Q is for Quarry

View in the mist

Up in the hills, about a mile away, there is an old disused granite quarry. The area is quite  overgrown with shrubs and trees,  and to the untrained eye, when you venture up there, you’d think you’ve stumbled upon ancient mysterious settlements.

Some spots look as if they are giant raided tombs, or half hidden temples. In autumn they fill up with water, which gives it an eery atmosphere.

Since moving here, I have developed a great affinity with rock, granite in specific. I adore the silence of granite, its voluptuous solidity, shaped by erosion, the dappled grey patterns.

Our house is made of solid granite blocks, like all houses in this village. We bought it of villager C, it had belonged to her parents and her father built it, she told us. He cut and moved all the granite blocks from the quarry with his ox cart.

I was in awe of this. How did he do it? What kind of tools did they use to do that, to lift these blocks? She couldn’t tell me much about it , apart from saying that they just sort of chipped it to shape it.

How on earth they managed to drive the carts down the substantially steep slope, I have no idea. I’d like to find out more how it actually worked, the process of quarrying.

A few years ago, shortly after we moved here, there were rumours going round about a company wanting to mine gold. I’m truly glad that didn’t happen, because it would have meant the dirt track into the hills would have been turned into a road and we’d have trucks driving past our house on a regular basis.

The Roman’s have been quarrying the area too. and there’s evidence of even older ancient settlements nearby. I’ve always assumed there must have been a lot more petroglyphs in the area, like the big one I came across.

I’ve discovered a few more stone carvings within a km distance, but plenty of them must have been either overlooked or ignored, the need for stone blocks to build houses greater than the need to preserve their ancestor’s art, or graffiti.  (We always assume all these symbols might have a greater meaning, but for all we know we might be staring and trying to analyse some stone scratchings from a few iron age hoodlums.)

Recently  I asked Villager J what he knew about the quarries.  He didn’t know much about it either, but he said it was rubbish what villager C had said, it wasn’t her father at all who had built our house. Yes he was a stone mason, but he didn’t build the house we lived in. Villager C’s parents had bought the original building and extended it slightly. The previous owners,  Manuel and Josephina he mentioned, moved to Argentinia and never returned.

I could ask Villager C about this. But I must say I prefer the story of her father going into the hills with his ox cart and building this place by hand.

I think she prefers it too.

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