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I just realised that my favourite months are the last part of December, all of January, February, March, April, May, and most of June.  Do you know why?  Because in the northern Hemisphere (where I live) these are the times when the days are getting longer.  After 21 June, the daylight hours once again begin to shrink. I do love my sunlight.  I do love the change of seasons, although, in all fairness and honesty, to me, an acceptable change of seasons means that I can experience temperature ranges from 35c in summer down to as low as 10 or 15c in winter.  Anything lower than 10c means that I will fall into complete hermit mode and avoid doing anything but putting more logs on the fire.  Right now, you may be thinking, ‘what a wimp.’  You may, as some have done, say to me, ‘but you spent years in a place where winter means dire cold and piles of snow.  Surely you must have become used to it?’  Well, the fact is that I never did get used to it and am quite content where I (hopefully) will never have to deal with it again.  So in a couple of days, it will be the summer equinox – the day with the most hours of sunlight of the entire year.  I am eagerly awaiting the Equinox, even though it seems as if we are having about 40 hours each day of sunlight anyway. My plants and I are in heaven.

The past week or so has been wonderful here.  The other evening I spent quite a bit of time talking to one of my neighbours, which is always a challenge.  Merche (Mer-che) is Spanish.  She speaks no English (other than being able to say ‘okay’ once in a while) and I know that our conversations can be a bit frustrating for her.  I bugger up verb conjugations and my pronunciation of certain words is less that great.  But I love to talk to her, and learn more everytime I do.  Merche was born in Basque country (northern Spain) but moved to Madrid when she was very young.  At her age, she has seen just about everything, and has stories about Spain that are spell-binding.  The other night, I asked her to tell me about the Spanish Civil War. 

She was 14 when the war began and has very clear memories (most of them not all that nice) of what it was like to grow up in all the turmoil.  I am able to keep up and understand most of what she tells me, but, having said that, I have noticed that once in a while, she will stop in mid-story and ask me if I understand the word or phrase she just said.  I usually do, but when I don’t, she calls out for her daughter-in-law to translate for me.  I suppose I could go to a Spanish language school to learn more Spanish, but surrounding myself with the spoken and written word seems to work better for me.  I told Merche that she should write down all her stories and that they would make a fabulous book, but whilst her response was something to the effect that she had too many to recall, I think that she actually was thinking that I should just listen more.

Since arriving in Mallorca, I have realised that the best food shopping is none at little neighbourhood shops and big open markets.  But there are some things that I do need to get at big supermarkets.  One of those things is fresh packaged pesto.  Shopping for pesto lately has been a challenge, however.  Due to a labour action on the mainland, many of the large supermarkets here have had dwindling stocks lately.  It is pretty interesting to see.  The large chain-stores have empty shelves where meat and fruits and vegetables are suppose to be, but the smaller local stores have managed to keep fully stocked. 

Having said that, it has been bloody difficult to find good, fresh pesto lately, and as I put pesto in just about everything except my tea, I have had to evolve my diet a bit.  Yes, I will get over it I suppose, especially because I just read that the labour action is resolved.  I am convinced that it will probably take a few days for my pesto supplier to be full again, so instead of rushing off to the store this afternoon, I went for a swim in my pool.

 

bouganvilla in the front gardens

last night's full moon at 2130

Merche, telling me about the Civil War

very empty shelves

 

the swimming pool at Sol y Mar

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, James B. Rieley

jbrieley@rieley.com