Catching Up With the Mending and Sunday Lunch

The wind has arrived and we are back sleeping in the front. It has dried the decks, so John pulled out the cockpit cover to provide us with a dry awning before the rains come back tomorrow. Unfortunately another of its’ seams had come apart. This happens because the thread holding it together perishes in the sunlight long before the canvass and the stitching just fragments away. So far we have managed several running repairs using the holes left behind by the vanished threads. It is usually a two-person job with one of us poking the sail makers needle in one direction and the other passing it back through the next hole forming a reasonably even running stitch. This takes ages, causes arguments and is rough on the finger ends. For the present repair we employed John’s latest present from my brother Dave, a sewing awl. It looks like a screwdriver into which different large needles can be fixed. The needle threads near its’ sharp end and the awl handle houses a spool of waxed thread. The action is a bit like pegging a rug, but involves passing the free end of the cotton through each thrust to form a lockstitch. Ingenious. It worked like a dream and transformed the job into a one person task. A one woman task in this case. As we put the cover up John spotted another strip of fabric that will soon need mending, so I am sure he will want to have a go next. After all it is his present and a most excellent one too. Now the boat is now both warmer and quieter and the cockpit will stay nice and dry.

Sunday was another very wet day. The cloud came down so low we lost sight of the tops of the two skyscrapers just beyond the marina. It was cold too. We sat below with cocoa and digestive biscuits and debated turning the heating on. When the wind is in a certain direction the boats have a strange to and fro motion in our part of the marina. Today Lyra would lurch forward with much creaking of ropes and then shuffle back again. It was most wearing. Eventually we had had enough and decided to brave the weather and have lunch in one of the restaurants ashore. This proved a most excellent decision. Sunday lunch out seems to be a big family celebration here in Spain and we became immersed in it.

The restaurant we tried was new to us, La Barca del Salamanca. It is quite large, but we were lucky to get a table. To our left Spanish families were having a fine time, to our right long tables for over a dozen people were set up with glasses and cutlery on white cloths, obviously pre booked. Gradually these filled up too. Everyone was dressed in his or her Sunday best and the older ladies had their hair coifed. One party was celebrating a birthday and strung up balloons and streamers. Beside us a small group sat at the far end of a long table for nearly an hour before the rest of their clan arrived. At which point every one was on their feet hugging and kissing and exchanging presents in plastic carrier bags. When they had all settled down all the ladies had a single red rose and we wondered if they were having a belated mother’s day celebration. All around us the din of conversation was overpowering. Phalanxes of laden waiters strolled out of the kitchen to ply between the tables. Heading the other way to the toilets was quite an adventure. Despite being so busy the waiters were all happy to chat to people and take numerous family photographs on mobile phones. No one was rushed over their meal, but as soon as they stood to leave the table cloths were whisked away and the tables split into smaller units and reset, ready to go again.

There was even a children’s entertainer, Mag Lini, moving from table to table doing magic tricks. It was as though we were guests at a rather exuberant wedding. The magician came to us with a wallet that burst into flame as he opened it and them proceeded to do a trick that involved migrating large silver coins from one hand to the other. At one point he pressed the coins into John’s hand, holding his fist closed and proceeding to extract one into his own free hand. As John counted the remaining coins in his palm the magician grinned at me and dangled John’s wristwatch behind his head, gesturing for me to keep shtum. Then he carried out a couple of other coin tricks, which John smiled politely about before offering him his watch back to John’s obvious amazement. It gave us both pause for thought.

To eat we shared a rather large salad and then had roast pork with boiled potatoes, the pork had the most amazing crackling. We were too full for desert, but were given the usual almond cake squares after our coffees, with a whole bottle of dayglow grappa to help ourselves to. We drank the two glasses already poured and dunked our cake. Feeling very full John asked for the bill. It came with another plateful of cake. I think that was a mistake caused by all the furor in the kitchen, but our waiter just grinned and put his finger to his lips. We could eat no more and had to leave it untouched and wobble back to Lyra, with the place still humming behind us.


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