Our friend Anna was making the long trek from Nerja to bring her very best friends to meet us and take a look around Foggie. Barbara and Roy hadn’t been told anything about the place, so I wondered just what this couple from Edinburgh would make of it! Anna was very kindly bringing lunch, so I spent that time trying to make the cabin less dusty and grimy; as Joe pointed out, I’d rather clean clothes and cars than exert myself with too much more mundane housekeeping.
Anyway, even if I did, effort doesn’t bring many rewards here: with the dirt roads there comes layers of polvo (dust) which means I can never get the windows really clean for long, nor the wooden floor, nor the glass-topped tables; the hard water means the shower is always encrusted in limescale; and come to think of it, there’s actually not even a lot of job satisfaction in cleaning the cars when immediately afterwards the bees dive bomb them with poo and a mere trip down the drive blankets the cars with a gritty film of raw sienna-coloured dust.
We’d had a slight sad note to the morning’s proceedings as Joe had extended the new ladder we’d bought and, in placing it on the side of the house, disturbed a gekko. The poor little chap was just below the eaves, took fright and fell off, making a crack noise as it hit a jutting-out tap. Joe picked it up, cradled it gently and placed it in the sunlight. It made feeble attempts to move, and twitched a bit. When he returned from one of the two stone collecting forays that morning, the brave little soul had lost its fight for life. We were disproportionately sad and felt as though we’d lost a friend. We live cheek by jowl with these gekkos and they are always patrolling the walls, on the lookout for a meal-sized insect.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned the new retaining wall Joe’s building by the side of the house. It’s going to be quite a sizeable one, both in terms of length and height but sourcing material for it has certainly been helped by him finding a rich seam of hardcore in the local tip. He’s probably about a quarter of the way there now, but it is beginning to look quite substantial. I don’t know how he finds the energy.
Our visitors duly arrived and there seemed to be hardly a thought of any kind of liquid refreshment after their hot journey, so intent were they on drinking in the view. I can’t last more than an hour or so without a cuppa! We know this place is very special but it did our hearts proud to see and hear Roy and Barbara’s mounting excitement.
Not wishing them to think life was all rose-coloured here, I put in a few of what I thought were realistic negatives about no electricity when it’s cloudy, or how the house can move around in the hurricane strength winds. And how about the vertiginous roads and the creepie-crawlies, like the huge buzzy inch-long carpenter bees that Barbara initially shied away from until she realised they were quite harmless?
But, d’you know what? If you put everything in context, none of these irritants mattered a jot to them, and why should they matter? Our guests could see and feel the positives which, quite rightly, totally eclipse any of the less glamorous aspects of living at one with nature, however hard I tried to protest to the contrary so I didn’t seem too fortunate in having this place. They appreciated the humorous little touches, the monoliths, the natural stone infrastructure, the trees and the ambience of the humble little wooden house.
The sun shone, the sky was cloudless and amidst more “oooohs” and “aaaahs”, we rounded off their visit by a Nissan 4×4 expedition up the various zig-zags and through the pine forests to the lower reaches of the 2,066m high La Maroma!
So, thanks Anna, Roy and Barbara, you lovely people. The sort of joy you exuded in your few short hours at Foggie served as yet another positive re-affirmation for us that whatever happens here, absolutely nothing can take away the peace, beauty and serenity of this place. And there are a lot of things currently going on that could potentially threaten this, like no water and the Junta grabbing more land and I will be writing about this in the next posts.
Spurred on by the joyous theme of their visit, Joe spied a leg-shaped log and, in a burst of feverish activity the next day, began to construct a log man. He grovelled around in the rapidly growing wood pile, spent a few happy hours fiddling around with various machine tools, and came up with his wonderful “Ode to Joy”. Because, after all, that’s what it’s all about.
As you can see OJ has been placed in an exalted position at the bottom of our land. With his arms raised up he greets us as we and the sun rise every morning. He is sturdily built, having had his feet firmly bolted onto a couple of heavy stones, with a steel post to keep him upright. Maybe he will lose an arm or two or even his head in the stormy season but, hey, that can be quickly remedied! I must admit, he’s taken me by surprise once or twice when I’ve forgotten he’s there, but I’m slowly getting used to his happy presence.