Guido and I have been staying with his Uncle Gustave. His property is just outside Puerto Pollenca. It’s a gorgeous old stone farmhouse with a big dusty yard with chickens roaming around, and one very serious and anxious looking turkey who clucks a lot. Let’s just say you’d cluck a lot too if you were a turkey and it was just over three months til Christmas.
Once I’d turned up at the celebrations for Cousin Carlos (with the two left feet), Uncle Gustave decided to take me under his wing. I think it was something to do with the fact that I insisted on wearing my Vivienne Westwood suit to the party. It’s bright, it’s red, and it’s a big plaid tartan. But it’s more than that. It’s made of wool, it was thirty one degrees in the shade, and I was sweating like a hog. Is your new husband, Uncle Gustave asked Guido tentatively, a lunatic? Well, yes but I do feel now we’re related everyone should know I’m a complete basket case. Anyway, late on Saturday night Uncle Gustave decided to step in. With the help of Google translate and a lot of hand waving he told me he was going to take me out on one of his infamous hunting trips.
Much later in bed, as I listened to Guido’s deafening snoring, two important thoughts kept whirring around my brain:
1. This bedroom would look so much better with a Ralph Lauren throw and matching lamps, and;
2. Had Uncle Gustave ever seen the movie, Deliverance? It could explain why his turkey looked like he was constantly on the verge of having a nervous breakdown.
So bright and early with sun up at seven a.m. the following morning I heard a rat tat tat on our bedroom window. It was Uncle Gustave’s bony old knuckle. Guido was still completely unconscious when I left so thankfully he was blissfully unaware that I was climbing onto the back of a clapped out old scooter with an arthritic octogenarian and a completely null and void travel insurance policy.
“Rapido!” waved Uncle Gustave, “Rapido!” What will be will be, I thought. I’m not religious but I said a brief prayer.
Of course I needn’t have worried about killing anything, or shooting my foot. Our “hunt” involved a pair of rusty and blunt old scissors and a half dozen wild caper bushes. They were just where you’d least expect to find them. A tumble down bridge, a deserted finca, a fountain in a local square and Uncle Gustave’s neighbour Rita – with the bell tower. Ring a ding.
But who’d have thought that he’d be to salted pickling vegetables what I am to saving South London from random and thoughtless wall papering?
In the yard tonight Guido wrapped freshly caught hake, garlic butter, and a sprinkling of capers in foil. He set it over hot coals on the bar-b-q. Then, after dinner, I happily listened to him and Gustave talking Spanish. Every so often Guido would take his uncle’s hand, or they would gently embrace, or they’d just raise their wine glasses in a knowing toast.
Watching them gave me that warm tingling feeling. The one that makes you feel everything is good in the world. And that if only once in our lives, everyone could get the chance to go hunting with someone just like Uncle Gustave.