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.

50 thoughts on “Life In The Slow Lane

  1. Well I confess I took a siesta today but I’m a long way from Andalucia. I still think it sounds idyllic Lottie, except the water. And CS’ farting. Your seemingly endless supply of fresh fruit and veg is amazing. So much better than a trip to the wet market or City Super. I think lethargy is unavoidable in the heat so simply go with the flow. Enjoy before winter returns.

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    1. We are lucky, really lucky, at least we have mains water – some of the folk in the village don’t. They come down to the fuente for their drinking water and there is a communal tap from which they fill water drums to take back home. You are right, Andrew, I need to go with the flow and embrace my lethargy. I think you would like life here, it is very simple but really rather lovely. Lots of peace, plenty to see and of course wonderful photo ops everywhere you go.

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  2. We haven’t encountered such heat in Crete but maybe that’s because we’re near the sea. Alas, Pisch hardly ever sleeps, however hot it is, even if he’s had a three-hour walk with Him Indoors, it’s a quick forty winks and he wants the ball thrown again. And again. And again and again. Nevertheless, dear Puff, it sounds glorious. Your writing is always so evocative that it’s making me want to leave Crete and move to Spain! I do like the sound of your chicken liver pate. I make one with brandy but I wouldn’t mind you throwing me the receipt for orange and cointreau. Blessings from over the water. xxx

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    1. Funnily enough, Puff, I did check out your weather yesterday – hows that for a bit of stalking eh?! and yes, it’s quite a bit warmer here. I’ll email you the receipt for the pate, it’s one of my favourites, very easy to make and cheap apart from the initial outlay for the Cointreau which set me back a whopping 12€ – I’m not a lover of Cointreau as a drink but it really is fabulous when used to make the pate and of course now that I have it, I can make this pate again and again and again – bit like Pisch and his ball……blessings to you dearest and great news about your new life – I’m very, very happy for you both xxx

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  3. Good shots and lovely tale. I can tell Irish is hot. No soccer, what next? Be careful of the bulls Lottie. Did you read about the two Aussies that were gored? Enjoy the balmy heat, here is freezing -3C this morning.

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    1. Good grief! minus 3? I hope the double-glazing is doing its bit. No, I didn’t read about the two Aussies getting gored….heavens that sounds very painful. I hope that they can still father children? 😉

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  4. We’re having buckets of rain today in Rhode Island, which is always conducive to sleep! Bonnie napping on my thigh, wetting my trousers with her drool.

    I read this post aloud to Jim, as I knew he’d salivate over your lunch. “You’ve never made a tapenade for me,” he whines. I said I would, as soon as he paints me a picture. 😉

    Gorgeous photos xxx

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    1. If it makes you feel any better, Pete has never done a painting of me 😦 and it is the first time that I’ve ever made tapenade so give Jim a break, ok?!
      As for your rain, secretly I am rather jealous – its not rained here since the end of May and even then it was only a couple of drops, nothing special. I love your comments, Martha. Thank you! XXXX

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  5. Our nearby spring still has water 🙂 We hate having to buy from the supermarket too….yes, siestas are good and enable us to stay up later when it is cool (nothing exciting happens here until 11.30pm anyway!) Lovely pictures, like the male model, looks quite similar to the one I have at home….

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    1. This particular male model LOVES having his photo taken. You’ve probably noticed that he appears quite a bit in my posts – I wont’ tell him what you said, it will only go to his head. Ummm, 11.30pm exciting things happening in your village….it sounds a lot more ‘happening’ than around these parts. The only thing that happens here at 11.30pm is the odd punter putting their empties in to the recycling bin under cover of darkness – but I’m not fooled by the clink, clink, smash of their bottles – I’m counting!! 😀

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  6. Life might be slowish, sluggish and slumberish in your neck of the woods right now, but oh-la-la… cointreau & orange in your pate & wine?! So thrilled you’re living the high life in the slow lane 😉 Is Pete napping? Or resting in the shade? Watching over Senor Snout? Or mimicking the Thinker?

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    1. Weirdly I took this photo of him the other day but it seemed quite apt for this post 😀 I think that you’ve hit the nail on the head, Amit. We are living the high life in the slow lane and you know what? It’s really rather nice! XXX

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  7. Holy sweatsox, Lottie. 40 degrees C is 104 degrees F and that is pretty damned hot! We slow to a standstill in Chez Gingold/Seminario when it hits 90. I hope it is a dry heat.
    I love your writing…..and your photography is pretty darned good too. You lead a pretty interesting, exciting and full existence,. Not much going on still sounds pretty good compared to the hectic pace you would find living around here..

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    1. Holy sweatsox – that’s a good way of putting it 😉 It is a dry heat but even so, the slightest bit of activity and I am somewhat ‘glowing’. Thanks for your lovely comment, Steve. I’m very happy that you enjoyed this post 😀

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  8. Our summer is turning out to be rather disappointing, unseasonable cold temperatures, today was cloudy with a high of 21C. I do love it when it is very hot, then I just lounge in the pool. As for the world cup, even though my team was out early, hubby’s made it to the final, our girls their teams were also out, our son was the only one who had no interest, whereas we were glued to the television for every game. One of the nicest pleasures was chatting online while watching the games, with other Twitter friends from various parts of the world.

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    1. Oh POO, That sucks that you are not getting a decent summer. I hate it when that happens in the UK – such a disappointment. Hope things improve in August. As for the Scorchio heat here, it would be terrific if we had a pool to dive in to but alas, we don’t – I think we may need to stretch to buying some fans, they will certainly help at night when the temperatures still remain up in the mid 20’s. We watched all the games on our laptop – we don’t have a tv. It was a bit hit and miss because our internet is not brilliant so it kept stopping…..muchos frustrato 😉

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  9. Drool is running off my chin. Your repast is a gourmet delight the likes of which I haven’t enjoyed for a too long while! And as I shiver in Bali winter where temperatures plummet to 68 degrees Farenheit when the sun goes down (20 Celsius) I’ll conjure up Andalucia, you sweating, Irishman and Snout sprawled and panting, and feel just a tiny bit warmer!

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    1. I don’t remember Bali ever being cold – oh, apart from when we went up some mountain shrouded in mist but that was the only time. Chuffed to bits that you like my gourmet repast, it is a delight having such good ingredients to work with here. There are a few things that i find hard to get hold of, fresh ginger for example and shallots – two of our staples in Indo! 😀

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  10. Lord have mercy, Lottie. The heat, the heat -is too much for you. Ya’ll don’t have any fan at all? I think you should beg, borrow, or steal one or two as we say where I live.

    Our temp here in central Texas has run in the high to low 90’s and I think we’ve had a few 100’s. I can’t take the heat for long especially being elderly. The heat here is rather humid but some days it isn’t. Today it was around 83 degrees for part of the day because it rained and there was a bit of wind blowing.

    I enjoyed reading this post as always and Pete does make a grand model. You can tell him I know a good model when I see one. 🙂 Go ahead and boost his ego.

    Loved the pics of the food. It looked so delicious. Those yellow plums look so tasty. Just plum good to eat and they make a great photo in the gorgeous bowl.

    ~yvonne xxxx

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    1. The plums have been plentiful and delicious. I’ve made jars and jars of jam and all sorts of things with them – now i’m feeling a bit plumbed-out. It is hot, Yvonne but it’s a treat to have such weather and continuous sunshine is a blessing after living for so many years in northern europe where summers can be a bit hit and miss. we do need a fan, it would make the nights a lot more comfortable. What i love most is eating every meal out doors. Our yard has become our new front room – it’s where we spend a good part of the day. It’s unbearably hot out there from 2.30pm -5.30pm but the rest of the time its perfect. They’ll be plenty of days in the winter when we are house bound so Im making the most of being outside now. Sadly the plants are getting past their best – they did really well but despite getting watered twice a day, there isn’t enough shade for them. we are going to make a pergola soon – there is a vine that falls down the wall from the field behind the house and we plan on training it over some old timbers. hopefully that will help bring more cover to the yard and a cooler spot to work in during the summer months XXXXX

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    1. I think about my to-do list all the time – The list is now so huge that it should really be called To Do Mountain. There’s no doubt about it, heat really does slow you down. I’m learning to just go with the flow. And, it took a while for the penny to drop but of course this heat is what I’m used to when I’m on holiday – when you don’t have to rush around and cook and clean and can just laze by a pool or jump in the sea. It’s a bit different when you are getting on with everyday life! The pace of life in this village is never fast but in this heat, its managed to find an even lower gear!

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  11. Hi Lottie 😀 Yep ! It’s hot here as well. The A/C is on full during the day and a siesta is normal in these parts. My cats want to play when I’m trying to sleep. They also sleep while I’m awake AND they’re Spanish cats !! Ralph xox ❤

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      1. Okay ! OKAY !! I’ll take it out, but only on the condition that you sit cross legged on my balcony pulling a piece of string attached to a swinging board above me. Sorry, no pay, no holidays !! lol 😉

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      2. Ah, I see, you want me to be your very own personal punkawhallah. Very clever Mr Ralph! But, I have another idea….you have 2 cats? Put them to good use. Install a ceiling fan with a long chord. Tie some cat nip to the end of the chord and all day long you will have cool air, effortlessly being fanned around your home as they jump up and down tugging on the chord. SIMPLES!

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  12. Gosh your photos are so beautiful! And tasty looking, as well. Those yellow plums are gorgeous and what a fabulous lunch you made!

    Love your descriptions, Lottie. When I read your posts I always have the sense that you’ve brought us all along right there with you.

    I so get it about the heat. Bah! The temps are soaring out here too, but no one is smart enough to have siestas. They’re more about being cranky, unreasonable, and generally out-of-sorts. Ah well. xoxo

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    1. No, that won’t do. Being cranky is unheard of here. I’m not saying that I don’t get cranky, I mean that I’ve never met a cranky local. There must be something in the olive oil – they are a remarkably good-humoured bunch of peeps. If you’ve never made Baba Ganoush, give it a whirl, Sis. It’s absolutely delicious and very easy. If you leave it a day before you eat it, the flavours are even better xoxoxx

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  13. Due to personal circumstances I’ve ended up in Barcelona now and I must say I know what you mean about the heat. I hadn’t been back in my city during the summer and I can not function at all. I don’t do siestas, I just sweat…And try and sit in front of the computer and not pass out. Your lunch sounds great.

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    1. It does feel a bit like a holiday…. there’s something really wonderful about waking up in a ‘foreign land’ every day that makes me think that way. Shame that I don’t have room service though and that I have to change my own sheets, cook all the meals and do the laundry! Hah! no wonder I need a siesta……XOXO 😀

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  14. Nope, 40 deg is definitely resting weather. Not sure if I’ve experienced that heat before… Dubai may have been close and wasn’t helped by our foolhardy expeditions on foot. We head to China next week and 30+ temps will be challenging enough. The views through your windows are very charming and I love those plums!

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  15. Thanks so much, Teagan 🙂 How very lovely of you to leave a comment, it’s much appreciated! I’m sorry that I had to race through your posts this morning, I’m just back from 5 days in the UK and I have literally 100’s of peeps posts to catch up on so it’s all a bit hasty and rushed today 😦 The weather is still good but the that bright summer light has now gone and Autumn clouds skud across the skies. I’ve been out drawing the cherry trees this morning, they are looking glorious glad in their red and yellow leaf cloaks – Hugs to you! xxx

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    1. Oh it sounds beautiful, cloudy or not. Cold wet snow here. But happily not cold enough (yet) for the snow to do much. Maybe some ice over night, but shouldn’t be much. At any rate, not nearly as pretty a picture as the cherry trees. 🙂

      Relax and recover from your vacation. 😀

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