Given that we are in a very exposed place, not just for extremes of temperature (being 850m high), but we are also at the mercy of very severe katabatic winds that sweep down from the 2,200m high La Maroma, especially in spring and winter time. Thus we cannot surround ourselves with tropical plants, beautiful scented jasmines, bougainvillea and most other flowers that typify the Mediterranean climate. So what do we do? We do our best to create some colour and fun around the place.
It’s so rewarding to use the natural materials that we come across on our travels, or things lying around our land, and some rather strange items that we actually purchase. Very heavy rounded stones skewered with thin red metal stakes become bouncy fixtures that can wave around when the breeze is strong enough.
Also a flat piece of weather-beaten wood with a pronounced hole put in a prime position where we can rotate it for different views of the mountain just in front of us. But, being a short arse, I have to stand on tiptoe to get the real benefit of the holey window.
It’s amazing to think that there was nothing here when we arrived, except for one track going up to the cabin. It was so steep that we couldn’t really even walk around the land until we created terraces – how on earth did the previous owners manage, I wonder? Curiously, by all accounts, they weren’t the outdoor types.
All around the land we have, over the years, made walks, pathways, steps and seats, all from our local brown stone, like this seat recessed into a wall. The range of colours, textures and shapes in some of the stones that we find is truly staggering and these wondrously beautiful stones become instant monoliths dotted around the place.
We’ve had Bertie the boar for quite some time now. Allegedly bronze, he came from a smart shop in Puerto Banus and is moved to various strategic points around the land to provide a degree of authenticity. He can take you by surprise when you’re least expecting it, and he’s managed to fool quite a few dogs until they eventually got close enough to smell him.
Harry the horse is actually life size; a masterpiece of recycling, put together with care by a local artist from bits of very old wood. Harry’s even got some authentic woodworm from his previous life and wears his rusty stirrups with an air of pride.
I’ve noticed that Harry’s become a favourite warming place for a rather fat gekko who has taken to perching vertically to bask in the strong, life-giving rays of the autumn sunshine. Woodworm or not, I do wonder whether we ought to give him some shelter inside when the winter weather comes.