One stop down the motorway towards the Costa Tropical, is the village of Tablate.  It has been abandoned since around 1990, although it was hardly a sprawling metropolis before then.  The maximum number of inhabitants in its long history was four hundred, I believe. 

It has the misfortune to be the nearest village to the Nazari bridge giving access to the Alpujarras, and consequently a hotspot for battles to control that chokepoint.  The last major battle between the Moors expelled from Granada by the Christians in around 1571 occurred here after which those Moors which had been living in the Alpujarras after being thrown out of Granada, were again expelled, this time back to Morocco.

Last week wasn’t the first time I have visited Tablate.  It is not obvious there is a village here and most people pass by without realising that the track winding up into the hillside leads to a village, except for the church spire rising above the undergrowth.  I don’t know why I went there this time, time on my hands or something in my subconscious.  Whatever it was, it brought on a great sense of melancholy which lasted a day or two.

The village, small by comparison to most villages, is mainly derelict houses and agricultural buildings.  It was the church, the bricked up doorway smashed open, which brought me down inside there was scene of dereliction and wanton damage.  The frescoes on the walls behind the desecrated altar were covered in graffiti, the mezzanine over the entrance door was sunken and in danger of collapse and the vestry furniture has been smashed and upturned.

I don’t know why I was so moved by this.  I have seen more than enough desecrated churches, mosques, synagogues, shrines and temples in my lifetime.   The latter were the aftermath of wars and conflicts when religious frenzy had led to a desire to destroy all traces of the enemy’s religion.  Some chance, you are never going to squash belief.

But as the village was functioning until 1990 it is most likely that the damage was done by local youngsters.  The graffiti tends to suggest that, a lot of it is just macho stuff, there’s no real religious motive behind it, but it is disturbing.  I have seen how this type of thing can quickly grow out of control and lead to violence.

The rest of the village is in a sad state of disrepair.  There is not a roof on any of the buildings that has not collapsed to some extent and most of the windows and doors have been stolen.  The five palm trees that once stood proud are not denuded and blackened.  For my old Military friends who served with me in Cyprus, think Paramali.

I am now thirteen days into lockdown due to the coronavirus.  Writing like this reflects my mood and yet putting things down in writing gets the melancholia out of my system.

Try it yourself if you too are going stir-crazy.

It was just coincidence, I tell you.

machine-gun-thereThis photo was taken with a friend of mine, Idriss Alaoui from Jrana Tours, when we were down in the desert near Erfoud in Morocco.  We were sitting and talking about various things and I was caught with my clenched fist indicating something or other.  We had been in Morocco some time whilst we carried out the adoption procedure for our daughter and the Arab Spring chose that time to manifest itself.  Although Morocco didn’t take part, Algeria next door did.  A lot of my friends thought I was working down in the desert between the two countries in relation to the Arab Spring and no amount of protest could convince them otherwise.  And when they saw this photo, with me dressed all in green, giving the military signal for, ‘Deploy the machine gun group over there.’ whilst sitting on a sand dune next to a Bedouin, they would not believe I was nothing to do with any uprisings.  Ain’t it great when your friends don’t trust you?

What on earth’s going on???

On Monday someone complimented me on looking healthy with a nice sun-tanned face.  The weekend before last I was on the beach sunbathing but for the last week it has done nothing but rain, the water in the Rules reservoir has risen a metre and a half and there is snow almost down to Niguelas.  The ski station closed on 01 May and since then there has been more snow up there than during the whole of the winter.  Ten people have been killed in Malaga and Murcia provinces.  And my feet are cold!  During the sixties and seventies we could blame it on the Russians’ nuclear testing, but who can we blame now?  I know, Donald Trump.  He seems to be to blame for all the world’s woes at the moment so I will dash off a letter of reprimand to him.  At least he could keep dry here with that Barnet of his.  Malaga football stadium looks like an English Fourth Division pitch.

TOPSHOTS A small football is covered wit...TOPSHOTS A small football is covered with on September 28, 2012 after heavy rainfalls caused floods in Villanueva del Trabuco, near Malaga, southern of Spain. Severe rain storms crossed some areas or South of Spain which caused flooding. AFP PHOTO/ JORGE GUERREROJorge Guerrero/AFP/GettyImages

Diving Ditties

I was diving for many years and have decided to tell you about some of the ‘unusual’ events that happened at times, now that the Statute Of Limitations has passed.  I was lucky enough to be an Armed Forces  Sub Aqua Diving Supervisor which allowed me to supervise diving expeditions and diver training all over the world.  See Diving Ditties and see what happens when you let Forces personnel loose with diving equipment.

Tales of the Valley.

Just reading through the reams of stuff I have written about the Lecrin Valley and Saleres in particular.  I will add an article every so ofter, today it is ‘The Limonero,’ where my Spanish neighbours give me the benefit of their combined wisdom as to the planting of a lemon tree.  I’ve never been so confused in my life!

  A bit about teaching English in the Poetry section also.