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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Fond Memories
01 February 2021 @ 15:29

Going through all the boxes of photographs, I found this one of my son, Daniel, when he was little, posing with a donkey apparently called Bella.

For some reason, there was always a number of animals in or around our house in Mojácar (there's even a downstairs lavatory still known - many years after the fact - as 'The Pig's Bathroom'): dogs, cats, tortoises, donkeys, wild boar, chameleons, horses, mules, ducks, chickens, peacocks, pigs, guinea pigs and rabbits.

What with attrition, disease and the passing of the years, most if not all of them have now moved on to their Reward.

Following the death of my wife six years ago, I moved to Almería where I now live with Alicia and her riding school and her animals: horses, chickens, an ostrich, cats, birdies and a coatimundi.  Some of them have died (generally, we must bury them on the farm), many are going strong (the cockatiel that has the run of the sitting room can live, I'm told, for up to 35 years. This I find hard to believe as I've already saved his life four times in the past twelve months), and still others are arriving. With all of this, I've now got a podenco, a Spanish hunting dog who has been repeatedly warned that she is not allowed to eat the chickens that wander about the ranch.

And, from this plethora of beasties who all look up to me as a benign character (I bring them their breakfasts), comes a small fear of mine. When I, too, pass off this mortal coil to a Better Place, I can't help but imagine a misty empty field somewhere, a tree or two, perhaps the spirits of a few loved ones close to me... and then, with a drumming of mighty hooves, a hundred, a thousand critters will breast the far-off hill and run towards me, hooting, honking, barking and screeching, mostly (I hope) with a fond look in their eye as I try, against all odds, to remember their names.

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