The whole world is occupying and protesting and saying ugly things about each other.
Here at the Peaceable, though, (almost) all is Peace Love and Understanding. Paddy and I are off in the morning for Córdoba, and from there to Sevilla -- two "can´t miss" Spanish tourist attractions that I have never seen. I made some kind of whining sound late last month after we had a long pilgrim occupation and cabin fever set in, and what I said then was true: we need a break. We want to get away somewhere together for a change. And so Leena called up and asked, in her perky way, "When shall I come? And how long shall I stay?"
Today I drove all the way up to the Aeropuerto de Asturias to get her. It was a beautiful drive, and I only got lost twice. Leena took a week off work and came all the way there from London Stanstead, just to walk dogs in a backwoods Spanish town so me and Pad could get away for a few days.
Sorta like Anita, the Busted Pilgrim. I wrote about her last week. She still is here, and will travel with us tomorrow as far as Madrid. Her arm is still in plaster, but her face is much more Anita-like now. It took a few days, but the last three or four she´s taken apart our sitting room, utility room, and old summer kitchen. She sorted out the pots and drawers of screws and drill-bits and fly-strips and eye-drops and outdated anti-depressant pills. She swept away the dust-bunnies and dog-hair muskrats and filth-beavers that have lurked for months (or years!) behind and atop and around the furniture and fitments. She sorted out the books, knick-knacks, Virgins of Guadelupe, the very pictures on the walls. It was horrifying and fascinating, like a train wreck. Having strangers see how truly nasty my house is. Knowing pilgrims sleep in those beds, with that much stuff underneath... Euuugh.
The two of them met only hours ago. At dinner Anita told about the things she´s achieved in the last few days. Lena cast her bright eyes round the room. Some kind of spark ignited between them. The spark of shared passion, shared compassion -- they tell me they are sorry I am so allergic to dust, that I cannot do this work myself. The truth is, they are obsessive-compulsive cleaners and organizers, and they´ve hit on a mother-lode of benign neglect that´s within their power to put to rights.
They are OCD, and Patrick and I are, well... lazy. Patrick has bad eyesight, and supposedly cannot see the dirt. I know the dirt is there, and I can medicate myself beyond my allergies and do the work. I just do not choose to do it. Any more often than, say, every two years or so. And only one room at a time.
Upshot is: We have tickets to ride to Cordoba tomorrow on the 10:08 a.m. train. It now is 11:34 p.m. I am in the living room with the dogs and cat, relaxing, blogging. Leena and Anita and Mister Clean are in the salon, apparently moving furniture and wiping surfaces.
Leena says "You want to sweep that?"
"Is this pilgrim stuff, or do you think these mittens belong to Paddy?" Anita says.
"That I´m going to empty, and put these in there. That´s too pretty to hide back there."
"If we move this to the back room, maybe the pilgrims won´t walk out wearing Reb´s jacket any more."
"Isn´t this fun?"
"Are we being neurotic?"
"This isn´t OCD. I´ve seen OCD. We´re doing this for fun, not because we have to."
No. They don´t have to. People buzzing around cleaning is a sure way to drive Patrick to his bed, or to the pub. I feel just slightly guilty, having these guys laboring over my place and things. But not too guilty. It´s true, that kind of cleaning makes me miserable for days. They are doing a true Work of Mercy -- payback perhaps for some of the other mercy that was worked in the salon over the years.
I didn´t ask them to do this. They are having a good time, God bless them both. They recognized one another right away, declared themselves sisters, and set to work. Leena and Anita, the Sisters of Mercy.
I am grateful for the blessings that rain down on me.
A burst of lemon freshness rolls out the door and down the hall.It´s a long journey tomorrow. I am going to bed.