Sunday, 12 June 2011

Big Fun in Squidgy Mud

Gordon & his boys
thoroughly modern Miraz
The busy season is upon us, and it may have peaked this week. I did an overnighter to Galicia, where I visited friendly, feisty South African hospitalero Gordon Bell at Casa Banderas, and attended the bishop´s blessing of the newly reconstructed pilgrim hostel at Miraz, a Confraternity of St. James (London) project on the Camino del Norte. I picked up lots of wonderful Galician and Bierzo wine for the bodega, and a fresh cow-milk soft cheese from Arzua, and cherries from the orchards in Cacabelos.

We then spent two fun, raucous days hosting 13 people from the architecture program at University of Michigan. (the Arzua cheese and the cherries and 14 liters of Bierzo Mencia vanished without a trace!) We made earth plaster and cob mortar, and the students rendered one wall of the bodega in the spiky goo that all our houses are made of. Big educational fun in squidgy mud. I would have taken pictures, but I was too muddy to handle cameras. So much of architecture education is conceptual, philosphical, aesthetical. I felt good, showing them how "vernacular architecture" lives and dies before our eyes. And it was good getting them down in the mud, where all buildings really begin... some of them really dug it. 
 I made the year´s first gazpacho! YUM!
Paddy and I also oversaw the ongoing patio and studio projects out back, and looked at a house that´s for sale in San Nicolas. (no, we didn´t buy it.) We got some sobering results of our bi-annual health checkups, and good news from Laurie, a friend who is now in the heart of Galicia, beta-testing the updated Camino Invierno guide. (It works! Now if the CSJ people would only post it on the website, other people could benefit this summer.) 

I started a rewrite on eight chapters of a novel sent over by Mitch, a Pulitzer-winner bud who used to go grafitti-painting with me, back in the day. I love doing re-write. It is a dying craft. I am doing a chapter per evening, after everyone else is gone to bed.  

Over the weekend we rested. We are tired, but still able to smile at one another.  The house is a bit messy, but everyone is fine and relatively healthy. And tomorrow, we pick up pilgrims at the train station, for a hospitalero training session on Tuesday.

Aside from all that, the Camino is calling my name. Once the calendar clears out, I may have to join some friend or other out there on the road. Just for a few days. Just to keep my head straight.

Added later: Yes, I now realize I repeated myself up there at the start with the Miraz stuff... I think it´s because I uploaded the photos of the whole week at once. And because I forgot, OK? Didn´t I say it´s the Busy Season, and that I have lost my mind a little?  


Libby said...

What nice pictures you've been posting lately!

Laura said...

Some events are worth mentioning twice - especially the part about picking up all the great wine.