“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Mahatma Gandhi
Well, I’m not absolutely sure that we’ll win, at least not in the conventional way, but I don’t believe the outcome of our tenure will have the capacity to affect us so much since we’ve been applying an alternative way of dealing with this type of stress. Somehow I feel I should record for posterity the contents of this post because then I can start to cleanse my mind and get on with living for the day and concentrating on what really matters.
I do so love the concept of fair play for all – supposedly embodied in the notion of human rights. Other countries, especially the UK, bend over backwards to comply but I haven’t seen much evidence of the practical workings of that law in this part of the world. This glorious country continues to greedily favour its own. Discrimination seems commonplace, especially against those extranjeros (foreigners) like us who, in the hope of a better life, have innocently pumped their savings into a country that was in real financial decline. It feels like a case of, ‘well, we’ve had your money, now we’ll treat you like you don’t exist and make life as difficult as possible’.
I don’t think anyone from a civilised country would actually believe what goes on in these rather backward parts of Spain. The esoteric laws seem open to a variety of subjective interpretations; that is, if you could ever actually get hold of someone who would stand up and be counted. Every time we’ve come up against someone with a badge or title, it’s been like trying to grab hold of a wet bar of soap in the shower and we’ve gone away frustrated.
Just for your interest, the two houses in the foreground have been built on the hill opposite us – the one on the left about 4 years ago, and the one on the right within the last year – both have electricity. The other photo is the house on the other side of our hill, the recipient of the electricity now flowing from the pylons strung along our valley, next to our land. This house is adjacent to Parque Natural land, just like us. Curiously enough, the new road also leads to this smart new dwelling.
Nearly nine years on, we’re still nowhere nearer having any idea of our status here (except that we still have no mains water, electricity and no explanation!). We are managing quite well, thank you very much, but it still remains an interesting exercise, sitting and waiting! Here’s a nice photo of our self-sufficient little house, up on the left, high above the new road.
So, my rather wandering introduction brings me to the latest Final Insult, and it relates to that new road. I have to say that, thus far, the almost non-existent traffic flow doesn’t seem to have justified the expense. This photo, taken just before they laid the concrete) gives an idea of the extent of land (2.5m to 3m) grabbed from our boundary.
My post of 14th July last year reported that they’d made no provision for passing places but instead if a car actually pulled off the raised up concrete, it could damage its undercarriage.
So what did the men do about this conundrum? A few days after I heard the digger beeping as it went backwards and forwards. Curious, I eventually wandered down to investigate and found it industriously scraping even more loose soil from our bank and spreading it along and up to the concreted edge of the road to disguise the 5-6″ drop.
It was obviously too late to do anything about this further indignity, but not too late to stop him inflicting more damage. He’d gone about a third of the way along our bank, making the most vulnerable part of our bank between the road and our drive even more of an isthmus. He was rudely dismissive and said he hadn’t taken any of our soil; he’d merely dug deeper down and used that soil (?!). Then what were the fresh digger claw marks in the dry earth bank? Why were the agaves we’d just planted to try to hold the bank together now uprooted?
I told him to bugger off and use soil from the other side of the bank. Which he did because I stood there and watched him – here he is in action. How dishonest was that, covering up the dangerous edges, and in the process helping themselves to our soil in order to do it? It’s as if we didn’t exist and had no rights.
When they cut into our bank last April the men had said they’d quote us to put boulders there, but we’d need planning permission first! That would be the last thing we’d contemplate and, anyway, Joe had a cunning plan.