Summer is a very particular time here at Cortijo Opazo. We seem to keep ourselves busy most of the year with activities related to the garden and the house, to the holiday rentals and to whatever special project the tall ones have in mind, but Summer has its own special demands. To begin with, there is the early arising. Soon after the dawn spreads a thin mantle of light across the eastern sky, then the alarm clock sounds as shrilly as the crowing cock and we greet the day with the essential cup of tea. Morning walk quickly follows with one of the tall ones taking us for a gallop around the local gorge footpath whilst the other gets busy watering the pots, the plant nursery and the chickens. In cooler seasons this would be followed by breakfast, but in the Summer months of June, July and August our fasting continues as we make the most of the lower morning temperatures and set to work in the garden. This involves Ella and I patrolling around to make sure that there are no unwelcome goats, foxes, passing walkers or people on bicycles. If there are, then our duty is clear, to bark and deter. Whilst doing this the tall ones get on with some less important tasks such as weeding or rebuilding some significant part of the garden and/or house.
Breakfast comes late, at about 10.30am, then for us, our work continues by stationing ourselves on the side of the road to keep a diary of the various local comings and goings. If we have guests staying then at some point we will pass by to have a chat, or to have our bellies tickled. I have no idea what the tall ones do during this time, but at 14.00 they give up their activities and enter the shade of the house where once again they feed themselves - nothing for us this time!
Then, as the baking heat of the afternoon sun overwhelms the day we desert out guard positions and partake in the essential siesta. Outside the world is hushed, with the exception of the water trickling into the pond and the rasping of the cicada beetle in the olive trees. The rhythm of the day demands that we retreat from the scorching sun and we obey its dictates willingly.
Without fail, our food time is 17.00, after which we are despatched for a second spate of a bark around the house and then take up our vital positions once more and watch as the countryside community wakes for a second time this day; the shepherd passes by with his flock, the farmer attends to his vegetable garden and our tall ones start their unending pottering in the garden. We have to remain vigilant for any time a cyclist may choose to pass by unmolested, and this is a thing we can never allow to happen.
But we must remember that Summer time should not be all about work. Here in the villages it is a time when the families return to their birth place and many a fiesta is enjoyed. As well as meeting new people we have been welcoming many a guest who has stayed at Cortijo Opazo before. The fact that they so frequently return is surely due to the intense cuteness of myself, primarily, and the random charms of Ella too. Some guests have been know to comment on the attraction of comfortable accommodation in a delightful garden and being able to enjoy the delicious home cooked meals here without having to worry about going out for the evening, but I can’t see that this compares with the canine contribution to our marketing machine. Others comments have been heard on the quality of the walking guides and the fact that once they are here they can instantly unwind and enjoy their holiday to the maximum, but this all starts with the warm welcome we give, the sniffing, the licking and the endearing yaps with which we greet our guests - after which some might appreciate the welcome drink they are offered and a chance to chat to the two tall ones and catch up with local news, but this really is insignificant.
Along with meeting friends, old and new, Summer is also for treating oneself, to a day on the beach, a dip in a local waterfall or to an open air concert in Granada as was enjoyed recently, although not by Ella and myself.
We are, of course, kept busy with the garden produce. The fruiting year starts with strawberries which yield to cherries and are quickly pursued by raspberries, wineberries, loganberries and this week, apricots. Red currants failed to put in a performance this year, probably due to the dry winter, but we will be on standby for a bumper crop next year. Did you enjoy the phenomena of the ‘Strawberry Moon’ this year? This fabulous full moon in June arrived on the same night as the summer solstice - and of our summer garden concert - and bathed us all in a glorious etherial glow. It did not, however, resemble a strawberry, so the very next morning I went out and picked a bowl of said fruit to photograph and remind us all what a strawberry looks like. So, here is the full moon over Pitres followed by my bowl of strawberries.
Glad to have sorted that one out, the title was really very misleading. My heritage requires clarity in all matters and I don’t appreciate confusion and muddle. This is why I must now end my blogging and return to my roadside position where I can watch each passing creature and duly log, with eye piercing accuracy, the daily passings and goings on at Cortijo Opazo.
Yours, with a brain that never misses a thing,