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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A warm welcome to Louise Bowran our new Estancia La Margarita manager

Raquel, my right hand person who has been with me for more years than I care to think has said that she would like to take semi–retirement. For those of you who know her no one
deserves it more than her for sure. She has been a loyal and wonderful manager and chef to La Margarita and will be sorely missed. But the good news is that she will continue to cook part time on the estancia. She has worked for me for ten years and worked for the original family owners before me for seven so nobody knows more than here about the estancia. She is a hard act to follow but I think we have someone who will try very hard.

Taking Raquel’s place in the manager stakes is Louise Bowran from the UK. I am very excited to have Louise working for La Margarita as she brings a lot of experience to the estancia. She worked for many years for Explore as a guide worldwide and has vast experience in the tourism and travel business working with them.  She has travelled worldwide and been in situations that a steady nerve and stamina were needed. The estancia certainty has its moments but from what I have seen so far I doubt that there is nothing she won’t be able to sort out and find a solution for.

She is also a very accomplished horse person having been involved with horses for many years working in various countries with some very well known riding stables She has been involved in the training of horses and she is a qualified riding instructor. She recently worked on one of the most prestige’s tourist ranches in Canada.  If you love horses you will love having a chat with Louise about what she has done and been involved in.

She speaks perfect Spanish and she has said that working and running an estancia was a life long ambition and its great that she has chosen La Margarita. She is very excited about The Gaucho School and getting it up and running and will be a key figure in doing so I am positive about that

I am sure her experience can only benefit the estancia and more importantly the stay of guests who come and visit us.

Welcome Louise.

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho  hasta pronto

Monday, August 11, 2014

Good to be back n'est pas

After a great time in the UK with family and friends enjoying the best summer there for 14 years I am now back on La Margarita.  Ok ok lets not talk about the World Cup that I was sure we would win and instead Argentina so nearly did.    Truth is it’s always good to be back to see the beautiful pampas and breath fresh air, see the wonderful staff again, drink mate and say hello to the animals. What a time to be back, the cold weather has gone, the dollar, euro and sterling are now even stronger making Argentina even cheaper and we have some exciting events planned for the coming months on La Margarita

Talking about a weaker peso for those of you thinking of coming to Argentina don’t forget to bring a little bit of cash with you. You can change it on what they call the blue market here for at least 50% more than the official rate. There is a shortage of hard currency here and you will find lots of places to change the cash. But beware where you do change the money as some, not so client friendly hotels, will try to give you a really poor rate. If you want to check the rate more or less buy the Clarin newspaper and on the news the economy pages you will see the rate. It’s called the blue rate. If you are worried about changing the money Adriana in our BA office will do it for you and she will make sure you get a great rate.
Over the next few months we will be putting together the events that guests can choose to do in The Gaucho School. Events such as cattle round up, learning to lasso, ride bare back, competition participation on horse back and barrel racing will all be offered. Its looks like it will be an exciting time here on the estancia and I will give more information on forthcoming blogs. To help run The Gaucho School we have some very experienced people coming to the estancia and the whole show will be run by Louise from England and Celia from Argentina two very experienced horse people (more about them in forthcoming blogs)

We also will be buying more cows in the next few weeks to add to out herd to use for The Gaucho School
All in all this is going to be an exciting and interesting time to be on La Margarita and it would be great if you could make it to see us

This is David Cummings alias The English Gaucho hasta la vista

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