Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The rain in Spain ......

Last year in the middle of December the rain started, and lordy Lord without a word of a lie, it hardly stopped for three months. We practically lived in our wellies, and the poor alpacas looked so glum, bless them! This year so far has been a lot better, however, when the rain began around the second week in December it was pretty torrential. "Drenching showers" the weather forcast called it! Once last year Alan saw the river flow over the top of our little bridge, ever so slightly! Oh no, not this year! I don't know if it was sheer volume of water that runs off down the hills, that filter through the gullies on the tracks, and into the little "arroyo's" that eventually join the huge Guadalquivir river, that runs through Andulcia.

When it rains hard here, we have very little solar, and the television has no satellite signal, so there was little else to do than read, be on the laptop, or gaze out of the window. Generally feeling rather miserable. We could hear our little river (arroyo) roaring with the speed the water was travelling at. Occasionally we would wander down our track in our wellies and coats to just look. At one point Alan had been looking over the alpaca paddock and he realised the bridge had gone.... disapeared.

The bridge is made up of a huge metal tube, which is basically held in place by rocks, stone and mud. An olive container (the back of a lorry) had been washed from its collection point, and had been dragged down in the sheer force of water and wedged under our bridge. Of course this limited the amount of water getting through the pipe and the water began flowing around the sides and over the top of it. The tube had been pushed further down the river, plus the olive containr too, and left a gaping hole between us and the town of Montoro............... yikes!

The following day, lots of locals, well maybe 20 or so, that's a lot for us, throughout the day, came to look at the damage done and many little meetings seemed to be in progress. Lots of shouting, wildly gesticulating , shaking heads, and then driving off was taking place. The following day, a man arrived with a chain saw and a huge eucalyptus tree was cut down, at a point across the river, so at least people could get across it. You see where we live, very few people if any use the houses around us as their permant homes. Their country homes are used for occasional weekends, holidays and through the olive picking season. They are often used solely by their olive pickers. Which could be a Spanish family of 4 or 5 adults, or even a group of Romanians. They would live there, and the farmers would come in to check on their work, maybe working with them, probably not, most days. Of course the olive pickers were in the same situation as us, as they could not get out to go to town. When word had got around, the olive pickers would walk down towards our house and climb over the tree and be collected by car from their bosses the other side, to get food in.
However we had no one the other side waiting for us!

After a couple of days, more meetings, more gesticulating, something seemed to be happening. We were sure someone official would turn up, with a tape measure at least. Nope that did n't happen, but one man put a stick in the water, to check the depth of the river. Another obviously felt he could not be trusted so he got IN the river, it was only about waist high by then. It had subsided considerably. The next thing we knew we heard rumbling and two tractors turned up, and things started to happen! It took two days for the tube to be back in place and a whole lot of mud to be dragged and pressed around it. Cars were driving over it, but how long was it going to last, was the big question?

To the left of the palm tree you can just see the corner of the blue olive container

The bridge has been washed away!

Sad looking Sunshine Santa

Its all coming back together

A tractor, a meeting, our alpacas, a man and his 2 dogs, in on the action!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Argh it's all gone wrong!

When I went back to Brighton this time, Alans mum decided to come over a few days. It was great for her to have a break, from her busy schedule plus a bit of emotional support for Alan as, seriously, everytime I go back something goes wrong! Whilst I was away this time Alan had a) A litter of cats that seemed to just turn up, or were put under our fence. b) A local olive farmer asking Alan if he had seen his Romanians, which he had lost (his olive pickers that is) c) A group of men shouting for his attention as they were stuck in mud a couple of kilometres up the track, and they needed a tow! d) And our car battery died one evening. Ken, our good samaritan, fitted us with a new battery, and it seemed to be ok the following day! Nothing desperately terrible then, it all waited, luckily until I got back home!

Ok so I was back and cooing around the place talking about my beautiful granddaughters, and of course my kids too, and it all seemed to blooming go together! Alan decided to go out and play football one evening. He has been desperate to get back to it, but something always stops him. He just needs our friend to be with him for the first night, as of course it's so difficult with the language barrier. He was on his way up the track, excited and hopeful, bless him, when the phone went. It was David cancelling at the last minute, as he was ill. Whilst Alan took the call the car lights were dimming! He sadly turned the car around and drove back home. When safely at home, he turned off the engine, and tried to immediately turn it back on.... it was n't having any of it! The alternator had gone on the car, although luckily we were able to use it during the day! One of our genny's was n't working anyway, so it just left the second to stop working, which of course it did. No genorator mean no power unless it is sunny! Nope, none of that, just plenty of rain, plus our water pump also stopped working. This actually meant that we had water for about a week, but then it stopped! No genny to pump some more, so we had to fill water bottles from our water deposit to fill the toilet cisten, and use bottled water, heated in the kettle, phew luckily we were ok for calor gas, to heat the water for washing! Took me right back to the good old days, when mum said you had to have a strip wash!

So let me spell it out, we could only use the car during daylight! We had to order an alternator on ebay, and wait for it to be delivered to Spain. No water ....... thank the Lord for the bottled type. I would also lke to thank God for the invention of candles. It seriously was a hard couple of weeks.

Pat and Pedro our very good friends invited us over for lunch and a shower one day. Wow it was heaven, beautiful king prawns, clams artichokes and rice.................. PLUS a steaming hot shower, I wanted to sleep there....... no really! In fact maybe even move there!

No photos you will be pleased to know of us sobbing round the candles, so a few festive dogs to help cheer you up now!
Handsome Arthur

Beautiful Blue

Little needy CarlosOur Geri

Our little mad Miliko