As one approaches the cabin our hill looms up in front and you can either go to the left or right. The somewhat rocky footpath to the right will take you on a scenic trek all around the side of the hill to our nearest mountain village.
The track to the left was a footpath until about 5 years ago when serious erosion set in. Although the goats still find their way down there, it is well nigh impossible for walkers to safely get themselves over the widening chasms that have appeared in three places. The other end of the track is driveable, it is only the part adjacent to our land where it narrows to single, precipitous ‘walkway’.
The goat herder Ricardo has demonstrated an almost pathological bee in his bonnet that he owns the track, but some years back when we drew the mayor’s attention to the state of the track, he rolled his eyes and said of course it isn’t Ricardo’s, it’s definitely owned by the town hall and yes, something will be done about it sometime, he said.
Nothing has been done since then except that Ricardo further fanned the flames by erecting a locked gate at each entrance to the track. Each year we’ve watched as more water has caused more damage, making it very difficult for us to gain access to our own drive. I think Ricardo enjoys our vulnerability and has repeatedly challenged us when we have to get our friend Luis and his digger to do some repairs. Last year we flung some heavy stones into the yawning gap.
But now it looks like the town hall have been spurred into action by other voices added to ours. After all, this is the Parque Natural tourist trail and hardened hikers don’t like being met with a locked gate! Luis did mention something about the track being repaired, but we’d heard it all before.
He was of the ‘old school’, a very un PC, naughtily irreverent former Spitfire and test pilot who totally refused to conform throughout his whole life. Someone to be admired but who could also be totally unaware of the trail of disaster he left in his wake. To him, everyone neatly fitted into just a few categories: “erks” (anyone who was not an RAF officer or pilot); “brown jobs” (anyone in the Army); “wogs” (sorry, but I can’t leave this one out); “dolly birds” and “noddy men”. Noddy men wore a suit, often a hard hat and clipboard.
In social situations he was wont to sidle up to certain likely looking men asking if they were a ‘brown job’ and in the last few years of his life, well into his eighties, before he became totally immobile and a victim of dementia, he would hang out of the car window and call out “dolly bird” etc. when he spied a likely candidate who fitted one of his profiles.
Scratching their heads? I have to say that to even the most hardened Spaniard well used to such difficult terrain, this particular civil engineering project must present quite a challenge. With such a sheer drop below, this section of the track is well dangerous and could only be fixed by either excavating into our land (not), or major works to level an area below, laying concrete over metal foundations, adding huge stones then laying the track on top of that. I can’t wait!