Harry the horse looked so happy a few days earlier, peering through the Arizonica cypress hedge. But unfortunately he became another casualty in the continuing severe winds. We found him lying on his side with one ear severed. Such a shame!
Within an hour or so, it was all done. Ear glued back together, feet secured to some flat stones. Hopefully with the odd coat of varnish he will have a long and healthy life, especially as he’s now got a much better view in what must be quite a humdrum existence.
This is the longest bout of sleep-interrupting winds that I can remember having in our little corner of heaven. We do get our fair share of winds here due to the altitude. Some remarkably well-informed person – or was it me – said once, ‘there is always payback for having a lovely view’. In the last two or so weeks, I’ve only slept upstairs once, and even that night was hardly wind free.
But there are limits to how many more nights I can sleep on the sofabed in the new extension. It’s like sleeping on a life-size paperback book, opened in the middle but impossible to lie flat, so you are sleeping on top of a giant ‘V’ shape. Out of the question for two to sleep on it for more than 3 nights and as time went on the options had been steadily decreasing. I guess sofabeds are only for temporary occupation.
Two bedrooms (upstairs and downstairs) both face the mountain and the prevailing wind. The two sofas in the lounge are ridiculously uncomfortable. Then there’s the dreaded sofa bed which, even with a duvet and anything I could find put over the V, I think I’ve reached the end of my level of tolerance.
Joe eventually gravitated to the only other bedroom upstairs, the one in the lee of the wind, but nevertheless still extremely noisy. It has a single bed and glorious views of the Med, but that was of little import to him by this time. And that’s where he’s remained, snatching a few hours’ sleep here and there.
That is, apart from one night when, in a desperate attempt for some more meaningful sleep, he grabbed his duvet and pillows and found his way by torchlight via the lovely new stone path to the caravan, several terraces below us in the oak wood.
He returned early the next morning, eulogising about how silent it was inside the caravan and the fact it didn’t even tremble once, despite being nearly as exposed to the gusts as the cabin. But it’s still a little chilly without heating so he’s not repeated the experience until it gets a little warmer, but it’s great that he did this as we now have a real alternative to sleep deprivation. Having criticised its wooden sound effects and general lack of sound-proofing, we’re still both incredibly proud of our seemingly indomitable little cabin – a bit like James Bond’s Martini – shaken not stirred.
Back in 2010 in a vaguely clandestine operation we installed an underground depósito. The only way anybody would know that such a huge tank lurks underneath our ‘car park’ is if they caught sight of the manhole cover but this is normally hidden under a sprinkling of scalpings. We regularly pump up water from the 150m deep well to keep the big depósito topped up.
Since we’ve been back in Spain this time, the generator has been pumping for only a fraction of the time it normally did (which is 2 or 3 hours), and then cutting out – a sure sign, we thought, that our well was drying up possibly because there are more households (and villages) tapping into the mountain supply and lowering the water table. That being the case, we’d then have no option but to pay out thousands to be connected to mains water (that is, if we are lucky enough to get Junta permission in the first place).
But the gods were surely smiling upon us when, upon closer inspection, Joe worked out that the problem was due to the new inverter being wrongly set up when commissioned. It’s amazing how a tiny little switch has the power to turn something potentially quite depressing into a joyous discovery! There may come a time when our water does indeed dry up, but certainly we’ve been given a reprieve for the foreseeable future. Here’s an action shot of that beautiful, clear water coming direct from the well and gushing into the depósito.
I was glad to see that Mr Silver Fox is alive and well. I caught a glimpse of him through the window, crawled out of the sofabed (a delicate operation, since if you put too much weight on the edge, it tips up) and peered closer. There he was, walking up the terrace beside the house, pausing now and then to smell something. He walked nonchalantly through the bars of our little green gate and sauntered up the track leading to the top of our hill. Wish I’d got my camera.
Foxes are probably the most common Spanish carnivore, but they are less dense here than in other parts of Northern Europe – probably due to factors such as the heat and drought of the Mediterranean summer; more competition from birds of prey like eagles and vultures and the fact that rabbit numbers here haven’t got back to full strength following myxamatosis.
According to an interesting Canadian website called ‘The Fox Den’, the silver-coloured foxes we’ve been seeing for years around here are red foxes with a silver gene, called rather delightfully ‘Bastard’ foxes, although this type of colouring is more commonly seen in the wild foxes of Western Europe. The Fox Den supplied this info and the photo; isn’t he a handsome fellow?