A Postcard from Gaucin
I woke up early yesterday morning and got out onto the veranda of our holiday apartment before the rest of the family. A vulture wheeled high in the sky and a low bank of bright white cloud obscured the horizon. Suddenly what looked like the black blades of scissors snipped their way through the cloud, which then fell back to reveal a wind farm (constituting itself in its white form), the Rock of Gibraltar, murky mountains in Africa beyond and ships plying their way in between. Martins and swallows circled in front of the veranda, feeding and getting nest materials. This is my kind of place – natural beauty, wildlife, chilled atmosphere, sunshine and lots of renewables.
Gaucin is a pueblo blanco – a white village – that once formed part of the frontier between Christianity and Islam in this part of Spain. You can certainly see the Islamic influence in the winding streets and the architecture. The old hill fort is open tomorrow, so we’re hoping for an historical insight then – the village is so sleepy that the guidebooks hardly mention it, preferring to concentrate on Ronda half an hour away with its Hemingway connections. We spent about 36 hours and six different trains to get from Newcastle to Seville and then two hours driving here – we’ve found out the hard way that kids don’t appreciate slow travel as much as adults…
En route I devoured Solar by Ian McEwan – a novel about a Nobel prize-winning, but washed up academic hoping to jump on the climate change/renewable energy bandwagon to revitalise his career. The themes include what happens when science hits the real world, originality/plagiarism, and chickens coming home to roost. The scientific and technical issues are pleasingly well handled, and it avoids the obvious controversies to concentrate on the human failings that can undermine technological progress. Highly recommended.
I’m now onto The New Rules of Green Marketing by Jacquelyn Ottman – should be able to post a review next week. In the meantime, plenty of laziness is on the agenda, punctured by the odd outbreak of gluttony.