Of water and wild animals: Thurs, Jan 02, 2003

I hear the weather isn’t too good there at the moment so I’d better not tell you about the weather here. Won’t mention the fact that there’s only been 1 day of rain in 3 weeks or that the temps were in the upper 20’s yesterday.

I’m very lucky, you know. Out of a hole in the wall at the bottom of the garden flows the “Fuente Hoya del Grillo” (The Cricket Spring Hole). This is a fantastic source of drinking water producing the famous (well in Spain anyway) Lanjarón Agua de Mineral. Always clear and cold, I’m told the spring remains going even in the most arid of summers. Can’t be that good for me though because theres no floride or other chemicals in it, but it hasn’t done the locals round here any harm. It tastes like nectar.

The same situation however can’t be said of the house water supply. On arrival here I was told that the water supply from the town would be connected ………“Next Monday”. Evidently, all water in Spain is turned on, on a “Next Monday”. Pepita and Josepha, the house owners, very kindly fitted a hot water heater for me and informed me that when the water supply was connected, “Next Monday” everything would work, they said. Well, sometimes the toilet flushes and sometimes it doesn’t. You sit there and wonder if you’re to be in there 2 minutes or 30! To refill the cistern from the cold water tap takes ages.

The same goes for the sink for hot water to wash up in. Takes 20 mins to fill. Cold water isn’t much better. Still…….manana, as they say. This is Spain, after all. Anyway, “Next Monday” arrived and sure enough the Water Man arrived. After about 55 mins conversation between Pepita, Josepha and the Señor de Agua, including much waving of arms and raised voices I was informed that the water would indeed be connected……..“Next Monday”! Pepita and Josepha then proceeded to usher me up a mule track beside the house for 400 yards. They explained that the house water deposit tank needed to be filled and that the house shared some streams with 3 other fincas in the area. We then proceeded to dam up certain streams and release the flood gates of some others and pretty soon a steady flow was coming down the water “acequila” (irrigation channel) that led to my house. How I envy you guys who just have to turn a tap on! After 2 hrs I had to return up the hill to re-dam the streams into their original configuration. Can’t wait for “Next Monday”.

On a slightly different note, Leo is growing remarkably fast. He’s almost the size of Rocky now and is certainly “top dog”. He’s quite aggressive too and throws a bit of a temper tantrum when told off. His instincts are quite strange really. he acts like a big cat. He will walk slowly towards you, stalking you, or sneak up behind you. Then at the last moment he pounces and tries to bite. Very catlike. This is all very well during daylight hours but when night falls it can get quite scary.

Do you remember the Pink Panther films with Peter Sellers? Remember his oriental manservant, Cato? Well I’m thinking of renaming Leo - Cato. At night if I want to go to the toilet the outward journey usually goes OK. I creep quietly across the living room and usually make it OK to the toilet. The problem comes on the way back. I turn out the toilet light and, momentarily blinded, and unaccustomed to the dark I tiptoe back towards the bedroom. But I am aware of a presence. I feel something close. Something primeval. I am being hunted!

The attack when it comes is swift and efficient. Suddenly there’s the sound of heavy, large footpads on the tiled floor. I grasp my unprotected nether and tender regions as the attack comes in. “NOT NOW LEO”, I cry as I rush to the safety of the bedroom. Once the bedroom door is closed I can address and bandage the wounds. Whew!

Well enough of these ramblings. Won’t tell you about the fiasco of the Marmalade making afternoon or the 45 second visit by Jack on New Years Eve! Am I turning into a mad recluse? Who cares?

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