picosgemeos: (Montanhas)

You know you’re “old” when you go to sleep at 9pm on a weekend and get a good night’s rest while your employees show up to work sleep deprived and hung over. And lets not think of the fact that one of them is 20 years older than you...

It’s a quiet Sunday morning and my employees will probably be able to sneak naps here and there. We only have one couple staying at the guesthouse and then, when they check-out, the rest of the day to do as we please.  The Norwegian WWOOFers are also taking a break today and relaxing – it’s currently 9.30am and they are still asleep. I think they plan on hiking to nearby waterfalls today, weather permitting, or biking to Cambuí to see a procession of horse riders celebrating the town's anniversary.

The WWOOFers have done a great job in our veggie garden this week. They planted three types of lettuce, plus parsley, spring onions, mint and flowers. They removed fallen trees, bushes and weeds. They even took pieces of slab that were lying around (leftover from the guesthouse’s construction) and created stone pathways between the beds.  Our compost box has also never looked better.

The gardener told one of the maids he was going to remove everything after the WWOOFers were gone as he didn’t want the extra upkeep work. I told her it would be an on-the-spot dismissal if he did such a thing. They only have another week with us and then they fly back to Norway. I'm hoping to continue their good work and keep the garden going. Before they leave, I'd like them to plant two apple trees.

From where I’m sitting, I can hear our dachshund Tetê snorting and I can see birds eating leftover papaya outside. The sky is grey and we pray, as usual, for some rain.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)
A tiny creature lying in the sun, eyes closed, as shadows flicker around it and the sound of a song from the 80s reaches me. Cooler indoors than outdoors.

Sitting in the guesthouse’s reception, doing admin and looking at Marcelinho lie in the sun while my iTunes runs shuffle on Clan of Xymox. Nearly lunch time.

Must ask the Norwegian couple during lunch if they’d like to hang out with us in the living room at night.
picosgemeos: (Montanhas)

Stephen King says you should write at least a thousand words a day (if you are a newbie) before moving on to the two thousands that he averages.  I don’t particularly like King’s style even though I devoured his horror fiction as a teenager, but I’ve found myself listening to his book On Writing these past few nights (even falling asleep to it), thanks to a free audio version on YouTube.

His main theme is that you can’t improve a poor or good writer, but you can turn a competent one into a good one. I’m not so sure about that – does he also include storytellers in that mix? – but I agree with him that you need a space of your own to write, to shut out the world, and that you need routine.  Otherwise nothing gets done.

He also believes that plotting ruins a story, stiffens it - kills some of the surprising elements in it. Better to just put your characters in a situation and then watch them try to get out of it. What happens when a mother and son get trapped in a car, attacked by a dog? (Cujo) What happens when a family move into a remote, empty hotel and the husband goes nuts? (The Shining) There's a whole bestseller publishing industry that goes against this philosophy.

The guesthouse is empty this morning and I have the luxury of choosing to sleep in or do a bit of writing. I’ve braved the chilly outdoors to open the front door for our employees (who arrive at 7.30am) and serve a bowl of food to one of our dachshunds, Marcelinho. I’m now sipping on an instant cappuccino I prepared in my room, listening to iTunes on Shuffle and watching the sun creep up against my bedroom wall. My fingers are tapping away, as you know.

It rained yesterday and it was blissful. Our region has been suffering from extreme drought and we had even resorted to using tap water to keep the grass and trees green.  A young couple from Norway arrived last week and will stay with us until the end of May. They heard of us through a programme called WWOOF that connects organic farms with people interested in working exchange for full board. In the first few days they did an impressive clean up job of our veggie garden; now that rain is here (fingers crossed), I can get them to plant winter veggies like beet and lettuce.  At the end of their stay, I plan on getting them to plant two trees – so they can visit us in 20 years time and see how tall they have grown.

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Ollie

September 2017

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