Sunday, 24 August 2008

Why do women need men?

So the old joke goes. And in the unlikely even that any of you out there don't know it, the punchline is, and don't get too excited: because vibrators can't mow the lawn. Anyway, vibrator or not, I was determined that I should be able to cope with the lawn here. It was the one thing that caused me most worry about being on my own. I've mown lawns before but this one is on a slope, measures about 1,200 square metres and I'd never done it here before, nor used a petrol mower.

A vast expanse of rapidly-growing grass. The lawn before mowing

This is the means I have of cutting it. A heavy petrol mower, with powered wheels, which I have recently named The Beast.

A brief practice several months ago left me worried about being carried away by it, down the hill, causing in havoc in neighbouring vegetable patches as I went, so I approached the machine with some trepidation the first time it came to my mowing the lawn on my own. Sunny evening as it was, I donned my Australian-army-issue reversible sun hat and sturdy walking boots, pulled on my gardening gloves and got down to work. I decided to allocate myself two hours to get as much of the task done as I could, seeing as it was my first time, and then complete it another day.

All ready to start.

Half an hour in, I was hot, sticky and red-faced and the hat was disgustingly sweaty. Traversing the slope wasn't too difficult, but turning round at each end gave the mower an opportunity to glide off towards the freedom that it seemed eager to take every time. And then of course when the grass holder was full the compost heap was located right at the top of the slope - by the vegetable patch - which necessitated a long trek up there to dump the grass. Carrying on, I realised that a sun top and shorts is definitely not the best gear to be wearing to cut an insect-filled lawn and swore each time one of the litte buggers decided I'd be a tasty snack.

However, I'm not the sort to be easily deterred. Besides my two hours weren't up so I had to keep going. If I gave up the first time round I'd never make it. Also the neighbours were out and about and I wasn't going to let them think that I was some weak little woman who couldn't cope on her own. Rural Spain still has to catch up somewhat on the sexual equality front and I was determined to do my little bit to help. So, after a brief rest to catch my breath and down a pint of water I went on.

Traditional hay making - I stop for a break but the neighbours carry on

And blow me if, 90 minutes after I'd started, I had the whole lawn mown and looking rather snazzy. I rather surprised myself.

The finished product

After several more glasses of water I celebrated with a tasty dinner and a few glasses of wine. I felt it was the least I'd earnt. Since that first attempt I've attacked the lawn twice more, with gusto, and come out the winner each time. The Beast still tries it on every now and again but I now feel fit and capable enough to show it who's boss.

Friday, 15 August 2008


I haven't been taking many photos these last few months, but here are some of the few I did snap. Make the most of them becasue my camera seems to have given up its hold on life and no amount of persuading can get it to work -  believe me, I've tried.

Oviedo city council opt for the cheapest solution - Woody Allen, now completely devoid of glasses.

March skies and Redes mountains

March snow

Fruit from the garden. The berries and plums have all been scoffed and I'm about to make a start on the pears.

Feeding greedy sheep though the garden fence.

A neighbour's lambs

A different neighbour's donkey and a two-week old... erm, what's the word for a baby donkey? Donkette?

Still curious

And still friends

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


A huge, enormous, heartfelt sorry to all those of you who have been wondering what's been happening to my blog of late and also for being dreadfuly lax in my commenting. On top of that, a big thank you to those who emailed to check how I was or stated their concerns for me on other blogs. I was extremely touched that people I have not even met cared enough to do that.

Anyways, after several months of silence, and a few changes out in the real world - the main one being that I´m now on my own up on the mountain, and happier for it, although the cat count remains the same - I´m back.

Never a very prolific blogger to start with, I make further apologies for what will probably be errratic posting in the future. This is because I now have to keep the garden, house, car and cats in order by myself. My already busy timetable has been filled considerably, although I´m hoping all the mowing and strimming I´ve taken on will do wonders for my muscle tone.

My friend Sue, on a recent visit, suggested I advertise for a strapping au pair, of the male variety, to help me out around the house and in the garden. I´ll see how things go first, but I am keeping the idea mind. If any of you should know of a suitable specimen, I mean candidate, please do direct them here.