Saturday, 30 July 2011

From the oak tree to the stinking toe......

Bean pod of BacĂș or Guapinol (Hymenaea courbaril)Image via Wikipedia
Saint Louis, Louis IX of France, might have been a disaster as a crusader but was regarded as pretty hot stuff as a judge, to the extent that his subjects would approach him to settle their problems while he held court under an oak tree in the park of the royal fortress of Vincennes.

Current common view is that the local judge....hereinafter referred to as Licenciado Luis to protect the guilty...has a fair way to go before he approaches the reputation of the sainted version.
Farther than the romero (pilgrimage) to the Basilica of Cartago for the feast day of La Negrita - taking in Fatima, Lourdes, Compostela and Jerusalem en route.
The only resemblance is the presence of a tree....not an oak, but a stately guapinol...the stinking toe.

There has been trouble at t'molina in the three valleys lately and, of course, The Neighbour is involved, messing around with the water supply that comes from the spring high up on the mountain.

While he normally contents himself with blocking pipes to create a temporary nuisance, this time he has been re routing the system, leaving a number of fields and coffee plantations with out any water at all, but, equally seriously, he has been changing the diameter of supply pipes, reducing the supply to the tanks which serve the houses and businesses in the area.

There have been a few unpleasant encounters and a number of people have hauled him off to the court where Licenciado Luis officiates, waving protection orders, the deeds to their properties and statements from lawyers.
The first duty of a Costa Rican judge is to achieve reconciliation of warring parties and in this respect L. L. cannot be faulted.
Under his benign influence The Neighbour promised to undo that which he had done and the aggrieved parties accordingly agreed not to take matters further.

Unfortunately, The Neighbour, never one to spare a thought for sins of either omission or commission, nor wasting time on respecting agreements one minute after making them, has not undone that which he had done.
He has, in fact, continued on his merry way.

There have been more unpleasant encounters and it was felt that it would be wise to make a joint submission to the court, rather than approaching the matter piecemeal....particularly as Don Armando has come up with the goods.

One man has been buying plots of land at the very far end of the last valley...the one in which I live.
Or rather, he has been giving loans to other people to buy them at exorbitant interest rates and then foreclosing when they could no longer make the payments.
Working in one of the local banks, as he did, he was well placed to know who would be likely to come up for a scheme like this.....the hopeful poor.
As a result, he has accumulated a neat holding of flat land, ideal for building, at minimal cost.

However, to get the local equivalent of planning permission he has to show how he will get water and power to the site. Particularly water.

Thus it is that he has 'employed' The Neighbour to do the dirty work so that he can show the appropriate authorities that there will be a sufficient supply for the number of construction sites he plans to sell.
Thus all the reductions in supply.

How did Don Armando find out?
His sister's daughter in law works in the same bank.

A meeting was called at Don Freddy's rancho.....the Costa Rican weekend retreat, with a building for shelter, loos and a kitchen set in enough land for the kids to play, horses to graze and fruit trees to grow, neatly to hand for making cool drinks.
People had gathered and Don Freddy was summing up the situation when another car drew up.
The Neighbour. And he was not alone.
Accompanying him was Licenciado Luis.

L.L. said that he had had enough of the situation...he was sick of hearing about it...and had decided to attend the meeting to try to settle things once and for all.
Clearly, he said, The Neighbour also wished to settle things, since he had had the good idea of telling him about the meeting, so he was happy to do his duty by listening to everyone's point of view and trying to achieve a lasting settlement.
He pulled a chair into the shade of the guapinol and prepared for action.

There was a lot of it, so it was lucky that we were still in the 'little summer' that breaks up the rainy season or the guapinol would not have provided adequate shelter from the afternoon rains.
Neither would the rancho have been sufficient.

The litany of trespass vi et armis, insults, threats and loss of income both actual and potential went on all afternoon, until eventually Licenciado Luis held up his hand.

'I don't want to know about the past.'

Thus consigning legally protected property rights to the dustbin of Costa Rican history.

'I am here to try to manage the future.'

With ambition like he was wasted on us. He should have been on a plane to Washington D C to have a word about defaults in the shell likes of Congress, Senate and President.

I't is clear that the new development will bring benefits to all of you.'


'Like a properly made up road.'

Oh. People used to the unmade up road whether travelling on it in 4x4, ancient car without a licence, motorbike, horse or on foot take a lot of persuading that a made up road compensates for loss of water on the land where they have grazed their cattle for years.

'I have the solution.'

Washington D.C. again.

'You should form an association to manage the water supply, and then you can pay this good man for all the work he has done to make your futures better.'

For a moment there was silence, as no one recognised The Neighbour under the guise of 'this good man'. Then, as the muttering turned to indignant shouting, Licenciado Luis rose to leave, The Neighbour clearing the way, hand on the hilt of the machete at his waist.

One woman stood in his path. Dona Mery, all four foot nothing in a flowered pinny.

'You're a disgrace! Associating with something like him!

Chin jerked towards The Neighbour.

'You can't speak to me like that! I'm a judge! I demand respect for my office. I'll call the police!'

'You do that! But they can't touch me!'

'No one is untouchable!'

'Well, I am this afternoon! The two policewomen are off duty and the men aren't allowed to manhandle get off out of here! We'll go to San Jose with all this....and then we'll see who's untouchable!'

A committee has been formed, the next full meeting arranged and a preliminary plan of action has been agreed upon...

Never a dull moment.
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  1. I do enjoy your posts, especially those featuring The Neighbour!
    But I don't have to live with it, do I!

  2. dinahmow, as Pueblo girl once remarked, someone like The Neighbour is wonderful for neighbourhood solidarity...every man's hand is against him.

  3. Untouchable, eh? They pull a canteen, you pull a hose. They pull a hose you pull a water pistol. It's the Chicago way. Apparently.

  4. Steve, in the meantime, The Neighbour's uncle has been round to apologise to everyone, regret that his nephew is a stain on the family escutcheon and predict sadly that one day said nephew will end up with a bullet in the head.

    Wouldn't altogether surprise me if L.L. goes the same the hand of one of the ladies while the two local policewomen are off duty....

    Feelings are running high.

  5. There's a tv program in the UK called 'neighbours from hell' - I reckon you should put him forward

  6. It's not what you know, but who you know...everywhere, it would seem.

    I believe in karma...the Neighbour will get his eventually.

    Can't wait to hear the outcome of the next meeting.

    (And...I'm commenting again...well today at least)

  7. Sounds more like San Kansas City than San Jose. You ever had one of those ‘manic humour’ moments and just recklessly dabbled with ‘plain normal’ for the afternoon then Fly?

    Thought not.

    Here you go then…I dare you to dab some old magnolia paint on the back wall of your shed, and try just staring at it for say… a whole 60 seconds.

    Bet you can’t.

    Sincerely hope Kung Foo Mummy makes it to the Moony Gras in good time. They’ll be talking about it for years afterwards, you just see.

  8. It's predicted that the next world war will be over water supplies. You can't mess with stuff like that, it's a life or death issue and the neighbour is risking his own with his actions.

    The dodgy banker, the dodgy judge and the fixer (neighbour) make a delightfully grubby trio, don't they!

  9. I'm sure I posted a comment here..can't remember what I said now! Maybe it came out as anonymous so let's have another go. It's Ayak here by the way, just in case Anonymous appears again. Blast Blogger!

  10. Corruption and stupidity are found everywhere...and you thought you'd got lucky and went to live among more civil folk...At least Uncle realises and has sense enough to apologise.

    Blogger hasn't been allowing my comments, either. Thanks for the good wishes.

  11. e, well, living in France was a good preparation...corruption no longer comes as a shock.
    Most people everywhere are pleasant...but there's always a gumboil...

  12. He's cut the 'phone lines, and reduced the water supply? I think vigilante justice should soon have it's way, if there's any justice to be had.

  13. Another Day of Crazy, well,the committee met the lawyer and the results were as follows...

    Internal disciplinary procedure started against the local police, (and the local prosecutor for some reason as yet obscure to me).

    An internal judicial investigation has also been started into the misdeeds of Licenciado Luis -who, it is felt, stands a fair chance of being transferred to a hot sticky little town in the north full of illegal immigrants and American fugitives from justice.

    The Neighbour is lying low as the large telephone engineer has not forgiven him.

    The banker has gone on holiday ...with The Neighbour?

    And people are out and about putting the pipes back as they were.

    However, the committee has not forgotten the water board who have to give approval for the development and Don Freddy has been delegated to nobble them.

  14. I'm new to your blog and need to read some more to understand the situation more fully. But your neighbour sounds rather remarkable (and I don't mean in a good way). It's good job that you're not easily excited. I think I'd be having kittens by now.

  15. Craig, Nice to have you aboard.

    It takes a lot to get me excited, apart from cricket when one more dumbo fielding idea from Strauss and I shall foam at the mouth.

    The Neighbour makes his appearance in earlier posts...'The Season of goodwill' and 'He has a cunning plan'.
    He is a perfect pest.

  16. I see The Neighbour has been up to his usual nefarious tricks while I've been otherwise occupied, Fly. I sincerely hope that The Banker, The Neighbour and The Judge get their several comeuppances in very short order, but I'm not holding my breath...

  17. Perpetyua, the latest post...about to be posted, will update you...

  18. Sorry, fat finger, but at least I'm not dealing in sterling!