During my third night in Marakech the dogs had been disturbed more than likely by animals but maybe they are just a tad paranoid and after little sleep I arose at 6.30am to blazing sunshine. It is going to be a scorcher. The kids must have been given tranquilisers, they are so quiet and unbelievably well behaved. They sit mesmerised with kindles, computers and cats. Myself and my better half, who this morning is also well behaved, sit in the sun, relaxed and listening to the squawking of the peacocks.
Fatimzara brings us breakfast, omelettes, flat bread, olives varie, freshly squeezed orange juice, marmalade made from the oranges growing in the garden, cream cheeses and coffee. A delicious start to the day but it is hard getting used to being waited on hand and foot and not doing the washing up afterwards, a task I am most proficient at. I feel I would be invading someone’s territory if I attempted to help, so for the moment I remain luxuriated, a dog called Scabby at my feet and a cat called Waylona at my side. Everybody at peace with the world. Incidentally the cat when it appeared they called it Waylon, after my favourite singer, Waylon Jennings, but then they realised it was a female cat hence Waylona.
It is 20C and 10.00am, today promises heat, the lawns are being watered and the vegetable beds are being sprinkled. The water comes from a private well fed from the melting snows on the Atlas Mountains. There is not a sound of human life, I could do this 24/7/52. One parent appears, the noise level of kids increases, I am sure there is a mathematical formula for this. Five parents and decibels become unbearable. Thank God we only have two parents this week.
It’s pay-day for the staff and so after breakfast their wages are counted out. £37 or €50 each man and woman paid out in five crisp 100 dirham notes. Equality is rife but the service you get is great €50 for six x 8hr days. 48 hours non-stop work works out at €1 per hour or 77p in sterling. Absolute value for money They set the price and are happy.
The painter is putting the finishing touches to the floor and walls of the pool, water is guaranteed in pool tomorrow and we sit on the patio drinking mint tea as the temperature gradually rises. At noon it is 23C and we have deserted the patio for the cool of the house. The remarkable thing is how cool the house remains as the sun gets hotter, house building experience counts for everything in these climates.
Lunch is served and what a lunch. Lentil soup with a fiery hot chilli sauce to liven it up, mini home made pizzas, a wonderful mixed salad with nuts and raisins and a meat ball stew with oeufs flotant. A meal fit for a king which I suppose is what I am, at least for this week.
The women are off to Carrefour, a French supermarket, the wine cabinet is down to its last 20 bottles. I put my order in. I was asked to accompany them but I demurred, my afternoon will be busy. There is a bottle of gris to drink, the sheets on the bed need pressing but before all that, a laze in the shade. By the way gris is a wine like rose wine only the skins are removed at an earlier time so the colour is more green than pink. It is common in Southern France and very popular in Morocco.
A man on a motor bike pulling an articulated trailer has just arrived with all the general commodities needed for the week. The system is that daughter No2 decides the budget, Fatimzara orders the food and necessaries, the man on the bike gets it from wherever, Fatimzara studies the prices paid to ensure no fiddling, daughter No2 then gives him the price plus 70 dirhams for his service. They have not yet found somebody to wipe their arses in the morning but they are interviewing next week.
Another problem has arisen in the pool, water has come from somewhere, nobody knows where but five men are trying to find out, meanwhile the painter has decided to put another coat on the floor and hope it dries quickly. It is still on for tomorrow. The beauty of this place is that there is no weekend, that is a christian invention. The nearest to it is Friday which is prayer day but it does not matter to the women because there are dogs in the house and that stops them from praying. So Sunday tomorrow will be just another day which it is in Boyle for Helen and myself. I am beginning to like this place a lot, here comes the gris and a bit of relaxation after all this arduous writing.
So the afternoon eventually became the evening and another pleasant evening it is enjoyed by all. We sit out by the still unfilled pool for the last rays of the sun and watch it disappear in the west. We have some slivers of pain rustique with a generous smear of butter, a couple of raw broad beans perched on top and lavishly dosed with salt and pepper. I had just picked the beans from the garden and by heck they were good. So simple, so easy and so delicious. You should try this easy snack sometime but you have to have the right bread, pain rustique or baguette are ideal. After about a dozen of these simple bites I was replete. Another swig of wine and into bed for 9.00pm. Morocco is on the same longitude as Britain and moves the clock on an hour on this date so that tomorrow we will all be on Moroccan summer time. So that after this arduous day the sheets welcome me and don’t I look forward to sharing their company.