Ruined Morning

Landscape of the estepa

This morning the light was incredibly sharp and the colours strong, which is unusual for August  when most days dawn muggy. I decided to go for a cycle around the lanes from our house while it was still cool enough.

Olive tree and ruin

Nothing much grows on the estepa during summer. The barren landscape is broken by the occasional olive and fig tree and the ruins of many farmhouses.

Large farmhouse. The newer extension on the left would have been for goats.

Surprisingly, they used to grow corn here and the farming families, who also would have kept goats and chickens, had a hard life. it is little wonder they eventually gave up and chose a more comfortable way of life in the towns and villages.

Two ruins with an abandoned well in the foreground

The number of old wells is evidence that there was plenty of underground water and we have had no problem with the supply from the borehole to our house. I would imagine the water table was higher before the onset of intensive plastic agriculture further inland.

Ruin with arches

The arches, the strongest part of the buildings, are usually the last to remain.

Ruin with Fernán Pérez behind

I went on to the village of Fernán Pérez where, at last ,you see some greenery and cultivation.

Farm near Fernán Pérez with maize and the old mill behind

Maize was growing around this pretty, traditional farmhouse.

Ruins of Rodalquilar

Later this morning, on the way to San Jose, I passed the ruins of the miners’ houses in Rodalquilar. These looked striking in the strong sunlight.

House entrance

The village is now fenced off waiting for some investor to buy it from the Junta and turn it into a tourist village.


I think the wait will be long.

Overgrown streets

In the meantime, the houses crumble in their overgrown streets  and graffiti adorns their walls.


About Margaret Merry

I grew up in Falmouth, Cornwall, England where, after leaving Falmouth High School, I spent a year at Falmouth School of Art. Then followed three years at Hornsey College of Art in London where I obtained a Diploma in Art and Design. I then spent a post-graduate year at the West of England College of Art in Bristol where I gained an Art Teacher?s Diploma and a Certificate in Education of the University of Bristol. I lived and worked in Truro for over 30 years and became one of Cornwall's most popular artists. My paintings have been exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Paris and London and have been bought by collectors from all over the world. I have published 4 books which became local bestsellers - 'The Natural History of a Westcountry City', 'Margaret Merry's Cornish Garden Sketchbook', 'Sea & Sail' and 'Tidal Reaches'. In 2002 I moved to Spain and now live pn a small farmer the town of Alhabia in the Alpujarra Almeriense in the Province of Almeria. I now get my inspiration from the dramatic scenery of Andalucia and its old cities, towns and villages which I usually capture in watercolour. I also enjoy portraiture and figurative art, particularly nudes and dancers. For these paintings I use artists' soft pastels. I have written and illustrated 3 children's books - The Wise Old Boar, The Lonely Digger and The Adventure of Princess The Pony - which have been published in the USA.
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One Response to Ruined Morning

  1. angela Bell says:

    Brilliant evocation.

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