Yes, after all that water business we had Christmas after all. The turkey turned out beautifully, no one drank too much or behaved badly or insulted anyone that I know of. Everyone got something they wanted. The wonderful Care Package from America arrived just in time (and Una tore the end of it open looking for the rawhide bone she knew was in there!) So we are sweatered, socked, and chewied-up for the coming months, not to mention stuffed with chocolates, cookies, and baklava.
A high point of the day was a performance by Kelly, a marionette who plays a tiny violin to recordings of Bob Denver hits. He dances in the streets of market towns all over Spain, collecting coins for Malin and David, our friends from up on the mountain near Astorga. The three of them came down to Moratinos for Christmas. Malin and David are living in Pedredo, a village even smaller and more remote than here... and much colder! They have lots of love to keep them warm there, but they still like to get a hot shower now and then. And we´re always happy to oblige. We know what that´s like.
The day after Christmas I went with Malin and David to Burgos for a party thrown by the Castilla y Leon Couch Surfers. We had a blast! It was held at the Leftists United Club, right in the heart of the old city -- a den of Reds, with portraits of Lenin and Zapata and La Apassionara on the walls and a heavy pall of smoke over all. (Couch Surfing isn´t political, btw. We met there because the bartender is the organizer´s boyfriend. Still, one thing I love about Spain is a person can be a Commie right out in public, and not be put on a Watch List.) A good 40-odd Couch Surfers packed in from Palencia, Valladolid, Madrid, Burgos, and Leon, with guitars and good spirits, noise and tons of food. We sang songs and ate and drank and talked about religion and history and culture and issues -- real adult conversation, albeit in mostly rapid-fire Spanish. I translated ceaselessly, as David is less-than fluent. I understood, and I spoke, and I translated it back to English, with people even listening-in to practice their English comprehension! Woowee, good thing everyone had a few beers in them!
David and Malen went back to sleep in their van, rejoicing in having spent an evening with people who are under age 60 and not shepherds. I surfed the couch of a woman named Mari Mar, a social worker who was full of passion for her job and kindness for the world in general. We caught a cab back to her house at 3:30 a.m., after waiting in a taxi rank for 20 minutes -- the streets of Burgos were heaving with lively young people all through the night. When do these people ever sleep?
Meanwhile, back at The Peaceable, all was quiet. Murphy´s splints were removed just before Christmas, and he´s making his way back to the barn for longer and longer periods. Tim is as needy as ever. David gave us a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, which we started to assemble in the living room. Tim is jealous of the attention poured over it. I suspect he has eaten at least two pieces.
The Christmas bush twinkles on. I like it there, and may just leave it up for a while. Christmas here in Spain marches on til Three Kings Day, so why not?
We have two pilgrims in the house tonight. They arrived on the doorstep at sunset, sent here by a neighbor who found them out on the trail. They meant to stay back at Ledigos or Terradillos, but everyone who owns a pilgrim albergue has decided to close up shop for the holiday -- even though they are listed in all the guidebooks as "open year-round." Bad, bad. It means the pilgrim who walks from Carrion de los Condes may find himself hiking the whole way to Sahagun before he finds an open albergue -- a good 40 kilometers!
This makes Paddy mad. Tomorrow he wants to hike back to Terradillos and put a sign on their door, directing the stranded souls to our house.
I´ve kinda missed having pilgrims around. I like these two. People who walk in winter are serious, hardcore pilgrims, not party-animal tourists. There aren´t so very many of them. And this is why we came here.
Still, I also am enjoying the silence and solitude.
But we probably will do it. People gotta sleep someplace. We have beds. Hell, we´re certified Couch Surfers, after all!