Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Pigs and Pennants: A Salute

Have a look at all the widgets on the right. My favorite is the one with all the little flags on it. It shows who´s reading the blog today, or at least where they are in the world.

I always loved flags. When I was a little girl we owned a big black-backed encyclopedia
full of all kinds of fabulous facts. What I liked best (aside from the sweet smell of black ink) was the Plates In Full Colour. And of those, (aside from the transparencies showing human innards) were the Flags of the World pages. All those colors and symbols and coats-of-arms, representing exotic, god-knows-where places! Me and my sister Beth played guessing games with them, thus adding to our vast stores of utterly useless geography trivia.

And so today it feeds my self-regard, knowing at a glance that someone in Neidersachsen, Germany read five blog pages, and someone else from Baja, Mexico looked at two... and yet another, in Ulan Bator, looked at one. (he stumbled in accidentally whilst searching for "castration nurses".)

Quiet days here. Two pilgrims coming tomorrow, our first of February.
My seedlings are up: sunflowers, tomatoes, lavender, catnip. Today I planted red hot chili pepper seeds! I´m sure I am way too early. They all will likely die before they ever hit the real dirt. But this makes me feel hopeful, seeing green things emerge from the soil and stand up straight and form leaves.

Out in the patio, the spring bulbs are sprouting. In October I planted 200 bulbs, so this place oughtta burst into bloom one of these days soon.

Which makes me wonder about you readers from faraway, exotic locales. If you come here looking for deep insights on living on the Camino de Santiago, I am not sure you are well-served these wintry days, what with me blathering on about holes in the ground and seedlings. If it´s me and Patrick that draw you here, you must think we are two supremely boring individuals. (and you are probably right.) (Paddy and I are getting up each others´ noses lately.)

I prefer to think it´s the scintillating prose and sparkling wit. Or maybe my cunning over-use of parentheses?

And now I´ve gone all stream-of-consciousness on you all.

Maybe I should´ve just posted the blog I wrote this afternoon, the one all about pigs and pork and bar food and St. Martin´s Day. It fell victim to my Short Attention Span, I fear. Pigs are here among us, eating and sleeping and minding their pig business, fertilizing gardens and growing fat and adding texture and culture to our lives. But they are kept in the neighbors´ barnyards, invisible to the naked eye. Which makes them hard to write about compellingly. They´re silent and invisible, of course, until you are bringing some innocent visitors over to see the bodega, and you pass along behind the neighbors´ back gate, and you hear the pig in there... and he´s shrieking. Shrieking! And you realize, even as you skip up the path and round the corner, that it´s St. Martin´s Day, and that pig´s being butchered, right this minute, right on the other side of the gate.

OMG. I realize I´ve just heard that pig´s last words. I feel so guilty, somehow.

But when the neighbor gives me a lovely loop of chorizo sausage, likely made from that same pig, I thank her with genuine thankfulness. Because it is delicious. And maybe because I am a bit of a swine myself.

I wonder why all the flags of the world that have animals on them have eagles or snakes or lions or elephants.

Pigs are good chaps. Good chops, too. There ought to be a flag.


Anonymous said...

Good blog, wife.

Nana said...

I too love your little flags indicating where everyone is reading. Being the one reading in Baja, I am short changed often as I am identified as "area unknown". Our home is in Punta Banda which is a short distance south of Ensenada but location is listed as TJ.

Presently,we are wintering in La Paz and sometimes it will place us in La Paz; but lately it's "unknown". What a shame for "peace" is truly a location to be known.

Gary White said...

And I'm always listed as "unknown location" in spite of the fact that I'm only five miles away here in Sahagún.

Libby said...

I like piggies, too, but only the Spanish ones. The others are just too boorish (hahahahahaha!).

Virginia said...

I am drawn in by your sweet memories of sharing the dusty encyclopedia with your sister...I feel a kinship to you. How many hours my sister and I spent, tucked behind my father's armchair, poring over colorful "plates", dreaming big dreams of a big world...

"Have yu seen the little piggies..."...the tune is running rampant in my brain now! (Was that a Beatles tune) Being the (former) Plymouth County Pork Princess, I respond to things-piggish or porkful.

Keep up the parenthetical it!

Your Reader from an Undislosed Location...

In Sunny Santa Fe

Anonymous said...

Don't feel sorry for the pigs. Of allthe farm animals it's the pigs who will eat humans should they find a dead one handy. so eat them before they eat you! From the prairies of Midwest.

PL said...

Never have I seen a country with more pigs or dogs than Spain. They luvs them some pork in Spain.

I remember walking through Monesterio, reading the banners on all the light posts on the main drag "13th annual pork festival."

- Nev

Anonymous said...

You're a bit early, but March is National Pig Month (in case you didn't know). I remember those flag plates too. They were Collier's Encyclopedias. Love you,