Last week, as I read that the UK was having its first heatwave for absolutely ages, we were enduring the relatively chilly temperatures of about 17 degrees. As I dug out my thicker clothes and took my cardigan with me when I ventured out, I was put in mind of the old saying : 'Cast ne'er a clout til May is out', which made some sense to me when I lived in the notoriously fickle-weathered Pennine area of Yorkshire.
But here in Spain, there is a similar - nay even more prudent - saying - 'Hasta el 40 Mayo, no quites el sayo
' - which means, 'until the 40th of May, don't take your coat off'.
Well, that makes it around the 9th or 10th June and it was pretty spot on.
This week, we've had temperatures of 36 degrees.
It's nearly killed off some of our new plants, which, because they went in rather late this year, haven't yet got themselves quite established.
We're holding out hope but there are a couple of trees that don't look too good.
I've had a week of feeling well below par myself, starting out with some sort of stomach bug which left me with chronic backache and a very stiff neck - though I'm really not sure how these two things are related. We are really lucky here in Alcala to have a wonderful masseuse at hand for all things painful. She's a most lovely English woman, married to a Dutchman, with many years experience in providing specialised treatment - often for sports injuries and to some pretty high-ranking sportsmen
- when she lived in Majorca.
(Go figure who.) She gave me some treatment yesterday and I felt so
much better afterwards - I may have to go again next week too....
And I've been not 'bloglovin'
recently. I've been concentrating on preparing students for their exams - indeed, those of them doing the Cambridge syllabus have now done the exams and I've no more classes with them. I've had some sleepless nights worrying (without any real reason) that if they don't pass it will be all my fault, though the other teacher and I have a pretty clear idea as to how it will go for each of them. But I'm obsessing a bit as my contact with them comes to an end.
I would have loved to have spent the last week of term having fun but tradition at the Academy has it that all the classes do exams in the last week. My youngest group have theirs on Monday and then, on their last day, after the first 20 minutes, their parents come in to see me to get their results and for me to give them their marks. I'd much rather sing songs and play games with them but they'll all be fine with the exam and we have all had a lot of fun this year - and goodness me, I'm very proud of them!
And on Friday - when the school term ends - a whole group of students taking the Trinity Syllabus have their Oral exam. What an end to the year. I'm very hopeful that some of them will get really good results and the nice thing is that we will know by the end of the day, which of them have passed. This has been a lovely syllabus to teach, but as this is the first time the Academy has offered it - and the first time that Toni and I have taught it - there has been an enormous amount of work for us to do to ensure we've got it right. We still have a mountain of paperwork to complete before the end of Wednesday - so I have been a bit preoccupied. So much so that I've hardly read any blogs - so apologies if I've missed any of your lovely posts.
Now then, this post was going to be about our wonderful neighbour, Sergio. I wonder if I've already gone on too much about other things to start with him now? Especially as it's half-past midnight. Oh, what the heck - I'm here and I'm typing and the children are upstairs watching 'The Fellowship of the Ring' - again
- and FR is working on the other computer.
Sergio lives just a little further along the road from our house, with his aged parents. He is the fount of all knowledge and I am so very glad we have got to know him.
Our relationship began early on - he walks his three handsome and huge dogs every day and passes all around the village, thus getting to know all the gossip. He has small pieces of land in various different places around the village, which seems the usual thing around here, so he pops up unexpectedly in front of us on nearly all our walks.
He calls us up to insist we come for a walk just now
because the light is perfect to appreciate the views. He dragged FR off to buy tomato and pepper plants to put on his
as we'd decided not to plant on our
land this year (lack of water and fencing - the latter a problem as the sheep and goats pass over our land - they've already eaten the potatoes we planted there!) He made the children go and pick wild strawberries the other day.
He is wonderful to talk to because he knows so much - I've found myself having conversations with him about things from archery (he has a hunting bow) to vets (he knows them all and which are the best). He is also full of advice - from cars to chorizo - even which dog food provides the best consistency of dog poo...!
My vocabulary has increased remarkably since I met Sergio.
Last week, he took FR and the children off to pick cherries from his cherry field - I say field as it isn't an orchard in that quintessentially 'English' orchard way - though I guess orchard would do really.
This year has been dreadful for the cherries as there was a late frost and so there is not a lot of fruit. He told us this week that it's not worth harvesting them for sale, so we should go and take what we want.
So this evening, we did just that.
We filled our bags and ate cherries from the branches.
It was clear that there was a problem this year as some trees had no fruit at all - but the odd one or two was laden and delicious.
It was no surprise when Sergio suddenly turned up on his motorbike. He told us the cherries would be even better in a couple of days but that it was due to rain on Tuesday and if it did, then the cherries would be ruined.
I wouldn't argue with Sergio - he's always right. I should have asked him if it was a cherry orchard, I guess. I will do that.