Saturday, February 15, 2014

The usual flying weeks

Another week bites the dust. Wow! Did my life always move so fast while standing still? We had two late Christmas letters from abroad - Hong Kong and England. The movement of mail here is a marvel; rolling stones gather no moss, or so I hear, but in this place everything arrives with mould and dust. I remember when I complained about Canada Post, in the good old days of daily delivery to the door, and a friendly mailman who knew everyone's name. As a kid in England, we received mail twice a day, and used special thin blue paper for airmail. Ah, the good old days. Not, you say? Right, now we use email, iphones, Skype, funny little faces to convey feelings, and hardly ever talk to anyone! It's all texting now. So, you can imagine how delighted we were to receive two letters! The climate and culture encourages a laissez-faire attitude, and lately I have bought it.

Those letters were the high point of this past week. Retirement in the tropics. I am sluggishly knitting, reading avidly (I finished J. K. Rowling's book "The Casual Vacancy") and pottering around re-arranging things. It is the doldrums, perhaps. The weather continues to be sunny with occasional cloudiness, meaning Chris waters the plants and palms every other day, and we've offered the lawn a deep drink or two which seems to be appreciated in that the grass grew again, and he had to cut it! We continue to enjoy the daily dip in the pool which remains wonderfully clear with no added maintenance other than the automatic chlorinator. My swimming is progressing slowly as I now use only one noodle. Soon I will discard this and no doubt drown! Or nearly so. There's a load of years of fears to conquer!

Mitzi had her first birthday on the 14th. I guessed a birthdate from her approximate age when she came to us. No sign of letting up with her frantic games of fetch or her curiosity...she is a delight. Cagney plods on, getting to be this "older man", but sometimes has his crazy moments. If you blink, you could miss that. It is past the date of Bogart's death last year, and we still miss some of his personality. Maybe Mitzi received some of his spirit as she too loves to "help" make the bed.

The learning of Spanish continues for me; the verbos irregulares are the latest challenge. This isn't nearly as hard as German or French were, but I retain less, and have to work harder to remember. I still maintain it is an excellent idea to have some Spanish understanding before visiting or living here. I am finding more acceptance as I use more lingo. This is a very small village and people know who you are quickly, even if you don't know them.

I have now tried out my new bike, with great trepidation! Chris lowered the saddle, pumped the tires up, and set the gears at middling for me, and off I went around the garden. A bit of a bumpy ride, but I think I can handle the road now - just no hills, please! I dread a fall; all that grit and small rocks imbedded in my legs is not an attractive prospect. More about that next time...

The two seasons are each about six months, and the browning of plants and grasses in this dry season  is becoming more apparent each week. Some trees shed leaves, but within a month or so, put out buds and start over. Our garden is not growing now, but resting, and this is not the time to plant new grass or any plants as  their survival is compromised by the lack of water. Water is a resource that needs to be conserved here as in most places. We have seen a wide variety of birds returning and some seeking to nest in our eaves. I still need a reference book for the area, preferably in English!

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