I find it frustrating that I have already written a post called “waiting” not because I think I will be repeating myself but more along the lines that I have to make the title more complicated and more informative than I want to. I guess I could do a part two, but this isn’t a follow on post so that doesn’t seem appropriate.

There comes a point in each day when I want to be by myself. This villa is a big place but I want more than to be alone, I want to feel secure from interruptions and I want to filter out any distracting noises. At the moment I can hear cicadas, sheep bells, and faintly in the distance if I concentrate, a motorbike speeding, waves splashing on the shore and possibly a sing-a-long from another villa. These things either don’t bother me, they either fit into the landscape or I can ignore them. What I have difficulty with are the teenage girls in the room next door laughing, giggling and chatting loudly. I don’t hate them or anything; I can’t even hear what they are saying, it is just that the randomness of the noise is difficult to ignore. Another grumpy old man moaning about kids having fun perhaps. Truth be told, I am probably envious of their carefree spirits and comradery; being a writer can be rather lonely at times.

Have I done enough today with other people to warrant this selfishness? I don’t think it should work like that, having to earn my peace and quiet; but without experiences I would have nothing much to write about and sharing experiences adds to the dimensionality of possibilities and adventures, because it is easier to recall an experience if someone else shares the memory. So what did we do today?

I guess there were three highlights. The first was going to the local Spanish supermarket. Whilst I recognise the supermarket shopping is a chore for lots of people, I actually love wandering up and down the isles seeing what is new or on offer and generally going with my intuition over what to buy. If I don’t have the brain capacity to supermarket shop then I need to go home and sleep, there’s no point in trying to do anything else (hence it is quite a good way of measuring my mental health). Being who I am means that I have rules and regulations to follow: I prefer to have the shopping bags in the trolley to start with and only hang them belong the handle when I need to make room (I prefer the bags not to hit my legs); I will go up and down every aisle in a sequential pattern (so as not to miss anything) which must end up in the vegetable section (otherwise the soft things will get squashed); cold and frozen things preferably at the front of the trolley because they should be packed first. The list could go on.

Shopping with anybody other than my children (who have been trained in Dad’s ways of the shop) means I have to be flexible, for instance sequential searching is seen as a waste of time (even when I can locate an item nobody else can find) and buying things not on the list seems to be akin to breaking the law. What was nice about going to the Spanish supermarket is that there are many different products available and because nobody knows where anything is, a sequential search is a logical way of progressing around the shop. The cherry on the cake is that I am on holiday so can indulge my many foodie desires to the try the local (i.e. anything remotely Spanish) produce.

I loved seeing the meat counter with legs of ham hanging up (so un-British); the sea food counter full of shiny freshly caught fish; the cake aisle full of tempting unusually shaped morsels; and the wine shelves selling Rioja at half the price of home. The cheese section was a disappointment though and I don’t think diary features large in the Spanish diet considering how small the milk section was.

After food restocking, we went for a walk around the medieval town of Alcudia which is just a lovely place to wander and appreciate buildings dating back to the thirteenth centaury. It was market day today but we deliberately arrived after the market had finished because my wife and I wanted to see the town without all the market stalls selling souvenirs, leather goods, and clothes clogging up the pavements. There are plenty of restaurants and bars together with a few shops left after the stall holders have disappeared but we plumbed for a takeaway ice-cream and sat down outside the town hall in the sunshine. I think an artist would find lots of inspiration in a town like this and in particular I loved how all the unique houses fitted together in the curved streets to form the town’s character.

Later, back at the villa my daughter wanted me to help her improve her breast stroke technique. Recognising areas of improvement was easy and I think I was able to describe what I felt she could do better, but trying to think of ways to help her limbs and muscles to do the right thing proved rather difficult. I tried various drill exercises, trying to isolate the areas and improve them but progress was slow. As usual this would-be coach finds there is more to teaching than meets the eye. When I reflect on the experience I think I was trying to do too much, but I am glad I tried and I am also happy that my daughter didn’t get frustrated and give up. I must have been doing something right.

Perhaps my lack of teaching progress (as I thought about it at the time) was playing on my mind at dinner time, perhaps it was the judgemental gossiping of the teenagers, or maybe I was a bit chilled from being static in the pool rather than swimming; but I found myself switching off to the world. I wasn’t really interested in talking much and my mind seemed to have issues on focussing on what others were saying. Perhaps I was just tired. All I really wanted was to have some space to myself. Soon after dinner I went up to our room, lay down on the bed and closed my eyes. I found peace, but I also knew that if I slept now for a bit, I would be wide awake when everybody else had gone to bed.

I would be able to resume my customary position on the veranda with the lights from Port de Pollenca flickering in the distance and the sounds of the Mallorcan countryside surrounding me. I would sit there typing on my laptop reflecting on something; and I did.

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