Thursday, 28 January 2010

Heading Out and Crashing Down

Glory be, we made it the whole way down the tunnel called January, and we´re coming out the other side in London, England!

We are not bringing along a computer, (or Ipod or IPad or whatever) so I don´t know when or how I will update posts here. We have a few fun things planned...mostly having to do with cheap ethnic food. We don´t get exotic eats like Rogan Jhosh or spinach pizza or steak & kidney pie out here in Castilla, so we get a little crazy when we hit the Big City.

London in February isn´t exactly a top choice for people smitten by Winter´s damp darkness. But that is where Paddy´s grandkids are, and the Tate Modern is, and most of Paddy´s wild and woolly friends... and Highgate Cemetery. And the Museum of Brands & Trademarks, and the big Van Gogh show at the Royal Academy, and Soane´s House, maybe. We will read The Guardian, in English. And attend the big annual meeting of the Confraternity of St. James, a gathering somewhat akin, at times, to a convention of Monty Python characters. We´ll leave the city to visit Bournemouth and Paddy´s family-man/heavy-metal head-banger son Dan. And hopefully we will do some simple hanging-out in the tranquil confines of Ealing – Paddy´s old neighborhood. Or “neighbourhood,” maybe?

Kim is here to watch the place, and David, of David and Malin fame. Couldn´t ask for better hospitaleros. Bruno and Daniel the Italians (aka “Mario Brothers”) are gone back for a week or so to Barcelona, having left a portable office in an inconvenient part of Calle Ontanon without telling anybody first.

David and Kim will have their hands full, mostly with dogs. The greyhounds are now, officially, ours. Their names are Nabi (or Nobby) and Lulu. They are madly in love with Patrick. They´ve had their first worming and innoculations, they are filling out a bit now and getting frisky and pushy, but Una keeps them under control. (Tim is still a bit miffed about the whole idea. Murph puffs and spits at the very sight of the Galgo Girls through the windows, so we´ve not yet introduced them formally.)

I am amazed at the number of strays that find their way here. And I´m even more amazed that three out of four of them are beautiful, purebred hunters. In a way they remind me of the pilgrims who turn up here: some of them scruffy and worn-out and smelly, some of them ill-mannered or lowdown. But almost all of them clean up pretty well. A few are champions. (Notice I left off mentioning worms when talking about humans. Even though sometimes I gotta wonder.)

Still, four dogs. Woah. A bit much. The last two are still living in the barn, because they still smell really, really nasty.

The rough winter weather is doing a number on the adobe hereabouts. The exotic wall out front of the Alamo has great clots of mud peeling off its face. The always-listing house right at the entrance to town took another swing southward this week. Somebody put ribbons up around the front, so when it does finally let go maybe nobody will be flattened. We shall see. It is a shame.

It´s a litany in Moratinos: “That used to be the finest house in town.”

“A shame. What a shame.”

“Families who can´t agree. Look what happens.”

(This is what happens when inheritance law splits up a property among multiple adult children who are scattered across continents. Three or four of them want to sell, another wants to fix up the place for summer use, and another just wants to wait and see. And so they wait. And so, in time, the place falls down. Everyone thinks it´s terrible. But nobody does anything to change the law.)

A similar story stands a few meters out of town along the N120, where another section of the old Fabrica de Luz collapsed last week. I think I heard when it happened. I thought perhaps a truck had rolled out on the Autopista, but no. Just a building falling down.

I´ve asked the Camino to send us an architect, and/or a garden designer. Our buildings can´t just stand here. They´ve gotta do something nice.

I´ll be back.


claire said...

Have a wonderful time!

Tracy Saunders. said...

Hi Reb,
I was really touched about your post and photos of the greyhounds. How can anyone let such beautiful animals get into such a sorry state? It beggars belief. Luckily you and Patrick are there to help them and I am not surprised that they make their way to you. Dogs smell love on the wind. I'm a cat person myself (bad walking companions!) but would have a dog if I had the space because there probably isn't an animal that has such faith in human beings. Too bad we let them down so often.
My very best regards to you and Patrick. I think you are doing a truly remarkable job.
Tracy Saunders (Priscillian).

Sil said...

"England swings like a pendulum do
Bobbies on bicycles, two by two
Westminster Abbey, the tower of Big Ben
The rosy red cheeks of the little children"
Have a ball!! said...

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