Monday 2nd May
I have just returned from a weekend in Seville with my friend Lesle. Martyn visited Seville the previous weekend and booked us into the same hotel, claiming it was perfect. The minute room he had arranged for us was on the top floor, had a tin roof and was exposed to the sun all day. Temperatures quickly soared outside and the tin hut took on the ambiance of a Turkish bath. We both went to bed early and were awoken at midnight when the bar opposite burst into life and played deafening music for the rest of the night. At around 4am we were both humming along to ‘Hotel California’ when the relentless heat was beginning to take its toll; a potent smell, not dissimilar to cat pee, gradually pervaded the undersized room making breathing quite difficult and causing one’s eyes to sting. Somewhat embarrassingly, the stench was quickly sourced to my trainers, which were immediately relocated to the balcony downwind from the noisy café. To say it was a long unpleasant night is to understate to the point of misrepresentation.The following morning we got up early and Lesle, a little nauseous from the heat and trainer odour, became tetchy with a dodgy shower fitment. She quickly resorted to brute force and broke it. Showers then had to be taken across the other side of the roof terrace in an empty room, until the owner repaired ours with a pair of pliers and a bewildered expression.
Compared to the first night, the rest of the weekend went well, up until our final day. While having a little snooze in the park (late night music induced), I had my digital camera stolen, from right next to me on a bench. I spent an hour reporting it to the police, only to discover later that I was not insured anyway. By the Sunday night we were getting better at dealing with the heat and had learned to leave my trainers on the terrace at all times and to leave the door wide open. This would have been a successful strategy if the roof terrace had not shared an extractor vent with a peckish Spaniard who insisted on frying food in rancid fat at 1 am. Our last night’s sleep was not dissimilar to kipping in the bins of a fast food restaurant – luckily we had to get up at 6am to catch a coach.
Wendesday 18th May
Eggs, our spotted pig, is pregnant… we think. She was artificially inseminated by me last month and has not come into season this month, so it seems that my equipment was all in working order. Last month, fresh from the trauma, I was unable to share details of that ’special moment’ with you, but with the passage of time and intensive counselling, I now feel able to ‘share’.
The vet arrived on the Tuesday morning, dressed in white, complete with a long plastic tube, a spirally shaped implement and a plastic bottle of pink liquid. Eggs, still in season but not as insatiable as the previous day, was grunting around her terrace looking disappointed at being confronted by more, irksome human beings as opposed to a nice big beefy boar. Pigs, you may know, have memories like elephants and for Eggs, the vet will always mean hypodermic needles; she is not to be entertained under any circumstances. Twenty minutes running around made it clear that this was not the way to progress. Martyn then took over and got a similar brush off, so as I feared, the deed was left to me. I took on a more casual approach and sat beguilingly on a log with my equipment ready, making wooing noises interspersed with the odd grunt. Eggs was looking interested and sidling over towards me, curiously eying the spiral shaped thingy on the log beside me (pigs have spiralled penises – honest!). After a little foreplay of ear tickling and back scratching, she ‘stood’ for me and like a nervous teenager, I desperately began fumbling around with my tubes and liquid. After some initial confusion between anus and vagina, the spiral thingy was gently corkscrewed in until Eggs took on a look of ‘faraway ecstasy’ and remained perfectly still. Next the plastic tube was attached to the spiral thingy at one end and had to be attached to the bottle of pink liquid at the other. It then emerged that no one had remembered the scissors. Stoically, I suffered the indignity of biting off the plastic nipple from the pig sperm bottle (taking care not to swallow) while holding onto the spiral thingy still inserted into a blissful sow. Once all the parts were attached, a little squeezing began the flow at which point an elated Eggs took over: creating a vacuum from within, emptying the bottle in less than a minute. During the operation, all sorts of scenarios flashed through my mind. Pointy sticked hikers might appear from nowhere and consider me to be a pervert. I could be on the front page of The Sun with the pigs’ eyes blacked out, to protect the innocent. I could end up featured on one of those tasteless birthday cards or posters that teenagers seem to love.
Monday 30th May
The warm weather is having a wonderful impact on our vegetables resulting in us having a French bean glut on our hands. We hope to have our earliest tomatoes yet: they are already on their way to red. Our onions are swelling, the cucumbers are climbing and we have two pumpkins and numerous courgettes filling out nicely. This week I hope to transplant some more sweet peppers, aubergines and some okra plants. We can only keep our fingers crossed and hope that we are spared any freak weather, droughts or forest fires.