In the early hours of the morning, there was a haunting primaeval ominous thunderstorm that would have definitely scared anyone that believed in omens half to death. Of course, fearing the worst can often make it come true and the old ‘ignorance is bliss’ stance works well. If you don’t know it’s supposed to be evil, you’re not going to be scared of it. Mind you, tell the seagulls that – they’re not quite sure what they hate the most, the fireworks or the thunderstorms? Yesterday’s thunderstorm was eerie, it was over there, towards the hills and started with a flash of sheet lightning and a slow bass-heavy rumble that sounded like it grew from the Earth rather than from the sky. And then it went silent but although the gaps seemed long they were less than two minutes and suddenly flashing jagged fingers of fork lightning across the sky like the devil himself had awoken. Silence again and then seconds later the shutters on the building were rattling with the roar of the deep-throated grinding grumble of the gods. It felt like the atmosphere the hour before a marauding army bares down. It flipped between sheet lightning, fork lightning and the rolling rumble that shook the mountains in the dark distance. Then all of a sudden a downpour of rain, seemingly out of nowhere and as quickly as it began it stopped like a tap as if crooked fingers flicked a whimsical order and turned away with foul thoughts to intimidate another village of innocent frightened souls.
I left a little late for the pool today, took the recycling and the rubbish to the bins across the road and zipped through the Marquês park onto Rua da Constituição which leads to my destination. I stepped onto the pavement, and sped past an elderly couple, probably in their late seventies and holding hands. I walked past a woman who looked at me and said, “Marty!” It was a statement more than a question. She obviously knew me but I couldn’t figure out who she was. I said, “Are you the lady from the bank?” Who else could it be? “No,” she said, “I read your blog.” That was quite the unexpected answer here on a random street in Porto. I said, “I’m late, walk with me.” She said, “You’re going to the pool,” again more of a statement than a question. She obviously really reads the blog. So Marcela from Brazil studying management, nice to meet you and for an intriguing encounter out of nowhere.
The other day we had another encounter when I was laboriously dragging 36 bottles of water out of the supermarket. A man came to help me and pulled the over-laden basket with me over the crossing to where Ariel and Olivia were waiting. His name was Fernando and he was from Guinea-Bissau, a former Portuguese colony. He’d been in Germany too and spoke with Olivia in German, cool dude. I carried on with the heavy baskets.
At the pool, September 1st, new season, the reception was packed with people registering. Luckily for me as a super regular, they whisked me through and are letting me sort out the payments when all the new registrations have calmed down. So I got to swim my 72 lengths before returning home for seshes with Craig in Atlanta and Mike in Chicago. My damned camera wouldn’t work for the Craig sesh but somehow did for the Mike sesh, computers drive me nuts and make things happen.
Music today has been Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell! (2019). Next came Iceland’s Múm and their second album Finally We Are No One (2002) in English which I much prefer over the bang crash of their first album Yesterday Was Dramatic – Today Is OK (1999). Next came Ólöf Arnalds – Við Og Við (2006). She was a touring member of Múm for five years. She plays violin, guitar, charango, koto and sings in a weird voice in Icelandic. I was reading that harpist, singer, songwriter Joanna Newsom who hasn’t made a record for six years has bought a famous beautiful house, Moorcrest, with her husband, comedian Andy Samberg, plus they have a child now. I hope it all doesn’t stop her from making absolutely insane records like her second album Ys (2006).