Village life

by Catherine

Seasons control the rhythm of life in the village. In late September harvesters are gobbling up and spitting the cane into lorries. They leave behind a blanket of straw whose tones and textures change throughout the day with the mood of the wind and the shifting sun. I’ve invited artists to capture this rural scene because my camera skills can’t do justice to its ambience. In just two weeks, tender shoots will appear to produce next year’s crop, while gigantic overhead sprays will paint the fields with their rainbows.

I stopped to chat to the harvesting team, asked Milesh why the harvest was progressing so fast this year. He said that lockdown prevented workers from irrigating the fields, and no rains obliged; the yields are much lower than in previous years.

On our walk today, the dogs followed scents and frolicked in muddy water, only their pink tongues visible by the time they got home. Monique cooked for them during my absence; Vima bathed and fed them, and landlord Serge took the afternoon walk. Serge told me he wouldn’t part with the security service my hounds offer. As a result, he’s bribed them with tripe and bones. Last night they scoffed at Monique’s pet’s mince stew. So, while I’m not happy my tribe has turned into an indulged bunch of snobs, at least I know I can leave them for many months a year. Because one can’t spend all year on the Rock.

One can’t spend all year on the Rock despite the loveliness of its people. Serge dropped a fish into my sink this afternoon, fresh from the water, scaled and ready to cook. I ate it pan-fried in olive oil with a sprinkle of black pepper, a squirt of lemon, and a faux bearnaise sauce. Generosity abounds in my village.

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