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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

“The Good Life” (Andalusian style)
Thursday, April 4, 2024 @ 11:48 AM

Do you remember the classic BBC Television comedy series starring Richard Briers as Tom, Felicity Kendall as Barbara, with “posh” neighbours Paul Eddington as Jerry and Penelope Keith as Margo?


                                                                                                               Photo: BBC

It was about a couple, Tom and Barbara Good, trying to be self-sufficient by growing their own fruit and veg and having chickens for eggs. Their neighbours, Margo and Jerry Leadbetter, were of a different opinion.


“The Good Life” (Andalusian style)

Well, I reckon my German wife, Rita, and I are close to living our own version of the good life.

We live in the country and have a large garden and an additional field of one hectare (10,000 m2).

The garden is well laid out, thanks to our predecessors, the Bradleys. There are bushes of various kinds which give us colour all year round. There are roses of all hues, oleanders, bougainvilleas, Pfeifenputzer (bottle brushes), climbers, honeysuckle, cherry trees, heather, daisies, aloe vera, cactus and much, much more.

In the nearest part of our large field, I have allowed our gardener, Rafael, to use a 150 m2 area as a huerto. There he grows a variety of vegetables on a grand scale.




     Villa Indiana [Photo courtesy of A1 Inmobiliaria]


We also have a small orchard here with some 20 fruit trees and bushes ranging from almond, apple, apricot, blackberry, blackcurrant, cherry, gooseberry, lemon, mandarin orange, mirabelle, pear, plum, quince, raspberry (red and yellow varieties), redcurrant.

Near the house I have reclaimed several areas of lawn which had little or no grass, added topsoil, free from a local restaurant, enriched the earth, and planted vegetables with varying degrees of success.




Tomatoes and runner beans have failed consistently, but this year I have a bumper crop of mangetout peas, several kinds of lettuce, onions and broccoli. The broad beans are looking promising and I’m still waiting for artichokes and brussels sprouts.

It's only early April; too soon to plant potatoes, cucumbers and some other crops.

In addition, Rafael, a green-fingered Spanish guy if I ever I saw one, provides us with a supply of tomatoes, courgettes (green and yellow), cucumbers, squashes of various kinds, whatever he grows, throughout the summer.

Neighbours also occasionally give us produce.


No chickens

Unlike Tom and Barbara Good we don’t keep chickens. Yet we get a regular supply of farm-fresh eggs from our next-door-but-one-neighbour Mercedes. Free-of-charge. We reckon it’s a kind of “rent” for the use of a corner of our field by her house, which she has turned into a huerto of her own.

If her chickens aren’t laying we can buy eggs from another neighbour further up the lane, Pepi. Two euros for a dozen! Amazing! Her husband, Juan, already in his 80s, is also an industrial scale gardener and sporadically gives us produce such as cabbages and lettuce.     


                                                                                                                     Photo: Britannica


Our good life

And just like the TV comedy, The Good Life, our situation is also a bundle of laughs. 

Both long retired, we have the time, if not always the energy, to live this kind of good life. It's fairly inexpensive; we just need to pay for the odd packet of seeds or some seedlings, the occasional fruit tree and sacks of compost to augment my own two compost heaps (one aerobic and one anaerobic).

Most of our produce is free, or based on a kind of barter system.


Latest project

An area in the back left corner of our garden has been a dumping ground for plant pots, reclaimed wood, eg pallets, rubble and goodness knows what. I am currently turning it into a "Secret Garden", a tidy sitting area with plants, shrubs and an almond tree. There are sunloungers, a sun umbrella and a table and chairs. Oh, and a barbecue.

Located behind our pumphouse (for the well), and shaded from the next-door property by a hedge, it is very private.

There is also electricity available, for power tools and for lighting, should we wish to sit there in the late evening.



"The Good Life" English-style or our good life in Andalusia, well, it's all much the same, I reckon.


All photos by Paul Whitelock, unless otherwise indicated.


Interesting links:

Working for free? Why? Er… why not? - Secret Serrania de Ronda

Working for free? Why? Er… why not? Part 2. (


© Pablo de Ronda



A1 Inmobiliaria



Eye on Spain

Karl Smallman

Paul Whitelock

Secret Serrania



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