Thursday, 16 November 2017

Silence and the sea

We wake in the grey of dawning. The boat is gently rocking. Gradually it grows warmer: outside is preferable to inside! Off the boat (an easy climb now David has cleverly attached the small ladder which reduces the need to leap from toe-rail to bouncing finger pontoon). Then up to the land (more bouncing on wider pontoon...) and into our Club House for morning coffee (or cha verde, green tea). Yes, cha as in Cockney English: 'Ave a cuppa char. A word brought back from India, where the Portuguese explorers landed centuries ago.
Today we watched a three-master move grandly into our marina.
Here she is:
Beside her, just for size context, a sailing yacht only a little smaller than ours.
There is always something going on around the harbour, no shortage of entertainment at coffee time.

This is a place where I can let go of the fretta fretta (excellent Italian expression for 'rush rush' and stress!). This is because the sea is often quiet and David and I have developed the custom of walking at sunset time to a little cafe on the beach where we watch the sun sink and the sky turn to glory.

There we sit, two people sharing many years of memories (very mixed) and watch while the colours subtly change; and there is only the muted sound of the waves, no seagulls' cry, and the out-there-beyond filled with silence.
We don't need to say anything. Is this sweet content? Or 'calm of mind, all passion spent'? I don't think so. Soon I will create something new and delicious for supper (as my son once remarked to me: food is one of the best things in life!). Especially when shared: a couple of nights ago we invited three young French sailors onto the boat for a meal and David produced a most excellent stampot (memories of the Low Countries) and Sophie, one of our guests, presented us with a most excellent box of pastels de natas, a Portuguese pastry delicacy. And of course there was fine Portuguese wine and bread.
Nor do we forget the spirit. I write and reflect, and make poems... Here is one that grew out of my thoughts around the recent deaths of friend and family:

 Poem in time of death

Between the unwritten lines
in the unspoken speechless silence
breathes understanding, unworded,
though I hear echoes
I did not intend

Better to concentrate upon the children
who look, watch, smile, yell,
in relative simplicity

Uncertain words frolic inside my head
or reach down to toes and fingertips

While in the dark interstices
Between the swelling of a rising wave
and the all-shattering bursting at the crest
comes that moment
when we wait

Another sunset comes...
In the quiet English Midlands, near where my friend lies at rest.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Reducing the speed...

Now I have returned to Portugal for a couple of weeks.
Atune my ear to the language again; those dark "l's" and the disappearing vowels...
The weather is a delight: clear days with the sea sparkling, clear nights, with the air cold and crisp.
Sleeping on the boat, gently rocked as in a giant cradle.
We now have Andrea with us on board; my former 'professore' of Italian from Bari. He helps David with many tasks connected with the boat, and presently with cleaning the mast, which is resting on the hard, at the side of the marina.
Here's a pic of him and David and the glittering sea at the harbour mouth.
Yes, it's coffee break, and time to talk about fishing ... this is Andrea's passion, and today he bought a certificate for the astonishing price of four euros, permitting him to fish in Portuguese coastal waters, with a rod...
 Ah, another little quirk of this programme and it has decided to print my words from the centre outwards... so I think I'll finish this post. Anyway, time for a swim (in the excellent heated, saline swimming pool which is in the Sports Centre conveniently adjacent to the marina).
A dopo, or ate logo (accent on the 'e' of ate, not part of the verb "to eat"...).

Thursday, 9 November 2017

The winter days

Travelling again. Friends die and we travel to celebrate their life...

So now I'm in England, and soon go to remember one of my oldest friends, with whom I shared my sixth form days at Beckenham Girls' Grammar School, then three years at Oxford, and then kept in touch for the following fifty or so years...
A very strange idea that she is no longer in this world...

Meanwhile, David is joining me, called to England by the death (expected) of one of his dear relatives.

Suitably, I am reading Max Porters wonderful short novel titled Grief is the things with feathers.
More later about this amazing book. Such a solace in thoughts clothed in beautiful language.

Now off to catch a train.
I am very happy to be in England, as long as I don't look at any newspapers ...
It is still a green and pleasant land!!! See below: Bedford