Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Sunday without fear!

The sunshine today was almost sufficient to dry out the sun lounger cushion that I inadvertently left out in the lashing rain yesterday.  Almost, but not quite.

I suppose that we should be grateful that the vans came around on Saturday and picked up the mounds of pine needles which have accumulated on the streets given the time of the year.  If those had still be on the pavements and in the gutters the rain would have had an even more devastating effect as they block drains and cause more standing water to remain for longer.

The only time that I ventured out on Saturday was to buy something in the late evening and the rain was exacerbated by the fact that some sections of the roads were without street lighting – making driving in driving rain a much more exciting prospect, especially as I was surrounded by people who appeared to driving in bright sunshine.  Very frightening – and I was glad to get home and make my self a comforting cup of tea and settle down with my Kindle!

I was alone, yet again, as I ploughed my lonely furrow in the pool this morning – which is fine by me, but does make me wonder about the financial viability of the centre if things are so poorly supported.  Though as we pay a monthly rate I don’t suppose it matters if people do not get their money’s worth!  I do!

I am now over half way through my Kindle book “The Islands” – it mixes sex, Surrealism and social comment in equal measures and links everything together in a detective story format.  I intend to cut this typing short and get back to it.

Toni has an important day tomorrow and he has to get shot of his present illness in double quick time to ensure that he is at his best.

His rip to Terrassa was to see his nephew play football but the lashing rain meant that the match was cancelled and all her has brought back is a present from sister and nephew in the form of a virus whose symptoms are a sore throat and flatulence.  Ex Africa semper aliquid novi – as someone said in different circumstances! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Unfair and unreasonable!

I do relish the feeling of accomplishment that comes with doing something which takes very little effort.

Effort is what it took to get up early on a Saturday morning – though the intrusive rumble of Berlin Airlift numbers of planes swooping low and loud over my bed, together with morning boy racers who use our one way road as part of an F1 circuit, and not forgetting (what would we do without them) the crack of dawn squad that empties our bins by squealing to a halt to clank up the bins and then squeal off – all of that did make it somewhat easier to rise from my bed!

The water in the pool is getting progressively cooler.  I don’t mean the communal one in the garden; god knows what temperature that is now, but rather the one which is supposed to be heated.  At the moment it might be described as “refreshing” – which means that most of my whimpish friends would refused to put even a toe into the water.  I just wonder what the temperature is going to be like when the outside temperatures are much less congenial than they are at the moment.

And the rain.  We must have had the total of the last three month’s rainfall over a single day.  The full fury of the storm waited for me to finish my swim and then, as I made my way to the car, the heavens truly opened.

Things always look so depressing in the grey light of a rainy day that I was disinclined to sit under sodden trees and have my customary cup of tea and decided to go home directly and promptly took the wrong turning.

And this, if you have been thinking about the opening thought, is where I achieved something.  Not much but something.

Most people have something which they say they are going to do and somehow never quite get round to it.  It may be visiting the Grand Canyon or learning Spanish or writing their novel or reading Paradise Lost; something life changing or challenging – something.

I have one thing: visiting the Church (if it is a church) on the hill above St Boi.  Attempted this summer and failed miserably as no roads appear to lead there.

However Toni and I have a joint something – which is visiting a hotel that we keep passing and saying we must pop in and have a cup of coffee.  We have been doing this for years and the car has never slowed down.

Until today.

In the pouring rain I suddenly had an impulse of achievement, found a parking place and with trusty RSC umbrella fully unfurled I went in for a hot drink.

I’m not sure what is going on in Castelldefels at the moment but the serving area of the place was filled with what I took to be residents having their breakfasts.  Which, if nothing else, shows you how early I was having my swim.

Having stomped in through the tempest I felt that I had to stay and so enquired about having breakfast myself.

And good value it was too.  I took mine on a sort of terrace protected from the lashing rain and ate my way through what passes for breakfast in foreign lands and had two cups of strong tea while reading my mobile phone in a final attempt to finish the interminable sci-fi story that has been a sort of descant to my life for far too long.

I even got fifty cents off the breakfast because the lady in charge couldn’t be bothered to find change.  A good start to a day.

Which has also seen me finish the mobile phone book and I can now concentrate on getting the other one on the Kindle read as well.

There has been precious little else to do given the unreasonable amount of precipitation today.

Tomorrow is forecast as being somewhat better and Monday better still.  It better!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Is clumsiness cyclical?

I ask because I seem to be in the middle of a phase of if-it-isn’t-nailed-down-break-it-itus.

So far, over the past couple of days, I have smashed a wine carafe, the high-frequency dog repeller and a multi-charger.  I have hit my head on a curtain post and stubbed by toe on a wall.  I have dropped things innumerable, crushed bread and watched receipts fly away in the wind.  In short, around me, things which should be immobile until I give them velocity, have taken on a life of their own.

I think it is related to my nails.

My nails have never been of the hard as diamonds variety, but recently they have been as brittle as a Chief Whip’s attempts to show that he is a man of the people and not a squalid classist lying snob.

My attempt to open a can of Bitter Kas wreaked havoc with my nails and they are now as short as a student’s dress at the end of St Mary Street in Cardiff late at night in the depths of winter when all the clubs are open.  A bit of an extended and over specific simile there, but you only have to be the end of St Mary Street at the right time and observe the astonishingly sparse clothing of obviously hardy (if sometimes inappropriate) girls to have the image fixed in your mind for ever!

I think that my frayed nails are an outward and visible sign of an inward malaise which has resulted in flailing limbs connecting with various parts of the physical universe in an inappropriate manner.

I seem to remember that eating jelly for its gelatine is a good thing to do with nails such as mine.  Or one can simply take more care.

To Toni’s continuing despair I do not follow his “everything in his place” philosophy – even making allowances for his individual use of the possessive pronoun.  Where I sit is the calm epicentre of wreckage spreading like a tsunami until it reaches the sphere of influence of someone tidier than I.

For example in the immediate vicinity there is a multi-charger which I have just knocked over yet again; an I-pad; an empty cup; a camera; a cheque; a stamp catalogue; a camera; a leaflet, a computer case and the metal cap of a Cava cork that I am saving for Tina’s sister-in-law – and all of that is just on top of the chest of drawers (actually an IKEA metal-mesh filing cabinet on wheels) which is next to my chair.

On my part of the coffee table there are three guides to various art galleries; a collection of leaflets; a collection of poems; three instruction manuals; a magazine; a catalogue for a recent exhibition; employment documents in an envelope; a box containing a Nano I-pod and earphones, receipts and pens; a Kindle, a dog irritator and details of this month’s rent.  And my slippers are next to the table.

On the floor . . . but you get the idea.  Gradually my “area” is being defined by what I have always regarded as the main aim of life: the accumulation of things!

Even I have to admit that the very “thingness” of my surroundings is getting a little oppressive, almost as if I am digging myself in to keep the wider world at bay.  A winnowing needs must occur – although it is often enough for me to articulate the intention and then to allow that to take the place of action.

But, as I write that, Toni and his Mum have just left for one of their marathon walks along the paseo, so this timing is encouragement for me to get something done so that they can ignore my efforts on their return!

I am almost galvanized!

And galvanized I was.  

By the time of their return my “area” was transformed into an expanse of arid conformity with some abstract idea of placement and order.  

And not a single solitary glance or word of acknowledgement of my Herculeanean efforts.  At all.  I don’t know why I bother!

And now I can’t find a damn thing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Books at will

My innate sense of timing was shown yet again in my second-perfect departure from the pool exactly at the time that the kids walked through the door to start their lesson!  You’ve either got it or you haven’t!

Today was warm enough to allow me to lie out on the Third Floor for an acceptable period of time – which was just as well as we appear to be in for an extended period of cloud cover and worse.  By the weekend I will be seething if I have not had my MSQ (minimum sun quotient) but I have to admit it is a rare day indeed in this part of the world if you get an entire day without at least a gleam of sunshine.  So I shouldn’t complain.  But I do.

I have been told by old hands who have been in the country for years that eventually you get “fed up” (their words) with sunshine and actively seek to avoid it.  I have taken this as hysteria on their part as I have seen not a jot of diminution of heliocentric behaviour on my part!

I am now well into the book which I bought because I could.  That is one of the real dangers of a Kindle.  Reading through the Guardian on the device and listening to the very literate fellow travellers who write in the august organ, it is very tempting to take a critic at his or her word and instantly find the book recomm3ended in the Kindle store and, before you know it some automatic system of your hand has kicked in and you’ve bought it.

My almost latest purchase (once you’ve started buying the temptation is to continue!) is a book called “The Islands” by an Argentinian Carlos Gamerro which has recently been translated from Spanish into English.

The novel uses the Falkland Islands, or more properly Las Malvinas from the Argentine point of view, and their loss as a symbol for a sort of critique of Argentine society.  The action of the novel is extraordinary and has a true hallucinatory quality.  I am gripped by it and am slightly forsaking the reading of the True Newspaper to give more time to it.

I have decided that I have not done enough intense reading throughout the summer – if I don’t get back into the habit I am going to lose the skill.  Ho!  Ho!