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Spanish Secrets: Home Sweet Home

“Here, deep in the Spanish countryside, we look out on rolling hills and distant mountains, deep valley gorges with gently flowing rivers quietly meandering their way through the endless landscape.

Old women sit on dry-stone walls, knitting colourful cardigans whilst watching over their small flock of sheep grazing in the green fields.’’

Craig Briggs, who has been on holiday in Lanzarote and is now back in Galicia, agrees wholeheartedly with the sentiment: it’s very nice to go travelling, but it’s so much nicer to come home.

“We had a lovely holiday but I’m glad to be back”.

That’s a statement I must have heard a hundred times or more from family, friends, and work colleagues. A sentiment I neither shared nor understood – until now.

With the exception of an ill-fated trip to Kenya, where I contracted malaria, I’ve always wanted my holidays to last forever.

Our trips abroad were a living dream; a distraction from reality, an indulgent fantasy that I wished would never end.

On returning home from my holidays I’d be like a bear-with-a-sore-head, counting the days until our next vacation adventure.

Returning home from our recent winter break in Lanzarote has changed all that.

We did have a lovely time; warm weather, English sausages, Indian cuisine and good friends were just a few of our delights.

But I now view this peaceful oasis in the Atlantic Ocean from a different perspective. The island hasn’t changed much. Every year developers nibble a little bit more of the countryside to create new hotels; villas, apartment complexes and the like.

The biggest change is in my circumstances. Compared to the busy lives we led in England’s industrial north, the island seemed quiet and tranquil, but comparing it to our new lives in remote Galicia, it seems very busy, almost garish.

Here, deep in the Spanish countryside, we look out on rolling hills and distant mountains, deep valley gorges with gently flowing rivers quietly meandering their way through the endless landscape.

Old women sit on dry-stone walls, knitting colourful cardigans whilst watching over their small flock of sheep grazing in the green fields.

Church bells toll every Sunday at ten, calling the faithful to worship. The silence of the day is broken only by the bark of a village dog or the songs of busy birds.

The bear-with-a-sore-head has been replaced by an eager-beaver. One of my first tasks on returning was to purchase some new grape vines. It’s surprisingly easy, living in an agricultural area, to buy a few vines.

I’ve decided on another twenty – ten red and ten green. The reds will produce the local Mencia grape and the whites, Jerez.
Each vine looks like a stick I might throw for the dog to chase. They’re about 40cm long with a mass of scraggly roots at one end.

The shopkeeper was very helpful. He explained how deep I should plant them and that the roots needed to be cut to half their length before planting.

Once back in the village I checked with our neighbour Mellie that the lunar cycle was in the correct phase for planting. Mellie gave her seal of approval on the grape varieties and indicated that the moon was good.

Armed with these words of wisdom and the more practical advice given by the shop keeper, I began my horticultural task with fervour.

With all this to return to, who wouldn’t be glad to be home?

email address
craigandmel@msn.com

Copyright © 2005 Craig Briggs


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