Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a very British view of life in a small village in Alicante province, my experience of Spain, of Spaniards and sometimes of the other Britons who live nearby. The tabs beneath the header photo link to other blogs written whilst I was living in other parts of Spain, to my articles written for the now defunct TIM magazine and to my most recent photo albums.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Picudo rojo - the pruning

I thought he wasn't going to come. He didn't send me the message he'd promised yesterday and he didn't answer my text messages. When I finally plucked up the courage to phone he said he'd be here by 12.30. I raced from La Unión to be here on time. An hour after the appointed time he still hadn't arrived and I sent another message. After lunch was the reply, around four. He arrived about half past but I must say when he did start the work was impressive.

He had something like a billhook cum machete as his only real tool. He sharpened it to start and kept stopping to sharpen it. I think he said it was called a márcola but I may be wrong. He set about the plam tree with a verve slicing off the outer layer with a mixture of brute strength and the sharpened blade.

Our ladder would only reach to a certain height so for the top of the tree he strapped himself into a harness, braced himself against the tree and continued to slice off the dead covering and lots of branches. He looked just like one of the pictures in the palm tree museum down in Elche. Very rural.

By now the light was beginning to fail and I stood amidst the shower of debris coming from the tree holding up an inspection lamp so he could see as he chopped, hacked and cut. He'd found the dreaded picudo rojo beetle hiding in the fibre and debris that accumulates amongst the stumps which are left when the branches are pruned so he did his best to clear away all the nooks and crannies where the beast shelters. He found several holes where the little blighters have burrowed into the palm but he seemed pretty sure we weren't going to lose the tree.

I handed over the 80€ happily. Now I just have to get a different bloke to come and douse it in chemicals.

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