She looks across at the sandy beach, empty except for piles of nets, buoys and a couple of upturned skiffs that are waiting to have their hulls patched.
She squints against the glare of the glittering waves as they break on the shore. The sea's in a good mood today and, hopefully, she'll yield her fruit willingly so they have a good catch. Another hour and the sardine fleet will be in and Joaquim will be ready for his dinner.
Seventy-five years old and still out at dawn and sometimes again during the day, he says the day he can't go to sea will be the day he dies. Dona Rosa had a quick word with her son-in-law, the skipper, and now Joaquim's job is restricted to measuring the fish and checking for bycatch.
|Caldeirada - fish stew|
The children will be back soon from school on the bus. They'll gather round Dona Rosa for their daily song in English (today's will be A Life on the Ocean Wave) and then she'll let them pick the ripe oranges from the tree that's burnt from the sea air but produces the juiciest fruit every year. The strawberry tree in the small backyard is full of fruit too and they can pick those so that Joaquim can make his heart-stoppingly strong medronha brandy at the weekend.
Dona Rosa sits in the shade, squints at the horizon, and prays to Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes for the sardine fleet's safe arrival.
Dona Rosa, her husband Joaquim and Serafim are characters from my WIP. It is set in a fishing village in the Alentejo.