Our country abode in the countryside of Posadas (province of Cordova in Andalusia) is blessed with many porches, and so I in turn am blessed with many wide, expansive views. I have also been blessed with the gift of acquisitioning and upcycling things that others don’t want, and that is how I have come to own numerous plastic but comfortable green chairs on each porch. Though I haven’t as yet given them that promised lick of paint nor crotchet cushions, I am very spoilt by the choice of where I can sit. One porch faces north, another south and the other two look out to the east and west; and each one offers its own particular usefulness depending on the season. All of them offer panoramic views of landscape, as well as glimpses of secretive, nocturnal animals, and also of distant villages overflowing with historical content. (If you ever get the chance to visit this neck of the woods, you should!)
The porch that faces north is great for summer when the object of hiding from the machine-gunning sun is a question of life and death. More shade is afforded by the shaggy mulberry tree that dips its leafy fronds low and in plentiful array. The green mulberries ripen fat and sweet and it’s an annual competition to see who gets to eat them first: me or the noisy, squawking Mediterranean azure-winged magpies that alight in gregarious flocks onto the dipping branches.
The birds’ gregarious nature and strident, insistent calls also give them away, screeching out at early daybreak, waking you with a start on a ‘lazy-lie-in’ Sunday morning.
However, these blue-winged creatures haven’t always been Spanish nationals, or natives of central and southern Iberia—they apparently originated in the Far East. It is believed that Marco Polo (or his later Spanish counterpart, Cristobal Colón and his troupe of Portuguese mariners aboard the Pinta, Niña or Santa María) must have brought back these birds via the Silk Route. They now abound in inland Andalusia, but for some reason they avoid Gibraltar: perhaps they are scared away by the tailless North African Barbary macaque apes that inhabit The Rock. It is thought that the apes swung and knuckle-walked over from Africa about five million years ago, and were also imported into Spain by the 8th century North African invaders. Once here, they stayed. According to the Spanish historian, Ignacio López de Ayala: ‘Neither the incursions of Moor, the Spaniards nor the English, nor cannon nor bomb of either have been able to dislodge them’, (from his History of Gibraltar, 1782).
There is also the eastern porch. This is a great place to contemplate the swollen, fried-egg sunrises which herald a sizzling day; but in winter, the yellow yolk loses intensity and is diluted by the mist and humidity that hang in the chilly air.
There is also the western porch from where you can observe the pomegranate sunsets: burnished gold gives way to rose-tinted apricot and orange hues and these stains are suffused with bloody reds and indigo-purples before being finally ingested by the Prussian-blue sky.
When the last traces of the cobalt-violets have eventually been absorbed by the dusky infinity, the sky comes alive with a myriad of glistening stars—some aluminiumy, others more amber.
But the red-orange of Mars and the splendent, white-yellow of Venus are always distinct from the rest. (Many times I have made a wish when, during one of my numerous night-time vigils—often accompanied by a huffing hedgehog or a ghost or two—I have spotted a shooting star carving a brilliant curve in the darkness as it wields its way towards finality.)
But it is the southern porch that I like the most. It is the one where I have spent endless hours under the shade of the centenarian olive tree, helping my children with their homework, or playing cards, scrabble and monopoly with them; or just simply painting stones together. This porch also affords long and lengthy views over the hilly olive groves that sink down and gradually flatten out to form part of the level plains of the Guadalquivir Valley.
And looking eastwards, one can spy the enchanted castle of Almodóvar del Rio perched high on La Floresta hill (mentioned in a previous blog of mine).
Well, that’s all for now folks — hope you enjoyed reading / looking, and I’ll be back soon with some more descriptions of where and how I live…
(PS. Parts of the above were taken from my book, An English Lady in Cordova — the ‘Alternative’ Guide — available, with some of my other works at https://www.etsy.com/es/shop/GillysWork?ref=search_shop_redirect
Take care! xxx