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Thursday, August 25, 2005

waiting for the bus

Even the goats get hot. The buses, though, rarely arrive. Maybe they don't mind.

Granny has just had a perfect week in Andalucia - up in the hills from Seville, heading for Portugal. No, she does not propose a travelogue. Just to say that she sat in village squares at midnight, watching small children play and horses ride past. She watched San Bartoleme paraded round a little 'hermita' a long way from anywhere, accompanied by locals singing strongly a capella, by brass instruments, drums, pipes - and by a moved but non-singing Granny. Who did though manage a 'viva la santa' or two. And who also learned to her delight -in the circumstances - that her Beloved's surname is the Gaelic version of Bartolome. In those parts, religion, she noted, like late night hanging-out in village plazas, involves a great deal of alcohol.

She walked most days through groves of chestnuts, cork oaks, olives, ate too much, observing as she did so that the wide variety of delicacies promised on tapas menus turned out, almost always, to be different parts of the pig. (But then she saw a lot of pigs too, under the cork oaks. As well as black bulls.) Between the pigs, the booze, the bullfights, to which one and all Andalucians seem to be addicted, she concluded that Osama Bin Laden and his mates may have one aim too far in hoping to retake Andalus for the Muslim faith.

For the second part of their week Granny and Beloved shifted out of the hot villages on the south side of the hills, to the slightly cooler north side, to a tall pink house perched on the edge of it, among more chestnuts and more cork oaks, and with a swimming pool from heaven. The picture gives some idea but does it no justice. The pool sits on the edge of space, its water appearing to slide right off it. (It's all recycled and comes straight back up, don't worry. This is country of water-shortage.) They swam in it every day. And every evening they sat out under a canopy of vines and stars, eating and drinking among agreeable people. A perfect time.

Alas they've now returned to London. Granny in particular has a lot on her mind - so has Beloved on her behalf. Probably she will write something about it in days to come. But for now, browner, fatter, fitter - and with a slight but unimportant sniffle in her nose - she's still basking in remembered heat, remembered pleasure. Hasta la Vista.

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