Taking a Break

We have been open to Pilgrims since July 23rd. It’s time to take a much needed break on the Feast of Assumption. One of the biggest holiday weekends of the year in Spain. So the sign on the gate is down and the tents are put away.

For the non-Christians in the audience – or those who never paid attention in church as children – this is the day celebrating the Virgin Mary’s ascent into heaven at the end of her natural life. My parents took me to a Lutheran Church until I was in high school. I never heard a thing about it until I was in my 20’s in Paris on Assumption Day, flying back from Beirut, when everything was closed. I wanted to shop, but it was not to be. It made an impression. So when we moved to Spain, August 15th didn’t take me by surprise.

In Melide, they are celebrating this important holiday with vendors in the square, a procession, and generally packed streets with locals, those who come back to their home town in summer from further afield, and a bazillion Peregrinos.

I am celebrating my day off by testing out my new one-person tent that Amazon delivered yesterday. I head out in a couple of weeks to start walking from St. Jean, and I can’t very well claim I didn’t know that accommodations might be an issue. To remedy this potential problem, Jeff ordered me this beauty on Friday.

You gotta love online ordering in Spain. Half the time it comes the next day. And there is no such thing as paying extra for Saturday delivery. They just show up. We’ve received packages on Sundays, Christmas, and New Years Day. No extra charge. No joke.

Few things have brought me more joy than this little tent. It’s not fancy, but it will do in a pinch. Better than sleeping outside, if it comes down to that. And it weighs nothing. 0.7lbs. Jeff tied all the loops for me on the stake lines. ‘It’s all ready in case you have to put it up in the dark.’ It’s already strapped to my pack, and now I am ready to go. I love it!

I even tested it out with my inflatable sleeping pad. It’s gonna be great.

Future home of our utility room – after a facelift and the well moving inside

While I am away, Jeff has projects he’s planning. We headed into Lugo and picked up supplies, but will purchase most of the building materials from our local building supply place in Palas. They’re a lovely husband and wife team. Jeff prefers to spread our custom locally, whenever possible.

Right now, our washer is in the barn. It’s fine, on sunny days, to march back and forth. But on rainy days? I don’t do laundry on rainy days. And it’s not just the marching in the rain part. I can’t get the laundry to dry quick enough between loads on racks in the barn. Sometimes it takes all day. In preparation for winter I need a dryer. Enter the future home of the utility room.

This already existing shed is straight off the kitchen, and it’s a complete mess inside. Filled with creepy crawlies and bird nests. But it has the two most important features required to convert it into utility room – water and power.

While I am away for a couple of months, Diego and crew are coming to put a new roof on our house, and to rip out and replace our existing fireplace. Jeff will be here for all of it. But he will also be utilizing the time to take the roof of this little shed, raise the walls by two feet, replace the roof, make it water tight, and get it ready for Diego and crew to move our existing water pump for the well, from outside to inside this newly reskinned building.

Jeff is also going to redo the outside in local stone, add new windows and shutters, a new door, and build some window boxes ready for geraniums next spring. So the utility shed will match the house.

I figure the locals will thank us. There is currently a huge initiative in Spain to rid the country of the blight of the ugly building. It’s actually called ‘The Initiative Against Ugly Spain’, and the autonomous regions are handing out cash to eliminate this unsightly scourge. We have not applied for these grants, but we are doing our part, and getting a new utility room in the process. And Jeff gets a project to work on.

One summer, when we lived in the US, Jeff built gorgeous stucco walls around the front of our house and around our pool. Emilie helped him. Then he designed and built the most beautiful curved gates. I truly believe he can do anything.

While I’m walking, I will think of Jeff working on his new project. Knowing he is enjoying himself as it all takes shape. He’s actually thinking of starting a YouTube channel with episodes for his DIY projects around the farm, and random things he designs. He just needs a good title. So maybe I can watch those while I walk.

And he will be happy knowing that, with my new tent, I can handle whatever comes my way on the Camino. No sleeping rough in a doorway in the rain, when or if there are simply no rooms at the proverbial inn.

But for now, we are enjoying our day off today by masking up and vacuuming out the interior of the old shed with the shop vac. Then ripping out the old cabinets. And I am glad I get to contribute in a small way on this holiday before I head out.

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