In a previous post, I mentioned I had formed the habit of relaxing in a hammock on the Verandah in the afternoons, before the sun went down. Since then, I have not mentioned it as it would not be fun being out there in the severe weather we have had since early December.
We have had a succession of severe cold – 2` some nights, torrential rain, wind and apocalyptical thunderstorms. If it was calm enough to leave a pudding bowl out at night, it would be full in the morning – that sort of rain.
Alongside that drama , we have had bright and warm sunshine on many days like Christmas Day and St Stephens day here which is the 27th December, not the 26th as it is in Ireland.
But the good news is that I am back in the hammock. Since almost exactly February 1st, the weather has turned warmer. We are now enjoying 20` in the sunshine. The ground has miraculously dried up and soaked all the rain that has fallen in the last few months. Spring is here again. This time its all purple irises and a warmth coming up from the ground.The lambs that were born in the first Spring are nearly ready for the pot and the clanking of bells is as loud as ever.
At the beginning of my stay here, I set myself two goals – one to learn to whistle and the other to learn to do latte art. Was it Malcolm Gladwell who said it takes 10,000 hours to master the art of anything? On the basis of daily practice, while walking the dogs I would blow feebly and produce an embarrassingly pathetic sound. Now I can produce a recognisable whistle to which, to my total surprise, the dogs respond immediately.
The second goal has not worked out. Even with an espresso machine here with the right kind of steamer, I have never been able to produce anything like a recognizable shape. I have watched numerous videos and tried every kind of milk. I have tried shaking my wrist to get the right drizzle and pouring from a height but it still comes out as blob of froth on top of the coffee. Neither a heart not a tulip have I produced. I have consumed crazy amounts of coffee, not wanting to waste it all, ending up buzzing with caffeine. If and when I achieve this goal, I promise to post a photo of the result.
The dogs still get their daily, if not twice daily walk. This they get very excited about, even though they could just go themselves. The two rescue dogs, Ouzo, and Xara, which means friendship, joy and kindness, that sort of thing, have warm and endearing natures. Ouzo, being the younger and male, is sillier and talks a lot of nonsense in a sort of dog language, translating as ‘yarl owooo yurl’, not unlike Boris Johnson on a bad day.
The older one, Xara, is a big momma. solid and strong, She has a big smile and is the most intelligent animal I have ever encountered. Her eyes are expressive of pleasure, hurt, remorse and miserableness. She actually made me feel bad one day for driving off to the gym without bringing them for their walk in the morning. That evening, she was very put out and I eventually realized what was wrong.
They have won me over. I am only their caretaker for the winter and I would never take on the burden of a dog myself, but they are very good company.
Now that I am back in the hammock of an afternoon, Xara has resumed her habit of placing her two front legs on top of me and leaning in to the hammock, in the vague hope of being allowed up. Sometimes she will just rest there for ten minutes, her hind legs on the ground, until some urgent stirring of a frog or cicada or bird in the garden compels her to charge off, barely taking both legs with her, in hot pursuit of the unfortunate creature.
The island is waking up. There is a confidence abroad that the worst of the weather is over.