The updating of the blog has been a little delayed as I am rushed off my feet with exams and reports at the end of the school year and moving house. The end of the school year is always quite mad but this year – moving house at the same time – it is crazier than usual.
I have been taking all my vegetable plants up from the old garden and putting them in place at El Parral. I thought I was doing well: I have only lost one tomato plant and two aubergine plants, but the rest of the transplanted vegetables are flourishing. But today I saw with horror – as I went down to feed the donkeys – that the stupid man nextdoor, who cannot wait to get his hands on my vegetable patch when I am gone, has used a strimmer on my onions and decimated the whole crop! What a selfish act of destruction… by a man who claims to be a retired “landscape gardener”! (Landscape vandaliser, more like.) As you can imagine, I did not pull my punches when I went around to his house and told him what I thought of him!
That’s such a shame because everything had been going so well. I have moved gradually from Elca Seriou to El Parral over the past couple of weeks, and I am still two weeks away from the end of my six year tenancy at the rented house. (I have the house until the end of June.) After such happy memories in the place – particularly the joyful times with the newborn donkey foals in 2011 – part of me still feels a little sad at leaving the old house and field. It is such a shame when interfering people just walk all over your life, without any regard for your feelings. The greedy little blighter had even tied canes to the last of my tomato plants, as if he had the intention of eating my tomatoes after I go! The bloody bare-faced cheek of it!
Anyway, to happier matters… Tito and the van from Nutrivila have delivered the first stack of straw and alfalfa to El Parral. Tito was amazed how much land I have bought for the price I paid. He lives in Orxeta nearby and he knows the valley below the house where my vegetable patch is: there are occasional wild boar down there! I had better get some fencing done quickly in the valley or the boar will do more damage than the boring Brummie next door did to my onions!
Tito did me a great favour. I showed him the post holes that are all ready for installing the safety bars on the edges of the terraces, so the donkeys do not fall over the walls. He suggested I should look at the scrap metal merchant’s yard, in the next street on the trading estate where his store is located in Vilajoiosa. “There is always interesting stuff in there,” he told me, “and it is cheaper than buying new from Vila Metals. So I followed his advice and looked in there next day. There are round section posts of the same width I was about to buy from Vila Metals, but the price is extraordinarily cheap: he just wants 40 cents a kilo for the scrap value! He will cut them to size for nothing. Perfect. I must take Tito a bottle of brandy for such a good tip.
Two features of El Parral that I haven’t said anything about in previous blog posts deserve some mention. (I’m adding this bit mainly for my daughter Alys, as I was unsuccessfully trying to Skype photos of these a couple of days ago but the signal at the house is quite poor.) There is a part-ruined casita about a hundred metres from the house. It will be a project for the future (hermitage?) and at present it will be the official “designated place to store donkey manure for six months, prior to putting it on the land” (EEC regulations for registering land for equine use.)
The other interesting feature – which at present does not look quite so rustic in appearance – is the old swimming pool. This is a hideous round tank with metal steps leading into it. I have decided to keep it, as an extra storage point for water, but to make it into a pond. There are already some goldfish in it. I shall add plants, an island in the middle, and eventually a small rock garden at the side with a gently trickling waterfall.