Yesterday morning I was awoken by a huge clap of thunder, lightning and the familiar urgent tap-tapping of rain against my bedroom window. From the depths of the orchard I could hear Carlos the cockerel’s mournful cry as a waspish, wild wind shook the shutters and chased crisp leaves about the patio. The local church clock chimed seven times, mocking my inertia. To run or not to run, that was the question.
And so with a good deal of cursing I reluctantly threw on some running gear and set off along the dark and chilly track while a sultry sky, my constant companion, sobbed and moaned all the way to Port Soller. There wasn’t a soul in sight and yet as I chugged onto the promenade, I was greeted by the sound of chattering gulls and the heavenly sight of a pearlised sky and frisky sea. A van lumbered towards me, lights flashing. It was Pep, one of the local bakers, finishing his rounds. He laughed when he saw my bedraggled state and pulled over for a brief chat. A moment later he’d opened the rear door of the vehicle and with aplomb placed a warm and fluffy shell-shaped ensaïmada pastry in my hands, wrapped in brown paper. With difficulty I managed to fit it into the zip-up pocket of my running jacket, and waved goodbye. The day was looking up.
At the harbour two fishermen in cagoules were busy guiding an old vessel into a berth but found time to offer a smile and cheery ‘Bon día’ as did several regular dog walker chums. I made a loop around the end of the bay and arrived back on the promenade just as my favourite café was opening. The waiter beckoned me over and shaking his head at my sodden state immediately ushered me into his cosy den and made me a double espresso. I pulled out my still dry ensaïmada and relished every morsel. Moments later Tolo, a builder from my neighbourhood, entered with two friends. They came and sat with me, ordering brandies and coffees as they chomped on baguettes filled with Serrano ham and cheese. It transpired that they had been breaking up rocks to make road foundations since 6am and were frozen to the bone.
We sat and discussed the potaje, vegetable soup, that Tolo’s wife had prepared for their lunch. Tolo took me through every ingredient including the broad beans, potatoes, carrots and cabbage that he had proudly cultivated on his own land. When I told them that potaje was indeed one of my favourite dishes too, they urged me to come and join them as they had prepared a huge pot. It seemed churlish to refuse!
As I jogged slowly home it was still only eight-fifteen. The rain had stopped, the wind calmed and a bright sun gleamed in a pale blue sky. I turned onto my track with renewed vigour, glad that I’d braved the elements and grateful to those kind and generous-spirited locals for having unknowingly brightened my day.
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