Cleaning out my closet

Blimey, I’m quoting Eminem!

I’ve just finished performing some housekeeping on an old email account. I don’t know why I still keep it, I don’t use it any longer.


While I was cleaning it out I came across an email received on Monday April 18th, 2005.

From a complete stranger, offering help.

She said:
I had an email sent to me that you live in Andalucia, Spain and have had your Dalmatian stolen? I live in Nerja with my husband and our two Dalmatians and have been involved in rescuing and rehoming Dalmatians in this area.

How can I help you find your dog? Please send me lots of details about your dog and a photo if possible and I will try to be of some help. Do you live near farms or neighbours who do not like your dog? Let me know the background to the problem and I will contact others for you in the region.

Was it really 2005 when Baron disappeared?

So much has happened in my life since then.

I remember receiving that email from Diane in Nerja; I thought she was brilliant to offer to do what she could for a stranger who – let’s face it – didn’t even live in her region of Spain and therefore wasn’t likely to meet up with her.

I also remember the sleepless nights – sixteen of them – waiting for news of the missing dog.

Given Baron’s propensity for wriggling under fences and bouncing around in every balsa within sight, I half expected to get a report that he’d finally been trapped by an irate farmer and his poisoned corpse had turned up in a barranco – its location finally given away by the smell of rotting flesh.

I was thrilled when I got a sketchy report that a dog that ‘may or may not be a Dalmatian’ (go figure that one, my friends!) was seen with a group of hunters in the alta montanas above the village of Trevelez.

Even more thrilled when it was confirmed that the dog (who had been working with the hunters as a retriever) was indeed Baron.

Sitting here thinking of Baron – and all the scrapes and adventures that seemed to accompany him wherever he went – has brought back memories of Spain that haven’t been aired for a while:

* The early morning I drove around a corner on a mountain pass to see my three equines walking down the track towards me – eight Km from the farm where they should have been.

* The terrible phone call I received (I was working in the UK at the time) to tell me that Beech had severely damaged a hind leg and might have to be destroyed.

* The awful time I woke in a sweat knowing that something was horribly wrong, then realised that what I’d heard in my sleep was Beech crying at me from the garden, telling me that he was in big trouble. I nearly lost him that day too; was ten minutes away from the deadline when I’d have to give him an injection to put him to sleep.

So my thoughts haven’t been about Spain per se.

Animals, problems and Spain.

And now more memories are flooding in.

None of them very pleasant; all seem to involve the continual struggle it seems that I endured while I lived there – physical, emotional and bureaucratic.

I’m just sitting here reliving the day that I was arrested by the Guardia Civil for keeping my horses on a farm when I had the the land-owner’s permission (and had a written contract to prove it).

No matter; I was still arrested.

Now that really was a crazy day.

So I’ll take this opportunity to let you know that one guest blogger who has stepped up to the plate is Spanish.

Antonia will sign on in a few days.

I’ll keep her company for a little while before I go quiet, and when I’m organised with my OU work and my new 9-5 I shall return.

Oh yes.

I shall return.


Random thoughts…

The first round of Tapas you’re offered in Andalucia is usually pork.

    The Spanish have a wonderfully flexible view of what constitutes meat. Many visitors are amused to find a large lump of chicken in the bottom of their bowl of ‘Sopa Vegetal’ – unless the visitors are vegetarian, of course!

The Parque Natural de Sierra Nevada is the most heavily protected area in Europe.

    It’s true that the Spaniards are justifiably proud of the unchanged-for-centuries beauty of the natural environment of the Sierra Nevada. But there does lurk a conspiracy theory about the region. It has been reported that during the Spanish revolution a large amount of wealth disappeared… and was buried in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Which is why (the conspiracy theorists would have it) that it is illegal to disturb the flora and fauna in the Parque – illegal to even dig a hole in the ground. Which is why the residents of the Parque can’t have mains electricity, mains water, mains gas or mains drainage. Folk who live in the Parque live lifestyles that have changed little – by way of modern convenience – in the last thousand years.

I have no idea why I’m having these thoughts.

I think a mug of hot chocolate is called for!


Meanwhile, over in Spain

Daughter reports…

She’s going to Cadiz.


To a very special water park.

Is it the one where they film the children’s television programme La Banda? I ask.

Oh, Dad!



And she’s going to try out as a Majorette, just as soon as they’ve tracked down where this thing occurs – Juviles or Cadiar or maybe somewhere else.

She’s enjoying her school holidays – and thinks she’s done well in her examinations.

I’m sure she has, she’s bright.

I’d love to get over there to see her but there’s two chances of that happening right now; slim and no – and slim’s just left town.

Oh well.

Soon as I can then.


Candles in the wind…


Phone call to Daughter.


She is unwell.


She has a runny nose and it’s sore.


But (bless) she’s determined that it won’t stop her from going to school tomorrow.

How so??

Because the school year is almost finished in Spain and prior to the start of three months summer holiday(!) it’s a big school Fiesta tomorrow.

Apparently she’s taking chicken sandwiches (every pupil takes at least one food ‘thing’).

She didn’t get her carnivore tastes from me.