When I moved into my idyllic cottage by the lake and escaped the madding and frequently maddening crowds on the coast I did so for a variety of reasons.
Some were financial; it’s a lot cheaper inland. Some were spiritual, although I have yet to turn all New Age and there is a permanent ban on crystals, wind chimes and anything resembling a dream catcher at the Casita. (As an aside, why do people put dream catchers in their cars? Shouldn’t they be focusing on the road ahead rather than allowing themselves to dream? Although in all fairness, dream catchers in Marbella are pretty much the equivalent of furry dice in Essex.)
And then there were the health issues – as I stood a higher chance of not getting my face mashed in by a bouncer again if I was living in Istan.
It was the quiet life I was after, and with the sun setting over the lake and wild goat grazing on the far bank, it seemed that I was living in a office cube rat’s screen saver.
Looks can be deceptive, however, as the past few days have proved.
First off was my well documented run in with the Wild Boar. The tusked terrors have redoubled their efforts and last week carried out what looked like a precision bombing operation on the top garden, with turf, stones and the remnants of the shrubbery flung in all directions. Luckily for me, Florin, my unflappable gardener has moved back. As a Romanian ex-paratrooper, he took one look at the devastation, muttered something in a very dark language (I’m guessing a Transylvanian curse) and set about constructing some boar defences.
It’s been very quiet up there since, although I’m reluctant to check. I might find myself hanging upside down by my ankles from a tree, or much worse, on the wrong end of one of his fiendish traps.
It’s not just my place that has been lively, however. Istan was rocked by the discovery of a mummified pensioner at Zahara de Istan, one of the more upmarket resorts in the area – so full of wholesome quinoa eating young professionals that looks like a version of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ – that added a dash of David Lynch style macabre horror.
And then there was the police raid on a large villa two kilometres up the road that ended with two Camora Mafia fleeing into the surrounding campo. ‘Lock your doors and windows’ advised the Guardia Civil, ‘There are desperate Italians on the loose’.
At which point, one of my best female friends who lives in Cerros del Lago, a more, ahem, ‘bohemian’, urbanisation than Zahara, sent me a text message. ‘Desperate Italians on the loose? She purred, ‘I’m leaving my doors and windows wide OPEN!!!’