Country Life

DIRECTIONS

Kilometer after kilometer of dusty roads, winding through hectare upon hectare of olive trees.

Olive trees are like snowflakes in that no two are ever the same, but after you’ve seen about 50 000, who cares!

We had been invited to an evening of music at a farm in the country, and were following a set of typically Andalusian directions – vague, loud, and assuming an intimate knowledge of the countryside and all its inhabitants. An instruction such as ‘Go to where Antonio’s father used to keep his donkey, the one he had to sell because it bit his mother-in-law’, is quite common, and with minimal encouragement the speaker would probably give you a list of the potential eager buyers too.

What we had was, ‘Follow the road through the trees.’ This in an expanse of the said 50 000. Deep in the midst of olive-land, Abuelo phoned for further enlightenment.

‘Just keep going until you reach the two trees, then go between them’, was the mildly exasperated response. When he tried to extract a little more detail, such as perhaps, ‘The two trees next to the barn’, or ‘Trees number 39 987 and 39 988’, he got the definitely exasperated, ‘THE two trees.’

Eventually the host came to meet us and pointed out two trees that he proudly informed us were the first that his great-grandfather had planted. That his great-grandfather had also planted another 9 998 that year seemed irrelevant to him.

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FLIES

And then there’s the flies.

These Spanish warriors are still fighting the Crusades against anyone they encounter. I have fly screens on the windows, but these flies are well-mannered: they use the doors. I practically have to ask their permission to enter my kitchen.

The fly travel agents have welcomed our arrival and are now handing out flyers that read:
º Mystery adventure tours.
º Exciting journeys from stable to stable in the luxury of an air-conditioned 4×4.
º Challenge and danger as your two hosts, fresh from big game fly hunting in the wilds of Africa, attempt to swat you.
º Learn new expressions of frustration in 4 different languages.
º Pit your skills against them as you travel to unknown destinations where Elysian fields of horses and all the associated fly-luxuries await you.
º Book now and avoid the summer rush.


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