Fruit Gloop, Laundry, Lunch With Friends & The End Of A Dream 07.10.2015

The day started with one of my very few culinary duties this week, making the breakfast gloop. We have run out of strawberries so this time it was figs, lemons and limes from the garden. When zesting the lemons and limes I noted how much more oil I was getting out of them that I would with shop bought ones. Those expensive trees were worth the money, if only for that.

I haven’t a clue how I do this but again I got an exact amount, to the gramme, enough to fill two litre canisters and one half litre canister exactly. With luck that will be enough to see us right through this stay, if not I will have to make more, probably Nispero and lemon this time. Jeez, its a tough call!

It is laundry day two today, soooooo much work involved. Yesterday we delivered the bag of dirties to Lavanderia Ana, today we have to pick up the cleanies from there. Garrath loves laundry days in Spain because he doesn’t have to use the washing machine (I’m banned, the last time I touched it I broke it) hang out the laundry then take it down when dry and fold it. It is a real laundry holiday for him and if we won the lottery he would never touch a washing machine again.

We decided to go down to the local watering hole for half past elevenses then on to Lavanderia Ana to collect the cleanies. On the way down we were alerted to something being amiss by a commercial van driver. I pulled over and he told us what it was in Spanish delivered at a speed that would have done justice to machine gun fire. We were clueless of course, so by a series of gesticulations he showed us where the problem was. It turned out that one of the gardeners had left a pair of safety goggles on top of the car, I hadn’t noticed and had driven off with them still there. Well you don’t expect your hire car to be wearing safety goggles do you? Regardless of the language barrier it was a pleasant exchange accompanied by much laughter. It was very kind of him to alert us but unsurprising because the Spanish are, by nature, very kind people.

The extent of the gardeners’ work last night became fully apparent this morning. The pruning completed we now have a delightful weeping Olive tree. I had asked for it to be pruned into very popular pom pom topiary but in carrying out this very gradual process over the year that had seen the potential of a rather original weeping style tree. I was consulted of course and I agreed that it would be a lovely idea to follow that theme. Remaining vertical limbs lopped off and we now have a very stylish weeping Olive. I do believe that we might have started a trend!

All the weeds have been strimmed leaving a nice green carpet that could almost pass as a lawn if you squint. The gardeners used to rotivate the earth but that killed off my beloved wild flowers so now they wait until I have had time to photograph them all then strim them. Leaving the roots intact binds the soil together nicely and the strimmed weeds give us the faux lawn.

I do believe that we have extended the repertoire of our team of gardeners. They were accustomed to working for people who want easy maintenance, decorative gardens. I set the condition that is a plant doesn’t produce something edible, medicinal or for security protection it has no place in my garden. I think that they had to go back to the text books. Now we have a clearly defined herb garden, lots of healthy and productive fruit trees and chillies everywhere and I am now informed that we are developing a vegetable patch.

We keep finding plants that we don’t recognise beacause one of the gardeners, Willie (we call him Chilli Willie because of his success growing chillies) has taken on the edible plant mantle with enthusiasm. He keeps experimenting with new fruits to see if they will flourish. We currently have Physallis ripening and a very lush, as yet unidentified fruit ripening on a very healthy looking, very thorny bush with beautiful, eye-shaped, glossy leaves. That one is a rip roaring success Willie. Now can you tell us what it is please?

After collecting the laundry from Lavanderia Ana we made it home just in time to go down to Keith & Audrey’s house to get into Keith’s car and go to Parcent for lunch. We discovered the cafe restaurant at the Cooperativa Agrícola El Progreso several years ago when the restaurant we had intended to go to in Parcent was fully booked with a private party. I suppose the nearest English equivalent would be a working men’s club but with a restaurant, a lovely stage with a proscenium arch, beautifully, ornately tiled walls and a gorgeous wooden floor whose creaks remind everyone of long gone school days, church halls and youth clubs. When we discovered it its clientele was strictly Spanish and so the food was very typically Spanish, and very good value too.

Later we took Keith and Audrey there – big mistake. Keith is El Presidente of AFPO, the Association of Foreign Property Owners and since we took them there word has spread like wildfire among the expat communities and the place is always full of expats, especially English ones. So what was our safe retreat from expats is safe no longer! Next time we find an expat free retreat we are going to sneak off there in heavy disguise and keep our mouths firmly shut about it.

They have always been pretty good about dealing with my needs but this time they excelled themselves. I even got some gluten free bread to go with the aioli – wow – and they cooked my patatas fritas separately to avoid contamination. Whoopee, brilliant awareness and a portion of uncontaminated chips!

After lunch we went back to Keith & Audrey’s for tea and chat, always easy and enjoyable, an interlude that had to be curtailed because we had to go back to the house to wait for Peter and his fellow biker who were coming to take the Honda away.

When the time came Peter introduced us to Nigel, another bike fanatic, and what is even better, a mechanic. Peter admitted that when he came for the Kawasaki on Monday night he hadn’t checked out the Honda thoroughly and on seeing it tonight said that he had missed out on a great opportunity because it is “very tidy.” Nigel’s response was to say “Tough,” and express his delight at getting a very nice freebie. Both bikes will be treasured and even better, they will be ridden, something they haven’t been for several years.

I took parting photographs of course, for Garrath’s benefit I thought. I also thought that I would have to deal with his grief at having to part with the beloved Honda that he has owned since 1980, but guess who is the one who is grieving ? Me! Somehow seeing that bike go into the van and the van disappear out of the gate along with our dreams of moving to Spain and riding the fabulous biker roads out here opened the flood gates of grief and sadness that I have been suppressing since Garrath’s hospitalisation on January 3rd. I guess I’m just tired of having to be strong and always having to cope and see the positives. At some time the tears had to flow and tonight might as well be the night.

Pass the tissues guys. I need about six boxes, and then I’ll be back to the person of whom people say,

“Lynne is strong, she will cope, she doesn’t need any help.”