This landscape is ever changing, though it’s been hard this week to find much time away from my desk to explore it. The dry riverbed continues to fascinate me. I can walk in areas I couldn’t go before. As I approach an algae-filled pool, if I’m careful enough I will catch sight of the turtles just as they slide into the water to hide. Soon after, a single footfall will touch on the invisible electric current that sends all the sunbathing frogs arcing into the pool. By the slimy water’s edge I can watch fish shooting like arrows into shade, small snakes wriggling under rocks. Such rich pickings, they have every reason to be afraid, though not of the clumsy human.
The days get hotter, but refreshing breezes keep them bearable. The evenings are beautiful: warm and starry. We heard rumour of rain; it finally fell, but in so few drops it would have been possible to count them.
At home the bakery has taken shape: the door has arrived (it look a long time to come) and the window is now complete with its glass. However, inexplicable delay has once again beset the new electrical connection, just when we thought we had finally jumped through all the hoops required to complete that circuit. It would be so good to get this finished, just as interest in Husband’s bread is growing.
Maria has started to wear the tall straw hat of many Algarve women, and I would like to know where she got it from. (I do like hats.) I haven’t seen this style in the shops that sell hats to tourists. Maria and Eleuterio pass by our house quite regularly these days, usually on the tractor, with the dogs, Lordy and Estrela, running behind. Estrela is still cheeky and excitable and comes into the house when she can, but she doesn’t steal shoes any longer. She must have outgrown that phase. Handsome Lordy is as coolly independent as ever. He has no interest in exploring our domain. A few wags of the tail to acknowledge our existence, then off to do his own thing. Even the dog treats we specially got fail to appeal to him, though Estrela is always keen to have a few if they are on offer. A couple of times Maria and Eleuterio have told us that Estrela is pregnant, but then each time she has turned out not to be. They know we adore the dogs and I think they’d like to give us a puppy, but I haven’t been too disappointed at the failure of this to happen. I don’t know if we are ready for a responsibility like that yet.
Next week I shall be in England. One reason is to attend the launch of a cookbook I worked on, Everything Stops For Tea, whose publication is to raise money for Marie Curie. I’m looking forward to that. I won’t be writing a post from there, so the next time I sit down at my desk to write – with its view through the bougainvillea to the meditation hill beyond – will be in two weeks’ time.