May 2013 Looking at Loubar in The Spring…and a Chance Meeting
Now armed with all the tents I could possibly need, I decided to pop up to Loubar to have another look at the land…and boy did it look stunning. The only problem was that Fuddle had planted the fields with wheat. He’s carried on farming up there since I bought the land off him. I don’t mind but had asked him not to this year. Whatever they say about absence, it certainly means that you can’t check up on a place.
Of course I could have just said I was going to cut it and get started, but that’s not really the way to build long term relationships. Compromise, compromise, compromise…leaving the wheat to mature and be harvested would lose me a couple of months and cause an over lap with Ramadan and the summer heat. But time is what you make it and so I waited, though not before ensuring that I’d had a look at the beauty of the area surrounding Loubar.
One of the other things about the Riff and I supposenorthern Morocco generally, is the abundance of spring flowers.
Whether it’s Loubar, or Zalagh (the mountain outside Fez) or throughout the Middle Atlas, there is simply an amazing cocophany of flowers and colours in Spring…it’s another of the things that I love about Morocco and the Riff. This image shows a dried seasonal mountain lake or “dayat” that was filled with a stunning array of colours/flowers, as you can see….a great place to camp!
With a bit of time to wander about the area I was also able to see Loubar from a different perspective for the first time. Here we are looking over from a forest to the south of the land…wow!
But it wasn’t all exploring and I spent some time back on the land before I returned to Fez. I was about to leave when Abdel Khadir, a neighbour, called me over for some breakfast. Generosity is a norm here and though I was in a bit of a rush, it’s always good to spend time with new neighbours.
AK was ploughing his land to sow for the next season, but it was a time for breakfast so we sat down under an olive tree to a meal of bread, honey, eggs, olive oil and sweet mint tea. He explained that he had grown and ground the wheat before baking the bread, the olives for the oil came from his land, the honey from a neighbours bees, the eggs from his chickens and of course the mint for the tea was from here, as he handed me a bunch plucked from my side.
As we talked in my broken Deriga, the guy who had been ploughing kept interrupting in English. I was surprised. Many people speak Spanish in the Riff, it having been occupied by Spain and with so many of it’s men working legally or otherwise in Spain now. But how come this peasant labourer could speak English? When I asked, Hamid’s response, had I not already been sitting, would have knocked me off my feet.
He was infact a graduate from Tangiers University with a degree in Political and Economic Science. He spoke French, Spanish and English but couldn’t find work and thus rented himself out as a daily labourer when not working on his fathers farm!
OMG! I think I’ve found the perfect person to work with me on Loubar! And so we exchanged numbers and I returned to Fez thinking what a wonderful day it had been all round…