Saturday, 26 July 2008

Neighbours ...

Borrow trouble for yourself, if that's your nature, but don't lend it to your neighbours.

Rudyard Kipling



You may be forgiven for letting your mind leap to that successful Australian soap that introduced the delectable Kylie to the world, but that is not what the title refers to. My mind was preoccupied with the stench of the farm, the absentee landlord, the idiot farm manager and his equally inept hired help!

"Can you smell that?" asked Maria.

"Smell what?" from me.

"That smell," nose in the air doing a 360.

"Nope!" nose following the same parabola, expecting to be overpowered by the stench of the farm that I remembered so vividly from our previous visit.

"Exactly! It's gone. Whoopee!"

"What do you know that you haven't told me?" testily.

We drove to the gate of the farm to await the arrival of somebody that Maria had hastily summonsed with a swift phone call. He duly arrived and I was surprised to see a young guy get out of his all-terrain four-wheeler. I was even more surprised to learn that this agricultural 'midget', whom I was prepared to dislike intensely on first sight, spoke perfect English. Darn, I couldn't even mutter expletives in his direction without being rumbled!

There were still more surprises to come. He was introduced, not as the owner (or even the idiot-manager) of the farm, but as the youngest son of the guy to whom Maria had previously sold the plot of land that adjoined the side of our property. She explained that the father, who was in a buying frenzy, had made an offer to the owner of the 'smelly' farm and had had the offer accepted. The penny dropped. These guys had us surrounded. Time to circle the wagons!

The young guy proceeded to give us the tour of the grim 'Animal Farm'. I almost expected to see old Major standing on a soapbox and spouting, "No animal must ever live in a house or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade." Indeed, if he had, I would have probably joined him! But I digress.

The lad explained that he was in the process of cleaning up the mess. That it was taking longer than he anticipated because of the state the land and buildings were in, but that he expected to have the job done before the next planting season. Say again? Yes, he intended to plant crops on all the land that now surrounded us.

Wow! This is going to restore Paradise to the original prototype (I am sure He had a design plan before He started). I couldn't be happier about what I am hearing. Except, of course, I can't expect the sheep to come over and mow my lawn for free any more.

"I don't believe it!"

I pause to wonder when my metamorphosis into a Victor Meldrew had really begun?

Time to look at a few pics with some explanatory captions ...


Our property is on the other side of that fence. The wall has changed to a fence. The owner intends to farm it rather than build houses. We can live with that! A few months of neglect and it all starts to fall down (the roof) and grow madly (the weeds).
The new landowner's son surveying the run-down farm. Rich effluent. Our property is in the centre-background. "Where there's muck there's money" is a good old Brit saying! Worth keeping it in mind.
The old cowsheds in the process of being taken apart. Our boundary wall is on the left. This is what we will eventually see all around us. These corn fields will be much more attractive to look at. And there will be no smell!


Things are looking up. More to follow ...

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Lee said...

Wow! Good job Maria! So glad to hear that you've acquired a nice neighbor.


Fletch said...

You're right, Lee.

Maria is a bit of a 'dynamo' in these matters. But it's only natural, as she knows the 'protagonists' and doesn't have a communication problem!

I find it easier to assess the situation, once removed, and reach conclusions about the people involved, either directly or on the periphery.

Lee said...

Oh I totally agree about looking at things away from the situation working better. Can't tell you how many times I've paced the floor expressing my discontent to the ceiling instead. But sometimes it would be nice if I could come up with a ready solution in the middle of things.

It must be nice to have someone who is fluent in more than one language. I say I've no gift but then my efforts at learning were done in a lists of words and rules classroom instead of total immersion which I hear works much better. Is that your experience with Portuguese? My sister learned Spanish by hard work in the classroom and then working on one of the San Blas Islands for a whole summer.


Lehners in France said...

Hi Fletch we have muck spreading around us at the moment, I don't mind it but people nearby (English Townies) do nothing but moan. I love being surrounded by farm land and grazing cows. It's great you will soon have a similar view to enjoy. Debs x
P.S. As "Captain Space Man" would you have any idea why blogger has sent my side bar to Australia on my blog. It's still at the side in layout, but when I view my blog it's gone way south. Any ideas"
Cheers Debs x
Word Verification dumbblond

Fletch said...


emailed you with the solution (in case somebody else is following this thread and thinks I'm a right plonker for ignoring your request!).

Your latest mail to me says you fixed it. Good on ya'!

Shrinky said...

Hey, wonderful news! HIgh five to Maria, too. The photos show a great improvement, things are certainly looking up indeed..

Fletch said...

I will expand on the slow crawl forward as time goes on, Shrinky.

But I think the time is right to break the thread - just a little - since it is AUGUST and they've all headed for - wherever peeps go in August!

Lisbon is like a ghost town, but that's OK too. We that stayed 'put' can get around pretty much unhindered ...

david mcmahon said...

Maria rules!

Nice to know you live in an effluent - SORRY, I meant affluent - neighbourhood.

I really do.

Fletch said...

I'd hoped you would pick up on that, David.

I guess it is the 'sweet smell of success' to the farmer, too.

You should now read the 'Horses ...' post. There's much in there that you can twist!

CrazyCath said...

WEll if it gets rid of a bad smell, things are DEFinitely looking up!

Fletch said...


Some country smells are to die for, others I can live without. But I don't make a habit of complaining constantly !

However, when I saw the overflowing slurry pit (10 metres deep) that was located just behind the boundary wall of our property, I realised that it was something I was happy to see the back of.



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