Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oli’s leaving home, Montrondo again, cut off from the outside world and more Emma Bridgewater pottery

Olivia on her 24th birthday last month.
Hi again,

Wow I’ve written it. Oli’s leaving. How can that be possible? Well she is 24 and she is working so, yes, of course it’s possible. When she first told me, I was sad but not shocked as I was expecting it at some stage. Then I shed the odd tear and then I accepted it and now, of course I am helping her. What else can I do? Soon Suzy will be going too. It’s just a question of time. That will leave us three “oldies”, Eladio, my Father and I in this big, big house. Will we move out? Will we heck, we shall enjoy it and enjoy hosting the girls when they come back to visit.

Suzy won’t be going yet. She is doing what appear to be her finals but when they finalise is another question. The bets are on: this September, next February or next June? One thing I know, she will finish even if it’s over my dead body. She is studying quietly next to me on the table by the swimming pool with lovely background music by Mozart (piano sonata number 11) thanks to Spotify. Norah is at my feet chewing the ends of my beach wrap and I can hear children nearby splashing in their pools.

We are all suffering from the heat. Yesterday in Madrid it hit 40ºc! A swimming pool in another country may seem a luxury but most people have access to one in Spain to cool off when it gets hot as it does so often here.

We escaped a lot of the heat this week when we went to Montrondo. There was a national holiday for Corpus Christi which we took advantage of to travel north to order some lovely new furniture from Ikea for our room and the room the girls use in the village house in Montrondo. Ikea is very modern and very low cost but surprisingly does not have an online service. To avoid the hefty transport costs from Madrid we had to go to the nearest Ikea from Montrondo which is one hour away in Oviedo. A further inconvenience, we learned, was that the delivery service is when they want not when the customer wants. This means we will have to go again at the end of the week to supervise the delivery and assembly of the stuff we have bought.

The furniture we have bought in Ikea, it's from the Hemnes collection.
It was the first time Eladio and I had gone to his village house on our own for a stay and we have been going for more than 20 years. It was strange, yet nice to have the whole house to ourselves rather than share it with his huge family. Montrondo as I always write is very small and isolated. It is a rural village in a remote location in the north of León and there is no access to newspapers. In fact there is not even a shop. The television works but reception is weak and the internet connection is extremely slow. You always feel a bit cut off from the rest of the world but this time, being alone, we felt it even more. The third world war could have broken out and we wouldn’t have known it.

Our only socialising consisted of visiting Primo, my brother-in-law and Eladio’s sister’s husband, who is also from Montrondo. He is building a small house in the village and we went to see how it was progressing. From what we saw he is putting in a lot of time and effort but then Montrondo is his passion as it is for most people who were born there.
Primo picking wild strawberries from his kitchen garden for me. Thank you Primo.
We were joined on Friday afternoon for a few hours by his Mother, his two sisters, Adela and Pili and Pili’s do-it-yourself specialist and handyman husband Andrés. Always in fashion, he arrived wearing some lovely red leather moccasin shoes. I immediately wanted some for Eladio but who I know would never wear them, like the pink M+S lamb’s wool pullover sitting at the bottom of his pile of jerseys upstairs.

The few hours they were with us were spent on intensive spring cleaning and throwing out some old trash, such as the dusty plastic flowers that had adorned the staircase since before they were probably born. I had been campaigning against them for some years now so was very happy to snap the moment as you can see here.

Our mission in Montrondo was to prepare the two rooms for the new furniture. That meant an awful lot of work. We had to remove the old furniture which had been there for donkey’s years and was in a frightening state and find somewhere to put it. This was all very heavy and hard work.
This was the state of one of the beds we got rid of. It was high time too.
Eladio dismantling some of the old furniture in our room which he had literally thrown out of the window. How happy I was to see it go.
When the rooms were finally empty and ready for painting, we encountered dreadful damp patches on the parts of the walls where the wardrobes had been which made us think we had bitten off more than we could chew. To top it all, at one stage, Eladio fell of the ladder (or rather the ladder fell whilst he was on it) and developed a huge bruise on his thigh which had me very worried. Montrondo is very cut off and about an hour away on windy roads from any medical service. Luckily the next day it was better and he was able to get on with the job in hand.
Eladio and one of the damp patches he had to tackle.
Eladio, my painter husband, did the best he could do with the patches and by Saturday afternoon he had finished all the painting.
One of the newly painted rooms.
We spent the 3 days working hard but there was also time for making lovely meals together and for going on walks. Nature in Montrondo is at its best in May and June. This, coupled with sunny but tolerable heat, made for glorious walks. Eladio was only able to join me once but I went three times to Murias, the nearest village, some 1.6km each way. I took the old route rather than the main road which I love.
Nature at its best on the old walk to Murias.
I went twice for bread which was actually the excuse, although Murias’ bread is one of the best and now I have 3 loaves cut up and frozen in our deep freezer. When we have it for meals here at home it adds a little something just because of the connotation.
La Panadería in Murias.

Eladio told me that when they were children they used to dress up to go to Murias. I, of course wore shorts and a t-shirt. Murias, is bigger and there must be a sort of inbred inferiority complex in people from Montrondo and certainly a rivalry. As with most bordering villages or even countries, there is not much love lost between the two communities.

After leaving everything spick and span, we left and drove back to Madrid and arrived late last night to a very warm house but also to a summer storm so typical of these times.

It was nice to see the family and our pets but also to open the parcel of pottery I had ordered from Emma Bridgewater to increase my collection. It looks like this now. Isn’t it lovely?
My Emma Bridgewater collection so far.
That’s it for now. The week coming up promises to be busy as I have to fit in a second trip to La Rioja in preparation for the Yoigo summer party on 25th June (yes I’m organising a party there for 150 people!!), another trip to Montrondo for the furniture as well as dinner on Friday with Gerardo and Irene at Quënco, the place we held our wedding party in Madrid and to which Eladio and I have never been back. That will be something. I just hope the Ikea transport people won’t spoil my plans.

Cheers till next week.
PS you can see the full collection of photos of our trip to Montrondo here.

No comments: