It’s mid afternoon, shopping put away, bags not yet unpacked and we’re sitting on the terrace, accompanied by the sound of the church bells, marking the hour, sipping the celebratory cava in the sun and wondering if this is all really a dream. Part of the reason for this is possibly the 2am start to go to the airport and also because it was all so different to what we’re used to. Even though we’d completed the purchase before this trip, it hasn’t really sunk in yet, that the house is ours…..
It’s an odd feeling, we know we own it, we’re sitting here like we own it, yet we still felt like we’re in a holiday rental and this must be because, drum rolllllllllllllllllllll, we ARE on holiday. The realization is celebrated with a touch more cava and me, thinking that I only got one bottle and Mrs S, thinking she might have trouble getting down the stairs after another glass. “Think of it as a trial run” I say. “I don’t think I’ll be running” says Mrs S with a smile and so, we sit, looking out over the village, taking in the sights and sounds. One of the sounds is a donkey braying, well, I say braying. He/she, starts of with what most of us would think a donkey sounds like but then it’s like the batteries are low and the bray slows down to a less than a half-hearted effort and then runs out, which I think is brilliant. I name him/her “Wheezy”and even after a few years, it still makes me smile when I hear it. I think it would make an excellent ringtone but sitting there, waiting for it to start and then record it seems to fit into the “Why are you even thinking this?” box. Anyway, deciding all this thinking doesn’t fit in with being on holiday, we try to wind down and relax in the sun, not entirely easy after being busy at work and the early start but the village sights and sounds begin to work their magic. Then, the church bells ring for another hour passed and we wonder where on earth the time went. “That was never an hour” I say, Mrs S agrees, before deciding to check the inside of her eyelids for a minute or two. Sitting there, in the sun, with a sun hat on, that’s a little on the snug side but doing a good job, I feel fortunate to be here, away from the pace of life in the UK. It’s not for everyone I’m sure and would be horrendous for some but it works for us. Another bell rings and Mrs S confirms her eyelids are fine and so, we decide we should finish the unpacking. An hour later, the unpacking hasn’t been done and we’re still there on the terrace. I should add, that we’ve been shaded from the sun, in case anyone was waiting for the red lobster outcome. Been there done that, including my record of getting a sunburnt head, in Scotland in February! Being both redheads, we’re very aware of the sun, even when it comes out in the UK. When I say redheads, Mrs S has red hair, I just have a red head. Speaking of which, I prise off my hat, to get a little air and Mrs S confirms the bright red ring across my forehead and another mental note is made to get a bigger hat. I’m wary of these mental notes because I have a theory that at my age, when you learn something new or make a mental note, something has to be deleted to make room for it. I haven’t carried out any scientific studies to back up this theory but then again, I might have but it’s since been forgotten.
That was a long paragraph. So, we reluctantly leave the terrace and get the unpacking done, which doesn’t take long at all but is done with a couple of “We should have brought” comments. I give up on mental notes and make written notes instead, on a smart phone, which I’ve decided that, as we’re on holiday, will only get looked at before bed and after getting up. I become quite reckless and take my watch off too, thinking that the bells will be more than enough for timekeeping. As I put it away, I see it’s gone 6pm, over five hours have gone in the blink of an eye it seems. We both realise we’re hungry and Mrs S proceeds to whip up a storm in the kitchen and we take the results back up to the terrace, just in time to hear the 7pm bells. “It doesn’t get much better than this” says Mrs S and at the time, I can’t argue with that. It’s a beautiful evening and we marvel at the flying display, provided by the swallows and martins, swooping and diving at such speeds, turning so sharply, as they go about their business. The bells keep their hourly appointment, the evening sun drops and we’re treated to a spectacular sunset, with Mrs S clicking away on the compact camera. Everything is so new to us and we’re a little like the Japanese tourists you sometimes see, taking photos of virtually everything.
Dusk sees the street lights come on all over the village, and their brightness grows as the night closes in around us. The temperature is perfect and we sit, talking away about this and that. I seize control of the camera for a candid shot of Mrs S looking out at the darkness and as the flash goes off, I briefly see the air is full of small flying things. Just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, I tell Mrs S and we keep watch as I set of the flash again and there they all are, surrounding us and waiting for a free lunch. Mrs S nips off and brings out the secret weapon against mosquitoes because they love us, the little blighters. I was going to say buggers but Mrs S censored that bit. Anyway, waking up in the morning and playing an itchy game of dot to dot is no fun and so, Avon’s “Skin so soft” is produced, which, apparently, was recommended by the Royal Marines no less. We assume the recommendation is for mosquito avoidance but that wasn’t made clear in the article. Anyway, on it goes and I’m glad that we’re not going out for a walk, as it smells quite strongly. Of what I’m not quite sure but it’s Avon, so you get the idea. Feeling invulnerable, we sit with our drinks but I can’t resist rolling my sleeves down, just incase the marines were having a joke with everyone and even though we were creamed up, so to speak, we both kept itching every so often. I think it must have been after 10pm when a sneaky lethargy monster took a big bite out of the both of us and we made our way downstairs for the first night in the house. Sleep came quickly enough, which was followed by waking quickly enough to find the church bells telling us it was midnight, which we found hilarious for some strange reason. I wondered if they went on all through the night but I can report that if they did, I didn’t hear them and neither did Mrs S.
Morning (the proper one) came and to open the curtains and see a beautiful blue sky was invigorating to say the least. I suppose it shouldn’t have been a surprise but having been used to less than overwhelming skies in Britain, it was a great way to start the day. We also found that there were no bites to report as yet, another positive, even if I did have the lingering smell of what I would now describe loosely as, flowery. Breakfast is made and we, again, sit on the terrace, still not quite believing the events that brought us here. I’ve quickly developed a taste for toast with cheese and ham, it seems to taste so much better although I have no idea why. And no, it wasn’t a toastie. It felt so good to sit there, sipping coffee in the sun, miles away from the hurly-burly of our working lives, even though it was only to be for another 6 days. I’m mostly in the glass half full camp (courtesy of Mrs S) but for some reason, my mind thinks it’s 6 days before we have to go back and not, 6 more days to enjoy. I’m happy to say, this has improved slightly with each subsequent visit.
So, here we are, settling into the house and making plans for not just the week ahead but for the rest of the year and looking forward to spending as much time as we can in Spain.
All Images © 2008- TheSlowWalkers