Author Archives: stephanie de leng

Almond processing in El Maestrat

There is nothing as beautiful as almond and cherry blossoms in full bloom © 2014 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Its that time of year again when the mountains become festooned with striking swathes of pink almond blossoms in various hues. The darker more vibrant pinks are of the marcona variety, the most prized of almonds locally, but also the … Continue reading

Spanish Provence

If I was painter, this would be my Provencial inspiration... © 2014 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Perhaps strangely, now that my most used airline Ryanair has relaxed its rules and actually acknowledges that a woman is nothing without her handbag, I have finally downsized my camera equipment.Hang on, what am I talking about? What I mean … Continue reading

Masia Lavanda gets solar!

The job was neat and tidy © 2014 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

II had paid my deposits, signed my contracts, and solar man Antonio applied for a EU solar grant. In fact I can honestly say that this was what tipped the balance in his favour. He had given me a competitive … Continue reading

Sunflowers and what if?

© 2014 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

It is the first day of the New Year and I am reminded of Roald Dahl who wrote that January should not exist and why could there not be two Julys or Augusts instead? As usual at this time of … Continue reading

Penyagolosa

© 2014 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

What better introduction to El Maestrat than Penyagolosa, its emblem and focal point? It commands the eye where ever you are and at 1,813 meters above sea level, it is the second highest mountain peak in the Valencian community – … Continue reading

‘The Sewage Treatment Plant’

© 2013 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

  In time, I pulled myself together and continued my Spanish fantasy. Let me explain. On my 21st birthday my mother came me a jigsaw puzzle of a magnificent Bavaria castle rising towards the skies. On it she wrote, “She painted … Continue reading

Moving in poco a poco

© 2013 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

  Of course I did move in eventually, but it took some time. Bit by bit I carted sacks of clothes, pans and also my generator (not a joke) 300 meters across stoney uneven ground up to the new build. … Continue reading

Paella en El Maestrat

© 2013 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

In the Valencian communidad, every woman worth her salt, and yes modern man too, measure their culinary skills by their ability in producing the perfect paella. I have been invited to many a home, and it always has been delicious … Continue reading

Time marches at the finca

© 2013 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

As it happens no cracks showed. James returned to England, as I did for a while in order to sort our two boys out in further education. Then I returned to the finca at the end of September. The roof was … Continue reading

Fayre, fairs and ferias

© 2013 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

I have been a bit absent recently namely because I returned to wet wet wet Blighty for a long family Christmas. The house was a holly mess Batman, and I have been rushing around for weeks dusting and scrubbing and … Continue reading

En vende

En Vende © 2012 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Everywhere I go now in the Castellon province the “en vende” signs have have taken on a life of their own. Also the “se vende” and “es ven”, depending on the Spanish language used! They have a number to … Continue reading

July and the roof

© 2012 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

May rushed by, and then June arrived with the dying wild flowers and an increasing heat. The masia went up, the roof went on and my hero of the moment was Carlos. It was the honeymoon period. I could not … Continue reading

The Phoenix from the rubble

© 2012 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

  Let me tell you something that may come as a surprise. It is not always sunny and warm in Spain. Spain is a very large country and the climate varies enormously depending where you are. As it is, where … Continue reading

Almond blossoms in spring

© 2012 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

Now that the cold spell seems truly over, I remember why I love this time of the year so much. The light is clear and crisp, with that “born again” quality that makes images sharp and colours fresh and vibrant … Continue reading

Rain, rain, and more rain

© 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

So to get back to my arrival in EL Maestrat, and the start of a very long adventure, I back track over the last post a little. Near the end of March James fixed a roof box to our Skoda … Continue reading

From the pig abattoir to the plate

© 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

“This contains images that you might find disturbing” I have been learning about all the processes a pig goes through before landing on our plates. After a number of hiccups, including being thrown out of the abattoir twice, a detailed … Continue reading

Fiery bulls on dark August nights

bull fights in Spain at feista time © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

  There are an awful lot of bulls around in August during which every village dedicates one week to a nightly bull-teasing. Having experienced this traditional annual event from afar over the last four years, I finally actually started to go … Continue reading

The Bird’s Nest

© 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

I have been waiting a long time to get somewhere with the drama of my masia. On The finca diaries I am writing about it from the beginning and here I am writing about it from the present and end-ish, … Continue reading

The real work on the masia starts…

the real work on the masia starts © 2011 stephanie de leng. All rights reserved.

It was agreed that the masia would be re-built come the 7th of September 2009 and I would spend three months living in my new lovely cabin supervising. I re-arranged all photo jobs around this date and regularly emailed Carlos for … Continue reading