Sunday, August 30, 2009


A very good morning, afternoon, or evening!
Saturday at the Pilgrim Mass the botafumeiro flew but I was late to the service and missed out. Yesterday, with a HUGE crowd, there was no B flying. Today, no again, but apparently it will on Wednesday. The good thing, Manfred, was that June arrived. Yes, the young slow coach finally got into gear and did a few days in excess of 25km. She met with and chatted long to Stephanie of S Africa. It was very good to catch up since we haven´t seen each other since Redecilla, I think. Also re-met the Oz couple who needed a refuge in Carrion de los Condes.
Yesterday evening we had the second of John´s Santiago Birthdays. It was a lovely relaxing time though not as special nor as spiritual or reflective as Sat. evening. There are some times that really stand out and it´s hard to put your finger on it. Why is this occasion more special than that one? I guess if we could put the special-occasion essence in a bottle, we could make a fortune, but then, if every occasion were special, special would be ordinary. (Or, as WS Gilbert said, "If everyone is somebody, then no-one´s anybody.") Both will live on in memory. As Will said, It´s the people we will remember. Will told us a story, and I´m unlikely to retell it orally so listen up.

Will was asleep in O Cebreiro (at the end of the steep climb) when there was a cry in the night. A German pilgrim sat up and fell out of bed. A nurse, a dentist, and a policeman were in the room and set to work, the first two trying to revive him and the third recording all that was done. The ambulance arrived without any equipment but a doctor pronounced the pilgrim dead. People gathered around and sorted out his belongings, isolating his Credencial. They notified his wife to assure him her husband did not die alone and that people cared for him. In Ponferrada they organised a funeral service attended by crowds. Therafter they carried his Credencial from place to place, stamping it with sello after sello until they arrived last week in Santiago. There they organised for a to be awarded to him and presented it to his widow.

The shopping is done and I am surpirsed by the weight of things I´ve chosen. Ouch. Last time I think I bought T-shirts - a bit lighter than books and such like. I sent home two parcels today. The first was a book and some papers and cost 35€! ARGGH!! The second was my Compostela with some small presents and cost less than 5€ despite being registered. There´s a moral here somewhere.
I´ve sort of decided to take the train for a few days in Spain, first to go south (Toledo? Cordoba? Granada?) then up north again to the Yuso Suso monastery before going to Pamplona (maybe) to sell the Carrix. I think there wil be no shortage of buyers after their three or four days of walking from SJPP. That should help the funds a bit and enable me to travel in France (Le Puy? Conques? Monsac? Vezelay? Carnac? Coucy? Chartres?) There is no end to the places I want to see. Trouble is, there´s no one to see them with! Sob. Lee left this morning. She has suggested I come to visit if i have time, but I think she won´t have time, returning to receive a crowd of visitors and being heavily involved in the July 4 celebrations.
Am feeling a bit flat today. Oh well. Even the best of things comes to an end.
Despite my loneliness in France and for big slabs of the first week or so on the
camino, this has been a wonderful time.
All the best to you

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