Friday, 6 May 2011

Camino bore, day 7: Discoveries.

"Do not disturb. Husband will collect."
The Guardian, election day 2010
Logrono to Najera. Najera is pronounced 'Nakkerer', but this had happened before I even left Logrono. But it was a most unexpected kind of day! No walking for me, I had to get the bus and was told to 'wait for me in Najera bus station while I walk the 17 miles'. I made many discoveries that day!

There being no cafe in the bus station, I had no choice but to head over to a pleasant bar across the road and order coffee, croissant etc. I didn't realise just how I'd be recognised not just as a pilgrim, but as an invalided-out pilgrim! And so I met George from Nijmegen in the Netherlands, also invalided out for the day. I discovered a whole underclass of invalided-out pilgrims! We tended to get there early, and be waiting for our walking companions. D shovelled me onto the bus in Logrono bus station where I'd hobbled in great pain that morning, and left me with nothing but a Spanish phrase book between me and disaster, so it felt. But confidence rose as the day wore on. The pilgrim journal suddenly took off and I filled in TWENTY-ONE PAGES compared with the usual 3 or 4, including the spoof Guardian front page here (it was election day back home. I never did get the hang of what happened that day and still have difficulty remembering who is the Prime Minister; never got it all into my head really.)  I drew more pictures, went shopping in the jolly market, bought a nightie to replace the one I'd left behind the night before, some tomatoes, a scarf; the journal proclaims; 'I'M HAVING SUCH A LOVELY DAY!' I seemed to alive to what was going on around, including noticing a woman wearing a coat which proclaimed in large letters on the back 'Enjoy this moment for it is your life' - a walking Qoheleth! .... then remembered that I was injured and that shopping was a drug that was dulling the pain, and that  I needed to rest and so lay down on a bench near where the camino path entered the town. Worrying that I might be mistaken for a tramp, I pinned a note to my foot 'Do not disturb: husband will collect'. He did, too! And we went on to the albergue shown here, where I continued to scribble furiously, this time a camino-inspired commentary on Psalm 23.

The lesson learned was that there is only ONE POT OF ENERGY, and when you don't walk, you can write, and vice versa.It has come in useful now I'm back home, and I make sure I get a bike ride out of the pot most days, before it's all gone.

As I didn't walk, I didn't have a shower; D did, and in the bathroom there was a notice on the wall: "Do not spend to much water. Thik in the next one." His shower was cold; he must have been the one after the one after the next one, at least.

Today we did a spontaneous cycle ride to Beverley, having set off to the art gallery just round the corner, we decided to continue. 35 mile round trip, 720 calories expended, my bike computer said. We humans are such efficient users of energy! That's about 2 Mars Bars. Bring back the rickshaw, I say, then we'd need very little of this oil stuff. Why not elect me to something, on the strength of my innovative approach to energy use? I had to vote for about 11 people last night, and - dashing out from a drinkies party to vote for "up to 11 candidates" out of a list of 14, a little after the wine had started to flow - I realised I'd voted for some bloke SIMPLY BECAUSE HE HAD PURPLE HAIR AND RIDES A BIKE! That's all I knew about him! Mrs Pankhurst must be spinning in her grave. But it seemed to me that if Mr Purplehair was a bit of a character, then he might do good things for Barton. He obviously has the courage of his convictions.

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