons, which he thought was down on last time

He has a short memory, Marcela checked her records, and the last crop was 1.1 tons, so nearly double, which is great, as the trees grow so does the crop, there are only two downfalls to this, the first, the weather, it is slowing down production, they aren’t growing so fast, so more time between picking. The second is that at the moment, everyone else is picking their Avocados, so the price has plummeted, therefore Marcela and Joachin, have decided to take the risk and wait a couple of weeks, hopefully, everyone else will have picked their crops, and the Suppliers will be hunting around for more, so the Producers will be able to name their price, within reason.

It is a risk, because the weather could turn even worse and ruin the crop, on the other hand the crop could suddenly ripen faster, and be beyond selling, but as we are a small business, not reliant on the income, it’s a risk worth taking.

We went out the other day, came back, checked, but couldn’t find any significant damage, until I sat down out on the patio in the evening.

One of the new Adirondack chair is alongside Narla’s patio bed, and she had been nibbling the arm of the chair, I wasn’t happy, but the following morning out came the sander, then my blowlamp, and unless you knew…

So for now, she has been forgiven, and yesterday when we went out, I sprayed the arms with ‘Bitter Apple’, it seemed to have worked, we couldn’t find any damage, holes, or stolen items anywhere.

My final piece of news this post, is that I have made the decision to apply for Colombian Citizenship, I have posted in the past, I tried at the end of 2016, having taken advice from the Departmental Government, a bit like County Hall back in the UK, my application was rejected, because due to a misunderstanding, I hadn’t had my Residents Visa long enough, so having studied for 3 months to take the exams, and paid the fees, it was all for nothing, and no, no refunds.

However this time I no longer have to take an exam, as I am over 65, so that is a major hurdle out of the way, now it depends on whether I have upset anyone in power over the last eleven years, I don’t think so, but who knows! I guess I will in a month or two.

Why do I want, dual Citizenship, when I have a UK Passport which gets me into more countries than the Colombian one? well I have lived here long enough, that I know, whatever happens with the Government here, that I am unlikely to leave this Country now, it is home, the people are great, the country has a lot to offer, especially for Foreigners, despite all the red tape, and corruption and violence. If you keep your nose clean, and stay out of the National arguement, it’s a great place to live. However, it would be nice, if I had the vote in National Elections, as well as Local ones, which I have at the moment, and not have to pay for a new Visa every five years. If I am going to end my days here, I want to feel part of my adopted country, and that means trying to citizenship, so we’ll see, I’ll keep you posted.