The Simple Life

The Simple Life
Simple pleasures

Seven months have meandered along nicely since I (we) last posted any thoughts or experiences about our life in the mountains of the Alpujarra. Not as a consequence of any lack of experiences but more so from settling into our simple life.

When we lived in Brisbane we'd have some regularity in what we did, the thoughts of an adventurous life in Spain seeming so far away. Now we are here we have lolled into a regularity that I guess brings some form of comfort or security in a land in which you don't speak the native tongue.

Being able to speak Spanish in some form should be a possibility however its the dialects that stump us. So there is Castilian (spoken in most of north and central Spain) then there is Andaluz (spoken in Andalucía) and lastly Alpujarran, spoken in the surrounding countryside and towns. This dialect has a tendency to shorten words and drop off letters from common words causing all types of confusion. "Buenos Dias" becomes "Buena"!

We now know were to get our weekly shopping (usually a Thursday or Friday) and have even now found were to locate pine nuts in Mercadona. Tuesdays are our Nomads walking days, we generally know where to go and rarely get lost. We know where we get our favorite tapas in town. Who is happy to receive some of our eggs from our overactive hens and where to take Tom, Geri, Ginger and Perro for their checkups and vaccinations. Yep we have two new members of our family.

So what's happened over the past seven months that may be of interest. Besides the family additions. We have ventured out of mainland Spain twice, once to Berlin and the other to the Canary Islands. Did you know, the Canary Islands were not named because of Tweety Bird. Supposedly it was the Latin writer Pliny the Elder who first reference the term Canaria in lieu of the huge dogs (Canis - Latin for dog) which were found on the islands with the Guanches.

When we flew to Berlin, not having to go through immigration was a little mind bending. As we are on a residency visa for Spain we are granted relatively easy access to other countries within the Schengen area. It was akin to flying to Melbourne from Brisbane. It was even on the same time zone, thanks to Franco.

Between travelling to Berlin and La Palma, we welcomed to our mountain home our first Australian visitors. My parents had planned a European trip around seeing us. After flying from Sydney to Malaga via Singapore and then Frankfurt (over 30 hours of travel) we got the chance to spend two days with them out of the planned nine due to Covid. Both of them tested positive just after they arrived which threw a spanner into their time with us.

My dad says the best part of the holiday was seeing me jumping up and down with joy as they came through the arrival hall of Malaga Airport. This always brings a smile to my face. It was also great to have them see us living our best life in the mountains.

My parents with, brother, sister and brother in law

For those who are familiar with Chris Stewart's books (Driving Over Lemons, etc) it has been a fun experience getting to know him as a person and venturing into their part of the Alpujarra, located about an hours drive from our place but only 8kms away as the crow flies.  I had read his books before we knew we were heading this way but since moving here I have open the pages once again. This time with the real images coming to mind.

Driving over lemons to make pizza.

We are also slowly getting used to the 'ins and outs' of our mountain cortijo. I now understand most of the idiosyncrasies of our property's plumbing system. Thanks in most part to a blocked sewerage pipe, that had number twos floating down our driveway. Our new dishwasher has also been a wise investment but it highlighted a need to unblock a drain that had a grease laden pipe hindering its flow away from our kitchen. At least it was not number twos flowing everywhere at that end of the house.

Fingers are crossed that come tomorrow, we will be able to shower with hot water once again. It has been 8 days since our last shower. To prevent the stench we have been bathing ourselves with pots of hot water from the kitchen. We can both vouch for the discomfort of this exercise when it is freezing outside and blowing a gale. Our savior has been our fireplace which has been going non stop since we thought we'd test the boilers need for fuel. Tomorrow the fuel truck ventures up the mountains to save us. I say fingers are crossed as over the past 48 hours we have had more then 100mm of rain making the track up the mountain an adventure in itself.

Keeping clean

The rain has also made the ground surrounding our properties fence line a wild boars (known locally as Jabali) paradise. Under the veil of wind and rain the Jabali have had fun digging up the ground. It's lucky they taste so good, so with the help of our local hunter, we might have some to feast on for Christmas.

Christmas roast at work

Now that I have you up to date a little, I'll (we'll) try and reduce the time between blogs. Perhaps I'll expand on some of the adventures we have had of late. In the meantime we are hoping for a hot shower tomorrow, but only time will tell.

"But at my back I always hear, Time's winged chariot hurrying near" - Andrew Marvell.