As you may have guessed by my lack of blogging we've been out in the Turia Valley for a few days holding various meetings and trying to sort out a number of issues. There will be more on these in later blogs and some of them are getting rather complex.
One of the reasons for the visit was to meet up with our neighbour Carlos, and find as nice a way as possible to ask him to remove his donkey from our barn, in readiness for our starting work under our recently obtained 'obras menores' licenses.
On arrival at the property on Tuesday of last week there was no sign of Carlos. His battered old Seat Ibiza was still parked in our garage, his tools were strewn across the path and against the house, but there was no Carlos. We shouted a couple of times, as he has a knack of secreting himself on the property, but all to no avail.
After a quick walk around to make sure that nothing had moved or fallen off since we were last there in January we also noticed that there was no sign of the donkey, the one which hates me. The natural conclusion was that Carlos was with the donkey, working some other land. After waiting for an hour or so we decided to head back to the Concello in Pontenova to meet with yet more officials.
As we left the property a small dog almost ran under the wheels of the hire car and as I brought the car to a stop the dogs grinning owner indicated for us to wind down the window for the obligatory chat.
In England I'd have expected the opening words to be 'you nearly killed my dog' but we were in España and instead of aggression, they were 'are you the English?'
After explaining who we were, what we were doing with the property, that we didn't have any children, and that we were looking to become permanent residents, the elderly gentleman told us that he was called Miro and that he lived next-door-but-one to us, in the big green house.
Amanda had done all the talking so far as I just grinned and tried to follow the conversation, but as it turned out that he was a neighbour, and quite friendly, I felt that I could ask after the donkey. In my finest castillian I asked 'Donde esta el burro de Carlos?'. The response came back 'Se murió', he's died!
Apparently he'd died the previous week and Carlos was distraught, our neighbour had thrown himself into his work to try and forget about his loss and was chopping wood for twelve hours a day. There was only one action left for us.
I turned the car round and headed back to the house. We now had to check the land for freshly disturbed soil for there was every chance that Carlos would have buried the beast on our land. A ten minute walk around the perimeter and we were sure that the dead donkey was elsewhere, or extremely well hidden.
It's a sad end for Carlos, and his great white donkey, but at least it means that we don't have the guilt of displacing an animal that had spent its entire life on our land, and in our barn.