Tuesday, 6 May 2008


I´m exhausted. Paddy would call it "knackered." Knackered is what you do with dead horses. Those colorful English people! (Or is it "colourful?" The "k" is silent, for all you non-native speakers.)

We have moved everything from Sahagun to Moratinos, where we still have no doors or faucets at the Peaceable, but hope springs eternal. I knackered myself this morning by taking the three dogs on a very long walk in the hot sunshine. I am exploring a network of medieval roads near here, now used only by sheep herds and shepherds and tractors. They connect Moratinos to half-abandoned villages like Poblacion del Arroyo and Ledigos and Villabilla. The lanes are completely isolated -- all you see out there, horizon to horizon, is lush fields of grain, hedgerows, and the occasional distant church tower. It´s the things you hear that make it most remarkable: cuckoos, the breeze whispering over the silvery grain-tops, the buzz of a partridge breaking cover and Tim and Mimi yipping with joy. (Una sticks near me, and is very quiet these days.) These farm roads are sunk a good meter and a half below the level of the fields. There´s a truly medieval vibe out there. I wish I could show it to you.

We found our way back via Terradillos de Templarios, and chatted our way into town with some German pilgrims who wanted to take adorable, friendly little Mimi away, but did not in the end. Damn.

Another reason I am knackered is we spent our first night in the "new" house last night, and I didn´t sleep very well. Different room, different bed, and Paddy right there next to me. In Sahagun we slept in two singles, bumped up against one another: a Franco-era holdover also familiar to viewers of "I Love Lucy" re-runs. (Yes, we quietly assume married people sleep together... but NOT in the very same bed! OMG!) Anyway, the months of semi-togetherness showed me the that Lucy and the Generalissimo might have been on to something. We could still hold hands, and I could still yell and poke at Paddy when he snored, but we slept better, in general, without any cold-feet issues or blanket-hogging.

Enough intimacy! This is supposed to be about knackering! So I didn´t sleep well. My hands kept going numb, and at about 3 a.m. Una let herself into the house, looking for company. We´d tacked a blanket over the bedroom door, so she was fooled. She curled up on the bed in the next room, which means I have to wash that &%%$ mattress cover again! Aaargh!

And after I got medieval hiking the dogs, I went back to Sahagun to shop a bit and to clean up the apartment. Hard work, and all I could get on the radio was La Cuarenta Principales: the Top 40. Plus Pop Favorites From Years Past. In Spain this means LOTS of Rod Stewart and lots of songs you only otherwise hear in gay bars. (In the past year I have heard "It´s Raining Men" and "Somebody To Love" more times than I have in all my many years before. Not that I hang out much in gay bars, but somehow I know this. And yes, I do love gay bars. The ones they will let me go into. Everybody dances!)

I found a virtual biological bomb in the bottom of the fridge, when I was finished with all the rest of the place. I left it there to clean up tomorrow, when we have to return to collect the Turkish rug and take out the trash and drop off the keys with Josefina, the landlady we affectionately call The Trout. I am glad to be out of there. That stairway was about to finish me off.

I came home to three dogs sacked out asleep on the patio pavement, Patrick painting a big new picture on a piece of plywood, swallows diving and dipping after bugs (they´re nesting in the barn!) and a jolly mix of colored sheets flapping on the clothesline. I had a huge glass of water and climbed the stairs and had a delicious nap.

The evening was devoted to The Future. I planted more plants. I started translating my Drivers Ed manual into English. I talked to a Norwegian bud about doing Podcasts every couple of weeks about Expatriate Life on the Camino. And Paddy and I decided I oughtta go ahead and walk the Camino Ingles, or "The English Way" starting at the end of this week. I feel a bit irresponsible, seeing as things are still going on here, but I think we need a break from one another, and I´m the only one willing to leave the house. (Pad´s becoming the consummate homebody, even in the face of great travel offers: 7 nights in a 4-star in Havana, round-trip airfare from Madrid, 780€!!) Maybe we will go together this year to Venice, something we´ve wanted to do for a long time... if we can find a good person to watch the dogs and chickens.

If we get faucets, and countertops, and doors. And furniture. And the laundry done. And a good night´s dog-free sleep.


Anonymous said...

Knackered is a great word is'nt it?
Truly sums up that overwhelming tiredness which leaves you unable to think let alone move!
I thought you might be interested in the above blog,it has some great pics of a recent visit to venice

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say after reading my last comment,I am not the author of the blog(phew must rember to preview future comments first ) just another one I enjoy.