Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Picudo Rojo

Probably the main reason that we have a house in Culebrón is because when we first came here Maggie had a job in Elche. One of Elche's claims to fame is that it has the largest palm forest in Europe. Looking for a house we could afford we moved up the Vinalopo valley and away from Elche.

The first time I saw our house in Culebrón it was the little drive, framed by trees, that impressed. Then there was the palm tree. There are other trees in the garden, there are some nice trees, but it was the palm tree that drew my attention. The outside space in Culebrón has always been its biggest plus.

All those years ago the palm trees in Elche were menaced by a little red beetle. The other day our village mayoress WhatsApped me a pamphlet to say that the Town Hall here was concerned about the spread of that same beetle and that there was a census under way of palm trees. Infected trees would have to be culled for the greater good. The thought crossed my mind that we were going to lose the tree, as well as the cat, on my watch.

The tree chap came today. He was an interesting sort of bloke. He stopped me at one point in mid sentence and after a moment of apparent silence said something like "Aahh, lesser spotted red leg."

Good news. He said that the tree is sound but that it will need a chemical treatment to protect it against the beetle. First he recommended that it was "brushed" to remove the layer of outer, now dead, organic material that gives palm trunks their typical appearance. Apparently the dead debris offers a perfect breeding ground for the beetle. The tree man will be back next week to tidy up the palm. That done we can get the trunk injected.

There was some bad news though when he pointed out something that I have been worried about for some time now. The electric supply for the three houses in our little block cross our garden from a pole on the track that runs past the house. The wires pass directly over the palm tree and as it has grown it now menaces the wires. The last time we asked about beefing up those wires, to increase the power supply, the electricity company said that the work would cost 18,000€. I have no idea what they will say if we ask them to simply reposition the wires but I know it wont be cheap and I know whose tree it is.

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