Life In The Slow Lane


through-the-stable-door

Temperatures have now hit the 40’s and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. On the plus side, washing dries in about 3 minutes flat – the downside is that in this sort of heat, I feel like a fat, idle slug. I have to muster all my energy and resolve to get any household chores done before midday otherwise it’s an uphill, sweaty struggle which I can well live without.

Yellow plums in
Yellow plums in Indonesian wooden bowl

Now that we are in the height of our first Iberian summer, I truly appreciate why the Spanish not only love, but need their siesta time. Personally, I’ve never needed an excuse for an afternoon nap, I consider it one of life’s great pleasures that should be seized upon whenever possible but here, in sweltering Andalucía you’d be considered mad if you did not take to your bed for at least 2 hours each afternoon. By 2.30pm every man, woman, child, dog and cat have disappeared in side their homes for the afternoon. It is so quiet, you can hear a pin drop. Not a breath of wind, not even a small gust to bring relief from the sultriness; the intense heat fashions the landscape in to a shimmering haze, the bleached light plays tricks with ones eyes, mountains seem to appear then disappear. And in this incandescent landscape it is the quietude more than anything that surprises me. Nothing moves. It is as if everything has been baked solid, immobilised by the power of the sun. In the post- meridian hours, time stands still.

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I’m woken from my siesta by the sound of children playing out in the street. It is holiday time and a number of families have left the village and gone down to the coast for 6 weeks to enjoy the beach and cooler temperatures. I’m drenched in sweat, beads of moisture roll down my face; my hair is stuck to my head. Despite my rest, I am still in slug-mode. The kettle goes on, four chai tea bags put in to the pot. Normally I would walk over to the little village square and fill two pitchers of water from the fuente but that dried up a month ago. Although the tap water is drinkable, it has a horrible chemical taste. Now like everyone else, we have to resort to buying 6 litre bottles from the supermarket. Supermarket water does not have the same romance to it as spring water taken from the village watering hole.

Lunch. Baba Ganoush, Black Olive Tapenade, Chicken Liver, Orange and Cointreau pate.
Lunch. Baba Ganoush, Black Olive Tapenade, Chicken Liver, Orange and Cointreau pate.

And speaking of village watering holes, Irishman and I thought we would throw all caution to the wind and watch the World Cup Final in the bar. Thinking that our local hostelry would be packed out, we arrived early to secure a seat. As it turns out, we need not have been so hasty – we were the only people there. Not only that, but we had to ask Paco to turn the television on. I’m still not sure quite why there was so much apathy towards the World Cup here in the village. I know that Spain made an early exit but all said and done, football is football and the World Cup is universally thought to be pretty special, or so I thought. So it was a first, us sitting in a bar, an empty bar that is, watching the last game of the 2014 World Cup.

It is now almost lunchtime and Slug needs to shake a leg. Colin has been for his early morning walk and is now lying flat out on his bed in the shade. He sleeps a lot at the moment; in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a dog with such capacity for sleep. He finds the nights so airless and hot indoors that he now begs to sleep outside. That’s fine by me. His constant panting and farting (bought about by sneaking round to the bar and begging tapas) are not conducive to a good nights sleep.

So what is for lunch? Well, there is a rather good black olive tapenade that I made earlier with capers gifted to me by a friend, plus some Chicken Liver, Orange and Cointreau pate that I made yesterday. Oh, and the Baba Ganoush which is fast becoming a staple here due to aubergines being so cheap and plentiful. I’ll make a salad, slice some hunks of pan pueblo, and maybe some wine. Yes, definitely some wine and then guess what? Life in the slow lane.

Through the glass. Geraniums.
Through the glass. Geraniums.