An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Friday, June 02, 2006

Billy Cotton says:

Gilbert came to slowly. Dawn was yet to break and yet he found himself covered in sweat. Groggy and feeling vaguely drugged he realised that Abby was not beside him. This was strange. Stranger still was the howling outside of the shutters. It came to him that it was a south wind screaming around outside. Abby had forecast this south wind as soon as they set foot on the balcony at one this morning for a final cigaretee before bed. The air had been completely still - not a breath stirred. Between eleven and midnight the weak but freshening wind had swung around to come from the east: it had been blowing desultorily all day from the north. She was a very clever girl that Abby.

The door to the bedroom swung open and Abby stood briefly there in the doorway dressed in a shirt and jeans: windblown and flushed she tiptoed in. "It's OK Abby - I'm awake. Well part way awake anyway. Where have you been?" It was a stupid question. Stupid only because he had known the answer before he had asked it. She had been out in the dust storm: in a howling wind. She had been looking after her charges: her plants. She had been trying to save them from the depredations of this hot, cruel wind that was rushing at them from Africa: this wind that regularly came and burned the leaves of plants black and rushed on past them toward the sea; this wind that pushed dry soil around and knocked plants down, breaking stems in its headlong dash to sea.

"It's OK - everything is safe. It's early yet". She was peeling off the shirt and jeans now. "I'm getting back into bed. There's no more to be done. Go back to sleep". She went into the bathroom and he could hear her brushing the sand and dust from her hair. She got back into bed and he left almost immediately. His bladder was full from the night and needed emptying pretty quickly. As he pissed he towelled the drying sweat from his chest. Finally he wiped his armpits and his throat dry and crawled, still not properly awake, under the mosquito net into a cooling bed. He kicked the duvet down to the end of the bed and soon fell snoring fast asleep again.

They re-woke at about nine and the air was desperately dry: the evil south wind was still blowing. The air was hot and as soon as he hit the bathroom he realised that he was sweating already. The hair on his chest was moist and smelt sour. He heard Abby stir and shouted quietly "You stay there awhile - I'll make some coffee you - come down when you're ready." She turned on her side and slumbered on as he left the room, closing the door behind him. He opened not a single shutter as he made his way down to the cellar to make the promised coffee.

The rest of the day - once Abby had joined him - was spent clearing up the disruption around the farm and garden. She watered and staked plants. She deadheaded flowers and removed obviously damaged leaves. He swept and dusted where the mad south wind had driven sand and dust through every crevice in every shutter and window depositing on every surface. Between them they had everything back to normal by late afternoon and drove off in a dreadfully dusty car to a cafe where they relaxed with another frappe. Dry throats were lubricated. Jangled nerves were calmed. Dusty noses would have to wait.

Now it was evening. They had showered and changed. He uncapped the pen and carressed with his fingertips the hand painted barrel. The design was detailed and intricate. It was a thing of beauty beautifully engineered. The beautiful matching ink bottle rested half full beside the ashtray. The ink was black. He filled the pen with the eyedropper mechanism and wiped the surplus from the 18 carat famously flexible nib. He recapped it. Abby had given him the key he needed to unlock more of the Laz's secrets but surely it would wait. There would be other days. For now he just wanted to relax with her.

(to be continued ... )

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