A Travellerspoint blog

Madre mia - what happened????


“Water, water everywhere,” people exclaimed; their faces full of dismay.
The populace of Trevias had never seen rain like this before. Nor had they ever heard of Samual Taylor Coleridge whose18th century ancient mariner had once exclaimed
“Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”
During the first week of June the heavens opened and the rain fell. It fell continually for six days without a single break. The locals remained stuck in their homes, traffic motionless, as idle as the Marie Celeste. The ancient mariner’s boards shrunk. Here in Trevias fields flooded and crops shrunk from life. Walls and steps became waterfalls. Large rocks tumbled, closing tracks. Water is the source of life but it can just as easily take it away. Rumour reached us that a neighbour’s cows were carried in the raging river out to sea. Cows lost and potatoes rotting; a farmer’s livelihood destroyed.
Towards the end of the week a crack appeared in the falling rain. I could see two yards outside the front door. I looked towards the sky. I remember my grandmother remarking on a fine day that there was enough blue sky to make a Dutchman a pair of trousers. (Although I’ve been to Holland many times, I’ve yet to see a Dutchman wearing a pair of sky blue trousers but I digress!!) I blinked, straining my eyes. Yes, there was just enough to make him a button.
I grabbed my camera.
“Let’s go to Trevias,” I said excitedly. “No one is going to believe we had so much rain.”
I wanted photos. I’d take some then and some after all the water had subsided. Wouldn’t you know it; the end of our track was piled high with fallen stones. A neighbour pointed along the track the other way. Seemingly we were able to get out that way. OK, we’re game for an adventure. We drove along narrow lanes that had survived a beating from the furious river in the valley bottom that had previously been a silver trickle. We prayed there would be nothing coming the other way. We’d never pass. Luckily for us, this was a track of little use. We passed one lonely farmhouse in the valley bottom. Inhabited? We couldn’t tell. By the roadside a car as ancient as the mariner himself formed a vessel for a multitude of wild flowers.
Making our way through the maze of lanes that is Munas we drove through the seventeen curves that form the two kilometres into Brieves, zigzagging between the stones in the road and water bouncing from the newly formed waterfalls on the rock face into the newly formed stream the other side of the thoroughfare.
In Trevias the normally struggling River Esva had risen by some three metres. In one part it had overlapped into a nearby meadow, forming a muddy lake, stopping just before reaching the nearby bar and the eleventh century church of San Miguel. Whatever, your beliefs there was sanctuary!
Three hundred litres of rain fell in those six days. The locals said it all – “madre mia!”

Posted by SpanishRos 07:02 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Cangas de Onis -- part 2


We were awake by 7.30am. A summer mist hang low over the pueblo, promising a sun blessed day. We decided we’d treat ourselves to breakfast in the hotel. After all, this is what we termed as our first proper holiday since 2006. The first vacation we’d had on our own terms in which we could do exactly as we pleased. We opted for the ‘classic’ breakfast at 5€ which consisted of cereal, fruit cocktail, orange juice, yoghurt, toast, sweet bread and coffee. Manna from heaven.
We headed towards Cangas de Onis. We planned to go to Cavadonga. When we first moved to Spain we lived in the camper on the camp site at Cangas. We wanted to visit Cavadonga but time was spent house hunting so we never made it. We always promised that ‘one day’ we’d go to Cavadonga. This was the day.
Cavadonga was the scene of the first significant victory by Spanish forces following the Moors conquest in 711. This victory ensured the survival of a Christian stronghold in northern Spain. Today, it’s regarded as the beginning of the Reconquista. Some years later, Pelayo managed to expel a provincial governor called Munuza. He held the territory against a number of attempts to re establish Muslim control. In the late summer of 722, a Moorish general named Alqama led his men into Pelayo’s terrain and overrun much of it. Pelayo and his men retreated deep into the Asturian mountains. Rumour has it that Pelayo had as little as 300 men. When Alqama arrived in Cavadonga, his envoy met with Pelayo to convince him to surrender. Pelayo refused. Alqama ordered his best troops out to fight those of Pelayo who had been hiding in a cave. Both Munuza and Alqama fell in skirmishes at the hands of Pelayo’s troops. In their own histories, Muslims called Pelayo and his men ‘thirty infidels left; what can they do?’
However, they never again challenged the independence of the Kingdom of Asturias.
Way back in 2006 they had a park and ride scheme which we’d decided that we’d use. The scheme wasn’t evident this time.
“Too early for the tourist season,” declared Paul, but this was almost July. Maybe the financial crisis didn’t warrant the cost.
There were very few cars on the Cavadonga road. Driving seemed an easy option. The road was flanked by an army of trees attended by a myriad of shrubbery masquerading as foot soldiers. We were lucky to grab the penultimate parking space at the foot of the steps that led to Pelayo’s tomb. A car pulled up and asked if we knew of any parking higher up.
“Lo siento. No se,” and so the last space was taken.
A stone corridor led us to the plaza and the 19th century neo Romanesque Basilica. The tunnel was lined with candles lit in memory of those departed souls that live on in the hearts of those who remembered. A heady perfume of incense, candle heat and wax followed the pilgrims out into the sunlight. The cathedral beckoned and the pious struck visitors entered into the seemingly dull sanctuary of prayer. A solitary priest swathed in white robes entered the confessional, wrapping round his shoulders his purple mantle of prayer. I doubt very much her ever hears many confessions; tourist enquiries are more the fad of the day at Covadonga. Close by, a statue of Pelayo stands in all his gloryproud of his historic and mighty victory.
The icy stone of this house of prayer chilled the heat of the summer sun already heating the plaza outside. The greyness dulled the eye. Then the altar appeared like the Magi’s star. A bouquet rested at the foot of the altar cross eclipsed in brilliant sunlight; a perfect halo. The cross was reflected upwards onto the ceiling; its shadow a perfect imitation.
Our prayers said, we wandered back into the cathedral square. Time for coffee. We found a seat in the cafe tucked by the marbled wall, close to the windows. What perfect sideway to enjoy refreshment than to sit, looking high into the surrounding mountains that radiated an air of peace and tranquillity? We were wise to visit before the Spanish holiday season of July and August when this home to the shrine of Pelayo becomes one of the most visited shrines in Spain. Our last port of call was the Shrine to Our Lady along the tomb of Pelayo resting in a cave by the altar dedicated to the mother of Christ. The shrine was almost buried in bouquets of flowers. I doubted there was a poor florist within several miles of this holy place.
One doesn’t go just to Pelayo’s shrine without carrying on high into the mountains to visit the lakes of Ercina and Enol that rest on a limestone plateau Pena Santa. The narrow road becomes something of a lane and track as it snakes its way erratically to the upland. The Mirador de la Reina provided a incredible view over the surrounds; words weren’t enough. The eyes were hungry; they didn’t know where to look; where to start or finish. They gulped down the views, hungrily.
There was more to see; upwards and onwards. The way narrower with tighter bends. Mountain cows have to be moved to new grazing sometime. The time that we were there was that time! The herd of some hundred knew they were the ‘Kings of the Road’ and proved themselves just that. Calves bucked, whilst their siblings suckled on the metaphoric hoof. Cars crept and stalled as they moved slower than a nursing cow. Sheer drops certainly didn’t help. Approaching a blind rocky curve, we met a coach. Nothing behind us, Paul bowed to his bulk and gently backed as I hid my eyes. We survived, passed each other and lived to tell the story.
Airless, the lakes lay motionless. The eyes and the heart revelled in the tapestry that lay way below them. A plaque on the tourist centre boasts that people who live in cities become fed up of their walls, of the noise in the street, the artificial and urban life. They yearn to contemplate a wild and virgin nature; the more virgin and wild the better. A land where no trees have been cut and no animals have been killed nor landscape destroyed. They yearn for a place there they can wander. That’s why they say in the United States that when man returns to the national parks then a lawyer becomes a better lawyer, the engineer is a better engineer and a taylor a better taylor. If everyone could enjoy the national parks then the social problem would be solved. Oh, just so true. Never a truer word.....
Walking back to the car, we passed two elderly ladies picnicking on a rock.
“Good afternoon,” one said rather eloquently. We entered into conversation. The two ladies had come from Dorset on a three day ferry break. They were enthralled with the area. A delight to talk with.
My turn to drive. The drive down was far easier than the drive Paul had endured on the way up. The cows had gone to graze and the coaches to siesta. Driving into Soto de Onis we stopped at the cafe we’d visited before whilst staying in the camper on the campsite. We relived such fond memories over our coffee. Time to visit the adjoin gift shop; a treasure trove of souvenirs – oh for a limitless credit card. I was good and resisted even a fridge magnet. We were the only browsers; I guess everyone is feeling the crunch right now.
We remembered the way to the car park by the Alsa bus station in Cangas de Onis. Free and relatively empty. It was good to be back in Cangas. Memories were the name of the afternoon. Despite most of the shops being closed we recalled previous visits and every sentence started “Do you remember....?” We did.
Legend says that the Virgin Mary appeared to Pelayo and gave him a wooden cross which she told him to use as a standard in battle against the Moors. A church was built to venerate the cross which became known as ‘the Cross of the Victory’. Since then the cross has become the symbol of Asturias. The bridge (Puente Romano) over the river Sello is almost certainly medieval. From it hangs a copy of this cross; the original hangs in Oviedo Cathedral. The Capilla de Santa Cruz is worth a visit. This old building was actually built in 1931 on a site that has been sacred for several millennia. The first Christian church was built there in AD 437. It is said to have been rebuilt by King Favila in 727 to keep the Victory Cross. It is placed on a dolmen that is believed to originate from 3,000BC. The dolmen is in a sepulchral room hidden by an artificial mountain built with sand and river stones. Oh, yes # the stuff of memories.
A small plaza lined with cafes beckoned. We sat in the shade of a canopy with a welcome San Miguel; ‘cero cero’ of course. Close by, a shop frontage consisted of three life size plastic cows. Their colours were cleaner back in 2006. The photos were proof our memories hadn’t dimmed with the velocity of their mock fur. Time stands for no man.
What for supper? Alimerka, we remembered, was close by. A feast of sliced chorizo, cheese, bread and a plastic box of pasta salad would be supper. Of course, we didn’t forget a bottle of Torre Tallada to wash it down. Tired and hot we headed back to Pereyes. Depositing our picnic in the cool of the bath we walked to the village bar. On the way we admired the house of the Quesada Family. A heritage sign on the wall told that this affluent home was eighteenth century. It’s, we were informed, an exceptional example of rural architecture in Baroque style; a good example of local carpentry and characteristic decor on the doors, windows and balconies. It’s also claimed there are fine examples of outbuildings used for various agricultural activities such as horreos, and stables. One of the last presidents of Mexico, Don Vincente Fox Quesda, bequeathed this house to the village in memory of his mother, Dona Mercede Quesada who was born there. So to the bar and a bottle of of Mahou as we watched the end of the England – Slovenia football match. The I – O win was the perfect end to the perfect day. Back to the hotel and our room. Supper was enjoyed as was the good nights’ sleep that followed.
We woke to a warm, misty morning. Full from our picnic supper of the night before we decided we’d have breakfast ‘on the road’. One of my travel ‘musts’ is my travel kettle. I can’t function without that first cup of caffeine when I wake. I’ve not come across a Spanish hotel yet that has the hospitality tray we are so accustomed to in England. No point in hanging around. We leisurely gathered our things together and paid the bill, bidding fond farewells to our hosts. We mentioned to Julien that we intended stopping in Arriondas before heading out along the N634 to Infiesto then cross country to join the E70 A8 autopista.
“A better way,” he said, producing a street map of Arriondas from below the counter. Showing us the best place to park, he also indicated a road that would take us into the mountains and then to the autopista.
“Muy precioso,” he told us. He knows the area, we decided and so we would take that route.
We missed the turning he’d told us about for parking but found a road we could park in a couple of turnings later. God was smiling on us again as we discovered this was the start of the ‘muy precioso’ route Julien had told us about.
Arriondas, to me, was very much the Spanish Newquay; sad and dishevelled buildings in need of much rejuvenation or at the very least a dose of Tender loving care. Arriondas, the guide book leads us to believe, is much the base for activities such as quad racing, kayaking and horse trekking. I imagine that like its Cornish counterpart, the town comes alive in July and August with the influx of all the young dudes. Along the main street we came across a pastry shop that served coffee. The proprietor had endeavoured to portray some kind of quaintness with the four pink clothed tables in the otherwise dull environs. Ready for a cup of coffee, this cafe seemed as good as anywhere to benefit from our custom. We bought a pastry each. Mine was a heart shaped glazed pastry whose taste improved after being dunked in the delicious coffee. Paul’s mostly puff pastry benefitted from a spoonful of apple somewhere in the centre. For a bill of 4€ 40c we couldn’t complain. Paul attempted a conversation with the lady behind the counter. He asked her about the recent floods. It seemed that she’d been lucky as she’d not been affected. From our understanding, it seemed that others hadn’t been so fortunate. The school had been flooded and three children died. So sad.
We walked along the lacklustre main street and took a side turning to the river where we walked back along the river through the area that was marked ‘park’ on the map given us by Julien. This ‘park’ consisted of a miscellany of mismatched grey paving stones punctuated by a variety of equally sad looking bushes. A bridge led over the river. It looked as if the wooden pieces had just been botched together; in keeping with the rest of the town. We didn’t cross. It was time we left Arriondas behind us.
We followed the mountain road along a series of bends, ever upwards. We weren’t disappointed. The purity of the air engulfed us. The greens of the trees fed our eyes, beckoning us onwards. The silence was filled with the breeze catching the leaves. Through the gaps we could see the floor of the valley deep below; a jigsaw of carroty tiled roofs that slotted into pieces of jade and olive shrubbery.
“There aren’t any cows,” whispered Paul.
“We’ll see......,” I replied.
Two curves later, a solitary cream cow stood chewing the cud as his bell rang softly in the breeze. Never assume, his eyes mocked.
“Bet he’s the outrider,” I said, laughing, but he was just the lone cow teaching us never presume.
Ten kilometres along the road from Arriondes we came to the highest point called El Fitl. The views stretched for miles over the surrounding countryside. Is this what heaven is like? I would like to think so. I felt literally on top of the world.
Colunga beckoned and the road meandered downward. Twenty minutes later, we’d reached the autopista and the service station. Time for another coffee over which we pondered our short trip and the memories it’d given us. Then homeward bound.......

Posted by SpanishRos 06:58 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

the Day we went to Cangas


Today’s the day! This is the day we’re going on holiday. Well. We’re going away for two nights. Wow, I hear you say – two nights. That’s a holiday to us. We’ve been to London numerous times over the last four years. But the ‘but’ is that has been to visit my mum. Don’t get me wrong; I love London and I love going to see my mum. However, it isn’t a holiday per se.
This trip, we’ve chosen where we go. For us we get as much enjoyment from the planning as from the actual trip. For hours we racked our brains, studied the map, read the guide book and drawn on memories. In 2006 23’d been touring Spain and come across a place called Cangas de Onis which we’d fallen in love with. In fact on that trip we visited it twice. When we moved here, that’s where we started our house search. Cangas de Onis has special memories.
Apart from our personal reminiscences, what is so special about the town? A good friend once said it sounded like a medical complaint. She couldn’t get further from the truth! The town is one of the gateways to the Picos d’Europa Mountains where Pelayo, the eighth century Visgothic nobleman and hero of the Reconquest, set up his court. Pelayo was the first Christian king of Asturias. Despite our several visits to the town we’d not made the pilgrimage to Cavadonga, just twelve kilometres along the road. It is at Cavadonga you’ll find the tomb of Pelayo along with the ‘Santina’, the Chapel of Our Lady. We always said ‘one day’. Now was that day.
Bags packed and cat carry cases ready. Our three cats were going on holiday too. The ‘guaderia’ was expecting them. The car was soon loaded. By nine forty five we were on the road. The river at Navia had burst its banks during the horrendous rainfalls the week before and the main road just outside the town had collapsed. A detour through a small pueblo took us around the re-construction. Time will not be its friend. The road was not meant for the heavy traffic of the main road. The continuous flow of buses, coaches, lorries and holiday traffic had taken its toll. Pot holes reigned and we rode a tarmac roller coaster. Rosina showed her thoughts on the subject by depositing a pile of something rather unsavoury on her blanket. She could get away with it. Sympathy was showered upon her.
Having settled the threesome into the cattery, we hit the road. “We’re on the road again,” we sang in raucous unison as we head eastward along the E70 A8 autopista towards Aviles and then Santander. Ok, so Santander was further than we were going but it was the ideology the name suggested. It could have been Delhi, Timbuktu or Outer Mongolia. It didn’t matter; we were on the road to somewhere we didn’t need to be going. We just fancied going there and nothing was going to stop us.
We were travelling the main autopista across that spanned the top of Spain yet compared to the M25 it was a country lane. It’s often occurred to me that the word ‘traffic’ is an unknown entity here. Bypassing large towns and two lorries made the traffic heavy. In our nine year old Renault Clio we flew like the wind. Having left Navia at 11am I’d said I wanted to make our first coffee stop just after Gijon, thus having the bump of Asturias behind us. At 12.45 and 129.60 kilometres we stopped for coffee in a small non-descript service station. Luminous orange, green and yellow seats surrounded orderly Formica tables in a seemingly forsaken oasis. We ordered large coffees plus a warm ham and cheese pincho which was served nearer hot than warm. The quality was good and the price was low. We left with our appetite and pocket happily satisfied.
We’d already planned on stopping at Ribadesella en route so took exit 333 off the motorway, passing through what we considered the quaint village of Bones; pastel painted houses with gardens and window boxes full of bright red geraniums and deep purple rhododendrons.
“Them bones, them bones, them dry bones......” we sang, somewhat out of tune, hoping the locals wouldn’t be offended. Before we had time to find out, Bones was left behind us.
Some 169.20 kilometres after leaving Navia we entered Ribadesella. Parking was a premium. Eagle eyed, I spotted a car pulling away and grabbed their space. God was on my side. This coastal resort bestrides a broad estuary. On one side is the old seaport full of tapas bars beneath a cliff top chapel. The other side is a lively holiday resort. We took the chance to ‘stretch our legs’ and walked along the harbour, then around the town. We couldn’t decide whether the town had an inkling towards the old or the modern. The only notion it seemed to have was to lure the unsuspecting tourist into one of its many harbour side bars for exorbitantly priced refreshments. It had, we decided, a rather dilapidated charm. Ribadesella, to me, was just a place to stop in for a cup of coffee before going through my mirror in search of my Wonderland! If I had to live in the town, its saving grace would be the backdrop of the Picos and the vast expanse of sea along its frontage. Those two features would save my head from the claustrophobia inflicted on me by the walls of towns. Somewhere along the front we spied a severe looking boat; dark green and white. It was the ugly duckling amongst the sleek white yachts of the affluent moored in the marina. It was certainly not something I would want to sail into the sunset upon. A closer inspection revealed the words Guardia Civil upon its side. Whose reputation had gone before them? Whose boat had they come to repossess? Did we want to linger long enough to find out? No, we had better fish to fry! As we walked away in search of caffeine, we passed a vintage Rolls Royce parked amongst the battered Fiestas and aging Seats. Who owned a car like that? My imagination went into overdrive as I wondered if the Guardia Civil had noted a connection between an aging Rolls and dubious activity on a recently bought Sunseeker. Almost three o’clock; time to mosey on. No need to hang about. Just outside the town we saw a collection of multicoloured kayaks on the riverbank. Seemingly a practice had been held for when the flotilla arrives from Arriondas on the first Saturday of August. Will we be going back to watch? We’ll give it a miss; we can live without it.
Twenty minutes along the N634 we spot the turning for Pereyes. A sharp bend almost doubles back on itself. The lane narrows and we wonder where we are heading. We weren’t aware the hotel was in the back of beyond. Then before we can three blinks we spy the signs of habitation; a sign indicates our hotel, Aultre Naray, is just 150 metres further on. We’ve arrived. Swathed in tranquillity, the only sound is our breathing. There isn’t even the hum of a gentle breeze. Is this what it was like when they discovered the Marie Celeste? Signs of life and not a soul in sight. I shiver but I don’t feel fear. As we open the door of the hotel, chimes shatter the silence. As if from nowhere, a voice introduces itself.
“I’m Susanna. Good afternoon and welcome.”
“Buenas tardes. Tenemos un reservation para dos noches,” I say in my best Spanish.
“Paul and Rose from Luarca,” Paul says, helpfully.
“Ah, Miss Horne,” Susanna says and I nod. She completes our reservation form and beckons us to follow her. She takes us on a tour of the hotel.
We’d discovered this hotel via a Google search. It was instantly apparent we’d struck lucky. Small and intimate, we’d discovered a feel of ye olde worlde Spanish homeliness crossed with English Victoriana. I felt at home straight away. At the same time, I felt a touch of the supernatural. Each and every nook and cranny was just as I would have designed. Each item was what I would have chosen. The art was my kind of art. The furnishings were me.
We were in Room 5 on the first floor. Deep rose pink walls welcomed. Ivory and pink furnishings and fittings provided femininity as well as a restful masculinity. The bathroom toiletries exuded sumptuousness not normally found outside a room costing less than three figures. Subtle bouquets hang in the room, tantalising the nostrils. I felt clothed in a luxury I’d only ever dreamt of.
It was early yet and the views from the windows invited us to reach for the Picos! Most villages have a bar and a San Miguel was a good enough substitute for the Picos at four o’clock in the afternoon. God was kind and the bar was a stone’s throw from the hotel. Seemingly they didn’t serve San Miguel but Mahou sufficed. Straight from the fridge it hit the spot. We sat on plastic garden furniture ‘out front’ and watched as the floral aproned matriarch from behind the bar investigated the vegetable patch across the path in search of something succulent for the evening meal.
Having finished our Mahou, we ambled back to the hotel. It was still early. We sorted out our things and decided we’d enjoy another beer from the hotel bar. Julien, the proprietor’s hubby, served us our beer.
“Would you care to enjoy the garden?” he asked.
“Why not?” we replied.
The garden was paradise. A rainbow of flowers laced the grounds as we gazed intently skywards to the stunning peaks of the Picos. We didn’t speak but murmured, afraid to fracture the tranquillity that caressed the pueblo. The Mahou from the hotel bar cost twice that of the beer from the village bar but the atmosphere warranted the cost!
Hunger stormed our bellies. Back in our rooms, we enjoyed the picnic supper we’d taken with us. Paul had baked his speciality; a cheese and bacon quiche. This was washed down by a bottle of Don Mendo. We’d browsed the hotel menu and noted that dinner in their restaurant would have cost us 50€. Well sated, we slept well knowing that we were at least 47€ better off!
I slept the sleep of the just that night. Paul ‘got up’ during the night. He said I had the blanket pulled around my head like a baby’s bonnet.
“You looked so sweet and innocent,” he said.
“You don’t know what I was dreaming about,” I replied. He smiled and made no comment.

Posted by SpanishRos 01:15 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

what are words?

What are words? Seemingly, things just to be bandied about for the sake of it. Very rarely are they said and meant. Words – just another name for lies. Words are things you say just to humour people; to get rid of them.
It sounds harsh doesn’t it? I have come to the conclusion there is no honesty in words. The only place I find sincerity is in silence. For me, words have lost my trust.
What makes me say that? Think about it. Haven’t we all had people say to us ‘let’s keep in touch’ when they have no intention of doing so. Why say it? ‘I’ll phone you’ is another one. The minute your back is turned the piece of paper with your number on is superstitiously deposited in the bin. Sometime later you ask them weren’t you going to phone me. I mislaid your number comes the reply. ‘Next time you’re in town, let’s get together’ is often used as a parting shot. Strange thing is that the next time I am in town, there people are suddenly so busy they can’t even spare time for a quick cup of coffee.
E mails are lost in cyber space. Mobiles can’t find signals. Letters are lost in the post.
Do people really take their ‘victims’ for fools? One thing I can tell you is, don’t take me for one. If you want to stay in touch, please don’t get verbal diarrhoea telling me how you plan on doing so. Just do it. If you want my phone number, I’m in the book. You have my card so don’t blame cyberspace or the post.
Several years ago I moved some 300 miles from London to Cornwall. I fell victim to ‘belief’. I believed ‘when friends said they would keep in touch. They’d e mail or phone. They’d even come to visit for a few days. Wow, wonderful. Suddenly these friendships were all one sided. When I phoned or e mailed them, wasn’t it funny - they were just going to contact me. Ha, ha; what a coincidence! As if I believed that. In time, I realised that all their words were simply that. Just words. Promises they had no intention of keeping. Lies.
My partner suggested that perhaps they had their own lives to live. These people have their own families to focus on. Perhaps, he has a point. BUT how long does it take to type an e mail to tell me how they are and tell me they are thinking of me? How long does it take to write the same message on a postcard? A couple of minutes, that’s all. Even the busiest of people can spare just two minutes every few weeks, surely? Seemingly not. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s where I am.
How will these people feel when they have need of a few friendly words? One thing is for sure, they won’t contact me. They ‘lost’ my e mail address. The piece of paper I wrote my postal address on has been deposited in their waste paper basket. Who’s having the last laugh now? Maybe I seem callous. Call me what you will. I’ve learnt to be my own best friend. I’ve strengthened my persona. Standing on my own two feet, I know who I can rely upon. Who’s that? Can’t you guess? Me, of course!

Posted by SpanishRos 01:35 Comments (0)

the last glass ---

The last glass of wine stood alone. Five years ago I’d have reached out and drank that glass. My eyes and desire want that last glass but I know I can’t stomach it. Five years ago I could down a bottle easily. There were no effects. A bottle left me as sober as a judge. Sometimes I wanted more. Often I had a glass or two more. Still clear headed.

I belonged to a Christian friendship yahoo group at the time. Three of us had similar ‘ways of life’. I remember Christine saying she thought our ‘thing’ was habit. Is there a difference between habit and problem? I don’t know. I admit I haven’t researched. Perhaps I don’t care too.

I was London born and bred. Then I moved to Cornwall shortly after meeting my partner. I’d given up in banking after 33 years. I was, at fifty, able to claim a bank pension. I was at home all day whilst my partner went to work. Why didn’t you get out? I’ve been asked that question often. I tried. Not hard enough, people retort.

The Cornish are a weird breed. They have their own language and their own flag. Anyone from the wrong side of the River Tamar they call a foreigner. Hey, we’re all English. We have the same monarch and parliament. We live in the same country. The Cornish care to think they are a different breed. They don’t want to form friendships with those outside the county.

I invited neighbours in for coffee. They always had something better to do, then proceeded to tell me how I didn’t fit. My neighbours were keen to tell me what I had to do to fit in with their ways. I am Me. Why should I change my opinions and ideas just so I can be part of the community? Couldn’t the Cornish accept that we are all different? Evidently not. Would they change if they moved to, say, Northumberland or Manchester. No, I don’t think they would, but then they wouldn’t move. Almost all the Cornish I met hadn’t been outside the county; they didn’t want to.

It was suggested that it was me who had the problem. I wasn’t understanding. I wasn’t giving enough nor willing to adapt. Hey ho. Yep. My best friend back in London was an Iraqi Muslim. Just for clarification – I’m a white Christian. I make that point to show that my friends don’t have to be my ‘twin’. Way back in London I lived in a road amongst a myriad of nationalities. Despite our different backgrounds, I made friends. We socialised. Give and take came naturally.

Eventually, I gave up trying to integrate. My bottle of wine was my friend. It eased the pain of being ostracised. What the hell did it matter who I was? It came to a point where I no longer cared what they thought of me. Accept me of ignore me; their choice. In a sense they made me stronger. I did what I wanted and I did it my way.

Nowadays, I live in a different country. My neighbours have a different history and culture. They speak a different language. We are the best of friends.

I look at that last glass of wine. I may drink it; I may not. The choice is mine.

Posted by SpanishRos 02:27 Comments (0)

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