Hitchhiking. We never pick anyone up whom we don’t know. As we say to each other, ‘you never know when we are going to turn into axe murderers. It’s just not fair to put other people at risk.’
Green fields. Don’t climb down walls into nice fields, thinking to take a short cut home. Once the water reaches your knees, you’re screwed. Oh and that mobile phone you took with you, for ‘just in case’?
No coverage. This is the countryside, my friend.
Men on tractors, pulling what looks like a water tank. For your own sake don’t follow them. This is Galicia. All fields are fertilised the old-fashioned way. Yes, it’s liquid shit.
Maps. Again, be aware that this Galicia. They don’t want you to know where things/places are. We have two perfectly fine roads here, which are marked as footpaths. The best road to the next village is marked as a road, but it so full of holes that you venture there at your own peril.
There’s a beautiful road that connects A Cova, the river beach with Belesar. It has signposts and everything, but it’s not marked on the map. It’s pretty funny really, especially when you have guests with satnav.
A to B. It doesn’t look far does it? Three hours later, sitting on that perfect beach, you have enjoyed the trip, but three hours????
Pretty Footpaths. Now, in Yorkshire, a footpath that’s marked on the map, with nice walls and big trees beside it, would go from one village to another. Here, in Galicia, it goes to a field. There’s probably a good shortcut to the road, but maybe not. Don’t forget that mobile phone for when you get stuck. It may work if you are within sight of that road – or not. Brambles that can snag bare skins aren’t nice and as for barbed wire…don’t even think about it.
Grape Picking. ‘It’s flat, don’t worry about hills/heights’. Yeah, right. Take a stick or other person to help you down those heights. After that, it’s just backbreaking work upwards again. Still, those grapes do taste good, once you’ve sucked the Bordeaux mixture (copper sulphate) off. Blue is this year’s ‘in’ colour for lipstick.
Log Stacking. So, you’ve bought the woodburning stove. You’ve knocked a hole through the metre-thick granite wall, to put the tubes through that vent the smoke. You’ve even managed to order a load of wood.
Some days later, it arrives. It’s big. BIG and if you are lucky, it’s in your yard. If not, it’s blocking the lane outside your house and you have to work fast, or the neighbours will be cursing you.
The wood is all sizes – basically, you’ve bought your own oak tree and it must be stacked. If you are really lucky, it’s dry and you can sort it and stack it on the day. If not, then you have to leave it to dry out for a few days. Make sure that you have an alternate route upstairs. Mind you, the wood guy and his father are pretty easy on the eye.
Offing chickens. First you have to catch one. Then you have to kill it humanely. So you break its neck – but you’ll have to decapitate it. Be very aware of that super-sharp knife. Having the tendons sewn back together in your thumb is no joke – only your partner/husband/wife will find it amusing. ‘Only you could do that!’
Firstly, you’ll have to work out how to explain it to your neighbour, so that she’ll drive you to the hospital and then you’ll have to explain it to the doctors. Then the on-duty surgeon will numb your arm and try to find the other end of your thumb tendon and these buggers are like stretched elastic. They really do go ‘PING’. Ouch.