Thursday, 21 June 2007
Roofless No More!
Big News! The wood finally showed up on Monday, and today, Thursday, (I can say without fear of contradiction) there is a real, honest-to-God ROOF on our house! It's got timbers, and crossbeams, and insulation, and ondulina leak-proofer stuff, and hooks for gutters! And soon they'll put the old tiles back on! Ta-daaa! My entire outlook is changed, especially where clouds and thunderheads and relative humidity is concerned.
It's still a bumpy road. The wood people tell us our builder hasn't paid them yet, and they'll stop delivering on Friday if he doesn't show up with 5,000 Euro by then. Oooo-KAY. Still, I'm not making his problems my problems until the work stops. Right now there are guys up in the eaves pounding on things, running machines, and whistling. Now and then, when the washing machine changes cycles and the saw is going as well, we lose our lights. Gotta love it. (one of these days they're going to re-do the wiring too.)
Our friend Edie Bennett came here on the train two days ago, and slept on the kitchen floor with Immacolata, the Italian pilgrim I told you about before. We all feasted and chatted and chased chickens. Yesterday Immacolata took to the road again, and Edie offered to watch the place so Paddy and I could take some time out. So we did. We went to Zamora, an old city to the west of us, just north of Salamanca.
Very cool. We stayed at the de-luxe Parador, a five-star set up in a 16th century duke's palace. We spent way too much money, and walked around the pedestrianized streets, and saw inside probably a dozen Romanesque churches. This is unusual for Spain; where every town has an abundance of lovely old churches but none of them is ever unlocked. These guys have it going on, though... they take really good care of their patrimony, and they keep the doors open so they can show it off, God bless 'em! We saw some strikingly beautiful and well-preserved tapestries, frescos, and carvings.
Another remarkable thing was the preponderance of storks. Every steeple and belfry and high place had a bushy stork-nest wig all bristling with families of flapping, clacking, courting black-and-white birds.
We went to Zamora via Vilafafria, a huge bird preserve and home to the world's biggest population of endangered Avutarda birds.. a sort of colorful turkey. (I've seen a few around our place.) We saw almost nothing but really bad roads and dusty towns, as we got rather lost for a while. We did see an enormous bright green snake, though, which made it worthwhile! And a field alive with dozens of storks, all of them jumping and playing and carrying on together... a stork party! Yeehaw!
And now we are home again, and what a change was wrought in a day... the second floor is almost habitable again! It's a long way from Parador five-star luxe, but it's mine and I love it. (the pics above show the interior at the Parador and the one at our house. Try to figure out which is which!)
Tomorrow I am back to Zamora with Juli, our neighbor who is taking a comprehensive English Teaching exam. Maybe I will see all the things I missed yesterday. Or maybe just give my Spanish a real workout.
More news soon. Paddy says he'd like to walk the Camino Aragonese himself in coming days, as he needs a "general shake-down." Keep lighting those candles, people, 'cause things are happening!