Monday, January 09, 2006



I’m sorry if I’ve been a little reclusive recently…

I’m sitting curled up in the corner of the sofa at the moment, with a spaniel’s head for a slipper and a Charlie gently snoring on one of the cushions. About as close to spiritual equilibrium as it gets in our house.

Dog’s recuperative powers are amazing. Toff was up and about and being a thorough pain in the bot within days. I’m writing this so you don’t think that I’m an utter cad for going away at new year. I had intended, in fact booked, to bugger off to Riga for ten days, but of course I cancelled that, and took a flight to Spain, at short notice, instead.

I whiled away six unrepentant days of lazy, languid, unfocussed fuzziness in the villages of the Sierra Nevada. Avoiding company like a hermit, going local and being entirely self absorbed. It was marvellous.

On the whole I don’t really like people. It’s not a particularly endearing trait in someone who works at the client bridge in a publishing company – but I’m a jolly good liar and can put up with a lot for the money. Still, it’s so bloody good to get away from the yammering, gibbering crowd, the stupid faces and the bedlam for just a few days and immerse oneself up to the belly button in anonymity.

The photograph at the top is the Alhambra, the “Red Castle”, a Moorish palace in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada overlooking the city of Grenada. It’s an incredible mixture of Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque. It reeks of age and form and verse like metre, an architectural continuation of the golden stone of the hills. I’m NOT a romantic I swear. I’m a fish. But despite it’s antiquity and evident purpose as a fortress, my overwhelming impression was of tranquillity. Whatever else the Moors may have been, (and I simply mean that I don’t know), they had an appreciation of geometry and the trickle, burble of water.

The ambience wasn’t even spoilt by the ubiquitous American couple.

“Jeez, it’s big ain’t it honey”
“Yeah, I guess, but kinda run down you know?”
“Well the Spanish are awful lazy…”

Which probably had something to do with my appreciation of the bottled late summer that the Spaniards call Rioja. Without any allusion to wine-buffdom it’s my best friend. It’s September in a glass, fruit too long on the tree or vine, slightly rakish, heavy, round and decadent, blackberries beyond their initial sharpness, wood smoke, vanilla….a self satisfied, middle aged man of a wine, with a twinkle in his eye, who’s not too old to suggest an affair to a pretty Chianti.

The lifestyle is easy, it involves a long, long, late lunch, perhaps 3 hours worth. With a book, or simply watching the world go by, and then a nap, and a shower, and a few hours gentle nothingness, and then off out into the night at 11pm, for tapas and wine and bars and clubs, until 4 or 5 in the morning……and repeat. It really is very easy.

And the girls. I am now recovering from whiplash, and at least several hundred broken hearts.

And now, here, at home, did I mention, that we were evacuated tonight? Apparently someone just a few doors down from me had a headache, and a grenade. I expect it will be on the news tomorrow.

(Would someone like to marry me please, just in a social way. I’m no trouble at all really, and I’m sure I could find work?)

10 comments:

Wendy said...

That wine sounds simply devine, as did your whole 'hermitish' time away. I spent three weeks in Spain, when I was just 17, and though I was probably too young to actually truly and deeply appreciate my surroundings, I remember it all so fondly. I just said to Hub the other day how I'd really like to go there again. I have a friend, who lives in a little place outside of Barcelona. We could go see her. I'd love for my daughter to meet her girls (they're all of the same age). (this friend is the girl I stayed with, on student exchange, ALL those long years ago ... we've always remained close.) I loved it there. It was beautiful, old, stoney - yet warm. I loved that people held hands everywhere - without any thought of someone immediately putting a "label" to you as they would here in the states. I love this post. But, I love that you're back even better, even though you don't like people. I'll just pretend that you really do. ;~) ('specially since your a "jolly good liar".) Welcome home - grenades and all. I'm sure the boys missed you too.

Sandra said...

Good old Rioja, yes. Good stuff. And your impression of Americans travelling Europe is so good it's painful. Welcome home!

Just Some Gal said...

So very, very glad you're back. Your writing is like looking through your eyes. I love moorish architechture and am so ashamed that fellow Americans cand be such social boars at times.

Grenades? Yikes Colin, what kind of neighbors?? Come move to Houston. Then you'll only have to battle road rage, humidity, bugs, gangs... um, well, maybe it isn't such a great idea. ;-)

Welcome home.

((hugs))

Miladysa said...

Welcome back - missed you!

Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

Let us know when you find someone to take up your proposal - I shall buy a hat :)

krisbtterfly said...

please don't think that all americans are that crass and unappreciative of breathtaking historic landmarks! i guess living in germany helped me gain more of an appreciation for them as well. *sigh*

p.s. i'm not a hoarder, i just had one little corner that had become quite neglected... and now it's clean. :)

Jessica said...

I hung my head as I read about the American commentary....sigh.

Glad you are back and good to hear from you again - you were missed.

If I weren't already married, dear, I would lend a helping hand!

Magpie said...

hey welcome back...your holiday sounds great, and i love the architechture of that building, i love old things (and if I weren't married i would marry you so you could buy me shoes...lol, what else are men for...???)

:0)

Aims said...

Wohooo you're back!! Wow sounds like a great time. I think we all need space & time away from other people every now & again, well I certainly do anyway!!!
Glad to hear Toffee's better.
I'm already married - sorry.

Gerbera Daisy said...

Glad to have you back Fish! It sounds like you had a great time. It's always good to get away and be annonymous. I hope that you don't think all Americans are rude.

Amy said...

I know, I've been away for awhile. I was bored silly at work and was reading Wendy when I saw your link and immediately missed reading your lyrical words. I tried to back up to where I might have left off, but it's no matter, all your words sing.

"Which probably had something to do with my appreciation of the bottled late summer that the Spaniards call Rioja. Without any allusion to wine-buffdom it’s my best friend. It’s September in a glass, fruit too long on the tree or vine, slightly rakish, heavy, round and decadent, blackberries beyond their initial sharpness, wood smoke, vanilla….a self satisfied, middle aged man of a wine, with a twinkle in his eye, who’s not too old to suggest an affair to a pretty Chianti."

That in particular makes me want to read all afternoon. I hope you don't mind.