PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1987 - JANUARY
2 January 1987
The rains stopped on New Year’s Eve and it has not taken long for the land to heat up again. I have been so careful, been in bed so much, sleeping as much as I can so that by New Year’s Eve I really felt fit again, and felt no harm would come from a little excess. New Year’s Day too I felt fine and played around with Rosa but, damn it, today I feel weak and ill again, and worse. I have those very mild pains at the base of the lungs that remind me of pleurisy. Last night I was sleeping long before midnight, yet today I have continued to sleep until 2 this afternoon. And damn it, the weakness I feel doesn’t feel like flu which hits the head area, but rather a more overall weakness. It’s so unspecific I can’t even be sure I’m ill. I know this from before. Just sitting here writing is an effort. I suppose it is just as well, I have nothing better to do.
Feeling a little lighter this morning but far from well. And I’m scared to do anything but laze around. It must appear strange to Maria who in two years hasn’t stopped work for any illness. If I don’t feel fine by Monday I shall go to a doctor.
Mum rang on New Year’s Day. We talked for too long and mostly about Barbara’s baby - her possessive mother-in-law claws are already out. She asked me whose name the child will have have. I told her Barbara’s, and that there was no doubt in my mind. If either the names Lyons or Goldsmith meant anything to me, then perhaps I would have to think deeper about the question, but why should I preserve the name of my stepfather or of the father that abandoned me? Mum, then, became very insistent, saying that if the baby does not have my name then I’l lose all legal rights ever over the child. Ever, ever, ever she repeated. First of all, I can’t believe it’s true, especially if it’s second last name is mine. And, secondly, I can’t start thinking along those lines now - the child is Barbara’s child, and I must think like that from the beginning otherwise there will be conflict. I don’t need legal rights for, if Barbara decides to go so far against my will that legal rights might be thought of, I think I would prefer to relinquish the rights - practically this would mean not seeing the child, which I would prefer for the child’s sake, than invoking legal proceedings. Perhaps this is a naive view of my own behaviour - where a a child is concerned perhaps I will lose my objectivity. But look for a moment at the relationship B and I have. We do love and care for each other very much - this has not changed in eight years. Will either of us change so much - into a devil - to create such extremes of behaviour?
New Year’s Eve I went sailing on Tuna with Stan, Denys, Richard and Miriam, Rosemary plus four. I thought the more the regular crew would be there - Brent, Laurie, Jas, Paul - but I suspect Stan decided to take the boat out because Rosemary suggested it, as a way of entertaining her house guests. Earlier in the evening, I had rushed over to Copacapana to take pictures (black and white this time). How enormous the waves rose, how hard they crashed, and how high the spray rose as though the waves were crashing against a cliff not just on sand. Unlike last year, the sky offered no spectacular pictures but the beach itself with all the movimento was a spectacle. The early macumbas, the families planting their deckchairs in the sand to make sure of space later on when the crowds invade, the hot dog stands forming several lines, two on the pavement and on the beach itself, the buses arriving, the police keeping busy, the tourists taking photos.
The yacht club, although largely closed and dark, glittered with pretty people in white and silver waiting to board their various gin palaces. In contrast to the waters outside the bay, inside the bay the sea was as tranquil as a duck pond - the lack of any wind added to a feeling of calm.
Back to New Year’s Eve. Riding out past the fort, the sea swells almost swallowed Tuna whole, and the visitors clung to the central part of the deck. Denys steered, Stan made brandy and champagne or tangerine juice and champagne cocktails to get us in the mood. We couldn’t get very close to the beach or pick out the people individually, but the whole beach was aflame with candles and firecrackers, and the backdrop of apartment blocks was more lit up than on any other night of the year. Out at sea, so to speak, we missed the beach crowd atmosphere but there was a sort of crowd in the sea - a few boats had made themselves up with coloured lights, others let off fireworks, while most sat silently in the blackness showing just one or two navigation lights. With the fireworks, one sees a broader, grander, wider spectrum of a display, with shows from Rio Palace round to Marius. They didn’t last long, and once over the feeling of anti-climax sets in, for there is nothing more to do in the boat than head for home. Hundreds of navigation lights heading for home.
Afterwards, I raced over to Gavea to the party Frederico had so carefully invited me to. But, once there, and once I’d talked to Frederico for a few minutes, I felt so tired that it was as much as I could do to creep out and find my way safely home.
This damn illness. How much is psychological. Friday, Saturday, Sunday I spent largely in bed, trying to sleep as much as possible. There were symptoms but not very precise ones - the complete weakness, headaches, orange-coloured mucus (once). I decided I must have a mild pneumonia. The weakness I felt with the flu before was so completely different. This dying of body energy is identical to when I had pneumonia four years ago. I promised myself I would go to a chest doctor on Monday, but the one I got through to on the phone wanted to charge 1,000 cruzadinhos for a consultation which is $40 and a little excessive. So then I decided a general doctor would do. I rang around people I knew in Botafogo and decided on a German doctor used by Monica’s family. After half an hour of ordinary check-up tests, he said he could detect nothing wrong on which to recommend a course of treatment. Later, he rang me to say a blood test had shown a disturbance. He said if my temperature stayed high I should seek an x-ray. Great, I spent Cz350 to learn absolutely nothing.
Monday, generally I felt better, but Tuesday again I was weaker, maybe as a result of the exertions on Monday. Oddly, I felt a few dull pains in my upper teeth, and wondered whether with all my immunological defences under siege a bit of corroding was under way in my teeth. What worries me is just how long do I have to go like this - when will I dare run up the stairs again, or swim in the sea, or kiss Rosa.
Decisions have now been made. I have told Trotter, my landlord Mucio, most friends, and I will be telexing Peter Gall tomorrow. But now I am afraid of what I will do when I go back. I’ve spent six years progressing in the role of journalist, now it must be time for a bit of fall back. It would help so much if I could be clear what path I want to take. If I had connections with a publisher, one that gave me an opportunity, not even financial backing, that I could grip onto and use as a starter. I know, for example, I could produce simple non-fiction books given some guidance.
The trouble with cheap diary books is that the writing becomes cheap.
In July I brought back with me three past journals, covering the period starting after Corsica and running through my breakdown, to ECN and Ann. I am now typing up the third, which is largely concerned with ECN and Ann. It shocks me to see how much I wrote about Ann, and how she depressed me with her ridiculous behaviour. In parallel, there were the problems with ECN. It was as though my life was full of problems (I was also fed up living with Peter). It does not make very interesting reading. I sound stupid, naive to let her have affected me so much. In my memory, I never recall feeling deeply about the relationship, and say to myself that I treated it all as rather a joke. But the diary tells a different story - it documents my aggressive behaviour, and even thoughts of suicide. I spend little time describing Ann’s behaviour which I know was atrocious, and more on my own inability to keep an even keel. Really, I seem to have come a long way in five years. But how can I justify all those years in my twenties, suffering, lost.
Elaine has gone to Fortaleza to spend a month or more with her parents. She is now so pliant and willing, she has become so used to me. I do not need to ask her to visit, I just telephone, and more than likely she will come the same day. She enjoys the food here, the sex, and has even learnt to take pleasure in my theories of life and science, however they turn out in my stuttered Portuguese. The last afternoon, before she leaves for Ceara, she spies in my diary. She has never been able to restrain her nosiness - a vice I understand much better than saintliness of not having any curiosity. Unfortunately, she read a few lines that refer to Barbara and I having a child. I suspect - from something she says - that she has not understood that Barbara is already pregnant. Nevertheless, I take the opportunity to tell her the truth. We talk seriously for a long time. I detect no change in her attitude to me, and we make love as usual, with intense sexuality. After, however, there is an unusual sensuality, and Elaine cries for the first time in my presence, really cries. I hold her tight and say nothing at all. I know she has cried over me in the past, in the loneliness of her flat, but she has never tried to manipulate me with tears in some way. These tears, I felt, were complex, deep-rooted, the same tears I have cried many times. They are tears of understanding, tears of smallness, tears of realisation of our inability to control, to have, to be, to realise all that we dream. In a way, I felt the tears were a present to me, and perhaps she felt the strength of my embrace was also a gift of sorts. Inside, too, I was crying. How else can we cope with the reality of life than allow one another to cry the difference between the idea and the reality way in the shelter of someone who lets us do so without questions, without interference.
A Varig Boeing 707 crashed near Abidjan from where it was coming - some 40-50 people died. There was one survivor, though seeing the film of the wreckage it is difficult to imagine how he survived. He looked a tough man. The plane was on one of its last trips for Varig having already been sold to the airforce for conversion to a transporter. Students riot in China for democracy are blamed on the Voice of America. Public transport in France turns chaotic, victim of strikes.
I am in an apartment next door to this one when I see an astonishing looking craft come sailing into the bay at an amazing speed. It is orange in colour and full of cylindrical balloon type sails. It whirls into the bay skidding around other boats irresponsibly, even damaging one. Then I see it has come to rest in front of my apartment, and that the crew have climbed onto my terrace and entered my flat. I am outraged but feel impotent as, by the time, I’ve got to my own flat they will have gone. But then I find some steps leading directly to my apartment, and see they are young scruffy arrogant people. They have begun to use my flat as if it were their own. Firmly and authoritatively, I ask them, tell them to leave. It makes no difference. I try and force them out but there are too many of them. I see one of them put a cassette into my stereo, blood is dripping from his arm and into the machine. When he realises this, he tips the stereo over and litres and litres of blood spill onto the carpet. I mop it up with a cloth thinking about AIDS.
Saturday 10 January
These two weeks of tossing and turning on my bed, mostly because of my health, lack of exercise and bad weather, have left me mindless. And, furthermore, I seem to be basking in a kind of bath of laziness, since trivial things have become meaningless relative to the two big events overshadowing my future: Barbara’s pregnancy, and the decision to quit Brazil. Just this week, have I informed McGraw-Hill, London and New York of my decision. The deed is done. I want to start packing now. I feel impotent. I cannot relax into the trivia of my life here with these larger events hanging over me.
A letter from Mum arrives, written soon after I told her the news, and after she had spoken with Barbara. She says: ‘I feel increasingly excited about the prospect of being a grandmother . . . my apprehensions are numerous . . . I am amazed (as I always am) at her maturity of thought, her unselfishness and directness of approach to everything. I am very fond of her and am delighted to have her as a mother of a grandchild.’
I quote these things because, as yet, I have had no other meaningful comment from anyone. Luke said congratulations in a quiet way, and on hearing I was coming back to the UK said he was glad I was taking paternity seriously. No one else knows. Oh yes, Harvey rang yesterday, said he was working on his (annual) letter, and that he would be in the UK in August. When I told him, he also said congratulations, and summed up the situation as I’d put it - so you’re going to continue with the same arrangement, and then went on to talk about something else.
Here in Brazil quite a few people know. Mike Kepp said he thought it sounded a good arrangement. Monica believes me when I say it is something beautiful. Silvio thinks only in virility. I have written to Dad, but have no idea what he will say. In the end, of course, it is just another baby, and the news is only of real import to Barbara and I.
On the last pages of Diary 17, at the close of the year (1981), I find myself typing up these words: ‘I wonder perhaps if [Barbara] will have my child one day. I should have a child.’
Just recently I have noticed that my hand is writing in an automatic way - it seems almost unconnected to my brain, at least to my conscious brain. Perhaps, I do stop and formulate a thought, and then write it down, but often it doesn’t seem so. The pen, my hand, my journal have somehow become my expressive self, while Paul sits around in his apartment, lies on his bed and does and feels nothing but the days dragging by and the sultry heat.
My head in these restless days has tried to fathom what I might do, it has also tried to assess, in a vague sort of way, the worth of these two years in Brazil, bearing in mind that I’ve been a journalist for six years.
Tuesday 13 January
I read James Michener’s ‘Space’. It is impressive - a weaving together of fact and fiction to give an idea of the complex picture of scientific development and how individuals make their way to the top and play their respective parts in the astonishing jigsaw. Despite the detail, his characters remain clear cut, like cleverly-made puppets, and he encourages visions of great qualities. But he is a craftsman of a writer not a literary figure with imagination and style. He conjures up technical drawings of life, while other artists like Miller or Durrell or Conrad paint pictures, and say profound things about the human condition. But Michener’s work is important, instructive. If I could ever arrive in later life to do a book twenty times smaller, twenty times less clever, I’d be happy to have done so.
Martha Palubniak rings from Los Angeles. She sounds genuinely upset that I am leaving. We discuss my feeling of isolation, who will take over my work, the possibility of me doing some work for World News in London. My telex of resignation, which she had just received, tried to cover my obligations, to give an impression of the problems I’d felt working for McGraw-Hill, and to point to Jeff’s poor management (without seeming to do so). The telex ended like so: ‘However, these differences pale next to the gratitude I feel to yourself and World News for giving me the opportunity to work here in Brazil, and I hope I may have a further chance of working with World News.’
If there is some part-time work in London when I return then it might be useful, to bring in money and keep me occupied, but I’m not sure I’d be interested in any full-time job they could offer. For a while, I thought I’d like to work in Lisbon, but the thought of continuing to live in Portuguese didn’t seem appealing. Perhaps in the future I will want to work overseas again.
Late on Sunday night I had the most remarkable telephone conversation. A girl rang, asked for a spurious name and then very quickly said what a nice voice I had. Rather than put the phone down I began to encourage her with questions and she likewise. She said her name was Priscilla, and that she lived alone, and did nothing but go to the beach and to gym classes. We told each other our ages, that we considered ourselves good looking and as having good bodies. From this point, I felt it a challenge somehow to seduce this girl on the telephone, and racked my brain for conversation that would lead us in that direction. When I asked her what she was wearing, she said ‘so calcinhas’. And I was gone. I asked her when she had last made love, if she liked sex, if she wanted to have sex with me, how big her breasts were, and so on, and I said I was hot and horny. Truly, all this to a stranger on the phone. But there was also an undercurrent of trying to pierce through each other’s masks. I invented a character rather sketchily, and enjoyed trying to defend it. Whereas I was actually trying to find out who this person was, and why she was talking to me like this, her questions appeared rather innocent. After about an hour, we finally ran out of conversation, and she promised to ring the following evening. I was left with the image of a beautiful 25 year old, ‘so em calcinhas’, to take to sleep with me.
At the other end of the spectrum - Monica. She comes round early Monday evening. As usual we talk incessantly about the same sort of things, life and rules and directions, but then, finally, we get to talk about our relationship. I ask if she is attracted to me, but also a little fearful, and give her some reasons for thinking this. She has a mass of explanations and justifications, but the sum is, that she is not attracted to me, and does not want to go to bed! That was silly of me to ask her to decide - yes attracted, no not attracted - but I suppose I’m impatient, and Rosa is waiting in the wings. I should have called her the same evening, but chose to be with Monica. Now that things are clearer with Monica, I feel free to be more involved for these few weeks with Rosa.
Saturday 17 January
I call Barbara, she is so happy, so well, so lovely towards me. I call just to find out how she is. It seems from my little experience that miscarriages at a later date are generally preceded by problems of health and well-being. Barbara says she just tires easily, but healthwise she’s fine. I relax until she suggests she might have twins. What more wonderful magical occurrence could there be. We would have to marry, for how could Barbara possibly manage alone? I lie around my flat trying to imagine if I really could live with Barbara, and devote myself to a family. What do I want or need to do with my life? What dream is it I have? What life is it I’m expecting? I decide I must make some calculation on paper, give serious consideration to possibilities and weight my needs and desires with objectivity.
I wind myself up to work this last week, but I am without motivation to begin new projects or look for new work. The oil, the chemical, the steel reporting has its own momentum now, I do it automatically. I could probably earn $2,000 a month with this regular work, and still take two or three working days off each week.
I will make one trip to Belo Horizonte and Brasilia but this is to fulfil old story ideas, ideas that I’ve had since last year. I also want to visit Ouro Preto. I plan to interview in BH a scientist at Embrapa, and someone at a steel plant. In Brasilia, I will try to research a story on helicopters and one on the airforce (‘Flight’ just wrote me approving the ideas and accepting $100 travel costs), and I will go to Embrapa and interview someone for ‘Farming World’, leaving time I hope for chemical and steel sector government officials.
Brazil’s brave cruzado plan breaks down bit by bit, government economic policy now appears like a set of rags instead of a uniform. Instead of a coherent developing plan we have a policy that only knows how to react to the problems - a rusty pail of water springing leaks all the time, the water carrier using chewing gum to dam them. There is the feeling that some courageous yet inexperienced economists have played a game, tried out their theories, and now see that the whole thing is infinitely more complicated. During the last few months politicians have increasingly taken a back seat allowing Dilson Funaro to forge ahead. It is he who also speaks to the press and justifies the economic policy. Even the planning minister, Sayad, who was originally Funaro’s dynamic partner, has divorced himself from it all, to the point of now attacking Funaro. Funaro’s political life is severely limited now. If and when the cruzado plan is seen to have failed, the government has its scapegoat already lined up. But Sarney will suffer too, the jackals around the Planalto will see to that. Many a minister must feel it unjust, unfair that a more minor politician such as Sarney should have all that power, popularity, historical importance. It may be there is no alternative. No more powerful politician emerged at the time, and the constitution gave the pole position to Tancredo’s vice-president; but with a new constitution in the writing how many elected senate ministers will vote to keep Sarney for six years rather than four years.
‘The Economist’ last week enjoyed running an editorial with the headline ‘RIP cruzado’. It makes unfavourable comparisons with Argentina’s austral plan. One of the main reasons, it (the cruzado plan) failed, ‘The Economist’ says, was a lack of political will or strength to ensure the government deficit would be controlled and that the prices would not become too distorted. It goes on to say that the ruling party, swollen by recent election victories, is liable to break up during this year’s debate on the new constitution: ‘The added pressure of an economy out of control makes fracture all the more likely. The generals are not waiting in the wings to take over if the Sarney government fails. But none of the aspiring civilian presidents has the weight or the nerve to shake Brazil’s economy back to reality.’
Rosa visited on Tuesday evening. I have hardly seen her since Christmas. She came round once when I was ill, but I was in no state to provide conversation. All of last week we talked on the phone, but she didn’t visit, I didn’t want her to. I had said to her, in a serious moment, around Christmastime, that I expected her to know her own mind about sex, and let me know, without really expecting her to make a conscious decision, but she did. We took a while to get there. I hesitated, careful, but she very willing, and so I had my wicked way. But, as with Eliane and Elaine, there was no question of this Brazilian girl not enjoying herself. Us English men, somehow, seem to expect women not to to be keen on sex, or to be frigid. But this 20 year old, who has had only one boyfriend, was very well in touch with her own sexuality. I look at her body in amazement for I see, with her clothes off, that the colour of her skin is sunburnt. There are three white triangles on her body, clearly delineated, like a bikini, with the rest of her skin a dark rich brown colour - I had thought that to be her natural colour. It made me understand the importance of the beach. It really is a drug. The skin must be kept brown and burned at all costs. I doubt it is much different from going to church to get a dose of god.
Wednesday 21 January
Mike Kepp is a short amiable American, not unlike Charlie Thurston. Conversations with him go on for a long time, firstly because talking to him you feel at ease to say anything, to lie, to invent, to tease. He has fingers in many pies, and usually has one story or another to tell. He works for ‘American Metal Markets’ which is a direct competitor of ‘Metal Bulletin’, so we talk often about stories and sources. He also works as an assistant to the ‘Time’ correspondent doing research work by the day. He lives with a Brazilian girl who works in Riosol, and, although he’s been here four years, he seems to have no plans to return. While doing some research for ‘Time’ on novelas, the producer of Roda del Fuego, the main soap opera at 9:00, asked him if he wanted a minor bit part. A 10,000 cruzado fee was fixed, for essentially a couple of hours work. Mike told me this story with such glee, as he says he likes to tell me things that make me eat my heart out. When the day came to film, Mike was as sick as a dog with pneumonia and bronchitis but there was no way he was going to miss out on the action. Ironically, he plays the role of doctor. The plot, stripped of all intricacies, is as follows: Renato Villar, once a ruthless businessman, has become a reformed character but, in doing so, his business partners have cheated him out of the ownership of a company. Renato has had several wives and children but settled down to a happy fulfilling relationship with Lucia, a judge. Lucia discovers, however, that Renato has once been involved with an assassination. Unable to go on living with him, and knowing that he has killed, she decides to give up her career. But Renato won’t let her. Why? Because Renato has a brain tumour and is likely to die shortly. SO, he pretends the relationship is all over - rather than tell her about his problem. Now Renato has had a major attack, and can no longer travel to NY for treatment, so a doctor comes from NY to Rio, enter Mike. Most of the final episodes are known, but in order to preserve the suspense Brazil-wide, so to speak, the directors have filmed two endings - one in which the brain tumour explodes and kills Renato, the other in which it explodes and clears itself.
The day after filming, so Mike’s story goes, the director called him up and said the tapes had been indavertently wiped clean, and he would have to come in again. Mike coughed and spluttered and told him the doctor had ordered bed for 10 days. The director then offered him a 50% raise. So for the second day’s filming he earned $600, plus $400 for the first day (black market rates of course) which makes $1,000 in neat clean bucks for two days work and lots of fun. We had a glimpse of him in yesterday’s episode. He was terribly stiff, as a starched collar. Now he’s invited friends around to watch him on TV on Friday - his longest part.
I try and take some sun every day now. It would be a shame to go back to London in March without a real tan after two years here.
Wednesday, Ihla Grande
I am packing up my belongings, for later today or tomorrow when soldiers are to take over the country. I understand people will be shot or taken prisoner. Everybody else has gone but I am reluctant to leave some of my unpacked things behind. I see the final bus, and make a half-hearted attempt to catch it, but then I remember all the papers in my office which I have not yet collected. Finally, I have four cases, they are made up of green material (the same as covers two of my previous journals). But what to do now. I explore, and find everywhere deserted, just soldiers along the boundaries. I decide my best bet is to find a cellar where I can hide out until things change. But I do not find one. On leaving, I find a cellar trapdoor (it is blue). I think this is fine and will do for my purpose.
Some gala performance, the queen is in attendance. Someone drops a giant ice cube from a balcony that skids across the floor and comes to a halt in front of the queen.
Finally, I made it to Ilha Grande. Rosa tells her mother half the truth: she is going to Ilha Grande for two days with Paul and a group of people from the dance class. She has become an expert in weaving lies of the necessary calibre for each occasion. Her father will be told she has gone with Marcia. She is one person to her mother, another to her father, and yet another to me. But more of Rosa’s family later. We leave at 6 in the morning, it pours with rain. The previous evening’s news was filled with reports from Sao Paolo of immense rainstorms and terrible damage. With rain and clouds in Rio, and floods in Sao Paolo, the chances of fair weather on Ilha Grande seemed slim, yet we persevered. A slight sense of adventure helped - her escape from the family, our first trip together, etc. As luck would have it, the weather cleared as we approached Mangaratiba, and the decision to make the ferry crossing or not no longer posed a problem. We stood on the upper deck stern quite content with life, the boat gliding across the still waters, never far from land, never out of sight of empty beaches and forested islands, the wind caressing our faces.
I took photographs, portraits of Rosa framed by the boat’s window frames - her hair and the frame colour were so similar. Rosa has lovely golden hair, her face is young and fresh, but sometimes she tenses her lower face, her mouth and chin, and she can be a little cross-eyed.
The journey took just over an hour, the vessel barely changing course from a straight line: Mangaratiba-Abrao. Two tiny islands perch in front of Abrao, giving the village a sheltered harboured feel. A line of boys with trolleys and wheelbarrows await the arrival of the boat, not so much to carry tourists’ suitcases, for most of the visitors are students with rucksacks or the like, but to aid the locals carrying their newly-purchased stocks of foodstuffs to their homes or shops.
The village’s main hotel, an upmarket pousada, professed to be full though we never saw more than half a dozen people there. The rain in Rio must have put potential visitors off, thus leaving unclaimed reservations. We walked on, to a second rate pousada, which was almost empty. Two dozen or so cabins tucked around a courtyard of bushes with multicoloured leaves. The cabin was old and dreary, without any style, like the hotel itself, yet there a bed so what did we care.
We dumped our bags, changed quickly and marched off to explore. Maps of the islands show a single road leading from Abrao across the centre to the ocean-side. I had thought this would make a good day trip but, I soon realised, it is the road to the famous top-security prison from which dangerous criminals are invariably escaping, and that passage is restricted to those with permits.
So, we walked east along the village beach - from the boat we had seen a series of beaches east but none west. Small groups of people wallowed in the calm sea like hippopotami, children ran about on the sand kicking balls, the odd fishermen fiddled with a net. At the beach’s end a track led through the bush and around the back of of a few occupied houses. Another beach appears, a single house sits at the back shaded by palm trees, a track leads up into the mountain, another one leads past another house and to another beach. And so on. Finally, we arrive at one beach that appears deserted. I take the opportunity for a nude swim, while Rosa sits on a log smiling.
The track winds to an end. We continue on the rocks for a while but they become increasingly difficult to traverse. Rosa sits tight. I explore on. But not far for I soon get stuck. I think I see a track just a few metres into the bush. I scramble up the rocks and through the foliage only to discover no such path. I scramble back, but in doing so scrape against some giant serrated grass blades. When I emerge I am covered in huge scratches. Rosa, in fact, notices them first for they do not start stinging till after I've bathed them in sea water. The stinging is not uncomfortable, almost pleasant. All weekend we joke about the scratches, and that they were caused by Rosa's catlike antics in bed - which is funny because she is not at all cat-like.
The sun shines for a while this morning. We become hippopotami too, wallowing in the warm water, occasionally playing like baby hippos.
Paul K Lyons
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