Thursday, 11 August 2011
Canillas de Aceituno
Fresh from the experience of 'Macbeth' in a storm – well, to be honest some years after but the memory was strong – we booked a holiday, our only criteria being somewhere hot and dry, and with a pool. We settled on Canillas de Aceituno in the mountains of Andalusia.
The patio overlooked deep valleys and a turquoise but diminishing lake. Mountains surrounded us; very Wagnerian, the mosquitoes less so, whining Valkyries that fed on the living.
I didn’t anticipate problems. Swallows dived from azure skies, and we had a pool. Even our very own fig tree.
So Canillas de Aceituno was two miles away. We could do that. We thought. What we hadn’t realized was that this two miles involved a vertical trek. The town was perched even higher than we were! 40 degrees centigrade heightened the experience.
I lost weight.
Not in the normal way.
Mosquitoes and a whole host of voracious insects took great chunks from my arms and legs and neck. My face turned volcanic, a deep Martian red. The flies followed soon after, settling on each and every itching wound. "Laying their eggs," my son said gloomily, as though considering what his reaction would be when I writhed with maggots and exploded in flies.
I didn’t expect over-much sympathy. Never do. As things stood, the whole family walked ten paces behind me, reluctant to be seen with the leper. My name became 'Belial, Lord of Flies.'
No one else in the family was touched, just me, the sacrificial goat. It was good to get back to Monmouth. No mosquitoes yet, just the pleasant charm of quiet eccentrics.