Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
Mike got an umbrella because when summer girls are here we sit outside most days and his skin is prone to those lesions (caused by the sun) that have to be burnt off by the dermatologist. The wonderful thing about summer girls is that unlike all other guests who sort of fall into our (my) regimented rhythm, the opposite happens; we slow down into theirs.
For those who don’t know the story we met them in 2009. The previous year having been horrendous. Mike’s mother had died after being ill and living with us for a while. There was the financial crisis, stock market crashing, property prices in Spain in free-fall, we had hundreds of thousands in debt and our net worth had been halved. Anyway, we decided to rent out the guest cottage and also the independent guest apartment at Villa l’Africaine and summer girls took the end of July and beginning of August.
Every day I could hear them blasting wonderful music and champagne corks started popping quite early in the day, every day – and they had book club in the afternoon, and there was laughter, and huge hats, and big jewellery, and shopping trips… And just watching them from a distance and hearing them in the garden lifted me out of the depths of my depression. So here we are, nine years later, and every year when they come is the time of the year when I stop and breathe. Which is very, very necessary. They’re my evidence that everything’s going to be okay. Anyway, back to the umbrella. It’s rectangular, 2 x 3 metres.
Also in summer news, I got the Karcher window cleaning thing which is just fabulous. I’ve always used the kind with a sponge on one side and the squeegee on the other. It made a mess. The Karcher one vacuums up the water as it cleans the glass. Perfect and also cheap. I also got the new Dyson big ball vacuum – also wonderful. Much more powerful than our old Dyson and less noisy!
Mike also finally got the Japanese bidet affair. I wasn’t sure about it. It seemed like a terribly expensive and not entirely necessary gadget. I’ve changed my mind. After one week of use, I’m thoroughly sold on the concept. Incomparably more hygienic, obviously. And I got summer shoes, espadrilles and such.