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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Un besito...

Beloved buys his red wine mostly from a local farmer called Aurelio: a nice man with very dark - rather beautiful in Granny's view - eyes and not-so designer stubble, who wears, while selling his wine and his vegetables up at the local market one of the ubiquitous local trilby hats. Beloved is probably Aurelio's very best customer: when he and Granny are running a workshop or have many guests, he buys Aurelio's wine in bulk. He is such a good customer that he and Granny have even been invited to very solo private tastings at Aurelio's Bodega - his wine-making workshop -invited to bottle some of his wine to see how it is done. It is good wine, if drunk young. The only good red wine they have encountered here, it costs 3 euros a label-less bottle, less when bought in bulk. You can see it is good value. For obvious reasons Aurelio is fond of Granny and Beloved and very chatty around them, seemingly oblivious of the fact that Beloved understands nothing and Granny only a little - Aurelio's local accent is as impenetrable as most.

Beloved went up early last Sunday to acquire his supply - he always goes up early: Beloved does not do queues. Granny followed later - she does do queues - or rather she's not prepared to hustle herself to avoid them. She did her business at the stall she always patronises run by a grandmother and her daughters and sometimes too by her granddaughters (Granny herself supports the women every time - she's a seventies feminist isn't she?) Afterwards she headed up the line of stalls, past the smelly dried fish stall the one only patronised by locals for obvious reasons, past the plant stall, the cake stall, past Aurelio's stall. For once there was no queue there. Aurelio saw Granny passing and rushed out to greet her, grabbing her hand and pulling her closer to him - 'Un besito,' he said, 'un besito' - a little kiss - kissing her chastely enough on the cheek, surprising her a little but not unduly: Aurelio is a good friend. Very promptly, up came a woman - a rather wide woman with short dark hair - having seen her selling vegetables alongside Aurelio, Granny had more or less assumed this was Aurelio's wife, a fact that is now affirmed, firmly - very firmly - by the wide, dark-haired woman. 'You know who I am,' she says. 'I am his wife' - pointing at Aurelio. Granny nods in agreement. 'Hola,' she says smiling. 'I am his wife,' wide woman says again, taking Granny's hand, 'So,' she says, 'It's alright to shake his hand like this' - she shakes Granny's hand vigorously, 'But kisses, no.' She is smiling. Sort of. She is joking sort of. But she is not joking entirely. Granny has been given her orders. Siren Granny - can that really be how Aurelio's wife sees her....- it seems unlikely, they are both women of more than a certain age - maybe it's more a question of macho cabrio - Billy goat husband? - ?siren Granny smiles sweetly at both of them. 'Sta luego,' she says and removing herself and her vegetables, takes them meekly back to the truck.

Local life. Going on otherwise in its normal way. After four halcyon days plus sun and without much wind - happy guests - the trade-winds have started blowing and the clouds persisting up in these parts the way they do in summer. Billy the kid grows and jumps, jumping on his mother's back sometimes, on Beloved's back even, when he is milking. Two bantam hens are sitting on four hen's eggs: the question which will be established shortly is whether the young cockerel is doing his job fully or just firing blanks, The old cockerel, Damian-Daphne meanwhile is lonely: not only is he allowed no access to the hens while the latter is established, the young goat with whom he'd shared his quarter has been returned to the flock from which her mother came. When first put together, goat and cockerel were not friends, far from it: the goat chased the cockerel round the enclosure, the cockerel pecked the goat. Latterly though, they established a rather charming friendship, snuggled up against each other a bit. (Maybe when noone was looking they even exchanged besitos. Without a husband or wife in sight, why not?) Poor lonely wife-less cockerel - he can't even be let out to roam the land because he gets in among the vegetables. What should be done with him? He'll be much too tough by now to eat.

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