Posted by: puebloman | May 30, 2009

From the horses mouth

Today Jude and I took a day off and toured west into the hills toward the Rio Gordo. The sun is now consistently hot and has burnt away the poppies. The wild pea that festooned everything in April is now frazzled to a crisp and its pods explode like hand grenades if you touch them, showering you with seeds. The hills are now yellow with summer broom and flowering fennel creating a yellow swatch that’s broken up with white flecks of cow parsley and wild oats. We travelled out of the rocky plantations of mango and olive and were soon in a softer landscape, sometimeimes flat enough for wheat. We passed through the Rio Gordo pueblo and spent a few hours poking around the actual Rio which, exceptionally, still has water in it. The river was once strong enough to power nine flour mills, but now only one functions, the river being reduced to a little torrent running past slack shallows clotted with weed. There are hundreds of frogs too quick on the hop to identify, in water seething with tadpoles, larvae and water fleas. We saw an aquatic tortoise the size of a small dinner plate. Martins fed their fat babies. At the bridge there were shoals of baby trout and on a pad of blanket weed lay coiled a viperine snake in a state of bliss, its belly in the cold water and its back soaking up the sun. Wild oleander and pomegranate blossom splashed pink and orange all over the river bank.

Returning, we came back to reality along our own dusty dry river bed as we watched men setting up for the Romeria, the annual horse fair with gypsy camps, barbecues, horse, donkey and moped racing and general showing off. A couple of years ago we took our friend Tina to a Romeria, knowing she was fond of horses. She found a young man beating his horse, went up to him and punched him flat in the face saying (I’m afraid I can’t do the accent) “That one’s for you, ya bastard!”. The man in question ran off, presumably never before having been punched in the face in public by a woman. We too withdrew gracefully, glad to avoid an international incident.

Later, at dusk, I discovered Tina placing little piles of food around the outside wall of our house. I explained to her that the village cats wre all well fed, even though many of them didn’t have owners. “Ah” she said “But this’ll be for the little night creatures” “You mean the rats?” I said

Ah well, with each passing year we become a little more senior . . . .

Horse training on the dry river bed, Almachar

Horse training on the dry river bed, Almachar


  1. Nice to see you back on the blog trail, John! Hopefully it’s just been that you are swamped with paying guests and too busy to blog!


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