Trouble in the fields: Mon, Apr 28, 2003

Didn’t realise how much I’d taken on until last week when Antonio (the original owner of the cortijo and my neighbour) indicated to me that the weeds and grasses were now over 2 ft high on my terraces. With disapproving Gaelic shrugs he walked off. Well, yesterday I decided to show him how committed to the land I was, so I went out and bought a motorised strimmer. After finally figuring out how to make the damn thing work, I set about avidly chopping down all in sight (except the trees of course!). Four hours later and under a hot midday sun I was beginning to wilt. What a lot of land I’ve got! I had hardly made much impact and had probably completed about a fifth of the task.

Just after midday along came Antonio and took a look at my new strimmer (that I was so proud of). With a shake of the head he laughed and proceeded to explain that the work would indeed take many days with such a “toy”. What I really needed, he explained, was a real man’s machine, like the one he had! With much deflated ego and feeling very much like the new kid on the block I continued on with my labours. At about 3.30pm I’d had enough. The sweat ran in rivulets down my face and I was covered in grime and grass cuttings. My legs and arms were wilting with the effort of holding onto a bucking strimmer for the last 7 hrs. Time to knock off and have a beer. So I sat by my pool and opened a lovely cold, refreshing San Miguel. Just after my first sip I heard a sound that sent shivers through me……….. it was the sound of a heavy duty strimmer from deep within the olive groves. Oh no ….. Antonio had turned up to help! Not wanting to appear rude, I had no alternative but to raise my weary, battleworn body up, manhandle my strimmer into position and head out again to battle.

Antonio is a workaholic and will work all the daylight hours. Has done so for most of his life. I, on the other hand, used to be an accountant!┬áSay no more. I tried every trick in the book including …. running out of petrol or strimming tape, but Antonio would have none of it and had me working until dusk. Never have I been so tired, but by the time the light began to fade and the sunset began to glow from the west, the job was done! All terraces are now cleared of weeds and the trees can be viewed once more. What a day!

Today is a day of rest and I intend to have my beer (or 5 actually!). Spring is here with a vengence and the smell of wild thyme fills the air. The flowers are in full bloom and the sun is shining. Just hope I don’t see Antonio !!!!!

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