Blog & Photo Journal Archive

Sept 7th

Rain! Lots of it… but thankfully a good soaking rain, no wind to speak of, and no massive downpour with consequent flooding. Yesterday was absolutely stellar, hard to believe this was going to happen, but I saw the forecast and battened down the hatches before going to bed – a Good Thing… They say it will go on all week – on and off – so hopefully, after it dries out a bit, next week Sebastian can turn the front part of the huerto field and I can plant potatoes!  The huerto itself is mostly done, just the endless cherry tomatoes at this point – I am making solfregit and freezing it, and hanging vines of baby toms all over the kitchen.  We ate the last of the green lettuce only a couple of days ago, and still have some purple – planting in the shade of the taller tomato plants was a good idea – I’m learning, slowly.  We even had a couple of ears of corn last night, and I made pesto with part of the giant basil bush…

The island is a lot quieter, thank heavens, now that the August crowds have mostly departed – although our little road continues to be overused (damn GPS/GoogleMaps) – and the number of covid-19 cases has sky-rocketed because of the August influx (what did they expect???) –  the majority of them are in and around Cuitadella…  The numbers are as high as they were back in the height of April, only less of the cases seem so intensely severe – more young people getting it, I guess, who can fight it better… but really, how can people be so stupid, having giant family gatherings and parties as tho’ nothing was amiss??  They are not planning a total lockdown this time, allowing each autonomous region to do what they need/want – so we are at the mercy of Palma – but there is a country-wide ban on gatherings of more than 5 people, public or private which puts paid to my idea of an Equinox Concert in the pool field… plenty of space to socially distance, just 20 or so folk, bring your own chair and refreshments – seemed like a great idea, but no… the very day I decided to do it, they put the ban in place…

Sis is up and down, as usual… her world is so terribly small now, it’s heart breaking… but she is so happy I’m here…. No word from Westbeth if I can do my annual evaluation long distance… big, big changes may be coming down the pike… just be grateful…

Aug. 7th

Happy birthday, Elfin! I daren’t say how old you are because it makes me feel ancient…

Into the core of the summer anvil – not a breath of wind, but if there were it would be from the south – hot hot hot… sea like a millpond this morning, and almost as warm…

Little did we know how blessed we were in June (actually I did, and appreciated every moment…).  July 1st they opened the doors to the world (except the US, of course) and the tourists and the germs have been flooding in… But if I thought July was bad, August 1st saw another massive ramp up – a plane every couple of minutes from sunup to midnight, it seemed – everyone wants to come to the “safe” island – hah! It’s like the. blaring headlines about “undiscovered corners” – not any more… The UK imposed a 14-day quarantine for visitors or returning residents from Spain, so there are much fewer Brits – but that’s more than made up by the massive influx of mainlanders and other Europeans – and it is Madrid and Barcelona that we have to be leery of… go figure…. I do NOT understand the government’s line of thinking – other than “it’s the economy, stupid…”

I am feeling terribly trapped at the moment – I have to change my attitude somehow or I will make myself ill…  I desperately need a break, and I am worried sick about losing my life back in NYC, but nephew Chris can’t get here so I can’t leave, and anyway travel to and from NYC right now is not a good idea for MY health, let alone sis’s… She has just started a new pain med, which means taking only a small dose at first, to see how she reacts to it,  so she is in bad shape, con mucho dolor… poor sweetheart… I am frequently short-tempered these days, which is hard on her – she understands but it’s no solution… and the cottage is still empty… what an insoluble mess… But fear of the future will destroy the present, so try and try again to BE PRESENT… and be grateful for what is… remember…

Aug. 20 update – well the new meds didn’t work – 3 days of hell, then back to the old one, which tho’ it doesn’t work terribly well, at least she can tolerate it… I wrote a new song to try and turn my head around “just be grateful, now and then”… the past couple of nights I have been sleeping out, wake up at 7, water a few pots while I have a cup of tea, then onto my bike by 7.30 for a half hour/40 min. ride up to Mesquida for my morning swim (across the bay and back) – the Bathtub has been full of crap recently, with the SW wind, and Mesquida is idyllic… Home by 9.30, just before it gets too hot, and in time to make b’fast for me and coffee for the two of us – sis’s favorite daily ritual… it’s the little things…

Menorca June 24th

Midsummer Day and Sant Joan

Well, I thought summer came back in May but I was wrong – right on cue, on the summer solstice, the official first day of summer, REAL summer heat arrived – the anvil… but the nights still cool down, and the sea is still cool and refreshing to swim in… and there are still no people except us island folk – until this coming weekend, when the airport opens to outsiders, and the world pours in, with all its attendant complications… it’s been bliss these past few weeks, to have a virus- and tourist- free island… I actually went to lunch at a restaurant in Mao harbor today with friends – on the terrace, very few people, very little traffic, and the food was great – heaven… No fiesta, no tens of thousands of people coming to celebrate Sant Joan – it’s like the island was 30 years ago… thank you…

I tried, but failed, to get residency here on Tuesday – missing one vital piece of paper, that is on its way from the UK, but the email saying it was on its way was not enough – no actual S1, no permit… it took 3 weeks of incessant trying to get that appointment, I will not get another, and June 30th the portcullis comes down and I’m locked outside… damn…. nothing I can do until the S1 arrives, so I must try and not think about it until then…

Sis is up and down, as ever… more and more dependent upon me, both to do all the chores and to keep her company… hard to carve out time for myself, but I do, and she is good about understanding…  I managed to figure out how to get my bike up onto the bike rack I ordered back in January but never got to use – the key was a temporary bar (racks are designed by men for men) and I have taken a few wonderful expeditions, particularly to the north coast during a long spell off heavy south wind that made the sea unswimmable in these parts. I drive to somewhere in the middle of the island, park, unload the bike and take off – fabulous!  Opens up a massive amount of new exploration… now something to look forward to doing more of in the cooler months…

Meanwhile Moppet has wrought miracles at the cottage, stashing all personal stuff out of sight and getting the estate agent in for a look-see. Of course there are more complications – fire-proof furniture needed,  certificates fro gas and leccy, formss to fill out for the tax man… nothing is simple… I really do wish for a simpler life these days…

But the cat is asleep on my bed, the night is still (I can hear the mosquitoes buzzing, kept at bay by the magic of the plug in the wall) and tomorrow I have no plans, except to finish painting a table, play some scales, and swim in the sea…

May 21st, Menorca

Summer has arrived with all guns blazing, exactly a month early.  Over night, it seems, we are in full summer mode – hot, hot, hot… Any exercise has to be taken before 11am or after 7pm… Swimming in the sea is still prohibited, I think because it means crowded beaches – I would just go down to the sea, swim, and come home, and if this keeps up I will try that next week (really don’t want a fine – a 600 euro swim is not enticing). Meanwhile, I walk with my sis for a half hour every morning and again in the evening, then ride my bike down to the sea and put my feet in for a minute…

The real exercise of the past few weeks has been the Major Work around the place, all essential and overdue… First the cisterna (I have sent off a sample of the drinking water to be analyzed – all fingers and toes crossed) and then the coach house. The old coach is long gone – sounds terribly grand but wasn’t, just a lovely old horse-drawn carriage that is now in the local museum after having having been lovingly restored… It (the coach house) is where all the tools and wheelbarrow and summer furniture and butanos etc etc are kept, plus the washing machine (quelle luxe!) and it’s been about 30 years since the place was emptied and painted.  We replaced three of the beams this past winter (totally rotten), and last week we emptied and cleaned and repaired and painted the inside, and got rid of a lot of old junk in the process (still plenty there!). We also discovered woodworm in three of the “new” beams in the entrance hall of the house (again, not as grand as it sounds!), so that had to get emptied while the rot was scraped out and the beams were painted with gas-oil – the only effective remedy, it seems – the place stank for days.  But everything is now back where it should be and we have a semblance of normalcy – only to discover that the old tree trunks in the front garden left from the 4 pines that died (just after mum did) are the breeding ground of some truly horrible insects, so those stumps are going to have to come out as soon as I can get Sebastian back here to help – it never ends.  God only knows how I’m going to pay for all this, but we live in hope… Sis has dealt with the discombobulation quite well, really – she’s on a new med which seems to be working, for the moment at least – she is still in constant pain, but dealing with it better…

Meanwhile I am dealing with running out of my prescription meds and supplements, and the vagaries of Spanish customs.  A dear friend kindly sent a care package (via Fed Ex, at VAST expense) of health supplements and my mail (prescriptions not ready til next week), only for it to be held up in Barcelona – I have been told I have to either hire a customs broker (??), fill out a million forms and pay a bunch of money, or it will be sent back to NY.  Nothing is simple… Except the beuaty of this quiet island, and the vegetables growing in my huerta – thank you thank you thank you…

Tomorrow would have been the day I flew to CA to begin rehearsals on BIRD with Joan Schirle and the rest of the musicians, cast and crew – performances were to be in the last week of June, 2 at the Arcata Playhouse and 2 at the Morris Graves Museum.  I have decided that since I cannot go there, I will bring it here.  As of tomorrow my studio with become “California” and I will spend the next 6 weeks (or at least a few hours each day) trying to really finish the piece – I need to solve the conundrum of the Army scenes to my artistic satisfaction… Wish me luck!

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