I don´t think I won the blog contest, (I am pretty sure I came in second), but seeing as my web access is so limited these days I decided that´s not a great priority just now. I gotta blog while I can, before the LAN goes all funny again.
We are now hosting our first full-on pilgrim guest person, a woman named Patricia. She is lame in the right foot, and will stay til Wednesday. She is from Hackney, London, via North Carolina, Switzerland, Tasmania, and all points in between. She speaks all kinds of languages and can do all kinds of things, including sailing yachts and diagnosing the injuries of race horses using a pendulum. And she´s a fine cook! We went into Sahagun this morning to shop, and her fresh take on the morning´s events refreshed my own view of the grubby old town. Buying broccoli really IS an adventure here if you´ve never done it. And the busload of Japanese tourists who descended on the shops just as we did gave me a fresh appreciation for the patience of the local storekeepers.
Thomas the Dutch handyman is STILL here, still struggling with the roof over our back gate, still cleaning up as he goes. He is driven. His idea of a cleanup is not only all the roofing and concrete mess he made over the past two weeks, but also all the scrap lumber and timbers left behind in the yard after Anselmo cut most of it into firewood last month. Anselmo, at age 30-something, said he couldn´t move the big timbers alone. But here is Thomas, at age 60, somehow getting the entire pile up the yard and stacked under the shiny new tin roof he installed last week. What a guy! And tomorrow, he says, he´s off over the Pyrenees to find work in France. On his bicycle.
His moving-on will make room for Danny, a Couch Surfer/pilgrim from Annapolis USA, who is walking the Camino with someone named Jess. Couch Surfing is a wonderful idea whose time has come, a way for travelers to share their lodgings, hometowns, and company with one another all over the planet. You can find more info here.)
Danny is also a computer engineer, and I´m hoping he can take a single look at the spaghetti of computer wires and tell me exactly how to set up a wifi network at The Peaceable...or at least return my present rambling wreck to reliability. Like Patricia, Danny and Friend can expect a warm welcome, great food, and a real bed to sleep in, but they´re expected to contribute something, too. And they do, gladly. So far.
We also are, sometime this week, expecting another pilgrim... an Italian lady. She´s not said just when. And there´s always the chance a random soul will wash up here, someone we told long ago to "stop in whenever." All these people and the mix of beds had me wondering if Jess is a male or female, and if he/she could share a room and bed with Danny, or if we´d have to split up a happy couple because the double bed was already occupied. I guess hoteliers have to think of these things. I have never thought of myself as a hotelier.
As such, the big question just now is beds. We now are proud purveyors of a single bed in the blue room, and a rather snug sort of double bed in the green room, a single bed in the rather Spartan despensa (although it does have its own bathroom and kitchen now, with two dogs thrown in for good measure.) And now a snug double mattress on the floor in the salon. And a nice leather sofa. (The spankin´ new big double bed Paddy and I now use is not included in these equasions. Some things I will not share, even with the best pilgrim!)
So... If Thomas leaves tomorrow, the bed in the despensa will be open. Patricia has moved herself to the mattress in the salon, so that leaves the green and blue and despensa beds open. Which means all three of the travelers can show up tomorrow and still all have a place to lay their weary heads, although one of them may feel kind-of put-out if he sees the other parts of the house before repairing to his chilly, pitch-dark, windowless despensa room. (But then one of them may be a mendicant hermit. Which means the despensa will be right up his street.)
Tim and Mimi dogs are not allowed inside the new house. Una is allowed into the kitchen, but she can´t get up onto the furniture. It´s been a fascinating learning process, seeing how well they know the boundaries, and how they push the limits... like Tim "sleeping" in the doorway, with a single paw poking over the sill. He lives in hope.
I say all the above to say this: The Peaceable Kingdom seems like it is Open for Business. The dream is coming true! (now if I could only find a graceful, trouble-free way to make it pay...)
Once in a while I catch Patrick´s eye, and we share a kind of strain. We are hermits. We really love our down time, our long walks along the canals with just the dogs, long afternoons just sitting in the sun reading. Our great house-building project is, for all practical purposes, finished, but we have yet to spend a day alone together inside it. (And it is wonderful! Following wise advice from an early visitor, we focused on making the kitchen-sitting room a clean, comfortable space first, so we´d have a refuge from the chaos in the rest of the house. It´s a delight, even without any art on the walls yet.)
We know we will have many, many days alone together here -- or at least we hope we will. We know that being hosts to the International Lame and Halt was a primary purpose for coming here, and we do enjoy the company now coming to our new lovely place.
But in an odd way we also miss one another, the little kitchen, the rumpus of three dogs and a couple of pilgs coming in from the rain. Just for a coffee and a sello. Just for now.