This week I want to share three anecdotes with you that pleased me and went well, and three where things went wrong, embarrassed me, or even made me a little angry. I’ll start with the more negative ones and then enjoy the positive memories.
15 minutes of pure joy for Cora
Yesterday I climbed one of the mountains I had already tried to climb once before with Cora and Enco. This time I found a decent path and we reached the highest part (can’t speak of a summit, it’s too flat). But since I don’t like to go back the same way, and going down is easier than going up, we headed down into a pretty dense forest. In the process, Cora’s leash slipped out of my hand when I tried to go under a branch. The following 15 minutes were probably the best 15 minutes of the day for Cora and the worst for me. She ran through an old olive grove and I, with Enco still on his long leash, chased after her. I only saw her from time to time but let Enco lead me and eventually we caught her. Shortly after we caught her, we saw a fox fleeing through the olive grove, which explained her swift getaway.
A bike for the city?
At the weekend, Fredi showed me Wallapop, the app for second-hand ads – Spain’s Tutti. Those who know me know that I like to buy second-hand and spend a bit of time on Tutti. He was looking for components for the tandem I’m building and I was looking for a used bike near Ambite. I found one for a very low price, despite it being of good quality, and we went to buy it in the evening. The seat post was stuck, but since I was able to haggle a bit, I thought it would be worth buying the thing anyway. Now, after several hours of struggling with the seatpost and using all the tools I found in the shed, I think it’s a good idea to remove all the good parts and sell them on Wallapop. Then I can just buy a bike in Madrid that works. Or maybe I’ll try to get the seatpost out again, we’ll see.
The last negative anecdote is also related to my side project with the bicycles. Last week Fredi filled his water tank. This is done by means of a pump that transports the water from the well into the tank. But it needs more electricity than the solar panels can supply, so he runs the generator. When he was gone, I felt like chopping up the frames for the tandem, so I plugged the angle grinder into the other socket on the generator and got to work. What I didn’t know was that the pump was still plugged in. So while I was chipping away at my frames in Zen mode – with ear protection – a waterfall was forming in the background, because the tank had already been filled by Fredi that morning. We don’t know exactly how much water I extracted from the well, but it’s possible that it was about 3000 litres or even more. Considering the fact that the well ran dry in autumn, I hope that it rains a lot this year and that the water table under the farm hasn’t taken any damage.
A wonderful weekend
Ok, let’s move on to the more positive things. At the weekend, some of Fredi’s friends came over and we worked together in the garden. We planted beetroot, onions and other vegetables and cooked a very tasty lunch with lots of freshly harvested vegetables from the garden. There is not much more to say about it. It was a very successful day, I spoke a lot of Spanish and was delighted with the people.
Later, when all but one of Fredi’s friends had left, we sat in the upper hut and talked for several hours. Since I am a teacher, I have bought premium access to Quizlet and am now making personal vocabulary lists for myself. I had already asked a lot of questions on vocabulary related to the vegetable garden during the day, but in the evening Cristina and Fredi explained to me what they consider important colloquial vocabulary that I need to understand what Madrileños talk about when I go to a bar. The list I have compiled includes almost 40 terms and deals mainly with sex, insults and various words for beer glasses and bottles. I don’t know how often I will use the words myself, but understanding them certainly seems useful.
The little hatchet
As I was working on the bikes, I noticed a rusty hatchet head on a stone. I asked Fredi if he had a piece of hardwood to carve a new handle and he gave me two broken pieces with dog bite marks that would fit. I spent a few hours fitting the top to the head and filing a wedge to fix the joint between the head and the handle. After that I didn’t feel like going any further, but as it already works perfectly as a tool, I didn’t need to. Now I have a hatchet that I can use to split small pieces of wood when there are none left to start a fire with. But above all, it was a very fun project.
I’ve been here for almost two weeks now, and as you can see, I’ve had some easy and happy moments, but also some somewhat difficult ones. But what I find most difficult is that I spend a lot of time here alone during the working week. The next blog will deal with this topic.