We live between two mountain villages at an altitude of 665 metres, where our property borders a nature reserve that includes the Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama mountains ranges that span the borders of the Andalucian provinces of Granada and Màlaga. The highest peak, La Maroma, is 2,066 metres. I have a view of this peak from my pillow. When I awake and open my eyes in the summer months, I am greeted with this view, and I never take it for granted.
Our house is a converted stable. There was actually a horse in residence when we purchased it. The original footprint remains the same, although it is rather more comfortable now than when the horse was living here. Our living room has one wall of glass panelled folding doors to the south west from which I have views over the hillsides and down the valley to the coast.
On another side of the room our glass panelled double entrance doors give me a view over the village of Canillas de Albaida and up to the peaks of the mountains to the north west. We are blessed with wonderful views.
We do not see the sun rise. In fact because we are tucked down below a ridge to the east, the sun doesn’t strike our property until mid morning. Although when I rise to do my outdoor (horse related) chores in the morning I see the sun hit the peak of La Maroma turning it a soft pink colour.
Once I have fed the horse and collected her gifts of ‘black gold’ I take Roly for his morning walk – a 1.5 km round trip where I meet with lots of lovely people doing the same thing. Part of my walk is along a road that rises steeply and is bordered on both sides by olive trees. I then take a track that drops down to a path that is known as the ‘goat track’, which links the two villages of Cómpeta and Canillas de Albaida. On either side of this track the olives are interspersed with newly planted avocado trees, the crop of choice in this area – an excellent cash crop that is being planted in increasing numbers in the province of Málaga.
The surrounding hillsides are covered in the more traditional crops of olives, almonds and moscatel grape vines, which provide a surprisingly green backdrop considering the lack of rain in the area.
This autumn we have had amazingly warm and sunny weather, with worryingly little rain. During the afternoon, when the sun moves around towards the west, it pours through our glass doors heating our living room to a toasty warm temperature. But once it sinks behind the hills the temperature drops instantly and it is time to light the fire. This is normally David’s job, and involves a fair bit of elbow grease to clean the baked on soot from the wood burner glass door, before setting the grate with pine cones and kindling and then, once the flames have taken hold, adding olive wood logs to keep it burning for the evening.
But David is away this week, visiting his family and friends for a few days, so I get to stoke the fire. It is actually a lovely job with a very satisfying result, although I don’t suppose I shall fight for the position of chief stoker when he returns – I don’t want to deprive him of his fun. I have to say though, that I have been doing a grand job in his absence.
Because of the lie of the land hereabouts, most properties benefit either from the sun rise or sun set, and those few that get both tend to be exposed to winds from all directions. So, although we don’t see the sun coming up we get the most amazing sunsets, which suits me just fine.
I can even see the sunset when I have my back to it – reflected in our folding doors.
And once it is dark we have the treat of looking directly down upon Santa Ana church in all its flood-lit glory.