Once we arrived in Spain our adventures really took on a whole new level of exciting and difficult. Reading through this diary from the time, I can easily remember the feeling of anticipation that filled every moment, like standing on a diving board waiting to fly, but fearing the water at the same time. Despite all the good feelings, I also remember feeling really really tired all the time, shy and overwhelmed, lost and a bit helpless. We were so fresh from England and our personal transformations hadn’t really begun. We were still stuck in a very English way of being, reserved and a bit too formal for our new Mediterranean friends. I think we felt a bit like children playing as adults, and amazed that everyone was going along with it!
Gone are the deprivations of the past few days, a hot shower, some decent food and freedom to stretch our legs. How nice it is to not be driving, and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the dogs agree.
We are here in Spain! Right now we are renting an AirBnB, a tumble down old house with a million dollar view of the lake, from a very quirky local lady who, by day, runs a small shop selling locally made products and, by night (and weekend), runs a children’s magician and circus school. It’s all very theatrical and quite possibly the very thing we needed as a kooky welcome to our new lives as mountain weirdos. The walls are all painted slightly off rainbow colours and everything is rusty or a bit broken, but the people are so welcoming and friendly.
This afternoon I am attempting to make English roast potatoes as we’ve been invited to a party tonight – and it’s only our second day!
I’m happy to report last night was a total success, although my potatoes were not as popular as I expected. The birthday girl was Patricia who was turning 30, she lives in a caravan and makes natural beauty products from wild herbs that she collects. We also met the brothers Albert and Sergi, also 30, who used to work in Barcelona as graphic designers and gave it all up three years ago to buy a Farm and grow organic almonds. It was an excellent party, very Spanish, just sitting around the kitchen table eating olives and piling up the pits in a bowl on the table, talking about trees, weather, harvests, and most importantly the olive business. Nicholas was very gallant and brought Patricia a home-grown hand-rolled herbal cigarette and so everyone went out into the night smoking and playing with the new baby goats under the full moon whilst I stayed inside with Marta (the circus lady) and talked very seriously and passionately about capitalism.
Right now, we are off to the village to meet our builder and go out to our farm for the first time since we got here. I can’t tell you how excited I am about it and there’s the possibility that the builder will bring a special guest with him whom we are referring to as “the wizard”. The wizard is a local guy who can find underground water using metal “divining rods” that move in his hands when water is underneath. I’m a bit sceptical but it seems a fun way to spend the afternoon! I can’t write anymore, the sense of anticipation is making me a bit giddy! We are going to the Freedom Farm!
Another eventful day. This morning we set off with high hopes and whilst most of the news is good there were a few surprises… but I’ll start at the beginning. We met the wizard and his business partner the excavacion y bomba man (digging and pumping) and we all drove out to the farm in a convoy led by the builder. With us in our car we had the whole family, tres perros (three dogs)!
When we arrived the view couldn’t be more perfect, with dense fog hugging the hill tops and the horizon stretching away in terraces of olive and almond trees, everything is mud and green and sunshine. The dogs immediately ran off in every direction having an amazing time, Skip climbed the mountains, Reggie collected various sticks and Molly ran between the two barking furiously, they think this is a trip to the park but little do they know this will be their forever home! The water diviner set off immediately to the back of the farm where the mountains start and within twenty minutes yelled for us to observe something truly miraculous. The perfect spot, every time he walks across a certain point in the ground the metal divining rods shoot up and hit him in the chest. One of the strongest readings he ever felt, not just an underground deposit but a strong and fast flowing spring he said. That’s as high as they can measure, quite literally “off the charts” says the wizard, we smile and he is encouraged to tell us how simple it would be for him to dig us a well, all we have to do is give him twenty thousand euros and when he’s finished he will let us know how much more we owe him…
After a round of awkward handshakes and uncomfortable eye contact avoidance we headed back into the sleepy village of Maella to have a nice little coffee when we fell victim to our own hubris and pulled out into incoming traffic whilst looking the wrong way and were hit by a huge eighteen wheeler. The impact was so loud and so terrifying!
Thanking God and our lucky stars we are completely fine, the truck driver was excellent, very professional and kind, he took evasive action that most probably saved me from a very serious injury and managed to strike us in the front left corner as opposed to the front left passenger door. After the accident he came running towards me, I was so afraid he would strangle us for our complete stupidity but actually he was just desperately concerned for us. The Spanish people are very caring and instead of being traumatized by the experience we only feel blessed to be surrounded by such good people. We’re not in England anymore! After the car was towed away (probably for scrap) one of our new friends came to our rescue and drove us all home where we have sat ever since eating chocolate and nursing our bruises.
We have no idea how we are going to manage without a car out here where there’s basically no public transport. This weekend we will probably hire something for the next week until we can sort out a replacement and of course determine a suitable funeral for our very loyal Volkswagen who didn’t smash a single piece of glass despite crumpling the whole front section. We have cherished this car and looked after it well, today I think it repaid the favour.
I hope to have a very quiet weekend with nothing to report on Monday. We need a few days without any miracles or disasters…”
So that is the story of how we dodged the notorious well drilling scam but failed to dodge a forty-ton truck. I guess you win some, you lose some! Stay tuned for the next instalment of our great adventure!
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