10 / 11 March 2018
Thanks to the honest shop assistant in Curry’s in Edinburgh where I went to buy a tablet so I had larger keys than my mobile to type with, I am writing this using my new Bluetooth portable keyboard. At less than a tenth of the price, it weighs 197.3g and folds up into a 4×6 inch slim size so is ideal for my rucksack. I have also finally found the brain space to think to download a photo resizing app. I hope my daughters are proud of my technological abilities when forced to manage alone. It is all down to their patient teaching throughout childhood!
After 24 hours without adult conversation (I am lucky that I never seem to get lonely) I slept well and my wrist, which I thought I had broken when I slipped on the bathroom floor the night before last, was considerably better.
I therefore reinstated my morning meditation, stretching, porridge and Duolingo routine which of course makes things better. It does seem a little incongruous to be breakfasting on oats and lunching on veg and chickpea soup as at home, but it suits my digestion and is good prep for the upcoming walking.
I thought I had lost the snake and panicked. Luckily I discovered him hanging from the roof bar of his glass case. As yet no poo to clear despite it being 3 days since his weekly rat.
A group of T’s friends, 12 year olds in trunks and trainers, caught me typing away in my knickers (it was hot!). I tried out my Spanish by way of explanation that he was not here, but they stayed anyway, all turning somersaults on the trampoline at the same time. They helped themselves to the pool, towels, water and other toys until I had had enough of their boisterousness. They are obviously used to being welcomed.
Saturday’s walk was a bit of a disaster. I tried to visit Llopps, the ancient ruins on the top of the hill nearby, but it is reached by way of a small road. I discovered that the puppy has probably never been on a lead before so she was none too happy with me insisting and we had to return to the house. Not before the three of them had raced up someone else’s drive and the owner had shouted and cursed at me.
There was a spectacular storm with sonorous thunder and torrential rain which certainly put paid to my asparagus picking plans and left deep orange puddles everywhere.
Saturday night was film night as a result: It turns out that I have already seen ‘Today’s Special’ before about a sous-chef who aspires to greater things but needs to embrace his native culture in order to bring them about. I enjoyed this quote in which Samir explains why he is still in New York: ‘I had some plans that changed.’ The wise old ‘magical’ character replies: ‘I had a million and one plans that changed. Even the ones that worked out didn’t work out the way I had planned.’
On Sunday, my kind friends Emma and Eduardo took me once again to find asparagus for the tortillas. This time we got right up into the mountains (approximately 50km from Valencia), driving around the S-bends of the treacherous CV-25, through Old Marines (where I once found myself mistakenly after 4 hours of walking in 30 degrees heat), and then Gátova with its elegant church tower, until we branched left past the Roman Bridge to the picturesque Fuente de la Alameda. With simple space for picnics, I recommend this day-trip.
We wandered between the stepped slopes, almonds trees dressed like Cinderella going to the ball, and olives looking dashing in their own immature silver-green garb. However, the changeable weather – brilliant blue skies interspersed with showers – revealed that the season is still too young at this altitude, and the trip was aborted.
Driving through this landscape, it is as if Paulozzi’s giants have come to life and hurtled rocks at each other, leaving them strewn randomly. It was nice to listen to the constant gentle Spanish in the front of the car – this couple seemed to have so much to say to each other.
Later I trekked around familiar and new ground with my canine companions for a couple of hours, admiring the wild flowers and feeling my legs getting stronger.
I enjoyed my tortilla later. Thanks to G’s healthy free-range chickens, this is the true colour of my feast.