How lovely was my valley

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Rägi’s home has panoramic views out across the valley. The last 20 or so years have brought some unwelcome changes. A snaking motorway, from which the erratic sounds of traffic accost the ear; the increasing popularity of building countryside holiday/luxury homes means that houses are springing up in ever closer proximity, where previously there seemed to be endless space. These new home- owners have equally luxurious vehicles which whine and spin in the totally unroadworthy lanes (far better negotiated with humble little renaults or vespas!)
Someone else has been stopped for the time being with a venture to bring clay pigeon shooting to the area just down the hill…… a close friend has been driven nearly to despair by this in another valley.
She leaps around the furrows and off stone retaining walls like a mountain goat while I stumble along behind her, gathering exquisite varieties of orange (“I am too critical” she says when something I consider luscious falls beneath her standards!) we gather a host of delicious salad leaves from her huge gardens and then feed the 3 pretty goats… one is a greedy eater and terrorises her room mate. The third is bursting to give birth any day and by contrast is a delicate nibbler!
The hens get their turn and Rägi ruefully says that it is so beautiful in the garden that she doesn’t get around to the house.
Someone has a cello that she is finding tricky to repair. The harpsichord is covered in music while a bucket of almonds sits underneath it. The clavichord in the next door room similarly shares the space with sacks more. The other day we sang exquisite four part harmony under the light bulb in the kitchen.
Beside the wood-fired cooker there are buckets with all grades of kindling and compost, and when the stove is lit she grabs the cake from inside the oven, which she routinely forgets and remembers…. the cats would love to burgle any food left uncovered! The water sploshes into the sink when you energetically crank the hand pump.
I rode (not quite all the way… The track is steep and rutted) up to visit yesterday and stood on the flat roof of the workshops overlooking the valley. Traditional pan tiles are proving a lovely natural canvas… this little picture reminded Rägi of the valley as it was.

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