Still, we got there in the day. I had sent a text to say we were on our way in and as we arrived, stopped to send another, Peter emerged in his 4x4, ready for the ride down his newly installed track to the house. It was a good twenty minutes by foot before. Luxury of a different kind.
I had tried to prepare Joy for our visit, but after a tour of the property, realised that I had not done a very good job. It was on steeper terrain, with more precipitous drops off narrow, uneven paths, more basically equipped, far more remote, with high unfenced terraces (some easily 8 metres) about the place. She did amazingly well and later, after talking with my brother, discovered that NO ONE who has visited has embraced the spirit of the place without at least a day or so acclimatisation. It is steep, uneven, almost inaccessible in a beautifully forested valley with no neighbours, only the noise of the birds and trickle of water in the stream, sheltered from winds from most directions, incredibly still and tranquil. The little house has solar electricity and a solar heated shower, a fully functioning compost toilet, the freshest spring water piped direct to the kitchen, a functional terrace with tables and chairs, a beautiful view over one of the vegetable gardens, olive grove, forest and valley.
The ground is being progressively cleared and I was amazed by the progress that had been made since my last visit a year ago. We could walk from one end of the property to the other at valley floor level, via seven terraces of varying sizes. The ancient irrigation system and much of the flat areas have been completely cleared of impenetrable bramble thicket, revealing more and more olive trees, ancient vines and other fruit trees. A magnificent cork oak that had lain unnoticed for decades revealed in all its splendor. Two terraces of vegetables planted harvested and restarted for the winter, chickens, goats and even a trout have arrived during the last twelve months. The house has been re-roofed and re-floored inside and the upstairs is completely livable until the rest gets done.
Whilst I was there, Dad visited for a couple of weeks. We were all rather concerned with how he would cope before his arrival, especially after hearing stories of others that have visited, even for short periods of time. We needn’t have worried, he managed admirable and frequently surprised himself with his achievements on the exploratory front. He coped with the vegetarian diet with easily and went home with renewed vigour and a determination to get out and do more, get a rail card, visit friends and places he’s never seen. I sure hope he does.
|my bedroom for a month|
|4x4 on the new track with house roof visible to the left|
|the yellow brick road, I built that|
|unlikely best mates|
|new improved 'facilities'|
|trying to get things into scale|
|newly cleared access to opposite gives new perspective|
|Dad and Windy surveying the latest clearing work "Goat terrace"|
|vegetables in for the winter|