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House-Sitting in Andalucia

El Jardin Encantado
Dusty & Jip

So when two Lesbians ask you to go house sitting at their cortijo in Andalucia; they're to pick you up at the airport, lend you their four wheel drive, and have the accommodation for nowt - well I’ve been living too long in Yorkshire to say no.

They pack their bags for a yoga break in Morocco and I pack mine for the pool and drinkies...

Even when bumping into Joe & Jude at Leeds Bradford Airport - they were on the same flight to Malaga, but going for a romantic mini-break at the Marbella Beach Club - I could not be persuaded to slip down the coast and interfere with the romance; but headed for the hills and Periana.

What a lovely list of instructions and dos and don'ts! That was just for the dogs - Jip (flighty young gal) and Dusty (nervous lad, but what a ratter!).

First night; dinner party arranged with local celeb. photographer who apparently has won many awards for sports photography and took the legendary picture of Bobby Moore aloft with the Jules Rimet trophy.

Also a rather absent minded photographer - he forgot to turn up, leaving me to discuss the position(s) of lesbians in today's society. Don't worry - I chipped in quite merrily after a couple of bottles of rosť. The Marques de Caceres led beautifully, but the following acidic plonk slipped down well enough, particularly after the thunder storm which blew the electricity!

"Oh this happens all the time - sometimes lasts for a week at a time - you really get to learn a lot about yourself in those conditions"


Marbella Beach Club here I come!

Water duly provided from the frozen swimming pool for flushing the bog and directions given to the fuente for fresh water - follow the muddy stream for half a mile and when you get to the 72nd olive tree on the right - you know the one with no olives on it - then slip down the bank with a bucket - oh, take shoes and socks off first and trousers and pants - and you should find a pipe with a trickle coming out of it - should fill your water bottle in about 3 hours. 

So that's what maňana means!

Slept like a bastard and missed the huge storms in the night which caused major landslides.

Breakfast - meusli - surprise!

Final instructions about how to clean the pool, turn the water pump and and off, which is the best wood to find firewood, 'cos it's been soooo cold here...

Goodbye girls! "Oh, and don't blame yourself if Jip gets run over and killed by a car; she does stray onto the road from time to time."



3 hours later the dogs return to the homestead, not remotely bashfully, while I've just pulled all my remaining hair out!

Lock the ungrateful hounds into their paddock ("the den") and head to the one-horse town to buy all their alcohol...

Well enough red rosť and beer to keep me insane at least. Kept things to a minimum with the gringos - such as paying in cash because I've seen them get a twisted pant over credit cards before.

Back to the ranch and perfect isolation and drinking before dog walk number two. This time it's like strict army regimented routine - now I wonder if that's because they think they'll be fed afterwards?!

Probably, but who cares?

Working my way through the lesbian fridge; let's see this stuff off - okay, I'll reheat the polenta dish with spinach funny beans and vegan nonsense - but that is my last nod to lesbianism - it's gonna be hardcore after this - slurp Floyd style.

Now Dusty is a good ratter but otherwise very nervous (something about being kicked in the head when young) so physical contact is absolutely out of the question (except with lesbians - who can blame him?) so how surprised was I when he virtually jumped into my lap totally unsolicited like!

Then I glanced out of the window and saw a big fuck-off storm brewing up (as they say in Spain) - so I got one soft as shit polenta dish nicely heated on the table and one soft as shit dog in his bed under it. Jip ain't right worried though. That's girls for you.

Mind you this storm is getting bigger and BIGGER...

Stopping just in time for the 9.30 sneeze, no, pooh and piss expedition. What happens is this. The dogs convene excitedly at the front door and wait while you put their leads on - Dusty is content with this level of physical contact. Then you open the door and...

You're flat on your arse pulled along by two of the worlds most determined huskies, leads intertwining, dragged in to their favourite pit stops, writhing in something or other, but don't forget it's dark now so use your nose.

No sooner dragged into the bushes than dragged back up to the house again; slam the door shut behind you, breathe a sigh of relief, stick them in the kitchen for the night, ensuring all blinds are down to obscure the delights of wildlife passing by during the night, then slip into the lounge, having wiped oneself down, to watch the closing stages of the snooker - apparently Spain's number two sport after bullfighting.

Go to bed with different coloured balls still flying everywhere.

So it's day two on my own here with the mutts. Smooth start; breakfast of sliced sausage and doggy biscuits - the bowls are always licked immaculately clean - now what shall I feed the dogs?


Too much excitement today - Jip and Dusty go flat out down the steps - literally in Jip's case - hard belly landing and omigod what's this? A sprain? A break? A trip to the vet? A pain in the arse? Paw held out limply - me feeling a bit of spare... "you alright Jip? Just run it off" and thankfully she did; endlessly.

Obviously returned from the walking before the dogs again; but who cares?

Time for my walkies; to town. Twenty minutes in the midday sun; left the mad dogs behind.

Found a little bar - El Patio - which looked a little inviting. Buxom wench serving at the bar, so I gave it my best "una cerveca por favor" - "coming right up luv; d'ya want a slice of lime init?"

Ex Pat City

Not many in but they all look like they've been rolling out the Watneys Red Barrel since circa 1972. NQOT but who cares at ONE euro a San Miguel?!! Not me! Hasta La Vista baby!!!

The dogs are scared of the Spanish farmers, and who can blame them. They suddenly become very sheepish, which is clever for a dog. Jip, however, was not quite so sheepish this morning when it came to eating his own breakfast and then getting stuck into Dusty's. The first serious disciplinary issue. More breakfast all round seems the only answer to this one.

So now to the big decisions of the day. Will it be Hemingway, a bit of Spanish Sue
ňos lesson, another juice, empty the fruit and veg bin onto the compost heap, head to town and empty the bins and buy more provisions, net leaves from the pool surface and check for blockages, open the bar (bit early),or just do a bit of pottering? 

Pottering wins hands down; the sun is coming up hotter than before; maybe put a toe in the pool later? Maybe not.

El Campo
My Gaff