If this blog has a colour it is green, the soft lush green of Wales. If it has a theme it is the garden and the landscape and the kitchen - growing things, cooking things, eating them with family and friends. Sometimes I think the rhythms of my life now are so seasonal and repetitive that they are not very interesting to others but this is how it is, so green and gold and grey are the colours.
This is a fawn and brown, bleached gold and blue blog today.
We went to Fuerteventura. The reasons were entirely pragmatic: flights out of Liverpool at civilised times of day; a warmer, brighter climate. I don't know what I expected really. I had never been to the Canaries. If I don't have deep countryside or wilderness I like cities, great European cities like Paris or London or Rome. It was a very short break away from the various responsibilities of family. I hadn't done any of the usual stuff, hadn't read up the history, learnt a bit of the language, bought any books. I just got on the plane and fell asleep.
We stayed here - a simple and beautiful room in a house in a village a few miles from the coast. Our hosts, Carmen and Albert, were delightful. Albert, a builder, had designed and built the house himself. It was a lovely place with sinuous curves and polished wood and the village had a great shop with kind and English speaking owners.
It took me a while to get my eye in. I am used to green and there everywhere was bleached brown and pale by the sun. The fields were bare earth and stones. I think that here at home I garden on stone but here you need to dig before you feel the clang of the blade against rock. In Fuerteventura the land spouts stone like a fountain spouting water. It is all over the land like grass.
The green in the valley here is almost shocking after miles of bleached mountains. Signs at the side of the road tell you to beware of goats. Driving through this desert you cannot imagine what they have to live on. You see herds of goats on the hillsides, apparently browsing on stones.
After the lowering grey of a Welsh winter the vivid sky is almost shocking. There was a strong wind blowing from the North East and Carmen apologised for it. Without the wind it would have been warm. With the wind it was perhaps 20 degrees and not the weather for shorts and sandals. But for us it was a luxury to need to wear sunglasses against the glare. The nearest we have got to glare here in a world of grey for a few months has been the steely cold of a riding full moon.
Things were growing where they surely shouldn't have been able to. How adaptable we are, both people and plants the world over. Give us the chance for life and we will find a way.
Layers of volcanic rock made me wish as I so often do that my education was not so purely literary and artistic. The science I once scorned now seems to me as magical as poetry.
A museum of agricultural life spoke to me oddly of home with the same preoccupations of shelter and management. Our ancient bread oven is inside, as you would expect in a climate of rain and wet. Theirs are outside, as you need to do when the enemy is not cold but heat and to bring your source of heat inside would be madness.
But look inside the oven and the construction is the same.
Look inside the houses and the pure simplicity of the rooms is the same. In Wales and the rest of the UK you are concerned with keeping the weather out so the windows of our old houses are small and deeply recessed. In Fuerteventura the old houses frequently have no windows at all. They have double doors as the only source of light. Why would you not when the doors will always be open? There are no chimneys, a strange thought for us when the huge fireplaces are the heart of the house.
On the last night we ate outside as the sun went down, a great meal at the Blue Cow in El Cotillo, although by coffee time it was cold enough to ask to go inside.
Coming home across the freezing tarmac at the airport was a shock. Here on the hill the hellebores have keeled over in the cold. The snowdrops are standing bravely in the wind. The puddles are deep in ice.
The world is a strange and beautiful place.