Friday, 28 March 2008


Today was extradordinary, in ordinary ways.

We took a very long hike this morning through the Promised Land, in search of El Monte de Terradillos, a nearby "monte" where local people were taken in the dead of night many years ago to be shot for their liberal beliefs. (Thank goodness we showed up now, or we´d have been out there too. One of my hopes in this world is, that if they ever again round up the bleeding-hearts and intellectuals and artists, there will be enough evidence to convict me.)

Through this long slog we talked about how we might prepare ourselves, one for the loss of the other. Paddy´s present and pending medical tests could have all kinds of outcomes. And one reason we broke with our Previous Lives was a warning from my doctor to me to "make a will, be ready to go any time, and if you want to do something special, do it now, ´cause you might not get to live a long time."

And so we talked. And so we walked, northward, over the first big ridge into a beautiful, green valley. It´s a Lonesome Valley, but thankfully this time we didn´t have to Walk It By Ourselves. (that is a reference to a wonderful old hymn..) But we needed to be back by noon, and we got a little disoriented, and ended up bushwacking cross-country, relying on my navigational wherewithal to get us to the Peaceable in time to meet with Jose Antonio, the boss builder.

We made it. (He was On Spanish Time, which is to say, Late.) And when we rolled in, this is what we saw in the patio:

The color has TRANSFORMED our house, our light, our outlook, not to mention the view from our kitchen. The greens are greener against the ochre. And somehow, the this is signalling "finish" to the project. It is almost scary!

(So I am glad I walked through the house yesterday and wrote down all the things that remain unfinished, and that we expect to be done before we make our final payment. Otherwise I might have seen all that ochre and just handed over all my money to Jose Antonio with a grateful heart, so exciting it was!)

Anyway, the bosses did arrive and tour the place, and I ran right down the list with him, and I even got a little hard-assed when it was called-for (YES, green DOES go with blue, thank you very much!)

...Evidently Jose Antonio phoned Paddy yesterday to tell him to have a large lump of cash ready today, to pay for the work already done. Pad didn´t understand, and faces fell all ´round when we told them no, we don´t have several tens of thousands here in our pockets... but hey! We can go to Sahagun and tell our bank to have the cash ready on Monday. And on Tuesday we´re going to Palencia for Pad´s medical tests, and I´ll have LOTS of time to kill, I can bring it then, right to the office.

So everyone went to lunch. We went to the bank. It had closed at 2. Too late. Damn.
But stepping out of the cafe opposite was... Javier, the bank manager, a man we´d bought a brandy for not two weeks past! And miracle of miracles, in the bank at that moment they were closing things out for the week. Javi unlocked the door, and led us through, and had The Girl count us out all the Euros we needed. In cash.

I love living in a small town! (or nearby). Extraordinary 1.

We went to El Peregrino, a bar/restaurant on the edge of Sahagun that probably has the best Menu del Dia in the town. (Three words: trout, and truck drivers.)
Long story short, I kept an eagle eye on that big envelope of cash, all wrapped up in my winter vest on the chair next to me. We took it home and Jose Antonio counted it out and toured the house with us, and had a glass of Rueda white with us, as a sort of celebration... Cash for him, house for us, viva capitalismo!

Jose Antonio left, we put on some jazz and finished the vino. And I realized I´d left my PURSE hanging on the back of my chair at El Peregrino! I phoned them. Yeah, they had it. And after a quick 9 k. zip into town I found it completely intact. A bricklayer who worked for us last year had recognized my drivers license picture, the barmaid said, and told her to let me realize it was missing before she turned it over to the Guardia Civil. I´m local, he´d said. Tranquilo.

It made me smile. I looked in my purse. The bank book is there, the wallet, the Hard-earned Extanjera card, the Pennsylvania drivers license, my address book! Todo! Hallelujah! Exraordinary 2! The barmaids refused my 20€ "propina," saying they´ve abandoned their purses a time or two themselves at bars or restaurants or discos. "This isn´t the big city," they said.

Thank God for that, and told them I´d come back. The food is fine, the staff honest. I shall recommend the place highly to all my pilgrim friends.

Back at the Peaceable, the men said sure, they´ll paint the interior whatever colors I want, just so they don´t have to bring in more paint. They can tint it however I want, right here... So. Extraordinario 3!

Even though Paddy is blasting the greatest hits of Peter Allen, his old favorite (whom I usually really pretty much loathe) I can deal, as this day has been so tip-top. And every time I look out the window in front of me I see that ochre and white-trimmed house, and the budding lilac tree... and hope springs anew. And Paddy smacks a rhythm on the thick and resonant skull of his dog Tim, who will withstand anything so long as it means Attention From God/Paddy.

Can´t wait til all this phase is finished, and the Pilgrims can join the vibe too.

God is good, people. Even if the Tarot predicts all kinds of mayhem soon. I´ll take whatever sweetness I can get here and now.


Elizabeth said...

We all knew all the hassle (and I use that term loosely) would be worth it in the end. I can't wait to see the house. Sigh. We got snow and ice last night in stupid Ohio. I already have the travel bug again. I'm hoping that my current complications will have an outcome like the Peaceable. I miss you.

The Solitary Walker said...

The colour is great, Rebekah! Though some pilgrims seem to have mixed feelings about Sagahun, I found it one of the friendliest of places when I passed through. Hope all goes well health-wise. Oh, and keep an eye on your purse!

The Solitary Walker said...

I mean Sahagun, of course. Always spelling that wrong.

lillirod said...

The Peaceable is looking gorgeus! Hope everything goes well with Paddy's health. And yes, keep living in the present, after all, that's what we really have. The future is only a promise!