¨Mugabe must not be allowed to steal the election,¨ said George Bush yesterday. Yes, that´s right, he actually said that, without blushing and with a straight face. If you can do the same, you should consider a lucrative career in politics. In a funny way, I shall miss George. He transforms words like, ´brazen,´´ shameless,´ and ´squalid,´ into some sort of compliment.
On to other things..
We have had quite a handful of pilgrims around in the last few weeks. One couple arrived, had a cup of tea and a rest and a chat, then set off again about half an hour later. The lady thanked us and said it had been a ´privilege,´ to visit us. I said I wouldn´t quite put it that way myself, but thanks. I am still brooding on what she meant. But other pilgs, and friends on the web, have remarked on how wonderful life here seems to be. Perhaps it is. I am too close to tell.
.. and more things.. It is certainly an easier life than Jose Tomas, now accepted without question as the greatest torero since Manolete, is having these days. He does get about 400,000 euros (bullfighters´pay should really still be reckoned in pesetas, but I can´t do the math) for each corrida, but he earns every centavo. If you go to the El Pais website for today, Monday, (under Culture, of course) you can see a clip of Sunday where he was awarded three ears and was gored three times, ´gravely,´ according to the surgeon. The week before, he collected four ears. I don´t really approve of bullfighting nowadays, but, if you are going to do it at all, do it right. And this is what Tomas does. He ends up every time with more blood on him than Peter O´Toole´s Macbeth. It is frightening to watch, even on video, when you know what is going to happen. He is unlikely to finish the season at this rate. In fact, he will be fortunate to survive the season.
It ought to be easy to write a blog each day. Only takes a minute or two ( it says here) But I see it has been a week since the last dose. So. In case anyone still wonders what we do here, I will describe yesterday, a fairly typical day, though no two are the same. Woke rather late, as last evening we had driven a couple of pilgs, who have a dog, to Burgos - where they will start walking to Santiago. They drove here from Belgium, where, conveniently, being Belgians, they live. They are young, 30-ish and the dog is a wacky Jack Russell. Una tried to kill it as soon as she saw it, which does not bode well for us as a house of welcome for pilgrims with animals in tow. We have yet to receive a horse or donkey. We shall see. The Belgian´s backpacks are too heavy as they have to lug a tent along because many pilgrim hostels will not take dogs. They will have problems. But I am getting off track. I made coffee about eight, fed the hens, collected the customary three eggs, took the cover off Bob, and fed and watered him, and hung his cage on the well head, and he warbled his greetings. Checked the Yahoo and Guardian and El Pais websites for the latest world lunacies- yesterday including the trainer of Big Brown blaming the jockey after the Belmont fiasco -and read my email. Sent off 30,000 pounds to a nice man in Nigeria (no, that is a joke). Took the three dogs over to the Hare Field - an area of uncultivated land about a mile away. They go in a gang, hunting rabbits and whatever they can find. Luckily, this day, no lifeless local fauna were brought back for my admiration. One day the furry fools killed what looked like a small weasel, which made me unhappy, but they are dogs, after all. Back home about an hour and a half later. Then Reb and I into our monos (see pic) for a spot of labouring. We mixed up some concrete and patched a couple of holes on the outside wall of the house. This went well and was pleasing. I am also in the process of ruining a perfectly good piece of board trying to do a painting. I want it to be everything, controlled, free, detailed, ambiguous, vague, precise, dramatic, tranquil, meaningful, meaningless. Naturally, is is none of these, except possibly the last. This is not pleasing. I have more luck with the new cooker, which works by induction. These must be the greatest cookers ever, although I don´t really understand how they work. Something to to with magnetism, it seems. The response is instant. I made a nice paella dish. The rice was just right, but the squid in the seafood was a bit too chewy. Do not know how to deal with that yet. The weather continues unstable. One or two thunderstorms either arrived or threatend during the day. At just after five, we went to Sahagun to shop and watch the Spain- Russia game. In fact, I headed straight to the bar while Reb shopped. This is unusually sexist for me these days, but I wanted to see the whole game. Spain won handily, but their defence is suspect and they may not get as far as the fans here hope and expect. Came back about eight, listened to more in a series of lectures from Berkeley University on Dante´s Divine Comedy, via the net. Very interesting and thought-making, but for a comedy, there are not many laughs. One or two chuckles about Hell, though. Cleaned up in one of our two splendid new bathrooms, and hopped into our big, comfy new bed.
Now we are living like normal folks in our shiny new house, the rules for dogs have changed, radically and dramatically. Tim and Mimi are banned from entering . Una is allowed in the living room/kitchen, but can no longer sit on chairs or the new sofa. This has caused dog consternation. Una swans smugly about the room as the other two huddle on the threshold watching in disbelief and envy. They can put their heads in, but must keep their paws outside. No, it´s not fair. The main reason Una is privileged is because Reb and I feel a bit guilty about introducing Mimi into the family. She is making a powerful attempt to become top dog and has youth and ambition on her side. She will soon have the weight and muscle as well. Una exploits her situation by waiting until we are not looking, then jumping onto a forbidden bit of furniture. But we had to lay the line down somewhere. All three go out hunting and rooting around in the fields every day for hours and come back coated in mud, and sometimes with ticks. This kind of carry-on was, and is, tolerated in the old kitchen, but it has to stay there. It is hard most of all for Tim, who is not happy unless he has his head on my knee, but the weather is finally clearing up, according to the forecast, so I will be in the yard with him most of the day. I don´t know what we will do with the furry fools in the winter, but that is months away.
Also at home in the yard are the swallows who have made a nest in the barn, and are learning that they have nothing to fear from us. They sit on the clothes line communing with Bob the Canary whose cage hangs from the well-head during the day.
Tomas, the Dutch Croatian will be finished today and will leave for France tomorrow. He has been a great help and a good guest as well, always finding something nice to say about my cooking, which is often more than I can. Today, I will cook a rabbit.