DAY 2 Sunday 1 September 2018

Ben and Helma invite me for a morning walk; we pass several old washing places on the edge of the town; household laundry was once a social activity.


The Lavadero Del Arrabal II is one of three washing places in this part of town. 

 As we walk Ben explains that the Romans and later the Arabs constructed a network of channels and sluices to irrigate their olive groves and orchards. The sluices are still opened daily with a strict etiquette as to which days and in what order people open their sluices.

On the way home I’m introduced to a man who grows organic olive oil and also had a large stainless steel can of fragrant honey in his hallway waiting to be decanted into jars. I leave with 5 litres of Ecologico olive oil free of charge; the incredible kindness of strangers.


Organic extra virgin olive oil

I place the canister on a window cill to catch the light; it’s a deep golden-green colour with a strong acidic peppery flavour. I take a big gulp; fiery. Then I sit in my orchard garden and write this blog.


A secluded garden next to the house.

It’s a wild secluded place with iris lined paths and patches of mint, rosemary, jasmine and oregano. Olive and pomegranate trees. The evening breeze is up and the quince and palm trees rustle, starlings twittering from the chimney tops and a pony snorts in the olive grove.

About 7pm someone somewhere opens hidden sluices and suddenly the gulley in the street roars with the sounds of torrential waters; it roars all night and I’m reminded of a poem by Antonio Machado.

 ‘Last Night as I was Sleeping ‘ which is very evocative in the original Spanish. Here is a translation off the web:

Last night as I was sleeping,

I dreamt—marvelous error!—

that a spring was breaking

out in my heart.

I said: Along which secret aqueduct,

Oh water, are you coming to me,

water of a new life

that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,

I dreamt—marvelous error!—

that I had a beehive

here inside my heart.

And the golden bees

were making white combs

and sweet honey

from my old failures....”