Three weeks ago I drove my wife to the airport and she boarded a plane back to England to play the role of nanny to our grandchildren, their actual nanny having resigned with effect from the end of June. In another week and a half I shall join her over there for a holiday which we had already planned. In the meantime I am living as a bachelor un soltero forzoso, as my Spanish neighbours would put it.
This temporary status appears to conjure up a degree of envy among my expat contacts, who interpret it as a few weeks 'off the hook'. Well, I have to agree that there are certain benefits; I have sole and exclusive use of a bed measuring 160cm x 200cm, no bad thing these hot and sticky nights of summer! I could come and go more or less as I please, were it not too hot right now to come and go anywhere between noon and 9pm. I have been able to be incredibly messy, leaving my papers, pencils, paints, brushes etc, scattered all over the dining table, and so have been able to complete three paintings in as many weeks.
Mainly, though, I have to disillusion my friends. The true benefits of the bachelor life are 1) I now know exactly how the washing machine works, 2) there are progressively fewer creases in my newly-ironed shirts (though not yet a complete absence) and 3) the trip to the recycling bins is less arduous because I only have one person's garbage to take. It's not much, but I'm making the most of it!