"My Favourite Island C
- Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman CBE (1906-1984)
THE CHAPEL-OF-EASE TO THE PARISH OF GODSHILL
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© Copyright 2018 St. Alban's Church - Ventnor, Isle of Wight. All Rights Reserved.
St. Alban's Church, St. Alban's Road,
Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 1DE
We have just returned home from another visit to Tibbles layby with some food for him but he is nowhere to be seen. A Portuguese couple are there having had a barbeque in the picnic area. Maybe they have frightened him off or perhaps they have given him a hearty meal of BBQ scraps and he has returned to his den with a filled tummy. For whatever reason he is not there, the Portuguese couple give us some odd looks as we call out out for him in silly voices and make miowwing sounds. I expect they have told all their friends about the crazy English people who were making funny noises. Tomorrow is our last day and we have lots of jobs to do to leave the house ready for clients, but somehow we must find time for one more trip into the mountains to look for our little pal.
The Monchique mountain range reaches to about 3000 feet and there are roads to the very top, where there is a big handicrafts and gift shop. A lot of radio masts and on the western end of the mountain there are three huge wind turbines. On clear days you can see the coast to the south and west with Cape Saint Vincent, the most westerly point in Europe to the southwest. To the north it is possible to see as far as the Alentejo region of Portugal. All around the mountain are vast areas of forest which are frequently damages by huge wildfires, often ignited intentionally by vandals and crooked wood dealers. Being so high, this is also one of the few places in southern Europe where there are winter frosts and at times people will drive a hundred miles or more to see a couple of inches of that white stuff we call snow! Our house is in the foothills of the Monchique Mountains, only about 350 feet above sea level, but surrounded by dozens of of small hills, each five or six hundred feet high and covered with woodland, although recent fires have done a lot of damage. Luckily, with the climate here, things are quick to re-grow although the damage to wildlife is very sad. Somewhere in these hills, are the recently re-introduced Iberian Lynx. These large cats were native to the area until hunted to extinction, but now seem to be thriving again. There are also quite a lot of Javelinas, a small wild boar, that digs up peoples lawns but are quite rare to see. Trees in our area are mostly Mimosas which are very pretty in winter, along with cork oaks, Arbutus (Srtawberry trees) whose fruit is gathered around Christmas time and used to make Medronho, a clear white firewater that is very strong and of course the citrus trees that are everywhere. Eucalyptus and pines grow at slightly higher altitudes and smell lovely, but they are also a high fire risk owing to the oil content. A little closer to the coast there is a huge colony of storks, but more on them when my tale continues.
But first some good news. "Tibbles" is back! We went for one final visit to the little roadside park that is his home and he came straight out to greet us. He ate two cans of cat food in as many minutes so he must be very hungry, the poor little fellow. We go back to England tomorrow, but somehow we are going to find a way to get more food supplies to our little furry friend. Alan
And here is Froggy looking as happy as me.....
This is Froggy's other friend ...
FOR THE RECENTLY DEPARTED
We Have Put Candles
In This Tiny Cliff Top Church
On The Atlantic Coast Of Portugal,
In Memory Of
Our Recently Departed Friends:
JENNY HOPKINS - HOLDER