I’M sure many of you are familiar with the name Chris Stewart, the original drummer with Genesis, who quit the band, bought a run-down farm in Andalucia and wrote the best-selling book Driving Over Lemons – an amusing and highly entertaining account of his life in the Alpujarras . . .
The book’s title derives from an incident that occurred when he was searching for a place to buy. There were so many lemons – which in their ripeness had dropped from the trees – carpeting the rural roads to a property he was viewing that it was impossible to avoid driving over them.
I recalled this incident when I nudged the van into our rented plot for the first time the other night and there was one solitary, over-ripe orange sitting on the track. I suppose it would have been possible to avoid it. But it seemed like the accepted thing – a rite of passage even – to sacrifice its juices to the dusty earth and perhaps guarantee a rich, fertile and productive future.
So sacrificed it was, like in a pagan ceremony or perhaps even the Eucharist.
Life is full of these little rituals: crossing the equator for the first time in the merchant navy; the prospective bride on a hen night with her L-plates and pink cowboy hat; being sent for a long stand when you’re an apprentice. We play our parts because it’s expected of us. So when you begin a new life in the Alpujarras you crush citrus fruit beneath the wheels of your car. Just once. It’s much more civilised than moving to Pamplona and dashing down the street in front of all those bulls.
- For Christ Stewart’s blog and website, click here