Here's why you should come and stay on the Estancia La Margarita ....

Friday, July 18, 2014

Its All Over Now for it to Begin

Ceci part of The Gaucho School team getting branding irons ready
for  branding new calves 
Well that’s it all over for another four years. What a time we had England out in two games our worst World Cup ever and Argentina very very nearly making me eat my hat with getting to the final and just so nearly nearly penalties away from the cup  - until of course The Germans put a stop to that with a fabulous goal in the last 7 minutes. Well done to them they played great and we didn’t  - Argentina did but not well enough but who cares now it’s in the past and it was all great fun while it lasted. Thing is of course I came to the UK to be in the UK when we lifted the cup while my excellent team keep the estancia operating smoothly and a big thank you to them for that. As you can imagine Argentina totally stopped when the World Cup was on but now its time to get moving again. I fly back to England (without the cup!) at the end of July to continue putting our team together for The Gaucho School and prepare for the coming season. I am looking forward to it and if you are thinking of visiting an estancia you won’t go far wrong with la linda Estancia Margarita. Also you may have seen the Argentine fans celebrating like they had won the World Cup. If you want to see them in full force get to a game here in Argentina it’s a fantastic experience and don’t believe the bad publicity cos you will be safe. If you want some advise going to a game just email me and I will be happy to help you.

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta pronto

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Argentina is Closed for Four Weeks!

If you didn’t know already the World Cup is now upon us. If you don’t like football I would advise you to stay away from Argentina because here nothing else matters during the World Cup. On the evening news they even have a clock counting down the minutes before the World Cup starts. Even if Argentina was about to be taken over by Martians you can bet that it would make only the second story – the main one would be something like Messi (if you don’t know who he is shame on you) sneezed today!

One of the reasons I came to Argentina all those years ago was to see a football match. I had heard from Ossie Adilles (the famous Spurs player) that it was the most exciting spectator sport you can see here in Argentina. Ossie was right. The first day I arrived all those years ago with Bri my mate off we went to a River game and Ossie was spot on it was a fantastic even amazing event. If you are coming during World Cup you will find it impossible to get away from the beautiful game. You will see tears of joy as each goal is scored by Messi’s mates and tears of despair as goals go in against them. If you are in a hotel you will hear the celebrations in the streets as games are won and a sullen silence if games are lost – its normal don’t let it alarm you.

The count down is nearly over -" in 7 hours the World Cup starts" says the countdown 
No doubt about it Argentina have a great chance to make it three World Cups wins. The last time being in 1986 with the charismatic Maradona and his amazing hand of God goal. Can they win it again I really hope so after all I live here  and there is nowhere thats loves football more  than  Argentina   but  umm I am not sure if they can do it . 

If it was decided on build up to the event Argentina would win it hands down. It’s been nothing short of hysteria here for the past 6 months but now the talking is over and the action about to begin.  Yes they probably have the best team; the best players and they are playing in South America so home match. They also have an easy access to the second round. Does that make them champions? Sadly I don’t think so. They have some wonderful players no doubt as mentioned some of the best in the world but on the big stage this team nearly always come up short. The team lacks personality they have been infiltrated by the politicians and politics and at times they seem totally embarrassed by it all. I think that has taken the edge of them and that in Brazil they will come up short again. I hope I am wrong but I am a betting man and I won’t be putting my money on Messi’s men to win it sadly.

Who do I think will win, why England of course, that’s why I am taking a plane to the UK so that I can be with my countrymen when we lift the cup for the second time. Ok ok I know I know but I have to think we will win it or otherwise what’s the point of being in the competition.   

Course if England or Argentina don’t win it maybe Uruguay will make it a third win for Pepe their charismatic President. Apart from England, Argentina or Uruguay I don’t care who wins I will just enjoy it. Course once the World Cup is over here in Argentina there will be another football event to replace it – here there is always another match to raise the temperature   - you can bet on that.

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta pronto

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mate with Mates in Argentina

Chances are if you come to Argentine you will be offered to take mate, the national drink, with the locals at some point of your visit (best pronounced ma te). It has happened to me a million times now and yet it still it feels special when I get that invite.  Its like I am being invited to some secret ritual that only the privileged can attend – it never ceases to make me feel special.
Mario y Ignacio on La Margarita sharing a mate 

When I first came here I had no idea what mate was or that it existed. Argentina to me was football, gauchos and steak full stop. My first introduction to it was when, after a Spanish lesson the teacher (an Argentine) offered Brian (my mate) and myself a mate. “Tomamos un mate” she asked? . We nodded our head uncertain what it involved but certain it was best not to refuse. She put the kettle on. She put the mate mix (yerba) into a small cup type thing  (called a mate) and we waited for the kettle to boil. We learnt a lot about mate in that very first mate session. We learnt that the kettle would never boil as boiling would ruin the mate. We also leant that the inviter is in control of the kettle (bit like the TV control) and it is the controller who fills the little yerba holder (mate) with hot water (not boiling of course) and then passes it to the first person to drink. Our first session was littered with mistakes in the ritual. First one was when it was passed to me I drunk the liquid through the metal straw like filter (called a bombilla) and made a slurping noise. A quick look either side of me told me that this was a no no . So if you drink mate don’t slurp. Next mistake was when every time the mate was passed to me I said gracious. I discovered afterwards that by saying gracious meant that I didn’t want any more  - so if you want to keep on drinking just smile accept the mate and keep drinking. When you decide you don’t want any more the next time the mate is passed to you just say gracias then drink it and hand the mate holder back to the inviter

In Argentina it is heavily drunk but if you want to see real addiction to the herb you should hop on the ferry to Uruguay, There you will see what the addiction to mate can really do especially on a Sunday.  Along the banks of the River Plate in Colonia you will see hundreds of people out enjoying a stroll along the river and almost all with have a mate in hand  and a thermo under there arm.

The taste of mate is as you can imagine an acquired one. I doubt that anyone who on their first taste thought that it would be a life long love affair. However, be patient give it time. Who knows you may find yourself walking around with a thermos flask of hot water under your arm and a mate holder in hand all day as one Brit who worked for me used do.

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta pronto

Saturday, April 19, 2014

At last The Gaucho School has its first class!

Ages ago I had the idea to start what I called The Gaucho School. The idea was to give guests who came to visit us on La Margarita the chance to learn some real gaucho activities. It was to include activities such as corralling sheep, gathering up the horses in the campo and saddling them, competition

riding such as the barrel racing, bare back riding and you get the idea. The idea was to combine this with some long rides visiting the pulperia , have a mate with Roberto Campos a well know and highly respected gaucho who lives in the area and a rides to the town  of Tapalque .

I managed to get the long rides up and running some time ago and they have proved really popular. What has taken time and still is taking time is the setting up of the day where guests can corral sheep, round up cows etc. Thing is running an estancia while a pleasure is time consuming and there never seemed time to get these events organised. However, last week we managed to get the first events all organised and how excited we were but then guess what yep it rained and had to be cancelled. The next day we still had the guests on the estancia who wanted to do the activities and hey hey low and behold the sun came out. We only had time to organise the barrel racing but oh what fun we had and no doubt about it with the guests and staff we had  on the estancia it proved an enormous hit . We divided our riders into two teams and the object was to weave in and out of the barrels three times and then hell for leather to the winning line x three times. What fun it was and goodness knows who won but one thing is for sure we all enjoyed it so much it left me in no doubt that I have to continue to put the programme of the gaucho school together – watch this space it may yet happen because the trial run was such as hit

This is David Cummings alias the English Gaucho hasta pronto

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Its Time for the Long Rides Again

As autumn nears we can at last look forward to some nice long rides on the pampas without melting in the midday sun. In January it’s often far too hot for long rides as the heat really affects the horses and of

course the riders. We therefore, tend to offer shorter rides in the hot January days and the rest of the day guests often spend enjoying the peace here, dips into the pool along with enjoying the tasty dishes prepared by Eduardo our chef. I love those hot summer days I really do but I also love it when the leaves start to fall and the longer rides start. We have just   introduced a new ride which takes the riders to the house of Roberto Campos a true pampas gaucho who lives on the outskirts of Tapalque . He  is of a very famous family of landowners who many years ago fell on hard times sadly and lost their fortune. However, Roberto kept many gaucho   mementos from that era and of course the stories of those interesting times when Argentina was starting to conquer the world in agriculture. After mate (typical Argentine drink bit like tea) with Roberto and some very interesting stories for those who have the energy the ride moves goes on to the river to let the horses drink and rest a bit in preparation for the  return ride to La Margarita. Arrival back on La Margarita is normally in time to take in a late tasty lunch and of course a well earned siesta -  in all it takes around 4- 5 hours. I have a feeling its going to be a popular ride.
As always the most popular long ride  here   is the ride to the famous pulperia Gervasio about 20klms from the estancia (see web page for details). Just yesterday (13/03/2014) the ride was done by a group of Brits who are guest on the estancia for four days.   Nine of them set out on the ride and on arrival at the pulperia  a typical gaucho lunch was enjoyed by all . The weather was great and the guest’s; judging from their faces and comments had an excellent ride out. After setting out at 8am the group finally arrived back on La Margarita at 3pm tired but very happy to have done this exhilarating ride.

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta pronto