It's been an odd sort of day. At some point late in the morning I noticed that sea mist was moving in up the estuary. I watched Moaña disappear under a blanket of cloud even though the sky above was bright blue and the sun was still shining. It's come and gone all day. Now in the early evening it looks as though someone has spread filaments of some strange gauze over the hills opposite.
As the great chess tournament is still under way we followed our usual routine and I left my chess player at his pick-up point. Today he is playing the youngest chess grandmaster in the world, only 15 years old. How do you get to be a grandmaster at 15? The child must undoubtedly be some kind of genius but just to qualify he must have done almost nothing but play chess all his life!!! One of our resident chess bigwigs says that this young man, Jorge Cori, is one of the up and coming BIG names in chess and that if my Phil puts up even a halfway decent performance today he will be able to say, at some time in the future when young Jorge is about to become world champion, “Of course, I played him when he was only 15 and …...”
Be that as it may, I wished the chess players luck and buen viaje and set off by a roundabout route to visit Castrelos Park, one of Vigo's “green lungs”. I am sure that whoever invented that term meant well but it really brings strange and not always attractive images to mind, which is a pity when the green lung in question is as impressive as Castrelos Park. Mind you it was very green today!
Having walked a fair distance to the park and then back onto Gran Vía, I felt justified in catching bus back most of the way home, especially as I had decided that the pool was calling me. So I hopped on a number 3 bus which would take me eventually along Travesía de Vigo and from there I could cross the bridge over the motorway and be home in no time. However, I somehow managed to get off the bus about three stops too soon and had a stretch of Travesía de Vigo to walk before getting to the bridge. I was feeling rather annoyed with myself until I spotted outside a florist's shop something I have been looking for since we arrived in this Galician town in September 2009: a pot of basil which now sits on my kitchen window ledge.
In our early weeks here, finding it was not on sale in the supermarkets in the way it is in the UK, I spent quite a bit of time hunting for basil. It was not until around 6 months ago that I found that some of the supermarkets had started selling overpriced packets with a few sprigs of fresh basil which quickly dried up. So I was extremely pleased to find pots of basil on sale for the HUGE price of €1.85 and went straight in to buy one. The florist went into raptures about the smell of basil (you either love it or hate – I am of the former persuasion, as you might guess) and we spent a happy few minutes swapping recipe ideas and being generally enthusiastic about basil. She even assured me that a basil plant will keep mosquitoes away, or so her mother told her. I have my doubts, personally. It certainly does not work with Italian mosquitoes as we discovered once when we stayed at a place with a huge basil bush on the balcony; we still got seriously bitten.
Having bought my basil plant, I made my happy way homewards in plenty of time for a swim in the pool, miraculously empty this afternoon. Yesterday afternoon one of the children in the block, Elena, was having a birthday party, most of which took place in the pool. I leave to your imagination the squeals and shouts, the running and jumping in, the dive-bombing (jumping in holding your knees so that you go in bottom first creating HUGE splashes) and ducking that went on. I did yesterday's swim in two shifts, one before the fun started and one after they all went off for pizza and fizzy drinks. It's a good job I had a good book to read in the interim. No such problems today though, just myself and two other ladies sedately swimming to and fro.
And then I discovered that England had managed to defeat Slovenia at football. Well, thank goodness for that. Otherwise the selección inglesa would have been packing its bags and heading for home like the French team. If you wait long enough, things work out!