This morning, the dog woke me at 4.30am. Actually, I was almost awake because my mobile phone, which I am keeping beside the bed, beeped at 4.10am. My network provider decided that was a good time to text me with a special offer! When the dog started to bark, I was tempted to open the shutters and throw the phone at his kennel, but I didn’t. I just hushed him and tried to get back to sleep.
It is so dark here at night. You can see the stars so clearly. I know that with a telescope, you would be able to see the Milky Way. Sitting outside in the twilight last night, glass of wine in hand, dish of olives on table, was so magical. As the stars popped out of the darkening sky, you could hear a faint buzzing from the hundreds of bees that surround a tree – still haven’t managed to discover what species it is – it’s boughs sagging with blossom. As darkness fell, the bees flew off to their beds, but I stayed up, drinking in the atmosphere with all my senses.
Going to bed has a set of rituals that I am now enjoying. On the first few nights they seemed like a chore. Now they are a prelude to sleep. First we lock up the shutters on the outside of the house. Then we close the shutters on the windows and finally, having locked all the inside doors, we close the inside shutters. We are as snug and cosy as any bug in a rug! The closed shutters keep the house secure and cool. Oh, the joy of flinging them all open in the morning and feel the heat from the sun stream through the window. More magic!
Yesterday, I found a tiny dead scorpion in the bottom of the pool. I know they lurk underneath stones in the land behind the villa.They won’t finish you off, but they can dispatch a nasty bite, like many of the insects here. But you become acclimatised. Even my fair skin is holding up well to all the small, flying, biting things. We put the pool robot under the water yesterday. Like a small R2D2, it crawls the bottom and sucks up anything nasty, but it had somehow missed the scorpion, so that was a task we had to do ourselves. It took a couple of dives and a small bowl to scoop up the creature with caution, even though it was quite, quite dead. As dead as a parrot on a stick.
The vineyard has produced better wine this year. There is a large tin barrel with a tap in the garage. When you feel the urge, you take an earthen wear jug to it and turn the tap. I’ve never in my entire life, had wine on tap. Total magic! Mind you, we are at a thoughtful age and indiscriminate quaffing is not our style any more! But I must say, the wine is hard to resist and I probably have drunk a little too much… But it is so delicious and it must be doing me good, mustn’t it?
Today is a day for abstinence. We have chores to do. The patios must be swept, the pool workings checked, the dog walked the cat stroked and fed, the pots washed, the garden watered, the sun worshiped. This afternoon there will be time enough to swim and feel holy for the exercise endured. Somehow, structure is important, even on holiday. So enough of this idleness. I must away to sweep.