We like a nice walk in the holiday morning, she-who-deserves-much-better and me. Just a potter, you understand, shorts and flip-flops rather than boots and rucksacks, but it’s always good to get your ten thousand steps in before the first morning beer. Holiday rules are, of course, somewhat more flexible than domestic regulations, and the first beer of the day normally arrives about two minutes after I notice that somebody else has already got one.
Walks here fall into two categories: uneven and rocky coastal paths that lead, via treacherous coves and cliffs, precisely nowhere, and rocky mountain paths that lead to the same place – only higher up. When we get to the terminal point of the-middle-of-nowhere we turn around and try to remember where we came from. (I mean that in the physical sense, rather than the metaphysical – although ‘What the f*ck are we doing here?’ has crossed my mind from time to time.) I’m not sure what it is about cliff tops that always leads me to the edge, but whatever it is, I wish it wouldn’t quite frankly. The conviction that I just might be the first man to actually fly is not an easy one to shake off. It’s the last thing I would do (quite literally) of course.
On our little treks we have encountered many different types of indigenous flora and fauna (often scaly and mostly with many, or no, legs). I recall with startling clarity having to catch a lady who had a bit of a fainting episode as she tried to alert me to the fact that there was a fist-sized spider crawling up the back of my shirt. Unfortunately her swoon brought her into closer proximity to the meaty arachnid and it was uncertain which one of us (and I include the spider) felt the most uncomfortable at this stage. In the end she swiped the beast away with her handbag and we parted with smiles and waves, but no words, as she did not understand English and I did not understand terrified screaming.
On another occasion a friend managed to collect a Praying Mantis of quite alarming proportions and was most put-out because I couldn’t stop laughing at how much it looked like Jiminy Cricket perched on his shoulder (although it was, in his mind, more the size of Long John Silver’s parrot). He had the last laugh on that occasion though, as later in the holiday my wife and I managed to acquire a cicada under our fridge which started calling for companionship at a volume which, in James Bond films, would have brought down aircraft. Nor did it want to leave. In the end it took offence to a liberal spraying with anti-perspirant and made a dash for the door which, thankfully, was open. I think of him (Her? I always think as noisy things as male.) every time I hear cicadas in the trees – which is probably why we don’t walk in the evenings…