Posted by: puebloman | February 12, 2010

Occasional Diary 1

7am Woken by the howling of my neighbour’s dog. It lives in a big windowless garage next to our bedroom with eight goats and has taken to fits of barking as the sun breaks over the mountain. This, combined with the cockerels who crow all night during a full moon , makes a lie-in impractical

8am Breakfast of porridge. Just whole oats, water and salt. It steadies my diabetic blood sugar for the day. Slight spat with Judy. We have planned two building days on the bedroom, but Jude says we need to clean up and clear away before we can start. Preparation is everything. She’s right of course, as always. That’s what pisses me off. We have too much stuff. What we need is a bonfire. I tell her this. She pretends she hasn’t heard. None of my stuff burns, actually – not healthily anyway, it’s all plastic. Her thousands of jumpers on the other hand . . .

11am We have moved all of our clothes into the two-bedroom cottage, which is free for the next few days. We can sleep in the double bedroom. Our clothes are in the other one – Judy’s take up both single beds and the linen press, and mine a chair. We have discovered bags and bags of shoes, some single, some gently composting. Now what about that bonfire?

12am We have draped the room with dust sheets, covered the bed and shielded both doors. The worst thing about this work is that you end the day filthy and with no place or means to get clean. We have been living under a thin film of dust for three years.

1pm I am off to Almachar to buy 4 bags of “Capagris”. It s a strong grey mix of plaster and glue. We are going to smooth out the pock marked walls of the bedroom

2pm Lunch. My homemade pasties. Finely chop onion, swede, potato. Very finely chop some thinly sliced roasting beef (“Filete” is the cut in spanish). Roll out some shop bought puff pastry thin and cut to circles with a plate. Put a mixture of the veg in the middle and sprinkle with beef – all uncooked. Put a knob of butter on top and a sprinkling of flour.  Season with lots of black pepper. Turn over and seal to make the pasty. Bake at 200C for 15 minutes then 170 for an hour. Cool and freeze.

2.30 Judy starts to plaster the wall. I am going to drill out and remove a long ledge of earth and rubble at the base of one of the walls. I have a little kanga drill and a couple of those bendy buckets that are builders’ fashion accessories in the UK but are part of the trade here. . .

5.30 The ledge is made of earth and boulders with rubble infill. There’s a ton of stuff. I loosen it with the kanga, separate the boulders from the rest, and carry both out to the back door where, one a glorious day in the future, I shall turn them into a beautiful stone stairway from the back door down to the figs.

6.30 Mustn’t overdo it. My nearly 60 year old hip is starting to complain. So is my nearly 60 year old knee. . . I think of myself in the noble tradition of stone age man, manipulating and improving his palace of mud and boulders. Vaguely hoping to come across a hoard of gold buried in the wall. So far only mouse droppings. Could be worse. Could be rats.

8.30 Still drilling. Outside it’s dark, and the rain is steady. As I slip out of the back door and stumble blindly across the rubblish, a bucket of mud in either hand, I think of myself in the noble tradition of a solder at the Somme, up to his neck in muck and . .

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