Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday afternoon

I've come in to take a break from lounging about in the dusty back yard with the hot sun heating the leaves of the lavender and rosemary bushes, bees lingering amidst the Mediterranean scents. I've been reading the Sunday papers, about war and threats of war, about war correspondents and their music and their babies; humanity in the midst of inhumanity and chaos, the powerful pull of home that makes us remember who and what we are and where we came from.

My neighbour is playing The Clash, inside the flat there is the soothing murmur of incomprehensible cricket from the TV. Something I associate with J, who has had to go into work, poor thing. When he is away I often leave the TV tuned to the sports channel, because it makes it feel as if he is in the house. And it makes me feel safer if I am in the back yard, that passers by will know the house is occupied.

Miff is too hot to lie outside now. She has a summer routine. After following the sun for the early part of the day, and rolling happily in the dirtiest parts of the yard, with the heat on her belly, waving her paws like a manta ray, she then hides under the geraniums and clematis, in the shade btween the pots, before flopping prostrate under the sagging, weatherbeaten eyesore of a bench and wriggling in the gravel. Finally she slopes inside, and has now made a filthy nest on a pile of clean T shirts in the study. At night she sleeps in the bedroom, snoring, before rising at four and padding out to cry at the noisy sparrows she tries ( mostly) unsuccessfully to catch.

Even the goldfish and the koi carp are hot; they have started gulping at the surface which means they need yet another water change. If I turn their light off they sink down to the bottom of the aquarium again; they are attracted to the light. As am I, especially these days.

Two weeks until we go to Turkey; my sister has just returned from a last-minute break. Without knowing it, she went to the same place as I went to last year and where we will return soon. The narghile cafe by the beach, which we rechristened Cafe del Mar, where we made friends. The parascenders floating down from the mountains all day. I can't wait to return. I bought some books to read on holiday, and am trying to stop myself devouring them before I get on the flight.

I have just made late lunch: fried chicken breast, with half a lemon squeezed over it, rough-chopped and eaten with fat ripe tomatoes and torn basil between two slices of soft warm bread with caraway seeds. Then an over-ripe chilled peach. Breakfast was Turkish - olives , feta, tomatoes, cucumber, melon, eaten in the garden. My friend Nicola is on her way over, we will sit out the back and gossip until sundown. We will try to resist having a glass of cold wine until six. I have admin to do, but it can wait. My conscience is not soothed, but my body and my heart need the sun and the soft summer air, and the sanctity of the flowering garden.

Hang the filing: I will water the hanging baskets instead. There aren't enough days like this.

6 Comments:

Blogger snooo said...

have just made late lunch: fried chicken breast, with half a lemon squeezed over it, rough-chopped and eaten with fat ripe tomatoes and torn basil between two slices of soft warm bread with caraway seeds. Then an over-ripe chilled peach. Breakfast was Turkish - olives , feta, tomatoes, cucumber, melon, eaten in the garden.

Dammit, you must cook for me :D

July 16, 2006 4:39 pm  
Blogger parnellpr said...

Agree with Snoo. Today was really a day for doing nought, it was way too hot to be active up in my neck of the woods as well. BTW Hanging baskets much more fun than filing and more obviously theraperutic i think as the beautiful flowers are the result.

July 17, 2006 12:13 am  
Anonymous Ian said...

It's descriptions like this, of days like that which make me, dispite now living in the rather lovely Santa Cruz mountains miss Middleton Stoney,Oxford terribly.
And my cat, sitting on the back fence waiting for the field mice, or being surrounded and in need of rescueing from the herd of cows once more in our garden because *someone* left the front gate open again (I think they just wanted to play)

wonderful description of an English summer..

July 17, 2006 7:41 pm  
Anonymous seth said...

hi rachel,

sounds like a yummy lunch-now im in the middle of a heat wave-i just got home at 430 pm ny time and the temperature is 93 degrees F but it feels almost 100- yikes.

all is good here-i FINALLY got a response from domino's pizza- they have no plans to bring the ay caramba fajita pizza to the u.s- so now i have one more reason to come to the UK one of these days :)

have a tall frosty for me at the pub

seth :)

July 17, 2006 9:29 pm  
Blogger D.B. said...

This is a beautiful entry.

I just want to say how inspirational your blog is in a multitude of ways. That's the power of writing. It's reassuring to know there are people like Rachel North there, not only because of the trauma you've been through but also regardless of it. I don't think the world would be in the mess it is if there were more like you.

I try to keep my blog quite low-profile, and I've disabled comments (partly out of paranoia) but you're welcome to have a browse if you like. There are some pics of the Lake District which you might enjoy, as I think you mentioned that you used to visit there when younger.

Take care and keep up the fight. Ignore the wackos - don't let them get you down :)

David x

July 23, 2006 3:41 pm  
Blogger Don't Call Me Ishmael said...

A somewhat belated comment: just wanted you to know your post inspired me to spruce up the ugly little patio behind my flat here in San Francisco. All week I kept reading this post over again and on Saturday I went out and swept up the rotting leaves and old cigarette butts from the people upstairs; I built a trellis from some plywood scraps and headed over to the garden center... now I've got a red dragon-leaf vine going up the trellis, a couple boxes of orange poppies, and a nameless pretty thing with lots of little yellow flowers. My roommates are very impressed. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to create your own green space and help it grow.


-marina

July 24, 2006 9:46 pm  

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