It only takes a mildly tempered link
To break, and let the savage beast run free
To lunge at me, and with untrammelled glee to sink
Its foamy fangs into my calf and knee.
Stars in a clear sky, only seven degrees, as I left this morning. This was the second part of a long step I had cut in two. As so often happens, a kindly fellow escorted, rather than directed, me along the way out of town. And then I had a friendly conversation with a dog and his master who told me I had only five days to walk to Santiago. Six for me, I think. I passed a man in his yard rooting around under his horse chestnut tree. Was he planning on playing conkers with his grandchildren, or was he using them for some culinary purpose?
I spent another delightful day walking along country lanes and paths, sometimes dirt, sometimes cobbled, crossing bridges over rippling streams, occasionally missing a turning and having to backtrack a little, but without any serious detours. No fig trees today. I think that delicacy may be behind me. Still the occasional blackberry which I sample, shrivelled and past its prime, but edible.
I passed many deserted farm houses, the land no longer viable, I suppose.
And always in the fields I see that tall vegetable, sometimes as tall as I am, a member of the cabbage family, I think, not unlike kale, that is a chief ingredient of Caldo Gallego, the marvellous soup that I remember from my time in Galicia on the Camino Frances.
I walked with Frederika, the young German girl for a while. She fully supports Angela Merkel, but I read this morning that German public opinion (51%) may be turning against her generous refugee policy.
People have their characteristic gait which may reflect their personality. Frederika, for example, has a jaunty walk, occasionally throwing her arms out as she walks. I can recognize her from half a kilometre away. Preben has a steady plod. And there's the ebullient Italian, whom I see at almost every albergue, who breaks into a jog every so often, backpack and all. When I left the Camino del Norte on my detour to Oviedo, I met him jogging towards me five kilometres from the turnoff. Took the wrong path, he told me. Eveline the Quebecoise has the gait of a tortoise; in fact, she identifies with that animal, and always carries a little ornamental tortoise with her. She calls me the hare, because I go ahead, take a wrong turning, and then come up behind her. I believe I have a rolling gait. I'm not sure what that signifies.
I dined out with Eveline her last night and again we talked politics. She is a fiery separatiste, or independiste, as she would prefer to be called. I am trying to convince her that she would be better off in Canada. She feels that there is an anti-Quebec attitude in the rest of Canada, which I am trying to dispel.
Last night I ate pulpo for this time this trip. I always make sure that I'm going to get the tentacles, cut into bite-sized chunks, ever since the time I recommended it to a friend, who ordered it and a whole octopus arrived on her plate. She almost chundered.
This afternoon as I walked past a farmyard, a savage hound lunged at me, only to be caught by its chain just short of my calf. How many lunges before the chain breaks? Every day I pass dozens of dogs on chains. What else can they do but become savage?
On the other hand, cats regard me with disdain. I passed a pussilanimity, or perhaps a moggitude, or a felinicity of cats.
Baamonde is renowned for its sculptor, Victor Sorrel. We visited his house, a living museum; everything, inside and out and inthe garden, he has created: wood sculptures, stone sculptures, miniatures, paintings.
Particularly impressive was a sculpture inside a horse chestnut tree outside the Romanesque church.