Seasonally relocating for the summer is such a civilised practice. The chance to adopt a different persona; to be someone else for the sun drenched months, revealing more than would be appropriate in a metropolitan setting. This island is inhabited by a rolling population as generations of the same family come and go. The settled ones seem to be older gentlemen visited by their spouses at weekends. Those ‘24/7’ guys live out a second adolescence with enthusiasm or more accurately with a firm commitment to pottering!
The summer visitors demand a peace and quiet that puts building work out of bounds. How awfully convenient this seems, but the retired gentlemen interpret the restrictions liberally as to neglect routine maintenance would be unbearable! When ones wife returns on Friday evening signs of ‘in week’ movement must be obvious. Mr P dedicates a not inconsiderable amount of time to keeping the dipping pool clean. When I say dipping I do of course mean paddling pool. Every morning he retrieves the long handled net from the outdoor shower and peers into the pool for overnight signs of invasion. The wrist action required for this delicate operation is precise. Concentrating intently Mr P rescues each beetle individually before flicking the net over the wall. His roman nose straight as a ski slope down which I would happily slalom!
Once the pool is cleansed of wildlife it’s time to take a coffee with the wooden seagull in the shade of the veranda. The pause ages this mature gentleman adding an element of vulnerability. Stroking his brow soothingly would be affectionately appropriate. He looks up catching my eye, we nod smiling as we acknowledge each other. A baseball cap shades his eyes over aviator sunglasses. A white t-shirt emblazoned with a marine motif hangs loosely over navy sail cloth shorts. Muscular shoulders a perfect frame from which the fabric drapes down until it catches on the rise of his high buttocks. My eye casually gazes on shaped thigh downward, slowly enjoying the journey.
Discretely sited down the side of the veranda is an outdoor shower; curiously practical when returning sandy from the beach. Or when ones morning routine has made one uncomfortably sticky; from where I sit closing my eyes the musky scent of last night’s aftershave mingles with this morning’s perspiration. Where is a newspaper to fan the air when a lady is a little overheated? Mmm Mr P!
And as if reading my mind he walks across the veranda pulling a heavy navy towel off the washing line, flings it over his shoulder as he walks towards the cubicle. ‘Distractedly’ pausing to look into the dipping pool Mr P pulls the t-shirt over his head before opening the half glazed door and entering the outdoor shower. Does he know I’m watching? Or should I more accurately say I am still reading Virginia Woolf in the shade of the house! I’m still only semi awake although I confess to being rather more alert than I was 10 minutes ago!
The sound of the water hitting the glass echoes hollowly only slightly muffled by the distance between us. Mr P’s adjusts the temperature bending to remove his remaining clothing; the loose shorts are flung over the edge of the shower door. The obscured glass both conceals and reveals. Tilting his head back the shower pressure massages his face or so I imagine!Minutes later the door opens and Mr P emerges with the towel tucked firmly around the tops of his hips, just below his waistline. Glossy wet hair smoothed back with the flat of his hand; combing his hair with his long supple fingers finishing with a puppy dog shiver!
Decorum gets the better of me and I retreat indoors for blast of cool air; a short lie down is called for! For the exhibitionist the outdoor shower affords a certain frisson; defined as an intense moment of excitement, a shudder. How aptly accurate!