Sources of Joy – Day 62 and 63
I got my car back yesterday. It is fixed.
Before I got my car back, I had to do some work. Somewhat out of character, I found the act of working difficult. This has a lot to do with the radical changes taking place in my life, and the prospect of my so-called period of rest coming to an end soon. The good thing is that I did not have that much work, since I had intentionally cleared my schedule for a few days.
To get my car back, I had to walk to the village. This took a leisurely hour and five minutes instead of the 42-minute speed version. I decided it was worth carrying my very heavy coffee-table book with me because refreshment at my favourite coffee shop in the village would definitely be in order when I got there. I was so glad I did because one of my coffee shop friends was there, so I excitedly told her about my forthcoming editing job as she browsed through this magnificent book which has incredible historical photographs and images of amazing art dating from the mid-19th century onwards. Corporate history in grand style. The company has its own fado composed by someone quite famous and a tribute written in the form of a poem. Well didn’t my friend – much to my delight – launch into an impassioned speech on why it was not possible to translate a fado, or a poem for that matter. She is an avid reader with a critical eye for expression, but would not call herself a linguist, yet she gave all the principal reasons in rapid succession as to why it is difficult to do. I told her about transcreation (her eyes widened with interest at this specific word), and the possible ways that these particular excerpts could be handled. Of course now, we have four old men at the next table involved by proximity, and some other woman who sits down at ours. By way of bathos, I show my friend four bookmarks I picked up from the library, with cute little illustrations of various positions to adopt while reading. Naturally, this lowers the tone of discussion, which is perfectly timed, for up the stairs walks another woman, known to all present, who has an enormous swollen red patch on her arm. She was bitten by a centipede.
My coffee shop friend and her compare notes (since my coffee shop friend was also bitten recently). I am completely ignorant about all of this, and the conversation becomes very rapid indeed, with more than one person talking at the same time; a Portuguese speciality. Sadly, I did not quite catch the bit of folklore which had something to do with the amount of rain, and the early flowering of some plant or other which in turn causes a centipede population explosion and increased incidence of bites. At least I now know that such a bite includes reactions such as feeling feverish and cold, and shivering and that there is an antidote in the form of injection, which is available at our local health centre. The bite is very painful for days afterwards. The hospital in Faro has a weird concept of what constitutes urgency. (That bit, I know.)
My coffee shop friend is leaving. By now, I have propped the bottom half of the book on my lap, and the top half on the – um – coffee table, or table on which my coffee rests. We joke about this being yet another position in which to read. I read in silence and with much interest for about 45 minutes. I am aware that the old codgers are fascinated at this foreigner reading a book in their language, but no one says anything. From time to time, I look up and marvel at the two old cars, seemingly getting married today; another Irish wedding in the sunny Algarve.
I had already told the story when I arrived at the café to the proprietors of how my grandfather, who was on the Copperbelt in Zambia at the time, ordered an Armstrong Siddley from England, had it shipped to Cape Town, where after a three-day drive, he picked the car up from the docks and drove straight back to Zambia with it. One young Portuguese fellow heard all this with interest. I paid him little attention at the time. It turned out that he was the chauffeur of the one pictured above.
I walked down the road to collect my dusty old vehicle, which I had missed just as much as my coffee shop encounters, and was thrilled to drive off to look at another possible place to rent. It was disappointing that I could not see inside. In any case, I did not like the general layout of the place.
Today, though, after pursuing one other lead, I made my decision, and now know where to cart all my worldly possessions. It is in the same neighbourhood, a mere 1.5 kilometres away. A small house with a neat fence and what will be a nice garden to work in. I can grow vegetables again! My new landlady is a most agreeable sort. On Saturday, I will pick up the keys and start moving small items over, and will make separate plans for the bigger items. The rental is the same as I am currently paying for my apartment, so that is one more pleasing aspect to add to the exciting mix.
I have decided that the room on the left hand side will be my office; my space. I am tired of working in a dungeon (no window). The kitchen is newly refurbished and has a brand-new hob and oven, space for the fridge (currently in my dungeon) and a good solid table and chairs. What more could I ask for?