Wednesday, 25 February 2009

A Great Escape

The sun has been shining for days, giving everybody, especially the farmers, a real boost. Modesto, who Knows These Things, says we´ll only have a couple more little tastes of winter, and he´s so confident of continued sun he´s having his roof worked on! The Paddy´s out in the patio, contentedly painting pictures and trashing the place, snapping photos of the canary, cat and dogs. I am trying to catch up with all the writing, PR, and editing projects I told people I will help with.

And today being the first day of Lent, I have joined Living Water, a Christian non-profit that drills water wells in needy lands. People like me swear off drinking anything but water for at least two weeks of Lent, and donate the money saved to help them pay for water drilling. It looks like a win-win sort of deal to me: they raise some funds, the Africans get fresh water, and I get my system flushed-out.

But "everything but water" includes coffee, tea, and Diet Coke. Caffeine. I had my last cup of coffee last night, after dinner... I have been slowly cutting back my caffeine consumption over the past couple of months, so I am managing. No headaches or crankiness. But dear God in heaven am I SLEEPY!

...Or maybe it´s yesterday that´s done it to me. We had a lovely day out yesterday, a drive up to Rabanal del Camino, a mountain village on the camino west of Astorga. Way up there, our hospitalero trainees Malin and David are house-sitting at a riding stable. They had us over for a day of hanging out and horses.

And it was a resplendent day, one of the best of 2009 so far! The weather was perfect. Rabanal, even shuttered for the winter, was its usual charming self, with the little monastery bells chiming the hours and the white, silent mountains standing tall all ´round. (Rabanal is where the London confraternity keeps Refugio Gaucelmo, its original shipshape pilgrim hostel. It´s where Paddy and I did our first gig as hospitaleros, back in 2003.)

It´s rough up at the Centro Ecuestre. There are 11 horses of varying sizes and abilities, a nice long barn that wasn´t built too solidly, not quite enough pasture to deal with all the creatures, a three-quarters-built house that runs on a diesel generator and springwater, and two pony-sized dogs. And a mountain view straight off a postcard!

Some folks came over the mountain from the growing hippie communities in Foncebadon and Manjarin, including a horse-mad 14-year-old girl visiting from Normandy and a waitress from Germany. So all us girls rounded up a horse each, saddled up, and took off for a trail ride over the mountain. The menfolk sat out on the porch and took in the view and some quantities of vino and let themselves be enchanted by the canine colossus. Everyone got sunburned, but everyone ended the day with a big smile.

And David made some Ukrainian borscht that was to die for. Maybe that´s what´s making me so sleepy now?

Back here in Moratinos there was a bit of excitement this afternoon: at long last the Teacher House over in San Nicolas went up for its blind auction. We didn´t win. I am telling myself that is a good thing, it was going to be a mountain of work and we still need to focus our money and time on this place.

Still, it was fun dreaming for a while. Maybe when the contract comes up again in three years we can make a better bid. Or maybe something better will appear.


claire bangasser said...

Thank you for mentioning 'Living Water.' The other website I heard of today is Carbon Fast...

Thank you for mentioning Rabanal. I can now walk up the path, where all the straw crosses are woven in the wire, and then at some point, see Rabanal in the distance.

I was going to say, when I die, I want to be a ghost walking the Camino. But that's a bit morbid. Even though so often I have felt souls walking along me...

Thank you for another neat post.

Virginia said...

Ukrainian borscht in Spain - I would be in heaven! (Spent 27 months in Ukraine, on the Black Sea and ten years in Spain...I get homesick for my past!)

I have been dreaming lately, of wild horses in northern Spain...nice to see your horsey post.

Enjoy your water ... and thanks for your wonderful posts.

Counting Down to My Camino!