Saturday, 14 July 2012

July looks like:

Photos are better than many words.
We have tons of both. Lots of company, lots of conversation, plenty of music and things to celebrate.

Friday the 13th was our ninth wedding anniversary. Derek, a friend of Paddy´s from his Wasted Youth days right on up through the Fleet Street Wildness, came over with his very nice wife. And then came Peter Blanchette, one of the stalwarts of the Camino Guitars  program. And we all went together to the Grand Opening of the Bodegon Castilla de Moratinos, the restaurant built into the bodega hillside by the Milagros family. Superb roast lamb, carmelized leaks fulled with shellfish, Prieto Picudo vino, great company in a great town!
Moratinos in July, with sunflowers
And on the same day yet another stray dog showed up with a Canadian pilgrim. It was a little sheep-herding puppy who seemed to have lost an eye very recently. We took her to the vet (the dog, not the Canadian) and he used a rather medieval-looking instrument to take two long, sharp oat seeds out of her cornea! Yikes! No one knows who she might belong to. She has no microchip, nobody in Terradillos or Moratinos knows or seems to care.
Unnamed girly dog
This makes FIVE DOGS.
I don´t want to keep her, cute as she is. She hasn´t got a name yet. Her eye is much better. You want a dog?

The dogs are amazing these days, in many ways. So are the cats. So are the pilgs. And so are the summer skies, and the fields. The fields are spangled now with thousands of grinning sunflowers, always a sure sign that our wedding anniversary is near.
Momo stalks
Momo the kitten is getting long-legged. He mixes freely with all the dogs and cats. He fears no one and nothing, and every human in his environs has little claw-marks in the skin of their shins and thighs, from him climbing their pants-legs. He is a crocodile in a cat suit. 
Harry sleeps post-modernly
Harry is mellow, slender, svelte. He likes the new patio, because the tiles hold the daytime heat right past sundown. He is a most elegant napper.  

Peter plays his archguitar for hours each day, and in the silent wee hours of the night he is recording a new album inside our parish church. Santo Tomas is developing quite a reputation for acoustics for stringed instruments. The last album recorded there, by Duo Sonidos, has won several international classical awards, and recently was featured on the cover of BBC Classical magazine!

Meantime, the walls of the Peaceable overflow with dog-yowls and cat hisses, Bach partitas and Fenian plaints from Ireland.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Looking forward!

Here is where I hope to be in the heart of this winter. Maybe some of you can plan a trip to Santiago, too? Father Andy is a straight-up guy, San Martin Pinario is lovely, and if Johnnie Walker is involved, you KNOW a good time will be had by all!

Under the auspices of the
Archicofradía Universal del Apóstol Santiago
Pilgrim Retreat in English
Walking becomes praying
Three days and two nights’ reflection and prayer
... led by Fr Andy Delmege, a pilgrim ...
Hotel San Martín Pinario
Santiago de Compostela
29th - 31st January 2013
bed, breakfast and evening meal approx 35€ per day
Expressions of interest by e mail to
The retreat will be held if sufficient pilgrims are interested

The Archicofradia is the organisation commissioned by the monarchs of Spain and inaugurated in 1499 to build a hospital for pilgrims. It was to be “a Confraternity ordered and instituted, of both sexes, from whichever province or nation, in any part of the world”. Build and run a hospital it did in the building which is now the Parador, the Hostal los Reyes Catolicos. In modern times this religious organisation supports projects to help pilgrims and to encourage pilgrims to be of service to other pilgrims.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

I Must Be Going

It´s the most wonderful time of the year. Birds sing, tractors cut and bale and thresh, dogs chase hares across the stubble in the most beautiful ways. We have plans, we have pilgrims, we have Moorish Whores now available in paperback.

But that´s not enough to keep me here.
Alas, after a long time wondering how to admit to it, I must let you know: I am unwell. You will likely be seeing less of me in coming days.

I am not dying! I am only on my way into a depression. It may seem I am simply going with the flow of economies and politics and the well-being of the entire civilized world, but I assure you a depression is a very personal thing, isolated and isolating. I have had them before. I know the signs. I know a depression is an immutable force that will not be denied.

They are very unpleasant sometimes. Other times they are full of revelations and sparks and wisdom, gold nuggets that glint among the tons of wet gray gravel. I have been through depressions before, and survived. I do not intend to fight this one off. I will let myself experience it fully, hopefully without stupefying medicine or insanely priced "counseling."

The Peaceable will go on hosting travelers. I will keep writing, but not here so often. I am withdrawing from hospitalero training, guidebook projects, and volunteer work that takes me away from home -- things that have been withdrawing from me for a year or more now. I will perhaps find other ways of being useful in the meantime.

Consider this a retreat. A stay at the Sanitarium, a curling-up into the coccoon. I am embarking on a dark journey to a known place. I am counting on your prayers to light my way.

I will be back on the blog now and then, I promise -- I don´t know how long I will be. Don´t wait up for me.