Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rainy Sunday

(written a couple days ago)

It’s raining right now, thick heavy drops dinging out of the sky into the gutters in a minor third bom bim bom bim bom as I lie in my bed. Behind the marimba dinging is the dull applause splatter of water on granite cobblestones, and the occasional bug-flying-into-the-side-of-the-tent sound of larger drops dripping onto lemon leaves in the garden. We won’t be going to the British Club today for a barbecue, and A is probably off the hook for cricket.

This is our first rain since leaving Scotland a month ago, and as such it’s more of a novelty than a disappointment. A says that the weather in Portugal, at least northern Portugal, has been ideal for growing this year—rain, then hot sun, then rain again. There was a lot of rain in the spring on the Alentejan grapes, though, too, and they of course prefer to be tortured by drought. It certainly has been ideal for keeping down the fires, though, which raged through the country all last summer.

We’re staying with our northern Portugal friends A&F, whose names are almost as similar to Lisbon A&F as their initials are which causes problems when I try to tell stories about them, except for the important fact that Northern A&F have two daughters, C&B. C is seven and I’ve met her several times (including in utero), and B is four and I’ve met her twice before (including, again, in utero). Both girls are gorgeous, and energetic, and very different from each other. Each is at an age when she is discovering her power over the other and so, while they get along pretty well most of the time, there are also frequent fracases.

Staying with A, F, C &B is always a pleasure. The food is good and plentiful, the bed is comfortable, there’s a piano for me to play and an accordion for Ian. We’re more or less adopted into the family for the time that we’re there, spending some time watching movies or drinking beers with A&F, and some time dressing dolls (me) or swinging (Ian) with the little girls. It feels a lot like another home away from home.

But, I have to say, it’s surprising how little kids can suck the energy right out of you. We love them, yes, but boy are they exhausting!

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