Cordoba was a mind-blow. The mosque there was so beautiful it made me weep. Sevilla was a let-down. I did not cope well with the noise and crowds.
When time came to go home, we were ready. We´d had enough of the 24-hour racket and hoopla and shakedown prices. The longer I live, the less I enjoy large cities. We hermits like our own silent spaces and routines, and once we get settled in somewhere we tend to keep things pretty much the same.
But it was not to be.
The Sister of Mercy we left in charge of animal care turned out to be a brutally efficient housekeeper. We returned on a rainy afternoon to find The Peaceable spotlessly clean, the corners swept and mopped, the carpets beaten and even blankets washed. I was duly grateful. And then she unveiled her piece de resistance: the Salon!
The Salon has single beds for three, the best mattresses in the house. It has a long wall of shelves, where we store stuff we don´t know what to do with. Out-of-date cameras and cables, decades worth of film negatives, (remember disc cameras?) family photos, tax records, diaries, and New Yorker magazines are all hidden out of sight in colorful file-boxes. Or they were, up til now.
Now the mishmash is unboxed, stacked on one of the beds. The shelves are full of books, books moved from another shelf, which was moved from the corner along with the cedar chest, which is now in the middle of the room. The corners are spiderweb-free, and our fiction collection is filed according to genre. The box of books for free giveaway is gone, its contents duly filed. Three baskets of notes and references for three ongoing writing projects are now emptied, their contents neatly stacked and filed into God knows what box. Even my bag of vocabulary objects for the English class -- cans of beans and peas, toy animals, seed packets and small tools -- was broken up and put away.
We´ve been back for days, but the Miscellaneous crouches on the bed like a gang of toads. It must be dealt-with. Decisions on what should be thrown away, what should be kept -- who is this familiar person in this photo? Will we ever use this camera again? Should I list it on EBay? What about these trail notes from the Ruta Vadiniense? What about this old printer/CD player/cassette recorder? Is there a place to recycle these things? What happens if pilgrims show up and we need to use this bed?
And that´s just the salon. The kitchen cabinets are now filed. And the upstairs linen supply.
...And our bedroom.
Dear God in heaven, she cleaned our bedroom.
I am not sure when this place has been so clean, certainly not since Shimmering Kim left us. Somehow I feel I have been scrubbed-down too. With a steel-bristle brush.
Maybe it´s the weather -- suddenly it is cold out there, and windy and wet.
Maybe it´s hormones, or the lack of daylight now that the clocks have shifted back.
Maybe it´s my sudden inability to write coherantly, right when I wanted to be hard at work on the new book. (I cannot find the notebook with the outline in it!)
Maybe it is Paddy´s fault -- he feels the same way I do, and we can´t afford to turn on each other.
I am very low.
But my house is clean as hell.