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Eye of the Tiger

What a wonderful week of changeable weather: from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Each new day raises a curtain of unpredictability. Daybreak starts sluggishly from the east, revealing an ethereal mist clinging to the undulating landscape. Cold, damp air hovers motionless around the village houses. Plumes of smoke funnel upward from rooftop chimneys and the intoxicating aroma of wood-smoke fills the morning air.

Around the garden, gravity-defying water droplets hang like tiny glass bubbles from intricately woven webs. Natures delicately crocheted doilies draped between dormant grapevines and their rusting training wires.

As the morning progresses temperatures slowly rise and the mist begins to dissipate: an exorcism of sunlight clears the ghostly shroud. Like the steam from a boiling kettle it rises, slowly at first, until the fierce sun pierces through its veil. Higher and higher it climbs before merging into the powder-blue sky.

A cold chill has gripped the earth, so tightly it refuses to let go. The sun begins its vain battle to warm the day. The only interruptions to this momentous struggle are wispy vapour trails from passing airliners. They linger in the air, broadening and contorting as they fade from view.

The window of time for the rise and fall of winter sunshine shortens with each passing day. Under its watchful gaze we revel in its brief victory against the wintry season. Although short and infrequent, its brief triumph reminds us of the delights of long, hot, lazy, summers.

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Lengthening shadows alert us to early evening; there’s just enough time to sample the progress of our maturing wine. Our evening tasting has transformed into a celestial ceremony. Taking due care and reverence, I dispense a generous measure of white wine into a small glass jug.

We sit around a small table in the far corner of the garden: a patch of grass longest served by ultra-violet. Sipping delicately from tall-stemmed glasses, we savour the evolving colour and maturing flavours. Its current hue is that of mellow apple-cider; as for taste, it’s neither dry nor sweet and exhibits a fruity, heady flavour. As the sun descends over the western horizon, our evening ritual is brought to an abrupt end; a biting chill whistles through the air.

The waning sun heralds the rising of a red moon: a textured giant looking close enough to touch. Dark silhouettes of wispy clouds float across the sky, framing the red moon like the eye of a tiger: a surreal, science-fiction landscape even Hollywood would struggle to recreate.

As the moon ascends its colour transforms from a fiery-red ball into a bright-yellow glow. The night is tinged with luminous silver rays casting jet-black shadows over the Galician countryside. The curtain falls on a stunning day. I’m mournful of its passing yet eager for another to begin.

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