The thing about a villa holiday is that you do spend a lot of time, well, at the villa. Some may think this a bit boring compared to hairing around America or eating your way around Europe, but you can make your own entertainment; well the parents can anyway. 

They have been laying new water pipes along the road by the villa (workmen that is, not my parents, although if he were 20 years younger, dad would have a good go). Mum and dad’s terrace (yes, every room has its own terrace as well as its own ensuite) looks out onto the road, and every morning at breakfast we are updated on the progress of the work. Mum can identify all the workmen, the digger driver, the foreman; you name it, she is on it. Well, she does have my binoculars which she asked me to bring for “bird watching”. Yeah right. Actually mum is blind in one eye so she only really needs a telescope. I’m seriously thinking of getting her one for Christmas. And perhaps an eyepatch, and a spotted headscarf. A skull and cross bone set of earrings would be nice as well. Can you imagine if you were a Spanish labourer and you looked up to see a pirate woman looking at you? Yep, forget the nice calendar with the photos of the holiday, mum’s getting a Captain Pugwash dress up set for Christmas. 

Anyway, the workmen are laying a water pipe and it runs right past the end of our drive. (I say drive, it could double as a dry ski slope.) True to form, on the day that we wanted to leave the villa (all of us, the P’s as well, we had to lock the windows and all sorts) they dug a 3 foot deep trench at the bottom of the drive. We had got up early (9:00 am) and everything. We sent Tibu out to see if he could charm them. After they had suggested he drives the hire car through the olive grove and up a dirt track, we decided we would wait an hour until they had finished the job. 

But this is all a sideshow to the real attraction of the villa. It’s the goats. On the first night when we were eating our “garage dinner” we heard the tinkling of bells. They belonged to a herd of goats which were walking in the fields past the villa. Tibu went over and heard the goat herder say something about the goats mothers’ bringing them up well. I’m not exactly sure what was being said. The black vodka had kicked in by this point. There are a few lost in translation moments. The other night we heard herdsman use a term of endearment for his goats that Tibu calls Rachel. Rachel began questioning Tibu’s choice of words.  

I’m not sure how many of you remember the TV show M*A*S*H, but Radar was a character who could hear the helicopters before everyone else. Karen is our Radar. Without fail she will jump up like a meerkat and say “simples”…no sorry that’s wrong…”bells”. She can always hear the bells before the rest of us and there is a mad dash for cameras and phones (but never, ever iPads…that is just wrong) to photograph and film the goats as they come past. We know when they are milked, we know the times they are moved on to a new pasture and we even know that there are 500 in the herdsman’s flock. Yep, we have all become like Pavlovian dogs and when we hear the bells ring we take yet more pictures of the same flock of goats. We may be simple, but we are happy. 

Tomorrow: “I’m going for a run…”. 

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