Whether one can blame the winds we’ve recently experienced on climate change, I can’t really say, but I hope that the last three or four weeks of blustery winds are now firmly behind us. Following yet another night of sleep deprivation, during what felt like the ‘worst ever’ gusts, we hatched an action plan. So, when it all started up again the next night, we were ready for it – we simply clambered into the Nissan and took ourselves off to sleep at our friend Horst’s finca just half a mile away.
Although we could still hear the wind, we slept peaceably. Next morning we discovered that a chunky bough had sheared off his prize eucalyptus, narrowly avoiding the Nissan’s windscreen. So, at dusk for the next two nights, we decamped there. Thanks Horstie.
Sleep is such a precious commodity that we’ve started giving some thought to building some sort of ‘panic room’, either adjoining the cabin, a new room within the curtilage of the almacén, or building up the walls around the caravan to protect it more. The latter two options would be fiddly and probably more costly than building a new structure .
Since that windy episode we’ve had a continuous period of sunshine, apart from one day of welcome low cloud (fog) and spits of rain. I say welcome because it meant that Joe could – undetected from the spy in the mountains monster – make inroads into setting fire to the huge pile of strimmings he’d cut down last winter. I just couldn’t face queuing up at the town hall in the hope of getting a licence to burn, having to give specific date and time of the proposed momentous event.
Last November, because of our vulnerability to fire, Joe decided to pop over the fence and strim the area adjoining and parallel with our plastic water pipes. Back in April 2013 the Junta team had cut down that very same area and all around our hill during their rotational tidy-up; unquestionably Parque land. However, this was to result in more than just a pile of weedy cuttings.
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.” Aristotle
We’d popped to the mountain spring to fill up our drinking water containers and our friendly neighbourhood goat herder screeched to a halt beside us. He angrily demanded whether Joe had cut down the aforementioned area or whether the Junta had done it. It was me, said Joe, and then all hell broke loose as Ricardo went into some sort of apoplectic fit. It was his land, and he was going to denounce Joe to the dreaded Guardia. No further dialogue was possible as he ran to his jeep and disappeared in a cloud of dust and derring-do, dog propped up in the back seat.
Faintly amused, we awaited the arrival of the Guardia men in black who are duty bound to investigate any complaint by a member of the public, however trivial; I think Ricardo is well known to them. Sure enough, they turned up a few days later and drove past the patch in question, now greening up nicely. I would imagine that they then went to the town hall to consult the local plan. Anyhow, that appears to be the end of this particular storm in a teacup, but antagonising someone so volatile is not something we would deliberately set out to do or even wish to do.
Now Joe is doing more strimming as the paths and steps are over-run with tiny little yellow flowers, rape and thistles interspersed with these gorgeous little speedwells. The common vetch flowers are also growing like the weeds they are, but one can’t help but be uplifted by their nodding pink and purple flowers and delicate but strangulating foliage.
It was with no small delight that I skipped down to one of the lower terraces and picked off a lemon from our most prolific tree, leaving 7 to enjoy at some later date. All the more enjoyable since it’s taken 5 years to get such an ‘abundant’ crop! After months of avoiding them in the shops because of their exorbitant cost, it was very rewarding to buy a load of these locally grown oranges and ready to eat avocados in the local second hand shop – all for the princely sum of 3 euro.
“I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.” George Carlin
We have 3 avocado plants that have sprung up from the compost heap; a bit worse for wear from the biting winds, but still managing to cling to life. Also, thanks to rooting hormone, three oleander cuttings have survived, so I will be planting those out shortly. But at 850m above sea level, it’s certainly a question of survival of the fittest, and I guess that’s what makes it feel so much of a triumph to see the emergence of tender shoots, like the first of the vine leaves that sprang into life today. Even the Buddha has been enabling new wasp life over the few years that he’s been sitting peacefully in the oak grove!