Once again, I’ve had to add something to a blog after it’s published. The blog below was written over the course of a few days and mostly prior to the awful attacks in Spain. Our sympathies go to the families of those killed and the injured. I was in two minds whether to take the blog down but the words of strength I’ve heard coming from the people of Barcelona, made my mind up for me, so here it is, as written.
It’s August, my birthday month and this year and there will be 30 candles on the cake, well, about 30 candles on one of my slices to be more or less accurate. The August weather is not currently being August weather at all, it thinks it’s October, with designs on being November with its grey overcast outlook. Still, it’s given me time to think, which isn’t entirely a good thing but at present, my thoughts have gone to what we miss about Spain.
These aren’t in any particular order, they are written down as they pop into my head and before they can pop out again.
You don’t have to go far at all to get a Hola.” It was one of the very first things we noticed when we first visited. Pretty much everyone from elderly people to small children would smile and extend a very friendly “Hola.” We tried the British version on a walk along the river last week and although some people responded positively, the majority looked as if we’d said something that definitely was not hello.
At the time of writing, blue skies are missed, no further explanation needed really, except to say that they aren’t just any old blue skies, they have an intensity and depth of colour that can’t really be replicated in a photo, without people thinking it had been enhanced. Take a look at some British estate photos to see what I mean. Of course, the white painted buildings also help to show the sky off to its very best.
The pace of life is something a lot of people talk about and I once heard the phrase “It’s the quickest way to unwind” and that’s certainly true in our experience. of course, we have the retirement view of things now but even when we worked, the stresses and strains of life, dropped away within hours of being in the village.
Happy children playing outside in the fresh air. This takes me back to my childhood, when we would be out all day, getting up to all different things but having a good time. Fast forward to now and we see the village children riding bikes, playing hide and seek and the good old making a small fort. It’s rare to actually hear a child crying in the village and due to the acoustics, it would be hard not to. The family bond is very strong and you often see the younger generation with elders, be it going for a walk, helping them with shopping or just sitting with them outside. I recall being in one of the local bars with Mrs S some time ago and there was a small group of Spanish ladies, doing crotchet. A lad, who must have been about 16 came in, kissed all the ladies on the cheeks and then sat down, picked up a crotchet hook and began working on something, which I can’t imagine happens in the UK.
This might be an odd one but the vocabulary of younger children. We often see parents with their children out and about and are struck by the interaction. The children talk quite easily and with little apparent pauses, in order to search for a word. It all seems to come so naturally and possibly because the parents involve the children and talk to them and with them. It’s quite rare to see parents using their mobiles when they’re with their children, at least in our experience and it’s very refreshing.
Mrs S has asked that I include the taste of tomatoes as one more thing. Mrs S doesn’t buy them over here any more because she says that they are tasteless. I don’t have much of an opinion on this, as I am more of a carnivore and tomatoes haven’t been near the top of my veg list but I am getting better. Anyway, when we get to Spain, tomatoes are one of the first things on the shopping list, along with the Asturian blue cheese.
We’ve got to have sunsets on the list for two reasons. Firstly, we can’t see the sunrises because other buildings are in the way and we don’t usually get up early enough to see one, although the winter months have more of a chance. Secondly, how can you not have them on the list because they are spectacular at times and all you have to do to enjoy them, is to sit there and look.
As I said, no particular order and only the impressions we get when there but they are things we miss. I’m sure there are more but that’ll do for now I think.
Back in the UK, we went for a walk along the canal the other day. The weather forecast promised sunny intervals and although we thought we knew better, we trusted it and went out. The obligatory packed lunch was made but hold the press, we went out without a flask of coffee! Why was that I hear you ask, (didn’t I?) Well, I’m glad you asked. I was planning to make some coffee and asked Mrs S if she wanted some to take with us. Mrs S, obviously wrapped up in the notion that it was going to be sunny said “No” and that the bottles of water would do. So, we left home without the comfort of the flask and headed out along the canal bank. It was, to be fair, a pleasant Sunday morning, weather wise but nothing like a few weeks ago. All went well for a while and then we noticed a track running parallel with the towpath and on this path were a male and female, with their dog. I can’t recall the dog’s name, which is surprising because they used it enough. The poor thing was doing what dogs do, exploring the area and it didn’t seem to us that it was doing anything wrong at all but it didn’t stop the owners telling it “No, Stop it, Get away from that” and more, in regular doses. If I’d been the dog, I would have been very confused being told what not to do and what to do by two separate people. Add to that the (very) rare word of praise and it’s a wonder the dog didn’t just do a runner and hope it was adopted by some less neurotic owners. Luckily, the couple turned round but could still be heard, fading into the distance, still telling the hapless dog off.
We pressed on and pootled along the riverbank, looking out for a rumoured Kingfisher but to no avail. We reached some lock gates by an old Georgina iron mil, which was a good spot to have lunch. As we sat and ate, I felt the strong urge for a coffee and mentioned this to Mrs S, who looked a tad sheepish and said “Yes, I was thinking that to.” So, note to self, be a maverick and take a flask anyway. Still, the water did the trick and suitably refreshed, I unpacked the camera and proceeded to take some photos. I was trying to be a little more artistic, using filters but being new to this, the results were variable but fun nevertheless. I’m really getting into the photography but would come in the “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” class I think. They say you learn by your mistakes and if this is true, I’m learning lots. I’m past leaving the lens cap on but still have the odd time when I haven’t put the memory card back in the camera for which I could kick myself. So, there I was, with bruised shins, snapping away, while Mrs S became my photographic assistant, protecting the bag from marauding ducks, inquisitive dogs, while handing out encouraging words, when she heard the odd grumble of discontent regarding my perceived abilities or rather, lack of. Time passed and we packed up and set off on the return journey, still no Kingfisher but still very enjoyable. The walking is part of the plan, along with an exercise bike to improve our fitness for the hill walking in Spain. We’re not sure how well this will prepare us, as a flat walk along the canal is nothing like any walk from Sedella. There are hills we can have a bash at and that’s going to be something for a little later but only time will tell.
Well, that’s about it and a bit quicker between blogs than before. Will it keep up?
All Images © 2008- TheSlowWalkers