You might not think of it today, but in winter rain inundates the terrace, and a cold wind blows off the mountain, sweeping the residual summer heat out to sea.
Frost grows on the stones, like pale lichen. They bring in the statuary then, all those smug and unabashed, and naked, cherubs, the sylphs and satyrs.
And the women of flesh and blood who cross-leg the Art-Deco chairs and lean against the balustrade overlooking the bay, exposed, but not to be stared at, they too have gone away, and the blue sky has brought down its grey shutters, and the waiters have been sacked, until spring. They have headed north, to deeper snows, whiter frosts and ice blue skies beneath a bright sun.
A few of us stick out the grey, wet months, clean, even into the awkward places, the unseen corners, the surfaces that cannot be seen until you are on your hands and knees, on your back.
We lift the carpets and beat them. Dust does not fly as it would on dryer days, but falls sullen to the stone, from which it must be scraped rather than brushed, washed rather than blown away.
We net a cleaner's haul too, of what's been lost, overlooked, dropped, forgotten, cast away. Jewellery sometimes, wedding bands. Underwear, almost always a disappointment. The most appalling clothes. Jogging pants. Cotton Ts. There are the usual toothbrushes, combs, cosmetics. Cufflinks every now and then – rarely a matching pair. Earrings. Occasional tissues, used; sometimes bloody.
Hastily stashed joints; rarely, a book with one page folded down; letters that might incriminate in the wrong hand. Buttons fallen off, pulled; too much food and wine; enough lust.
Once a dress shoe, a man's in a single lady's room. Imagine him in the dawn's slanting light, limping away. Dried tears on the pillows are too faint to see.
We look for money; small denomination coins. Someone, whom you never meet, but hear of down the chain, is always said to find a folded wad that will not be reclaimed. Most common of all, I doubt you'll guess, chargers for mobile phones, computers, cameras, other toys.
Everything that we can lift, take down, un-string, unhinge, un-hang, we wash or wipe or brush, or throw away. Rain stipples the windows where the view is best. We watch the raindrops gather like a crowd, and then disperse.