Life

Being here for a few weeks, it becomes a sort of temporary home. The duration, 7 weeks, doesn’t feel like a holiday and we bring our life and work with us. So, we’re busy, just in a different place with the same, very small amount of idling time. The place isn’t ours; it’s just a small rental but the same one each year means you get to know its foibles. You become familiar with the one tall glass in the cupboard that’s rough around the rim, the clock that never works, the dodgy boiler, the enveloping presence of IKEA. You’re...

I have a different sense of this place this year. Less refuge and retreat. More? I’m not sure what word describes it. Let's just say 'uncertain'. The same hillside stretches east of the tiny cortijo towards the sea. The Mediterranean is back to blue today after the dismal dishwater grey of yesterday. The sun doesn’t always shine nor the sea sparkle in southern Spain; there are wintry interludes, usually brief. Today the sea is a broad sash of steely blue with a smudged band of almost-but-not-quite-white like a huge, hazy, halo spread horizontally at the point where it meets the sky,...

We walked today, a walk we’ve done at least three times on each visit here, so today we clocked up perhaps number 7 or 8.  It’s a walk with all the right ingredients - spectacular long views and fascinating close-up detail. The Route of the Mines (Ruta de las Minas) runs for about 8km through landscape of scarred beauty near the village of Bedar, where we are staying. Iron ore was wrested from the hills here for about 100 years up to 1970. In the far distance the hills intersect each other reaching inland to snow-topped peaks. In the near...

I was at the local crematorium earlier this month. It's been a season of deaths and, thus, funerals. I didn't know the man well; Jim knew him better but 'knew/ know' are not accurate words. For, as we listened to the several long and often emotional eulogies, we realised that we knew this man very little. We knew only a part, and we knew that part very dimly, briefly and carelessly, or at least with insufficient thought, at the end of his 86-year span of life. Listening to the stories of the man from those who knew him longer and better...