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The view from the back

My blog is about our move to Spain, to be exact it's about the intergration of a techno junkie and his lovely wife of 30 yrs into 18th century Spain.

Good Neighbours
11 September 2015 @ 08:43

Well it's been all go and gone around here the last week or two, DeeDee our dog has now settled to the fencing and since getting locked out for a few hours after slipping down the blind side as we drove through the gate has chosen not to try and escape any more. It must have reminded her of being dumped not being able to get to her bed or food?

As was expected after the wet spring we did have a bumper almond crop much better than last year the guy from the village, our almond guru (as we know nothing other than they are good to eat) was all expectant or excited its hard to tell as we understand very little of what we say to each other and as he has trouble with the 3rs like many of his generation making the translate app not much help but we get along famously. 

As the day drew near for the picking we had a visit from Miguel from the farm across the rambler, the one much loved by DeeDee in her free roaming past. He came to warn us that he had moved on "people "who were taking his almonds and we should look out.

We are used to some loss of both almonds and figs as all down one side we border the rambler and passers by like to shop on their way home, we accept this and as long as we get our share of the figs then the rest are free. The locals any way never take everything obviously not wanting to rock the boat for the future. So we paid little heed to this warning.

the next day we had a trip planned to Almeria to the brico's we would be gone for about 6 hours, yes you guessed we had a visit, although we did not know as even on our return our best trees are behind the Cortijo and not on our route in or out.

The next day was Saturday and as always I was up early having a coffee out by the pool as the sun came up, DeeDee who in the past would have been off roaming the campo by now was safely tucked up in the yard digging. For no reason to me she spun around and started running around barking like mad, she settled her gaze to the little rambler between us and Francis, I couldn't see any thing and assumed that she had seen her old adversary the dark fox returning home so I said to be quite as the lovely wife was still in bed.

a couple of hours later another neighbour José came hammering on the door, now this might strike alarm in most but everything is a panic for José and is usually nothing. José also has a problem with the r's but he can read just not spell, he writes as its spoken so a V is a B and a C is The once you get the code we can usually understand each other.

He had been walking his mom's dog a miniature Yorkshire terrier in our almonds checking out what was to be picked as he comes with the guru and his cousin to pick and had seen ROBBERS, our new word is now el ladrón. So leaving my breakfast behind, not a happy state of affairs they went in the car and I set off on the quad and he was right as bold as fricking brass, nets, sacks and all even drinks and a packed lunch box.

they were quick on their toes and I set off after them across our stony fields, now I'm a big guy and never need to go beyond just offering to take it further if the need arises so to two Spaniards and a Moroccan been chased by me on a 400cc quad was quite an intimidating sight. I eventually caught up with them as they crossed the Camino; they had little to say just asking for their lunch, the cheek!

As you all know my grasp of Spanish is limited but I do know enough to say my almonds, my land, no food and you go. they didn't have a car but knew the game was up and started to walk back down the little rambler, where this cuts through our land its well over 3m deep since the floods and these guys must have been what set DeeDee off as she would have heard them even from 300 m away I presume. I followed behind them to the end of our place and watch them keep going.

on my return to the scene José had tipped out their lunch and water and put the box in the rambler the lovely wife had found over a 100kg of almonds in bags hidden under our over grown olive tree, but more importantly was the mess the trees were battered and there was much more than these almonds missing as I drove around it was clear that about half of our crop had gone and a fair bit of damage had been done. 

By now José's mum had come across and was ranting and raving picking up broken branches and throwing them down shouting something very put out. my loss of pocket money was a loss of wages for her live at home son so one supposes a loss of board to her every one looses apart from the robbers who still had the 100's of kg from the other day and at €1,80 / kg its nice money.

As the lovely wife drove back home she spotted the cheeky beggars coming up the rambler in the ubiquitous white van so she jotted the reg number down and later we wrote a note and went to the local police saying what happened, they weren't interested only asking if anyone was hurt . Why did I expect any different after all it is Saturday afternoon and the football was on TV in the station.

Picking day arrived and the guys went to work producing 19 large sacks by the end of the day, the same amount it took three days to collect last year due to the small size and untidy trees. They said that that was going to be about it but would return the next day to see what more they could get by going around the trees on the boundary and little rambler not done last year as they were just too poor to bother with.

this final sweep produced another couple of bags the feeling was we would have been on for 40 to 50 bags, cleaned this would have been about 350 kg not the 120kg we ended up with over €400 lost and my neighbours two days work lost, they kept their part of the unwritten neighbour pact and we disregarded ours, this time next year will see more vigilance.  

The powder coated rejas on the end are back on and the wall is all painted it looks stunning, powder coating is the future and not as expensive as I thought, it's been so much easier to paint and refurbish the windows and fly nets with them off. Now back there shiny black gloss and much better then we could have done with a brush.

The five windows and two doors of the front are away at the moment and the house looks very different like an old friend seen without their glasses it's them but not quite. I know I have in the past complained about the rejas but the Cortijo looks odd without them and the anticipation of their return is building as is the demands from the painting and windows. Our neighbour Paul is helping with the painting as steps / ladders are not for me any more and he's doing a great job.

The tiler has been back and tiled the counter and splash back in the fly free, we went with small terracotta tiles with some traditional blue and cream floor tiles as accents with a rolled edge tile for the counter. The tiler just kept asking when we were getting the tap for the beer or we could put a window in the wall through to an imaginary bar. I have sorted the gas for the paella burner and painted the cupboards underneath so we are getting close to a party just need to sort the lights and we should be good to go.

Well for the last six days we have had heavy rain at some point about 175mm in all and the campo is going to be green for the lovely wife's mothers visit it's amazing the things that get done for a royal visit isn't it!

just before the rain we managed to get a neighbour to use his tractor to re grade the chippings on the front as they were a little too deep in places and people were getting stuck this he did but unawares to me the new grade was above the pump house scupper that drains the floor and as the rain from the pool side runs under the door the scupper was to let it out as well as the floor drain that goes to the front pozo.

well we had a triple whammy, the new grade prevented the floor from draining but directed the rain off the pump house roof inside via the scupper bringing with it loads of mud this in turn blocked the floor drain, well we had a tide line about 10cm up the wall luckily the pump was higher or when the power came on that would have had it.

So I have scraped out the mud and unblocked the drain but need to dig a trench and lay a drain pipe to take the water away next time. It doesn't rain much but when it does there's a mess, we even had it come through the down stairs en-suite ceiling a little, but to be fair it was torrential and being driven towards the roof so its probably got pushed up under the traditional tiles. I'm not even going to look for that until next time.  

Yes, for those who are regulars I did leave the cushions out again, it's not rained for 3 days now and there still wet, I'm so popular.

remember  # good neighbours become good friends. # 



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1 Comments


lizy said:
27 February 2016 @ 11:05

More please!

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