Spring has arrived, noisome and energetic.
The torrential rains that we endured a couple of weeks ago have softened the ground and fed the stirring flora so that the last week of clear blue skies and warm zephyrs have coaxed out a multitude of blushing blossoms and inquisitive green leaves.
And weeds, of course.
So the valley is full of racket, day and night.
John is out there, happy as a pig in muck, fighting back the ranks of hierbas malas with the dis-tractor, or rotivator, or petrol strimmer, or chain saw, or anything jaw-achingly noisy, really.
The natterjack toads have surfaced – so much so, in fact, that they have ascended from the river below and need to be shoo’d from the terrace before Marcos, the intrepid toad-hunter, decides that they’ll do for breakfast.
I am determined to prevent such indulgence this season following a similar feast devoured by Qivi (the husky) last year, which involved both he and I getting soaked to the skin as I flushed his frothing mouth under a hose for half an hour.
Anyway, the (living) natterjacks are croaking away with great, if atonal, gusto.
The cuckoos, of which there would seem to be three, have placed themselves at strategic intervals along the valley from east to west, and so we are constantly regaled with a full surround-sound impression of a meltdown in a Swiss novelty clock factory. Yes, even throughout the night.
Every bird in the neighbourhood is also suffering from rising sap, and so there is a background looped soundtrack of sex-on-the-wing.
Cookie, my little boy with feathers, has just reached the age of seven. Well, he was hatched in April 2004, and I have chosen to nominate his “date of birth” as 1st of April since he is undeniably an April Fool’s joke.
Seven, for a cockatoo, is the age of sexual maturity and all the attendant hormonal histrionics. I daren’t let him anywhere near my hand just now for fear of unwanted bodily emissions. And “noisy” would be a risible understatement, although most of his current repertoire consists of “love you!!!!” at the top of his lungs followed by chicken-laying-egg impressions.
My nemesis, however, has to be the young lads on their motos. Sounding like swarms of tetchy hornets, they swing their way down our weaving camino to the river, across the little footbridge (or possibly through the shallow waters themselves) and then upwards on the sendero (footpath) the other side of the valley, straining and whining throughout their ascent . This drives me to distraction.
I am living in a little cottage, keeping chickens, growing my own fruits and vegetables, making the terraces neat (and in some cases bedecking them with an abundance of flowers) – and I am considered to be “despoiling” the area. And yet spotty youths on motos can belch black smoke from their two-stroke engines, rend the air with appalling noise, erode the camino and the riverbed, and put walkers and horse-riders alike in mortal peril, and that’s okay.
Someone PLEASE explain to me the Spanish mentality here!