house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

March to May

This could go on forever, but we all need to keep busy and sane, hence the rule: one paragraph per topic.

1.TIME UNDER THE BRIDGE. It was March and now it's May. Last day of May and then it's June. How can this be happening? Each day used to be bright and interesting, each day a different story. I suspect they still are, but I've lost my rhythm. I didn't stop looking, I stopped recording. In their turn, days faded and blurred, the world seen through thick dirty glass. Worn at the edges by routine and oblivion. Numbed up and rendered equal, a block of uncut, unused time once more... But now I'm back on the bridge, and man-am-I-fishing!

2.WEATHER. March - gentle, sunny. April – feisty, mad. And May wants to play. Blooms into summer, then sloshes about in puddles of rain. Today it's out to melt buttons-into-flesh, weld bra-strap-to-clavicle and toe-to-tar in the main square of Moncao.

3.TROPORIZ-CITY. A summer camp slowly emerged over the last three months: yurt, outdoor kitchen, oak-and-granite table, bath, garden, composting loo. The shower awaits finishing touches, a hot water system and solar PV are yet to cook. The adega lost its roof. The house? Does tidying up count? The renovation plans are gathering dust in an office downtown.

4.VISITORS. Friends from Edinburgh with their three children before Easter. Brother-and-sister-in-law, two children, Easter week. Parents, brother-and-wife, mid-May. A busy happy time, all in all. They worked loads, cleared the top ruins (good!), cut a small fig tree (not good!), consumed lots of whisky (no comment!) and chocolate eggs (this only after a long treasure hunt with cryptic-but-rhyming-clues). They left, I'm sure, with the firm belief that this was a place where the bramble ruled and rain never stopped. As customs officials waved them out of the country, the sun was also unerringly ushered in. (The only exception was Stephanie, who arrived in March and left before the Alto Minho got real moody and learned to turn on the monsoon..)

5.VOLUNTEERS. We've now had a grand total of four people staying between one week and two months. There was fun, there was work, there were things to learn, too many for one paragraph. There is a saying in Romania that possibly sums it all up, “omul sfinteste locul”, in very rough translation “it's people who make a place holy”, or “each person has the power to make all the difference”, ultimately “hey, it's up to you dude”.

6.TEACHING. I teach English to 8 year olds in two local schools. Kicking and screaming I drag them into very small classrooms to talk about pets, toys, days of the week and toss the verb 'to be' between us. I are, you is, he am. We all know old MacDonald and do exactly what Simon says. Highlights? Mine: worst – when I pour my soul into a really good explanation of something and when I finish, before I draw another breath, pupil X pipes up with a yawn: “what was that?”; best – when, defeated by dictation, they shut up for a tiny pinch of time. Theirs: worst – when my special Welsh bell rings (three warnings, first - 'you guys are really noisy' second – 'now this is pushing it, I'm serious' and third: 'no games'); best – probably when the school bell rings and they charge out to kill each other in the playground.

I see this can still go on forever - stopping now. Will be back with more later. Enjoy the Sunday afternoon. I myself will sit down on the balcony and wait for my surfers to get back from the sea. The sky folded seamlessly between eyelids, I'll doze off despite deafening birdsong. Coffee cold, book open, perfect.

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