Monday, September 03, 2007

Just Passed Me By

September. End of summer. One of Ian McEwan’s saddest stories was called “End Of Summer”. September. Holidays over. September has a simple alliteration - sad. It’s a sadness part nostalgic - new school year, darker evenings, changes to TV schedules, heavier dews, the start of the fall, misty mornings of Indian summers. This is not a nostalgia confined only to the past or to England; it is also a present and here in Mallorca. September. Though the sun and heat remain, there is a perceptible change. Though the season has some weeks to run, the press refers to the “fin de la temporada”. Though September is usually a month of plenty for the bars and restaurants, owners start to see an end, start to count the days to taping up the facades for winter.

The beach, though still busy, now has the spectres of the past months; the ghosts of those who have passed across the sand, briefly met and befriended. A holiday villa here and there has had its terrace stripped of furniture. A Mallorcan-owned seaside second home has been evacuated, its occupants returning to Palma or the hinterland. An apartment has had its “se alquila” sign re-posted onto the door.

The people start to change. Earnest septuagenarians with spindly legs and backpacks lope through the streets of the old towns; couples, with no need for July or August, stroll along the quieter shores; older Germans, baked the colour of mahogany after a summer by a Bavarian Baggersee, oil themselves for a final leathering.

September. The end of summer, even though summer continues. September. And you think - where did it all go?

Yesterday - the missing words were “of oil”, meaning therefore Billy Bragg (his one-time roadie was Andy Kershaw). Today’s title is a line from a song preceded by four words, summer being one of them; these four words contained the song’s title. By?


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