Two At Large in Spain 2006-7

December 26th


So today was our last lie-in day (tell us another one!). It was also, when we finally emerged, blinking, into the bright Andalucian late morning daylight, our provisioning day, a bit like a ship about to leave port.

We first obtained a new bottle of propane gas (the house is heated by and cooking is carried out using propane). This involved a trundle through a couple of streets. This is definitely not a holiday option for the frail...heaving full bottles of propane up and down stairs and vertiginous concrete slopes is an effort even for the young and fit.

Then we drove to the shopping mall at Vélez Malaga, where, haveing discovered that I had failed miserably to pack any regular socks, I bought 15 cheap socks from Dunnes Stores (as I discovered when I unpacked them...I supposed the odd one may come in useful in the future if ever I lose a khaki sock). I also bought a cheap pair of slippers to protect my sensitive feet from the chill of our house's tiled floors. (These are the first slippers I have ever owned, for in my way of things only old people wear slippers and I by contrast am ever-youthful so should not require slippers.) But I have to admit that the floors here are indeed cold... We also looked in vain for a short denim skirt for L.

The mall was full of ungainly Brits, smart Germans and that strange mix of Spanish women (the men are unremarkable, but many Spanish women seem to change from gorgeous adolescents into scowling and somehow oddly-proportioned young women, into plump matrons and finally into spherical old ladies clad in black, all in just a few years). We ransacked the aisles of Eroski for vegan stuff, but failed to find soy milk. But incidentally, having located the cheapest Irish whiskey, I was now the proud possessor of a Jameson wristwatch! Ho hum., But now at least we had vegetables and the makings of real meals!! We even drove into Torrox Costa in our unsuccessful search for unsweetened soy milk, to no avail.

Then back to Cómpeta, and a quick burst of exercise carrying the bags of groceries to the house (Over a certain age? Don't come to Cómpeta! You need thighs of steel for this vacation!) And now it was time for ratatouille...

I was now reading Sadie Smith's On Beauty. Although it is a painless read, (and I envied the 57-year-old anti-hero having a beautiful 19-year-old throwing herself at him...does this ever really happen, or is it included just to tantalisemiddle-aged male readers?), I found that I was uninvolved with the characters and their mini-dramas. The life of all these unattractive and narrowly-focussed academics is, in the end, without depth beyond their extensive vocabularies, and I didn't care...