The ultimate “Keeping Up With The Jones’s?: Sun, Jul 06, 2003

Ever wanted to parade up the high street in a £150,000 Ferrari? Fancied buying the smallest, best pixel, sexiest, digital camera on the market today? Wanted Armani suits to strut your stuff in? Ever imagined showing off your brand new Rolex watch? Well have I got news for you? I’ve got the ultimate, must-have item the world has ever known!. You can keep your bloody BMW’s, stuff your laptop computers, stick your luxury mansions where the “sun don’t shine”, cos I’ve got …………………… a hammock !!!!!!

Yes, this marvellous piece of kit cost sod-all and is made up of interwoven coloured cotton. It feels like silk next to the skin. I’ve hung 2 of them up in the porch area between the Cortijo and the swimming pool. As the porch has a thatch covering it is the perfect way to while away the Siesta hours, laying in the dappled shade. Next job is to acquire a large piece of mosquito netting and then I shall be spending the rest of the Spanish summer sleeping outside. Luxury or what?

Gradually sorting out the problems with the pools. As I’ve never had a pool before it’s been quite hard figuring out what buttons to press and which knobs to turn. Being Spain, of course, theres no markings of any kind and no instruction manuals! Managed to locate a Brit called Brian (had to be, didn’t it?). He explained in perfect gibberish what I had to do. After talking for an hour I was no wiser, just more confused. Am I that thick or is it a Spanish “thing”? Anyway ventured down into the depths of Cortijo Cerezo’s (the new one) pool house. It felt like I was entering the Mummy’s Tomb! The walls were clad with nests of spiders and scorpions ran across the floor …. UGH! God only knows what else lay in wait in the depths. Spent as little time in there as possible but managed to get the pool system working eventually.

I’d been thinking for some time about how to get my own back on Antonio for those late night alcoholic binges he’s become quite famous for. Came up with a really cunning plan. Decided to invite him up to Sarah’s at Caballo Blanco for a short trip into the hills on a horse. Thought his nether regions would have mucho trouble coping with the strain of a 5 hour horse ride. Today he turned up with his brother in law (Jose) and his nephew (also Antonio) and off we went. I’d forewarned Sarah about them and suggested she took a very rugged route with much trotting, cantering and the odd very bouncy gallop! As soon as we set off it was evident that they were very much at home on horses. You know the rest of course. By the end of the trip I was staggering, bowlegged, away from the damn nag, whilst they were laughing and joking about what a good time they had had. Another cunning plan goes pear-shaped. Bugger!

Rocky now comes with me on the horse treks. He loves it, now has learned to keep away from the horses hoofs. He trots merrily along 20 yards or so in front of the pack with his mates Roger and Igor (Sarah’s dogs). He thinks it’s wonderful when the horses gallop and he chases along having a great time seeing his master, wide-eyed and hanging on for grim death.

Tracy has just bought a horse. A jet black Arab gelding. I can ride it when I want, which will probably be never now! Her and Sarah are planning to start advertising 3 days horse treks up Mulhacén, the highest summit in Spain. A good idea that should attract custom. They are planning an exploratory trip to see if it is in fact a possibility. However there lies a problem as neither person can read a map or tell left from right! I’ve been invited therefore to come along too … surprise, surprise. The thought of 2 or 3 full days in the saddle makes me cringe, but it may be fun. We’ll see.

Beginning to catch on with the language round here. Its easier than classical spanish as they don’t pronounce their “S”. As most plurals and other important bits, such as familiar forms of the verb, tend to end in an “S” this makes it easy to pick up. You don’t have to worry about whether something is plural and also means you can’t be too familiar with anyone. Also means nobody has a clue what each other is on about. Fantastic! Perhaps Blair, Bush, Aznar, the EEC politicians, Saddam and the rest talk it too?

This might be the last mail for a few weeks as mid-July I’m heading north to Chamonix for 6 weeks WORK. Hate to use the dreaded “W” word but everybody’s got to earn somehow I guess. Anyway we’ve got 35 clients to get up Mt Blanc so it should be the usual mix of fun, laughter, hardship and tears. I will pick up email whilst away so keep in touch.

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