Posted by: puebloman | March 8, 2010

Occasional Diary 2

From Wednesday 3rd March

I am in the car by nine having had the exact same conversation I have with the neighbours every Wednesday

Where you going? Almachar?

No I’m going to school to learn Spanish. Haven’t done my homework!

Ha! He’s got homework! (hilarity) You don’t need to go to school – you can speak to us!

You don’t speak Spanish!

That’s right we don’t! We speak Andaluce! Don’t  learn from us, no one else will understand you (hilarity)

I’m in the car on my own. Judy is doing a course in Raku pottery with a wonderful group of Swedish potters who have come to Cutar to experiment with glazes.

Apparently you biscuit fire your clay, then you get a metal oil drum with the top cut off and a hole punched in it. You put in your pots – painted – and then fire them with a huge propane flamethrower that spirals a flame round the drum. Then when they’re quite black, you chuck them in cold water stuffed with straw and/or olive leaves. Then you spend ages cleaning them . . .

The weather forecast is, as always, wrong. Catching on to the fact that it’s rained continually since mid December, rain was forecast. It is, au contraire, a beautiful day as I drive away to Velez-Malaga.

It is like a bright breath of spring in a long miserable wash of seemingly endless drizzle, and springtime is characterised by the glorious Bermuda Buttercup that streams down the hills in its hundreds of thousands at this time of year. The Bermuda Buttercup behaves like a sulking cowslip in dull weather. It hangs its head and folds its petals and disappears from the landscape, which reverts to miriad variations of olive green. When the sun comes out the buttercup lifts up its face to the sky and the landscape streams with yellow. The white almond blossom, the flowers of winter, is starting to go over, but the blossom still hangs on the landscape like frost.

I look down to my left where the land falls almost sheer three or four hundred metres to the river bed. Usually dry as a bone and used as a highway or carpark, today the bed actually has a river in it – a twisted ribbon of boiling mud. In two places water has washed away the soil from under the twisting mountain road. The macadam has collapsed making the ride  momentarily eventful. Other events include boulders in the road, helpfully indicated by extemporary exclamation mark road signs. There are also mud slurries and falling trees (mercifully small, in these parts no tree is allowed to be taller than a Spaniard).

9.45 A breakfast of “Pan con tomate” – macerated tomato on a lightly toasted split roll with salt and oil on the side, plus cafe con leche. Absolutely delicious

10am There is a new person in our class, so we start by introducing ourselves again. Each time the challenge is to find a different way to do it. Or even to remember something that might distinguish you from the sludge of humanity around you.

We then revisit the subjunctive. Certain words and phrases throw one inevitably into the arms of the subjunctive. We were all given phrases and asked to talk for a minute on a subject given by the teacher. I get phrases like “It is possible”, “Most probably” and “It may be so” and am asked to extemporise on the subject “Is there life after death?”. My views on this subject are clear and very strong. Unfortunately I don’t know the Spanish for “superstition” “mendacious falsehood” or “lying priests”. To my horror I find myself meditating on the “possibility” that a spark of God resides in all of us and that “it is probable” that they return when we die to the eternal light . .

12am As I set off in the car to raid Lidles for 2€ chicken carcasses and cut priced red wine, I reflect on the possibility that I have been linguistically tricked into Catholic chat . . .

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