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Spanish Secrets: Wartime Reflections

The battle lines have been clearly drawn. Jazz the dog and an array of glittering CDs are essential to the defences. To find out who the enemy is read Craig Briggs's exuberant report from the front line in Galicia.

To read more of Craig's colourful columns click on Spanish Secrets in the menu on this page.

The battle lines have been drawn. Let the war commence.

Unlike most global conflicts this one has a clearly defined timescale. Hostilities commenced in the early hours of Friday morning. Aerial squadrons conducted audacious dawn raids. Initial casualties were low but numbers could quickly escalate if these daring sorties go unchallenged. Throughout Saturday the number of raids rose significantly. Casualty figures were becoming unacceptable.

Attempts at diplomacy had failed. It was time to call out the Home Guard and mobilise all available forces. The latest in high-tech weaponry would be deployed to repel the would-be invaders.

However, the conflict wasn’t without its benefits. We too could begin to feed on the ripening masses?

The cackling squadrons of magpies, cheekily nibbling away at this year’s grape crop, were testament to their sweetness. Not even magpies will dine on ripening grapes. Like us, they wait until they’re succulent and sweet.

Months of training the home guard, our dog Jazz, are now proving invaluable to the war effort. She now reacts equally to the word "magpie" as she does to "cat''. Her trained response is to run excitedly around the garden, barking loudly. Not a particularly subtle defence but it certainly does the trick.

It was the early hours that were proving most problematic. We were asleep, and so too was our sentry. Clearly alternative defences were called for.

What better use for all those unwanted free CD’s than to drill a small off-centre hole, thread them onto a cord and hang them from the vine training wires? As the discs twist and turn in the breeze their mirrored surfaces reflect even the dimmest of light. Dozens of discs now hang from the wires like Christmas tree decorations, reflecting rays of light in a similar fashion to a nightclub mirror-ball.

Our final high-tech deterrents are several rolls of reflective tape. This stretches from house-gutters to sycamore, sycamore to lamppost, lamppost to telegraph post, back to house-gutter from and on to the pine tree… The garden looks as though it has been cordoned off as n aerial crime scene.

Early indications suggest the marauding magpies have flitted in search of easier pickings. The unfortunate consequence of our success is that the house and gardens seem as though dressed for a birthday party, and they will do so for the next month.

Until harvest day, I’ll sit quietly in the garden, keeping watch, nibbling on grapes and protecting my eyes from the dazzling CD reflections with polarised sunglasses.

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Copyright © 2006 Craig Briggs


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