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Spanish Secrets: The Four Horses According To Melanie

...We were sitting up in bed enjoying our first, kick-starter coffee of the day when a sheep wandered up the lane...

You've got to read on to see what happens next! Craig Briggs unravels another Spanish secret!

We were sitting up in bed enjoying our first, kick-starter coffee of the day when a sheep wandered up the lane.

‘There’s a sheep walking up the lane.’ I said

Melanie shuffled up from her relaxed pose and peered out through the bedroom window.

‘That’s a nice looking sheep,’ she remarked.

Indeed it was. Most of the sheep in the area tend to be Spanish Alcarreñas. They’re characterized by a long, narrow, fleece-free face and could easily be described as, ugly. It’s difficult to imagine how such cute and cuddly lambs evolve into such objectionable looking creatures. This woolly wanderer had the facial features of a Merino with a soft, fluffy fleece covering its head.

‘I wonder where the rest of the flock are,’ said Melanie.

Before I knew it she’d stepped out of bed, flung on her dressing gown and trotted up the driveway to take a look.

A few minutes later she returned.

‘There aren’t anymore,’ she said, ‘but there are three horses up the road: a dun mare, a tiny foal, and a small white pony.’

The plot thickened. What on earth were three horses, none of which we’d seen before, and a cuddly looking ewe doing wandering around the village unattended? There could only be one explanation, Celso was back.

Celso is a good natured young man, but quite irresponsible. He’d only lived in the village for a couple of years before moving to the city, but during his stay he managed to accumulate quite a sizeable assortment of livestock. Unfortunately, his husbandry skills didn’t match his enthusiasm for expanding his ragtag menagerie.

Until recently, the site of an unattended flock of sheep nibbling on the grassy verges or a lone horse stripping overhanging vine leaves was a common site. Although the neighbours weren’t exactly happy with his carefree attitude, they tolerated it.

However; the addition of two young goats changed all that. These reckless young kids skipped over boundary walls like Olympic hurdlers, devouring the entire contents of a huerta (allotment) in the blink of an eye.

‘Look,’ said Melanie, ‘there are the horses.’

I looked up to see the dun mare strolling past the window closely followed by her young foal, and then the white pony, and finally…

‘There’s another horse,’ said Melanie excitedly.

‘Mel, that horse is a sheep,’ and I thought I was blind, without my glasses.

‘We’d better go and tell Jose,’ she added quickly, trying to deflect my attention away from her blunder, ‘he’s bound to have his gate open,’ she added.

On that note we jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes and headed off to Jose’s.

Halfway down the lane we caught sight of him, and his wife Teresa, striding across the field and flapping their arms wildly. We were a little late. The four horses, according to Melanie, were happily munching away on bright-green shoots.

‘Open the gate,’ shouted José as we rounded the corner of his land.

While Teresa secured the bottom gate José gently ushered the horse, foal, pony and sheep, according to me, towards us.

No sooner had I opened the gate than the fish van appeared at the top of the lane, blasting his horn as he drove into the village. Every Friday, villagers are able to buy fresh fish from a local fish monger, he signals his arrival with a barrage of blasts on his customised horn.

Startled by the piercing noise, the mare took flight, quickly followed by her three companions. Thankfully it didn’t take long for them to calm down. José began coaxing them back towards the gate.

By now a small group of neighbours were milling around the back of the fish van, waiting to be served. As usual, everyone had an opinion on how best to move the horses, and everyone was intent on giving it.

Ignoring their advice, José continued on, eventually persuading them to leave his field. The sheep stopped outside the gate to nibble on a patch of juicy-looking grass, while the rest of the troop strolled off down a track.

‘Any fish today José?’ called the fish monger.

‘Not today,’ replied José.

‘It looks like José will be having cordero (lamb) for lunch,’ I replied.

José looked down at the sheep and burst out laughing at the thought.


Craig has written a book, Journey To A Dream, a vivid and entertaining account of how he came to live in Spain.

It is available from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Journey-To-Dream-discovery-industrial/dp/1480254932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374567185&sr=8-1&keywords=craig+briggs

Do visit Craig's Web site


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