It’s true, someone did.
Settling back into the rhythm of life in La Fresneda we find that we are less trusting after the theft of all of my building equipment. As a consequence I have finally, after many warnings from Guillermo (Willy) who keeps his motorbike in my garage, secured the door with bolts rather than the screws which could be removed from outside. I also watch suspiciously as the few (probably five a day) vehicles pass the caseta from which all of my stuff was stolen. Terry, who owns the pizzeria in our nearest town and lives in an much more remote spot, tells me that he takes down the registration number of every car that passes! I have not gone that far.
I had planned to install a very secure steel door in the caseta from which the stuff was filched, but now that I am living here again I know that would be stupid: comparable to hanging a notice outside saying “Valuables within”. Instead I hung up a notice saying “Quiero Piedras” meaning I want stones and applied myself to more practical security mechanisms. First, I have strengthened the door of the caseta whilst leaving its outward appearance unchanged. Second, I have retained the ruined slide lock (which the burglars easily disabled) because it looks locked to the casual thief. And third, I have installed a mechanism of my own design implemented by Alberto, the son of the local blacksmith, for a small sum. Having opened the broken lock, future robbers will find the door barred and hopefully the current version of my mechanism (version eight) will then completely fox them.
I have also installed a gate within the growing framework of heavy cornerstones that will, one day, support the front door to our second home in Spain: the place where we will pretend to be peasants tending our olive and fruit trees. This is above the original caseta and is the place that I have been working on for three years. I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to install that temporary and trumpery gate made from an old palette. It is secured by a cheap bicycle lock from the local Chinese bazzar: a lock that any burglar will laugh at but hopefully is enough to deter the causal thieves who are always pilfering my stuff (this time they took a particularly useful long board).
On Saturday we had lunch in Calaceite, a nearby town. We had been going to visit Anna who is a self proclaimed “permaculture” fan and is building a sort of education centre for permaculture nearbye. Later we learned that “permaculture” is like “self-sufficiency” from our own day, but with a little more science and religion. Anyway, it rained so we all retired to a pleasant bar and had a pleasurable meal there. At one point we discussed security and I innocently asked whether it is legal to place mantraps in locked property where it is clearly marked, in many languages, that mantraps are within. The reaction varied between absolute disgust and a concern for the very poor who have to steal because they have no other means of sustenance. Yet there is an empty house along our road which is guarded by a ferocious Alsatian dog with jaws as strong as any mantrap and I presume that’s legal.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not thinking of installing mantraps in the orchard which we are creating. We have now planted nine trees there and were delighted to find that, despite a very dry summer season here in Spain, the Granny Smith did bear fruit. On a slender branch hung one small apple and we were really looking forward to sharing it. But some kind passer-by ate it for us. Ah well, there’s always next year.