Once I got beyond the mania what I wanted came and so, here I am sitting in glorious sun. In February? Well, the chances of that are slim in a British Winter but in Spain the sun shines almost every day, at least that's what My Fair Lady has had me believe: The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plane, but what percentage of that phrase is true or false isn't in my powers to say for I'm not, at present, in the country of Tapas. I haven't travelled that way, to Spain, or in that way, by boat or plane, for a good few years, and it wouldn't be sensible to judge Spain's weather on past experiences.
I was last there, the Euro wasn't born or even in the making, though
it's also quite possible that I've blanked things or have chosen to
remember them differently, which is all the more likely in this
instance because I have a acrimonious relationship with this
currency. Frankly, Europe was and is less appealing without the
variety of coins and notes. Yes, it could be confusing but at least
you knew you were in another country! What about language? you ask.
Well, yes, the mother tongue is a give-away but it's not the same as
scrutinising the sides of a crisp note or shiny coin.
now, mentally, I find myself in a winding, cobbled street when I
started out just leisurely sitting in the sun on a deckchair. And I
still haven't told you where I am, exactly. Or even confirmed that
I'm not, in fact, in February. No, this is August. The one gone and
not the one coming, and no, I haven't become a time traveller, or at
least not in the sense it usually means.
be more precise, my mind has, with practice and time, acquired the
ability to travel, but my physical body hasn't caught on. It's always
been a bit slow in the being active department, but
then you don't need a body when the mind can take you, all of you,
spiritually anywhere, and the beauty of it is that just like that, I
can be back in the deckchair; not always, however, the same one.
lost my spot. Again! This isn't where my bottom was comfortably sat;
I should have marked it with a towel like those surrounding me would
be if they weren't already filled with the bulk of people, most with
their faces turned to the sun, and all, I might add, with their
bodies clothed. Fully. The men in business suits as if they were
about to go to the office or into an important meeting; the women,
also classically turned-out with many different blouses (which in
England we would call a Thatcherism), and in heels or flats with the
addition of a coloured scarf or wide-brimmed sun hat, and so, in my
current attire, I stick out like a sore thumb, for while I'm
respectfully dressed there's more pale flesh on show. Not a lot, just
a few inches, and yet enough to cause foreheads to crinkle and
eyebrows to raise: my forearms are bare and my head is uncovered,
revealing its coppery shades, which has, I confess, again made me
someone to avoid, and which is why I'm sent to the naughty chair,
although, of course, being without a bath-size towel is a significant
factor. And yes, apparently, it does have to be bath-sized. Hand-size
has another purpose entirely.
bath towel would be a simple item to remember if I was going
swimming, but there's no chemically-treated pool, polluted ocean or
river in which to take a dip or practise my frog-stroke in; all there
is for miles around, in whatever direction you face, is waving
genetically-modified corn. My forgetfulness, then, is not deliberate,
it's just not a habit I'm used to employing in an agricultural
landscape. I have read, anecdotally however, that this towel trick
works wonders if placed underneath you like a bed-sheet or cushion;
there is one business man who habitually places a folded towel, just
so, beneath his balding head, whose smirk I've caught when, to my
obvious surprise, I've switched seats on my return, and so, I think
there might be some marginal truth in this legend.
is a bit disconcerting, to say the least, to find yourself back in
the room, so to speak, facing west when originally like everyone else
you were facing south-east, in a chair that's seen better days and at
some distance away from your compatriots.
Picture credit: People in the Sun, 1963, Edward Hopper