Living in remote areas of the countryside of whatever country, inevitably brings you face to face with the real facts of life – including the fact that the meat that you buy sanitised and wrapped up in plastic from your supermarket was once a live animal that had to be killed.
The track down the valley that served all our holdings was a mess and after several meetings, the local track committee which included me decided that we would repair it as best we could. The town hall offered cold tar seal for the steeper bits as long as we provided the labour and off we all went to work.
It has become fashionable of late to regard almost any change in life style that involves receiving less, or no pay as a perk of what has been labelled ‘downshifting’. Volumes have now been written on the subject and much of this has been written by authors who, with the backing of money have dipped their toes into the fast flowing and shark ridden waters of a major lifestyle change overseas, realised what they were missing and rushed back to the secure and cosy fold of a well-paid job.
Every journey I took in Spain had that element of adventure in it and even if I set off with a definite outcome in mind, something usually occurred to knock me off track but also to give me a deepening insight into the country and the mindset of its people.
Starting work on a virtual rebuild of a very old farm house is actually a major thing to do in life especially when you don’t have the cash to pay someone else like a builder to help. Any spare cash was needed to invest in bees and equipment
Building a house in mid winter is not always an easy matter. Southern Spain is portrayed in the travel brochures as a warm and sunny place but this isn’t always reality. That October/November we suffered rain, rain and rain interspersed with nights down to -15C
I forget who said it but the following sentence accurately sums up the point of this post. ‘Neighbours aren’t just neighbours, they are a whole environment.’ There was never a truer word said on the subject and wherever you move to, you will have neighbours, however distant
1997 and now we were in a place with nothing. Because we are how we are, it didn’t really hit us until we got there. No water, electricity or facilities of any kind. Just 4 very stout walls, a mud floor and some bits of a roof adjoining a rat ridden stable – and a spade!
Our last days in the mill at Jimena were idyllic – well up to the last day itself and that’s when things went disastrously wrong. We had made an offer for 4 hectares of land with a total ruin on it in a beautiful area of the province of Huelva.