So today Miguel finishes and the basement is enclosed and the casita has a permanent roof. I have been sitting at the coffee table by the window counting the hours as he is paid by the hour and watching our funds dwindle away. He has no idea of health and safety and walks around on the roof and no muffs, no gloves, no goggles with an electric. saw dangling from his hands held by its cable. This is more like a circus act than building work. But he does the job well and we can’t argue at €10 an hour. He doesn’t deal with money other than his handful of notes at the end of the week but drags me to the builders’ merchants so he is not sullied with paperwork. Thus the black economy thrives beneath the visible waves of work.
Meantime I struggle in unpaid and with little prospect of pay at my project of the moment – a set of essays on self-portraits inspired or at least dragged along in the wake of the book of poems. Poetic inspiration is still avoiding me so prose it must be. I have sent off Caravaggio and the first of two pieces called ‘Absences’. I have managed a footnote I always wanted to use as Clovis Whitfield kindly answered an email on a point in the Caravaggio and I could write ‘personal communication’ in the footnotes. Reminds me a little of that essay by Flann O’Brien where he offers his services to people who buy books by the yard to make them appear read.
Weather cloudy and threatening rain. Eight tomatoes and a really good crop of small pears. The early apples have produced a treefull too. We have now entered the official fortnight of tourism here so prices suddenly rise and the shops are full and the apartments are let. For this fortnight they are widening the road here from Vigo at huge expense to three lanes in each direction because it can get crowded for a couple of weekend evening during this period. Without a car here you are lost. There is only one single-track railway which Portillo travelled and he came here to film miles from the track. How strange.
Ah the dog has stopped barking so back to work.