Spring is in the air: Sat, Apr 17, 2004

Not too much to report here. I think we’ve just had the last major precipitation this year. Next major rain should be in October! Spring really is upon us with all the flowers coming out and the air filled constantly with the scent of rosemary, lavender and thyme. I have just made some essential oil with wild rosemary, which legend has it keeps insects at bay. The cherry trees are blossoming and the figs have green buds appearing ……………… anyway enough of the David Bellamy’s …………… last Sunday went to bar called “El Oasis” and had a good old fashioned Sunday roast beef lunch with all the trimmings including Yorkshire pud, horseradish sauce, rich gravy and some pork crackling, wicked. A bit surreal actually, as the footie was on the big screen. It could have been set in Leeds, the East End or Bradford was it not for the traditional flamenco band and singers playing live in the background. A couple of beers, bottle of wine and back home for a Sunday afternoon snooze, magic! Just like the old days.

I’ve just had a week without any clients and to be honest, it’s been lovely. A chance to recharge the batteries before the final 4 clients of the winter season arrive on Wednesday. Will be glad when it’s all over now as I’m looking forward to the next 6 months here. Funny, but I never think of going on holiday any more? This week I’ve been honing up on my cementing and building skills (what skills you ask?). In reality I’ve watched my neighbour, Antonio, and done my own bit by building a bridge across the water acequia for a wheelbarrow to get across. Looks really great actually, but in the usual Hartley way, it was only on completion that I realised that I should maybe have used a spirit level! A bit lopsided. Oh dear, never mind.

The storehouse has been completed and kitted out with all my “boys toys”. Ice axes, crampons, skis, helmets, snowshoes etc etc adorn the walls and a series of lopsided shelves (again wish I’d thought of a spirit level at the outset) hold tents, gear, boots and other items. This summer the inside and out will be painted white and the window sills supplied with flower tubs. Hopefully it will look great.

The grounds have a natural dip/bowl set in them. The size is 16 metres by 8 metres. I plan to buy some plastic sheeting and make this into a “alberca” i.e a water holding tank. Unfortunately, as is usual, it won’t stop there, as it will become a mosquito breeding ground unless I stock the alberca out with lots of fish. They eat the mosquito larva as food. The alberca will provide much needed water for the summer months when drought conditions occur for several months. I will be able to fill it up with acequia water if I hurry up and make it by the end of May. Will have to buy a pump so that the alberca water can be connected to the main irrigation systems. This will mean electric, so I may have a real use for my generator ………… and so it goes on!

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