Posted by Belinda Ruth on Saturday, January 30, 2010
My name is Belinda and I am allergic to cats. I also don’t particularly like cats. However, right now I am sitting on the couch with one black cat curled up next to me and another comfortably tucked up on my lap. And I wonder why. Let me introduce Kit, or one-white-whisker as he was once known, a former feral 'bad boy' from the wrong side of the tracks rescued by Ann is a statuesque cat who does nothing more than sit on the bench, stare into space, and sleep.
He doesn't seem to be a fan of people very much. Quite fitting really since I am not cheering for cats either. And that is why I think we are a perfect match, mutual distaste but respect at the same time. He will sit on the bench perfectly still whilst I sing random songs to him (at him) very out of key "you... light up my life..." I like to think he enjoys it. Or perhaps he is making fun of me in his head, just as I am of him. I told a lie I must admit. He wasn't on my lap when I start ed to write. Shortly before yes, but I had to get up to print something and put him down beside me but now when I go to pick him up, he snarls and growls. And I'm OK with that and wouldn't have it any other way.
So, La Casa Del Viento must do funny things to a person. Up here in the Lanjaron mountain, me, a previous cat-hater now verging on cat woman? Besides the odd sneeze here and there I feel at home, comfortable and content. I have never picked olives or tended a vegetable garden either but that has become and almost-obsession of mine. A small garden of peas has stolen my heart. Peter, Paul, Philip, Pepe... (sorry I ran out of 'P' names and there's just too many plants) are my new pseudo-children and I like to think they are growing strong because of the cage structure I built for their support. I had never built anything like this so had some small nerves when I was asked to. A teepee? How?
Being the daughter of a very serious amateur gardener you'd think I might have had some idea, but I was never let near the vegetables at home as my father sought nothing but perfection (and only his way) so I approached this task with him and his approval in mind. I like to think he would be satisfied with my job and even though I know will never live up to his high standards I can proudly say this is my work and those peas are proudly mine. Now I can see that maybe his ideal goal was not perfection but ownership as something that you own, that you made, that you love, makes it perfect.
The day I built the structure and tied all the little peas onto it for support it was becoming increasingly windy until by the night it was blowing what I like to think, a gale, causing me to have intense nightmares about peas being blown away and destroyed. You bet the first thing I did when I woke up was go and check on them. Thankfully my structure held up to this test and I am hoping the peas will be stronger and taste more delicious than any other, ever, so someone will have to keep me posted on that one at a later date.
I can move on to my next obsession... (is this an article about obsession now?)... getting paint all over myself. I've been told I am costing too much money because of the waste! Picture me in my "wwoof" clothes which are- black pants with white splotches, a white t-shirt with white splotches and a cream jumper with white splotches. But I can't help myself, and like Ann it also seems, I simply open a tin of paint and I'm suddenly covered with it. It's just more fun that way. What's the use if you won't get a little bit dirty? I have never before stripped a wall and that took a day in itself using a spatula type instrument and after many a scraped knuckle it was all done. And then the cool part, painting. Also a day and then some.
I was using a simple folding chair to reach high places and newspaper as floor/furniture cover for my room, the bottom floor of Casita La Vista accomodation, for days and I did not mind the odd splash in my hair and there... until I went to the second level to fi nd a fellow Helper, Joe, also painting but using.. gasp... dust sheets... and.. shock horror... a step ladder! "Where did you get these?!?" "From the shed." ...Well, I never! Mine may have been painted on the down scale but I like to think that challenging through this adversity makes the look all the more professional! I find myself walking into a room now and looking around at the walls, up at the ceiling, trying to spy the quality of the painting... Are there any patches? Not quite straight lines over ceiling beams?... In any case it comes back to being proud of something you did yourself. Next time I must remind myself to find some dust sheets first though.
I could also tell you about some horrible three citrus marmalade floating around this place. Beware of it, as I had a hand in the making. Our other Helper Silvia and I spent a rainy day inside making it. Or rather, I slowly and tenderly cut off the white bits from the rind and carefully and precisely cut them into the tiniest thinnest slices to go into the marmalade, and that's about it. In fairness it's a tough part of the job and I was thankful I wasn't the one measuring the sugar or trying to remember how many minutes it had been boiling or testing the setting point. Actually I have to say the marmalade IS delicious and you must try it but I like to protect myself against future legal action. Just in case.
I am also not a big 'walker' (you can't take the city out of the girl). I know Ann will retell the story of when she invited me for a wander up the mountain with them and a few others and the first thing I said was "how far is it?" I tend to hesitate going down the mountain into town as I know I just have to walk back up. I did try the other day and after a trip to Almunecar the bus dropped me off in town so I began walking up but it suddenly got dark and I didn't know where the path was.
Luckily I was near friends Andy and Ruth so I popped into there place for rescuing, a couple beers and a lift back up here. Myself, Silvia and Joe wandered down for San Sebastian celebrations the other evening which was good instruction for finding the path and yes it's not as scary or hard as I imagine. The day that I did go with everyone for a walk further up the mountain when I asked how far was thoroughly enjoyable and I do actually intend to try more as I burned 1500 calories in 2hrs a ccording to my fancy heart rate watch! But only when it's light.
Lastly I want to wish everyone a Happy Australia Day today. Ann has kindly bought me goods to cook food for everyone and for morning tea, which is about now, I will make fairy bread. If you don't know what it is I guess you will just have to visit here and find out yourself! Dinner will be some lovely hamburgers (Aussie style with beetroot inside!) and lamington cake if I can get my hands on some coconut. Oh right, I come from the land down under since I haven't mentioned it yet. Yes, you know the song.
What have I gathered so far? La Casa Del Viento must be a valley of firsts. A place to grow. Every day, waking up, with excitement, expecting something new to happen whether it be some new visitors, rain, wind, cooking/eating something I never knew existed or just seeing a new gorgeous sunset, I know that it will bring a smile. Thank you Help Exchange, lovely Lanjaron and Ann.
Now look, Kit, my favourite people hating cat, has just pounced over and jumped back up on my lap. See? After a little sneeze, there it is... a smile...... :-)