Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Sunday 28 February 2010

Why Mojácar?

Why we set sail

WITH the tragic flooding this week in Madeira, I am especially
pleased to be living in Mojácar. It might have been so very different
if my wife, Sue, had agreed with my idea to retire to this lush, green
beautiful island. We had been to Madeira, for a week's holiday many years ago,
when the children were younger. It was most memorable for my
catching a barracuda on a shark fishing expedition to the north of
the island, where the sea was very rough. With the sea's swell and
the smell of the 'rubby dubby' used to attract the sharks, all the
anglers, except me, were confined to the cabin or hanging over the
sides with sea sickness. As the last man standing I was able to
land the only fish to bite that day as we made our way back to the
quieter waters to the south of the island.

It was quite extraordinary the interest the fish provoked on the quayside. I had my photograph
taken and for the rest of the holiday strangers approached and asked about the fish. I took the fish to the hotel kitchens and found the chef. In exchange for cooking four pieces of this substantial fish, (two portions for our friends, former owners of a fish restaurant in Marylebone, London), the chef could have the rest. It was therefore very satisfying that whilst the rest of
the hotel guests had to be content with meals from the menu, we had the
special, a beautiful meal, cooked to perfection, set before us.
We visited the island for the second time during a cruise around
the Canary islands after we sold our hotel. It was then that I made the suggestion about moving away from England. As my wife saw it, she argued that because one can drive round the entire
island in few hours, it would limit our scope for impromptu travel, an argument you couldn't use in mainland Spain. Some time later, we had a fortnights summer holiday, touring Andalucia, the first week with friends, visiting Granada, Cordoba and Seville. Having dropped them off at Malaga airport, we travelled east to look for possible retirement venues, armed only with the name and address of an estate agent and the knowledge that Almeria had the best climate in Europe. I remember that one of the places on our itinerary was Albox and we therefore travelled from Granada, via Baza on the A-334. The town of Albox, lying alongside the main road, was so industrial and unattractive in 2002 we didn't stop to look round and headed, instead straight for Mojácar.
I must say at this point that we were both a little intimidated by the harsh and barren landscape, wondering if we were after all in the right place. Not even the almost magical view of the Mediterranean as we approached the Playa, could stem our fears that we were wasting our time. We checked in the Parador for three nights and next morning kept our appointment with the estate agent. We started in Bedar, the agent showing us 10,000 sqm plots of land in the hills and nearer Turre, but Sue wanted to be close to the sea. If we were unable to accept an inland site in those few days, something strange happened to us. Imp e r c e p ta b l y, and almost without
our being aware of it, we were becoming drawn in by the architecture of the hills and the land. The majesty; the tranquility and August loftiness gave the impression of timeless strength and permanence. Mojácar seemed to offer the best of both worlds as a place to make roots. With the sea on one side and the hills behind it seemed we could have the best of both worlds.
Before making any decisions, we wanted to take a look at the coast from Almeria to Malaga where we would pick up our flight home. So it was that after three days we made way south, fairly confident that we'd found our new home. We were right, the coast to Malaga is full of plastic agriculture and very disappointing. That was eight years ago.Today we are lucky enough to live in a house overlooking the Med, with the hills behind, but I don't know what happened to the dream of impromtu travel.

With apologies to Milton and all those who enjoy good poetry:

When I consider how my life is spent,
In this light world and wide,
Lodged betwixt capricious Neptune,
and Cabrera citadel.
What is nature's true purpose, life defined,
To what are the mountains witness?
How can the Pueblo testify?
To man's restless pursuit of his dreams.
Tell me, Mojácar, what is your hope?
Radiating your beauty in Heaven's embrace,
A beacon in the plain of desolation
Wanting to be loved, needing the solace,
Of enduring commitment and the
Permanence of the Gods.

Can you do better? I'm sure you
can! Send The your
Mojácar poetry and we will publish the best.

Kevill Davies is author of 'Apsaras'. Available at most on line book shops.

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