Let's start with the undeniably good news that the Códice Calixtino, which disappeared from Santiago Cathedral last year, has been found - in a plastic bag in the garage of a disgruntled ex-employee. Along with other precious works, a silver plate and 1.2m euros in cash. So, the early (and bloody obvious) conclusion that it'd had been an inside job has proven correct. The Códice is a 12th century work on the Camino and is considered the first guide to it. Useful if you could understand the Latin it's written in. And if you were allowed to read it. In other words an Archbishop or a Cardinal. Who, ironically, wasn't going to be making a pilgrimage which involved anything as plebeian as walking.
Unlike train stations, bus stations tend to be bleak places. But the one in Ponte de Lima at which I dropped off my friend, Mike, at midday today was more desolate than most. Six or seven offices but only one of them manned. And an empty-place silence that would surely have been improved by some muzak. Any muzak.
A last few Portugal notes:-
- There seems to be a tendency for men in their 60s to stand around with a jacket or cardigan draped over their shoulders.
- There's at least a couple of gold-exchange shops in prosperous looking Ponte de Lima.
- If you've arrived here because you're looking for a hotel in the town, you should know that the Imperial has closed down and the Mercearía's entrance is 34 Rua Cardeal Saraiva, next to the TH sign. But without a number. The street with the bull and cardinal bronze statues in it.
- The church clock near this hotel chimes every quarter hour and not just on the hour and half hour. But not at night.
- The aversion to noise is so great in Portugal that, even when the kids shout, they don't really.
- My TV-B-Gone is surplus to need in Portugal; even if there's a TV in the café or bar, they often don't switch on the sound.
Changing the subject and country . . . Not a lot of people know this, but in 1217 a French king actually entered London and, for a while, ruled as the English king as well. He was ousted by an army under William Marshal, returning to France with his queue between his jambes. The decisive battle was called The Battle of Lincoln Fair, allegedly because of the heavy looting by victorious English troops. Something which quite a few peoples around the world have since enjoyed. These days, the experience is called Hosting a Week-end Stag Party.
Back in my house in Pontevedra, I chucked some stale bread onto the lawn and waited to see which birds it would attract. I was hoping for the two jays of last week but what I got was a huge seagull circling the garden. Having scared this off - for how long? - I was delighted to see first one and then several sparrows. Perhaps they're back in my eaves.
Finally . . . I read about electric cigarettes last week and was going to mention them. But forgot to do so. Until today, and a news report of a coach on Britain's main north-south motorway being surrounded by armed police and sniffer dogs because someone had fingered a passenger as a possible terrorist. The chap was using an electric cigarette, and pouring water("a liquid") into the cigarette("a bomb"), so as to generate steam("smoke") to give the full death-stick effect. So, not an example of Health&Safety gone mad. Just a case of a multiple common sense bypass. And surely not the last.
A few PdL fotos:-
The church clock and out hotel/guest house just right and down of it.
The accurately represented bull. I guess in honour of the annual bull-dragging event. Yes, bull-dragging. Possibly, as in Spain, after some prior bull-drugging.
The vicious gully, which almost got me and my laptop. I wonder if I could have successfully sued them if the latter had been broken. As if.
Reminders of Britain. Another one was the red telephone boxes, painted white. And the white teapot on the breakfast table. Even if it did contain milk.