Spring forward

IMG-20170326-WA0024[1].jpegThe clocks have gone forward and El Parral is bursting into life.  Having spent the first days of this five-day break (fiesta today) settling issues arising from outside of this place, I am clearly resolved now to return to basics. Above all I need to remember that my chosen solitary life in this place needs to have in place some sensible protection to limit interplay with an outside world that is always oddly at war with itself.  And always will be.

The first mistake, always, is to forget that. Why get drawn into Internet arguments which are not mine.  There is so much spiritual and political nonsense out there, which is so much banging of drums and clanging of empty gongs, and in the end much of it is just a tale told by an idiot: a load of sound and fury signifying nothing. I’m paraphrasing King Lear: and no I can’t be bothered to look it up!


All around El Parral colour is breaking out and there are so many little jobs to do, helping spring to bear fruit around this place.  And now is the time to start planting the new fruit trees.  I have begun with quince and lime trees.

Then the avocado project begins, with some knowledge gained from a school trip to the fruit growing farms of Callosa, and a bag of avocados from a retired Guardia Civil who gave me avocados in exchange for donkey manure for his garden!  First eat the avocados, then plant the stones…  The Boddingtons is an optional extra and I’ve been reliably informed you cannot plant a widget from draught beer cans to grow hops.

Yesterday I went up the road to visit my neighbour in a traditional Spanish farm house, and while I was admiring his jacaranda tree, as we drank a couple of glasses of excellent Jumilla (Luzon roble 2011), he suggested gathering a few seed pods from the tree and seeing if I could grow a jacaranda.  The tree has delicate foliage and at some point – I’m not sure exactly when – bursts into lilac flower.  It is a tree that is native to South America, I think, but it is found in the Costa Blanca.

So, the focus is on trees at the moment, as I gradually build up the terraces of El Parral again.  The trees I managed to save last year – arriving here in the middle of the drought to find them in a precarious condition – are all looking very healthy now. Here is the orange tree on level 2, and a photo of Morris eating my trousers, and a photo of Morris not eating my trousers nor the orange tree.  The trees have to be protected from the donkeys who can do serious damage very quickly by eating the bark.

And finally, on the theme of trees, to the creature that sits in the trees and sings, brother and sister bird.  Brother bird and sister bird have filled the whole place with song in the last few days.  El Parral has the most exquisite silence for most of the time…

Apart from passing groups of mountain bikers, whose idea of enjoying the countryside is to arrive in sweaty dayglo pink and green Lycra, shouting their way up hills and dropping plastic wrappers from energy bars and gels all over the place (doubtless following the poor example of the Tour de France riders that they see on the TV and imitate.)  

Sorry, I got distracted there.  Anyway, back to the birds.

… The pine trees around El Parral and the whole valley below are now filled with the most extarordinary variety of birdsong.  This is designated as a zone of special protection for birds, and I havepreviously mentioned the eagles soaring over the hillside above, but I have been astonished by the sudden outbreak of dawn chorus and wide variety of birdsong through the day.  I don’t know much about birds because I have never, frankly, taken much interest until now.  It is time to give them more attention.  Alongside all the planting of trees I must find time to set up a bird bath.

Commenting is still disabled, and sorry about that.  It may be frustrating for some but it is for a good reason.  I will turn it back on soon.  Meanwhile, just to irritate Jabba in particular: it was very liberating to hear yesterday’s bells for Sunday Mass sounding through the valley… and to totally ignore the call.  (Sorry, just being annoying.)  🙂

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