Snake bite, bee stings and bales of hay

Martin Kirby with the latest adventures and mishaps at Mother's Garden, a little part of Norfolk in Catalonia in Spain.

I walked up the land to check on the ponies. Remoli, now five, was distressed and whinnying, then I saw that Remoli's mouth and nose were swelling.

Snake. It must be. But where? Remoli was panting and straining to get as far away as possible from a small pile of oak logs half lost beneath burgeoning bramble. I prodded it pathetically with a stick and searched the area, but it was a useless. Needle and haystack. The vet was with us within the hour and administered something that settled both pony and the inflammation.

But Remoli was the only resident of Mother's Garden to have a painful brush with wildlife.

I had gone to the bee hives on the first calm, warm, clear day after a May storm to take a little honey. Ten-year-old Joe Joe was with me but I, dazzled by the amount of honey to be had, failed to note that: a) there really wasn't enough warmth in the days to draw out the bees, so the hives were packed; and b) my trouser bottoms were not secured.


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And once a bee stings others immediately join in.

In the puzzle of this life 1,000 miles away we have missed our childhoods and adulthoods of Norfolk stubble fields and bales, of that great English sense of harvest done. Olive and almond groves and wavy lines of vines on ancient terraces have their own charm, yet different.

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Well, how utterly enchanting, then, to find that a neighbour at the top of the valley but a mile from Mother's Garden has grown, cut and baled hay. It is the first time we have seen such a local scene on such a scale and it closes distance in the blink of an eye every time we trundle past it. It could be Northrepps or Docking, but for the rugged skyline.

To read more about the latest comings and goings at Mother's Garden see the EDP Sunday supplement in this Saturday's EDP.

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