Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Sky Badger!

Life at the Valle proceeds accordingly. The days are hot, the nights mild and crowded with biting insects. I have moved out of my nest, which was infested with ants, and now sleep on an old sofa on a platform suspended over a small ravine. The platfrom creaks like a tiny ship or like my bones: I am still finding physical work difficult. I can't say that the passing years have made me soft and lazy -- I was always soft and lazy -- but I am stronger and trimmer after only two weeks. Rightly so, this pleases me. Somewhat.

People come and go, not like clouds, because there are none, or at least very few... A German girl named Steffi turned up. Also an interesting American called Jeff, who had sailed from the Bahamas to the Azores before coming here, a pacifist and a utopian and a guitarist, politically very engaged. Everyone in the commune takes turns to cook for everyone else. Lots and lots of salads, porridge, curries, soups, polenta, all vegetarian. Bizarrely I learned that the kitchen was partly constructed two years ago by Miss Frisbee Girl. Strange world.

Last night I looked at the stars with a French fellow and we tried to identify the constellations. I pointed out the Great Bear and the Lyre, he pointed out the Scorpion and the Badger... The Badger? I was amazed. I never knew there was a constellation by that name... Conversations here are generally a bit weird. One night the commune sat in a group and I was asked what I missed most about Wales, if anything. I gave the wrong answer -- 'Bombay Mix' -- when in fact I should have said 'My friends and/or the sea.' I am missing those things, and Hannah whom I grew very close to while living in Waunarlwydd. Dare I say I'm even missing the rain? No, I dare not.

I plan to explore more of the surrounding region soon, the village of Yegen for instance, where the writer Gerald Brennan lived in the 1920s. Yegen sits perched on the hillside high above Yator. The villages and countryside are at their best in the dusk, twinkling lights below stars, the many hued* gloom. I discovered a shortcut to Yator, a path from the valley of bamboo along the bed of a dried up stream into another valley, past tall twisted pillars of rock. Yator is a friendly village. I went harvesting capers with an old resident, Ricardo, who doesn't speak a word of English. A prickly plant indeed, as my fingertips would testify, could they but speak!

I have started writing a new series of linked stories. I still intend to write my Besteads novel in Spain, but at the moment it seems nicer to focus on producing shorter pieces. The series is called The Court of Fictional but Very Serious Crimes and involves forcing lots of my characters from other stories to attend jury service. Each story in the series will hopefully have a horrible pun as its title -- 'Lettuce Prey', 'Azure Like It', 'Black Toffee Glues', 'Tarzan at the Apple's Core' and so forth. So far I am only halfway through the first piece.

* Speaking of 'hues' I am reminded that the drummer Huw Rees is scheduled to be married in one month's time.

Hey there, I sent you an e-mail but you don't seem to have received it. Aren't you ever going to take some more photos? Fucking gorgeous as my legs are, I'm getting sick of seeing them every time I click on your Flickr account, and I'm sure I'm not alone... xxx
Oy, Wurdyburdy, I'm not getting sick of 'em, indeed that's why I click on this flickr account ten times a day! StiLL, if I HAVE to scroll down to them, I'm willing to make the sacrifice.
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