It’s the third anniversary of the day that our lives changed forever, three years since we arrived at our house here in central Galicia.
We bought this house in 2004 and looked forward to the day that we would move in, electricity wired in, bathrooms, kitchen, all ready for us, but that wasn’t exactly the way that things turned out.
Loss of a big client, meant a drastic cut in income and the fact that the original project manager, wasn’t managing anything, meant that we had to move into a very partly finished house.
We’d employed a friend to look after the work, after we fired the original manager and she did a marvellous job, but our money only went a little way further and so we are still living with an unfinished roof, no internal walls upstairs, electricity in 3 rooms and only a woodburner for heat in the downstairs lounge/kitchen.
The roof above our bedroom was replaced in the first year and now doesn’t leak, which is a great relief. The lounge floor is tiled and the kitchen floor, which I had planned, with lovely terracotta tiles with small delft inserts, is instead paved with the left-over stone from the courtyard. It’s okay.
We do have a vegetable garden and hens, so this helps, but we are just keeping our heads above the water, praying for no emergencies, like the car dying, or a dental catastrophe.
The most surprising thing was discovering the sense of community. It took a while, but now I think we are part of the village. This is down to good fortune – we couldn’t have known that our neighbours would be of a similar age and that our friends in the next hamlet were the same, but even better, were returned locals – having lived in the UK.
I like the quiet country life. I found walking around in the UK to be impossible, as there were so many people and cars passing across my field of vision, with which my poor, MS-affected brain couldn’t cope. I’d feel drunk within minutes, not able to judge distance or balance well.
Here, it’s rare to meet someone on the same path, there are more cows than people and once you learn to avoid the cowpats, it’s pretty good.
Central Galicia resembles Devon in many ways, with the same trees and flowers, with one exception – there are no beech trees. I do miss their grey columns and small nuts, but what the heck, we have sweet chestnut trees instead, with their candy-twist trunks and much more delicious nuts.
The tree that I see from my bed, which is across the lane, is an enormous chestnut tree, which has never been pollarded and once the leaves are fully unfurled, (which is now, this week) then it forms a green cave, under which I have found some pretty wonderful fungi. If I’m lucky, I can find Boletus Aereus, which resembles Boletus Edulis, but is firmer and has a darker cap.
They are delicious. So is Galicia.