Mountain days, soldiers and turkeys: Tues, Mar 23, 2004

Sorry Ive not been in touch sooner but I’ve been very busy during this winter. Needless to say I’m quite fit but having had 40 out of the last 55 days up in the mountains I have developed a back problem. Suppose its something to do with carrying backpacks around the hills all day. At the moment, “Ginger” our latest Canadian “woofer” is massaging it back into shape. Don’t get any funny ideas because shes a very homely 55 year old. 

The latest 2 clients are soldiers from the elite troops of a middle eastern country thats very friendly with the USA (no prizes for guessing which). These super fit heros are determined to take everything on no matter what weather or hardship…………..Moi, I’d rather drink hot mulled wine and stay in a nice warm bed in the Poqueira Hut whilst they shovel for hours making a hole in the snow in which to spend the night. Takes all sorts, I suppose?

Antonio, my neighbour proudly showed me his latest building which is a 2 story house, lower floor for his pigs and the top floor for his chickens. It’s quite a edifice and much too good for animal life. I expressed my wonderment at his achievement and next day he arrived at my place and said…“where do you want it?”. Outcome was that the following day a tractor arrived and excavated some terraces and within a week I had a similar new house standing in my grounds. Top floor is for all my “boys toys” and climbing/skiing gear. Lower floor has been made for gardening, outdoor equipment and stables for 2 horses. When I asked him if we needed planning permission his reply was …..“no pasanada, sey nurthing nada”. He says cost will be about 3,000 euros which in Spanish means 4,500 euros!

Funny place this. Things happen here which I guess would never happen in the UK. For instance, there I was having a nice quiet 5 hour drinking session in my local bar with some clients. At the end of the evening, Antonio (the bar owner, seems to me that everybody’s called Antonio!), called me into the kitchen and presented me with …………2 Pabos, sorry turkeys. With them was also a nice bag of turkey food, whatever that is? Slightly taken aback and a wee bit wobbly with drink I said “thanks” and preceeded to take them home. Next morning, less under the influence, I wondered what the hell you do with turkeys (excepting Christmas of course). I named them “Christmas” and “Lunch” so that I’d never forget their only use in life. By lunchtime I was bored with turkeys so gave them to neighbour Antonio as down payment on new storeshed. He was delighted, as he’s just made a purpose built turkey/chicken run with their own swimming pool, sun terrace and breeding place ……….ahhh bless him!

Written by:
Richard Hartley

Richard is an avid blogger and the founder of Spanish Highs Sierra Nevada. He is author of the Cicerone Guidebook Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada