Hot, hot, hot. Tiny jewelled geckos fall from the high beamed ceilings onto bookcases and tables, scurry out of sight. Cattle are lowing in a nearby field and a bored teenage boy is riding a tractor up and down the dirt roads on the outskirts of the village. Otherwise, all you can hear is the low hum of cicadas and the wind blowing through between the mountains, a hot dusty wind. It’s beautiful though, this dusty golden furnace of a day; the mountains tumble down like velvet and the sky is piercingly blue.
I have a persisting bronchitis that won’t clear up, sit in the shade of the verandah reading Peter Ackroyd’s semi-historical novel The Lambs of London, clever, a little harrowing in places. I’m wearing dust-streaked denim capri pants, a big loose shirt, sandals in case I step on a scorpion. The dogs lie panting around me and lizards dart along cracks in the path brickwork between salvia and lavender bushes. The bliss of not having to be sociable when one is unwell, luxury to curl up with a book and a jug of icy homemade ginger beer or pomegranate cordial, no lunch parties or suppers for now. On the edge of the field across the road, a small grey cat is hunting for field mice, pouncing, feinting and creeping along on her belly. Fortunately, so far she has caught nothing.
Indoors, in a sink of cold water, there is a tangle of grapevine leaves and white-grey wands of artemisia or wormwood, bunches of French lavender I want to tie up around old mirrors and terracotta jugs. Will they last until the end of the week?
Oh this season, so ordinary and yet somehow on the brink of miraculous.