While sitting at my desk the other day, I suddenly heard raised voices outside. Coming from the garden. I poked my head out of the door and there was Sue standing there shouting vehemently at our neighbour Manel. She was holding a severed branch of a fig tree which she shook at Manuel every now and again to emphasize a point. Manel, holding a machete in his hand, listened to the tirade. Though obviously embarrassed, to his credit he did manage occasionally got a word in edgeways. Eventually he admitted defeat and shuffled off home downcast.

What’s going on? I asked.
I caught Manel massacring our fig trees with his machete, Sue said.
He’s being dying to get at them for weeks now.

When he had come over for the monthly pig money with his wife Maria Elena, he had seized his opportunity.
Davíd, he said, Now is the time to prune your fig trees.
No, I don’t want to prune them. They have never looked so healthy. Look at the way they’re growing, they enjoyed the extra winter rains..
Davíd, it is also for the security. If you are out, how can we keep an eye on your house – hidden as it is with fig trees?

But Manel, if there were a problem, the dogs will bark. Then you would be alerted.

Manel looked at Maria Elena. She looked at him. He shrugged his shoulders and tried for a compromise.

If we just cut off just a few branches here and here…

I didn’t reply.

Sue and I know that in truth Manel and Maria Elena are not particularly concerned about our security. Their greatest pleasure in life is looking over to see what we are doing. They even have a couple of chairs on their patio aimed in our direction so that they can sit of an evening watching the estrangeiros. Much better than television.While sitting at my desk the other day, I suddenly heard raised voices outside. Coming from the garden. I poked my head out of the door and there was Sue standing there shouting vehemently at our neighbour Manel. She was holding a severed branch of a fig tree which she shook at Manuel every now and again to emphasize a point. Manel, holding a machete in his hand, listened to the tirade. Though obviously embarrassed, to his credit he did manage occasionally got a word in edgeways. Eventually he admitted defeat and shuffled off home downcast.

What’s going on? I asked.
I caught Manel massacring our fig trees with his machete, Sue said.
He’s being dying to get at them for weeks now.

When he had come over for the monthly pig money with his wife Maria Elena, he had seized his opportunity.
Davíd, he said, Now is the time to prune your fig trees.
No, I don’t want to prune them. They have never looked so healthy. Look at the way they’re growing, they enjoyed the extra winter rains..
Davíd, it is also for the security. If you are out, how can we keep an eye on your house – hidden as it is with fig trees?

But Manel, if there were a problem, the dogs will bark. Then you would be alerted.

Manel looked at Maria Elena. She looked at him. He shrugged his shoulders and tried for a compromise.

If we just cut off just a few branches here and here…

I didn’t reply.

Sue and I know that in truth Manel and Maria Elena are not particularly concerned about our security. Their greatest pleasure in life is looking over to see what we are doing. They even have a couple of chairs on their patio aimed in our direction so that they can sit of an evening watching the estrangeiros. Much better than television.

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