This is what greeted me this morning at eight. Over the years here I’ve seen finer cigar-shaped clouds masquerading as UFOs, but this one is still worthy of inclusion. How I love being so high up and having a panoply of weather systems upon which to feast the eyes!
The stone wall below the almacén is really taking shape and I think we can safely say that although it isn’t finished (probably halfway there), it now buttresses the earth bank very well and the future rains won’t so easily be able to cause a landslip. Of course, the more rain we get, the more loose stones are dislodged up in the sierras…
The extra-bendy road that runs from Corumbella through Daimalos and Arenas to Velez-Málaga is very particularly scenic, so long as you don’t need to get anywhere in a hurry. It is still very much an agricultural landscape and you can still come across some charming ruined fincas peppering the landscape, probably available at a price, that is, if one can make any sense at all of title deeds and complicated historical familial rights.
I always dreamed of a ruined cortijo (farmstead) like this one along the Corumbella road, but as soon as we saw our little wooden cabin in early 2006, it totally eclipsed anything else. It was light and airy with such magnificent (360 deg) views of mountains and Med that we couldn’t believe our luck. Especially as it was next to the natural park, came with 10 acres, all the ‘correct’ paperwork including planning permission from the local town hall and detailed plans (stamped/signed by the College of Architects for a traditional u-shaped house). There was electricity and water nearby, should we wish to get connected, but the solar system and well were working quite satisfactorily. What a wonderful vision we had of a future life of (almost) self-sufficiency, and living an almost law-abiding life – just minding our own business really.
Gradually we came to realise that nothing was as it seemed and as I’ve alluded to in earlier posts, 2/3 of our land was mysteriously put into the government’s hands, the wooden cabin will apparently never be declared legal, but nothing has ever been put in writing to us. At great cost we consulted a particularly well-respected Málaga solicitor and hired a long-winded translator.
Francisco was a very nice, dignified man, who took the time to come out and visit us here for a day, along with said long-winded translator who must have been all of 25 stone whom we called ‘the Fat Controller’. While Francisco walked the land, the Fat Controller sat in front of the intermittently working electric fan without moving, except to wipe away the long strings of sweat accumulating around his face and neck, so uncomfortable was he that we wondered that if he’d have a heart attack. He did, in fact, die a few years later.
There are always grey, blurred lines with Spanish law, and although Francisco did his best to reassure us that they could never take the land from us, there was question mark about the legality of a rural plot so close to the Parque Natural. So that three-month episode ended up with nothing concrete and the advice was to keep our heads down below the parapet and not make waves. We found out later that Francisco was the government’s legal adviser on land matters.
Shortly after all this, Joe asked me a question. He said, “if you found out you had 6 months to live, where would you like to live and what would you like to do?”. I replied, ‘live here, doing what we’re doing.’ He agreed and so, henceforth, that’s what we did.
We decided to live our lives with as much joy as we could muster; respect and revere the land; minimise our visual impact by blending into the scenery; and lastly, treat each day as if it were our last. That credo has been very successful, but from time to time when matters arise like the potential electricity connection, or reading that yet more homes have been earmarked for demolition, then it can cause the old heart to beat a bit faster.
And while we are busy revering the land and doing our best to live in harmony with nature, we come across sights like this on the scenic Corumbella road (the one I mentioned at the beginning of this post). A not-so-pretty industrial skip sits on a bend and the locals have been at it again – placing their waste, ie furniture, clothing etc very carefully outside said receptacle! I’m not meaning to be critical; I’m just curious.