Greetings from Moratinos, por fin!
The fields are a shocking lime green, even if the sky is iron. The cold is dry, a very welcome change from the London damp that soaked right through my best wool coat. London was great. It opened my eyes to many things, most of them to do with people.
This trip to England I saw almost no great art or buildings or historic wonders. I only saw the temporary kind of treasure, the human kind. We spent quality time with beautiful creatures both great and small: Jack, Hope, Luke, Liza, Dan and Mandi, Jo and Tom, Mike and Sandy and Derek and Roger and Ian and John and Stephen and Buddy and Jonah and tired old Daisy. I finally met Moira and "The Second Jo" and Jean and Sarah and a long list of Paddy´s friends and lovers and wives from back when Paddy was a tragically hip art student and/or workaholic hard-partying tabloid London journo. Just about everyone I met was really worth talking to. Good, smart people, intelligent enough to hold on to good friends through passing years. Paddy may be a pensioner these days, but he is rich when it comes to friends.
Meanwhile, back at the Peaceable, a little community formed and functioned. Kim shimmered about, keeping the candles lit and the carpets vacuumed and the dogs well scruffled. Malin arrived about halfway through our absence to cook vegetarian meals and walk the Galgo Girls and haul a ton of sand into what will be our vegetable garden. David cleared out the mess in the back yard, established a new compost pile, and worked alongside Brian (yes, THAT Brian, a certified welder), to fix up Malin and David´s beat-up old VW van. (Brian somehow arrived soon as we left, and took off just as we came home. One must marvel at these coincidences.) And Daniel, the Argentine half of the Mario Bros., got the new albergue building project off to a roaring start.
It was a beautiful few days, Kim says. Everyone behaved and cooperated and got along just fine. Nothing broke down, no one exploded or got dramatic or even threw up. It was Peaceable, but strange, she said.
We came home and ended the interlude, set the dials back to "normal" (and the thermostat back to 18C). Last night Kim went to bed early. Paddy stayed up to midnight with Malin and David, teaching them how to play Texas Hold-Em. He enjoyed himself, even if it´s hard for him to admit it -- he is a good teacher, Pad.
Malin and David left this afternoon, their van now driveable, the house in much better order than when they first arrived. (Malin cried, but not too tragically.) Kim went to Santander to see her novio. Now it´s just us and Daniel, who spends his days over at the Albergue San Bruno and his evenings here, speaking rapid-fire Argentine Spanish.
Paddy and I have done very little to encourage fine people to come here and help us out so well and be our friends, but here they are, picking us up at the airport and driving us home and keeping dinner warm til we arrive. They wash the dishes, clean out the garage, chop firewood, shovel up the dog doo, work the garden soil... the hard jobs we put off as long as we can.
They are young and strong and beautiful, this bunch. Unlike old friends, we´ve done almost nothing to earn their kindness or (can I say it?) devotion. But they keep returning, keep loving us and our animals and our scruffy little finca in our poky little town.
They show me the definition of "grace," a big old word in Christian circles: "undeserved favor."
We are chilling our way back to our regular rhythm, taking Murph to town for his shots, making delicious cauliflower dal for lunch, reassuring the Galgo girls, moving fragrant bales of straw from the new albergue site to our spick-and-span garage, showing Max the Rooster once again who is boss of the back yard. (that will be ME, pal.) It all is ordinary. But these days, post-London, I see again how beautiful it is.