An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eleven

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Ten

Andrew Stevens, September 1911

Mr. K emits an exaggerated sigh. “What a welcome relief to be in the quiet confines of the brewery walls. Colonel, I don’t know about Sophie, but Emma’s criticism is relentless against permitting politics to interrupt this summer’s travel plans. She continues to remind me of her wisdom in advising us to join them on the eastern side of the Atlantic instead of bringing them back to sweat it out here in September. ‘Hot, hot, hot,’ she repeats aloud. As though I were incapable of coming to that conclusion on my own.”

The Colonel takes out his handkerchief to mop his forehead. “This August was the hottest one since the Weather Bureau started recording temperatures in 1885.”

“‘Thirteen days of temperatures over 100 degrees,’ Emma complains, before adding that I made sure she didn’t miss a one.” 

John raises his handkerchief to his face as well. “’Tis a woman who reigns over Hades, they say.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eleven”

Postcard from Valencia, Spain: A merry May Day to you

Monday, May 1. Another weekday holiday in Valencia. By the time we leave after four weeks here, I think there will have been five.

Strolling around, the time off obviously means different things to Valencians. There was a rather loud but small group participating in a labor march we encountered. The original point of the holiday.

Their message was lost in translation on the way to me, though. Unsure whether their point was workers are treated like animals; pets are as well-regarded as people; or more of a PETA protest for protecting animals because they are equal to people. Most Valencians they passed appeared unbothered and more focused on their beer or gin tonics in the outdoor cafes than politics.

But celebrations weren’t restricted to that. Turia Park was filled with bicyclists, joggers, walkers, picnickers and people simply sprawled flat-out on the ground to absorb the sun.

In the midst of our walk in the park we encountered an exuberant admission-free festival spotlighting Andalusian culture – with dancers jumping on stages ranging from skilled flamenco practitioners to enthusiastic never-tried-it-before volunteers. All seemed welcomed equally by imbibing attendees.

And then, cutting back through town, we came across some of the more sedate regionally costumed families who have been parading formally through town for the past week or so for different events.

All wonderful encounters for us idly ambling along the streets on a magnificent sunny afternoon.