Book Review: ‘Driving over Lemons’ by Chris Stewart

driving over lemons - chris stewart 30-4-13The big-daddy of ‘living in rural Andalucía’ books. Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of it? His description of watering his land, of knowing how water behaves and how to harness its life-giving properties, made me smile. His neighbour tells him he knows nothing about watering and Chris wonders if in 20 or 30 year he will have learned enough. We too have struggled with water control here, though while Chris builds sluices and irrigation ditches to water his crops, we have to deal with the run-off water which can run in torrents downhill from the olive groves above our house, threatening us with flood. Our English builder, when we first moved here, suggested building irrigation ditches to drain the water away, complete with pipes and enough concrete to build a house. But a friend of ours suggested hiring a digger for a day to cut ditches through the earth, leaving the soil piled up at the side. This was the Spanish solution: untidy but efficient and cheap. We never did get the ditches piped and concreted, the piles of earth are now covered with self-seeded shrubs and wildflowers. Every now and then the ditches are cleared again by digger, and we have not been flooded once. We, like Chris Stewart, have learned how to manage the watering.
5 to remember
la descripción – description
el agua – water
la acequia – irrigation ditch
cuesta abajo – downhill
la inundación – flood

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