Friday, 16 November 2007

Breathless at Peaceable

In the immortal words of my old college chum Carla O´Neil, via Chaucer:
"Winter is acumin in
sing we all goddam."

We got the barn roofs repaired, finally. The expense seems monstrous, but Roofs by Antonio was the lowest bid. Antonio´s got a crewcut straight out of James Dean, and a little monkey´s body perfect for scrambling around on rooftops. He´s using polyurethane insulation foam under and around the tiles, instead of the usual cement -- lighter, stickier, better insulating, we are told. (evidently not any cheaper, though!) He guarantees his work for 3 years. Hopefully that´s not the lifespan of polyurathane! (He cements every sixth row of tiles, and the last one at the bottom, to hold it all up there.)

It´s COLD outside, especially in the mornings, but the sun just keeps pelting down... with one good rainshower yesterday afternoon, just in time to try out the new tiles on the barn roof and release an amazing wet-leaf fragrance. So... once we get the dressers and wardrobes and bicycles out of there, it will be just dandy for a donkey or goat or a couple of dogs to spend winter in.

´Cause the dogs are now barred from the people quarters. (Here´s a picture of Libby with Blodwyn the Alpha Hen. They´ve bonded deeply. She´s afraid her friends may see this picture and make fun of her, but I think there is little danger of any of them checking in here.)

Long story short, all the dust, dogs, smoke, and weather changes brought on my usual Autumn asthma bout, and took me yesterday to the local ER. (which I dearly hope my private insurance will pay for, seeing as it really was an emergency and I don´t think driving all the way to Leon or Palencia was an option at the time. Libby can´t drive a stick yet. Paddy is almost blind in one eye, and his driving could put all of us in a hospital.)

I was very glad Libby was along, but I was very sad she and Patrick had to witness all that. At the end of the day, I think Patrick felt worse than I did. We agreed we´ve gotta keep Tim the Dog away from me. Which means exiling both critters to lives outside the kitchen. They both are spoiled rotten, and contribute the lion´s share of dust and mank to our already-compressed living space here at the Peaceable. (No one´s sure what I am so allergic to at the Sahagun piso, though!)

So that´s my excuse for not writing in a while. I am feeling a whole lot better today, thanks to Modern Medicine. And just for the record, the treatment I got here in rural Spain is the equal to anything I´ve received in the finest ERs in the USA.

We´re also preparing for our big two-part holiday in Paris and Malaga. There is a giant transit strike on in Paris just now, and I join millions in hoping to God it doesn´t drag on for much longer.

A couple of very nice Lights in the Dark: A book called "Gilead," by Marilynne Robinson, which is the finest novel I´ve read in years; a richly deserved Pulitzer winner, a gift from Kathy in San Francisco. Everyone should read this book; it is wholly lacking in hurtling helicopters and flaming motorcycle chases, it moves slowly and quietly and luminously. I am actually dreaming it at night. Even Patrick, the world´s most vicious critic, thinks it´s very fine.

And last night, seeing as I slept a lot of the evening away, I got up and wrote out an idea for a new story. Yum! So now I have two of them in the back pocket! Having a story outlined is like having unopened gifts under the Christmas tree. The unwrapping -- the writing -- is really tough work, but it´s the best thing there is to do in life, bar none.

I am lucky indeed. And now back to Sahagun, to find tax forms and paperwork, and maybe make Scottish shortbread.


John Thompson said...

Rebekah -- I agree that 'Gilead' is a magical book. I read it last year while walking from Arles to Puenta la Reina. Stay healthy, and keep blogging -- a small group of Canadians is following your travails with sympathy and interest.

John Thompson said...

Thank you, John... A Canadian stranger! You make me wonder about the Comment Vibe. What makes people leave comments, and are they important? said...

Thank you, John... A Canadian stranger! You make me wonder about the Comment Vibe. What makes people leave comments, and are they important?

John Thompson said...

Rebekah -- I can only speak for myself, but your appreciation of something we both have shared -- 'Gilead' -- certainly stimulated me to respond. It is interesting that those to whom I have recommended that particular book have been only mildly enthusiastic, and in one case not at all. It may be an oversimplification, but I think the wisdom and (I hesitate to use the word) spirituality of 'Gilead' may resonate in particular with folks who have been taken by the magic of the Camino. Anyway, that's my guess.

John Thompson

PL said...

Kathy of San Francisco. Would that be Kathy Gower? If so, I met her at the American Pilgrims gathering in Santa Barbara in '04 I believe. I also know her as a regular poster on several of the newsgroups when I manage to keep up. - Nev