We use the water from our well, 150m down in the bowels of the earth for cooking and almost everything else, except drinking. When first drilled, there was a fair amount of grey sediment – tiny stone particles from the slate through which the bore hole was sunk – so we got into the habit of collecting our drinking water from a mountain spring. We have to use the generator for pumping up our own water, as the solar system isn’t powerful enough. Depending on the season, our well provides between 2,000 and 3,000 litres per day. Many years have passed since the well was drilled, and at last now our water is beautifully clear, but we still prefer to carry on collecting from the mountain spring once a week or so.
The journey, on a rough mountain track, takes about 15 minutes along the side of our deep valley. If you enlarge this picture, you can probably see the track, approximately halfway up the side of the hill, as it snakes around following the contours.
After passing a few houses on the right hand side, we don’t usually see a soul, except occasionally Ricardo in one of his battered vehicles chasing yet another lost goat or three. If we’re very unlucky we come face to face with a herd of over a hundred slow moving and very smelly goats and have to sit and wait for them to pass.
Both Ricardo’s and Giraldo’s cuadras (goat houses) are just down the track, only a few hundred metres from the spring. They are usually ravenous, having been mooching around in their cuadra for most of the day until they are let loose – and a car trying to get past is very low on their priorities.
The eucalyptus trees are immense and shady, with their bark coming off in strips, and our little home can be glimpsed through the leaves. I feel a bit of an anorak telling you this, but for the occasional treat we will fill up a thermos with some coffee and just drive along a little of the way back, sitting quietly gazing at the view, or reading out aloud to each other.
The retaining wall we’re building is coming on very well, entirely funded from rock falls which occur daily in certain areas. We popped out today in both cars and came across two vehicles containing a park guard plus a group of similarly-attired men who looked as though they were doing a photographic reconnaisance for risk-assessing these more dangerous areas for potential rockfalls.
Our bounty was certainly plentiful, and we like to think we’re doing a valuable service by clearing the rather large boulders that were straddling the track. Of course we were, but still we waited until these intruders had passed before doing our citizens’ duty. Here’s an action shot of me and my very necessary sun visor accessory – the sun is very sharp as it’s lower in the sky now. Donning my rubber gloves, this was the first time that my fingers had felt icy, despite the bright sunlight, and the heater being stubbornly stuck on cold.
I couldn’t work out whether it would be wild boar or a fox, both territorial animals, but every time I saw one I would amuse myself with visions of the contortions that either animal would have to go through to facilitate such expert placement . Today I thought I would share just three of these offerings for your delectation. Having had a quick peek at the internet before writing this, the poos all seem to belong to Mr or Mrs Fox. I wonder whether he or she is from the same family as the pair of silver-coloured ones that live around our land?