Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Torre del Mar

The sun was high in the early spring, pale blue sky. It was too early in the year for the deeper, richer Mediterranean blue enjoyed by so many in the summer months. The sunlight glistened on the aqua sea, silver slivers sparkling on the rising swell of the tiny waves whipped up by the spring breeze. The tiny white horses rode along the coastline as tide and wind directed them from west to east along the balcony of Europe. Chugging along on the backs of the white horses a fisherman’s boat, its dull green hull contrasting with the sparkling blue sea dancing with light, passed on its way to the port. Nets stowed the men relaxed and gazed idly over the side at the sea-bed below, distorted through the prisms of water and light the crabs and small silver fish as a Picasso masterpiece – a giant claw on a stunted body, a discombobulated fish, its fins, tail and head out of proportion to its scaled body. The window of the white cabin sat proud in the centre of the boat reflected the sunlight preventing a glimpse of the pilot within. The singular became a parade as one after the other the little boats headed for their moorings, their flags, caught in the sea-breeze rippling from the stern.
In contrast the blue and white boats dotted along the beach were firmly anchored in the sand. Their hulls filled with the ground down remains of ancient marine life and topped with burning wood and charcoal they provided the funeral pyres for the fishermen’s cargo. Facing associated restaurants the burning embers crisped the skin of the sacrificial fish and released a taste of coastal fayre into the air where it mingled momentarily with the salt from the sea before being dispersed by the growing wind. A little oasis had been created alongside one of the boats; a patch of grass on the beach hosted a gaggle of palm trees whose fronds rustled and creaked as they danced to the rhythm set by Zephyrus.
Menus and serviette holders were scattered, ungainly ballerinas pirouetting across the wide Paseo Maritimo as Zephyrus increased the tempo. The brown veined white marbled tiles interspersed with red and black diamonds played host to a staccato of footsteps and the spinning of bicycle wheels as the people passed on their exercise regimes.  The steps of the promenaders continued at their own gentle pace as feet clad in trainers, sandals and moccasins made their way there and back. The bicycle wheels turned at a sedate pace, the powering pedals turned in a lackadaisical manner – five gentle rotations, pause and glide, five gentle rotations, pause and glide – a gentile mechanical waltz. Along the paseo, rising up from a green canopy of foliage, a slender white tower climbed heavenward.  Its sleek lines disturbed by the double balconies sat below the blue capped beacon, the torre del mar surveyed the coastline.  In the foliage below parrots, their light green plumage camouflaging them, squawked and squabbled amongst themselves before flashing along the paseo, just above head height – avian speed freaks. Their comparatively drab cousins hopped amongst the restaurant tables in search of accidental food droppings or deliberate offerings to satiate their cravings. Their dark, beady eyes darted as they sought out tid-bits and the whereabouts of the competition. When beaks were full they retired to the trees and flower-beds to dine on their gains.
There was little to fear from the gardening ‘chain gang’ for the tiny sparrows as they sought refuge from competitors to eat in peace. The three municipal workers clad in their luminous green and yellow suits with grey reflective strips hacked lethargically at the ground with their implements. A system of two working, one resting appeared to be in place and much consternation, projected through shouting at one another, arose when all three took up their tools at the same time.  Swiftly rectified the implement was removed from the ground by one labourer in order for him to strike a pose of well-earned respite from his toils. Pattern resumed, each in turn leaned nonchalantly and sipped from their bottle of water after a minute’s limited exertion. For all the seeming lack of effort the beds were weed-free.
The wind continued to grow in strength as it blew along the paseo and white clouds began to form, like puffs of candy floss, against the blue sky. The sand was warm, not scorching underfoot, the fine granular texture of sand not yet achieved in uniformity. Sharp, coarse shards of shell pricked the soles of the feet. One cloud grew apace and shortly covered the sun forcing those more accustomed to the Spanish climate to reach for an additional layer. The hardy few that had braved the beach began to retreat carrying sombrillas and towels, dusting their feet free of sand as they reached the threshold of the paseo. Camareros hovered by their tables hoping to entice the retreating parties to the refuge of their establishments.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Time does fly

It has been sometime since I updated my blog, and it took a gentle nudge from my friends at AngloInfo (my second blog) to remind me that I hadn’t posted anything since mid-January (apart from my ditty to the pig). I hadn’t realised it was so long. My excuse is reasonable…I have finished the manuscript for my book. Hurrah! A concerted effort has seen me complete it and polish the first three chapters; now it is time to send those crucial chapters and covering blurb to various agents and await the rejection letters!
The most trying bit has been writing the covering blurb – not so much about the book but about the author, me. It is a rather un-British-like trait (and I’ll use an Americanism here) to ‘big yourself up’, and whilst I want to say how fantastic Deborah Cater the author is, I may have under-sold myself. I sincerely hope not.
Whilst the final surge of writing was underway I did manage to leave the house for the daily dog walks and watch as winter moved into spring. For all my watchfulness I did not register the almond blossom fall from the trees, it probably just got blown off on one of the many windy nights that have occurred; in its place is the next season of almonds. Wrapped in their light green velvet jackets these little nuts are starting to take shape and on the ground around them orchids and varied mountain flowers are raising their colourful heads to the sun. It is truly a bountiful time of year and I have my eye on several areas where the wild fennel grows. As the dogs and I brush against it on our walks the faint smell of aniseed rises up to greet us. I am rather partial to fennel and I shall be harvesting a few bulbs (only sufficient for my needs I shall not be raping the land) for my salads when the time is right.
Hours sat at the table typing away has not helped with my posture and yesterday saw me at the osteopath for a little manipulation. Having come to the conclusion that I am a little off-kilter(!) I was bent, twisted and folded into all manner of positions like a piece of human origami. Despite the ignominy of having parts of your body uppermost that are normally not so, the relief as my kidney was put back in its rightful place and the sound of vertebrae clicking back into alignment was bliss. I am hoping that a few mental blockages will have been removed as well, we can but pray!
As part of my nod to religion (not a follower of organised religion per se, I adopt parts as I see fit) I have given up wine, bread and cheese for Lent. Following the words of the church leaders in the UK that you can have Sundays off from your chosen abstinence, I take the opportunity to indulge on those days. It does make it easier to stick to the whole period of Lent (bar the Sundays), but I am not entirely sure that that is the point! Either way, I would like to say I have felt/noticed a benefit, but not; instead all I do is wish the week away for Sunday to arrive again.
I shall make every effort not to be so tardy with my next post. As my next little writing project concerns a sheep I am going to be spending a few hours sheep-watching in order that I can observe and note accurately their traits and mannerisms (and yes that is a little anthropomorphic) The things I do for my trade!