You know the feeling when you look out of the front window in the morning and see someone has dumped something in your front garden? Maybe a beer bottle, or a crisp packet (chips I think in American). You feel a tad disgruntled. Well the same thing happened to me the other day when I looked out of the window into the front garden when I woke up. Not a beer bottle, nor crisp packet, but a cow.
Apparently it is a bull rather than a cow, and about 8 months old. It belongs to Feluche the 80 year old man who lives in the hut in front of us. I have no idea what he is going to do with it, nor how long it will be there, but it moos constantly. Cats miaow when they are hungry or to say hello, and dogs when they are excited or want to warn you. This baby bull moos morning noon and night. He can’t be hungry as Feluche puts food in his orange crate. I didn't realise country living would be so noisy what with the cocks crowing and now bulls mooing. Hey ho.
When you move to a new place, it takes a while to suss out where the shops are, and where the plumber, electrician, car mechanic are. This week I was told about the convent. No, I am not thinking about joining them, but apparently they sell cheese, yoghurt, fresh eggs etc, so off I went. It is only a couple of miles away with stunning views of the mountains on the way. I felt as though I was in the Sound of Music.
Apparently there are 11 nuns there and they work in the garden and sell plants - they are famous for their orchids, and they also have cows and chickens. Once you arrive it is most peculiar.
You walk past the statue of Jesus in the entrance hall and then there is a sign inside saying what they sell and you press a bell then give your order through through a wooden loudspeaker.
Part of the wall then slides back and your purchases appear. You put the money in, the door slides back again and then reopens with your change.
|The sign says the Lord has risen, Hallelujah. Underneath are my yoghurt eggs and cheese.|
Anyway the yoghurt and cheese were fabulous so I will be going back there again. I made poached eggs on toast for lunch – there is nothing like poached eggs made with a fresh egg – although it caused a stir among the Dominicans, the idea of boiling an egg without its shell on, and everyone had to stand around and watch.
Have I mentioned Hector yet? Hector is my husband’s cousin and is a campesino full, as Danilo calls him. In other words a country bumpkin. He has been with us in the new house helping to sort it out. He cleans, sweeps, mops and washes up inside, and outside he digs, sows, mends pipes, builds whatever needs building.
I have known Hector for a while and he makes an appearance in the book, as he was shot by the police (lying on the ground and handcuffed, they shot him through the back of the leg and said he was shot running away), and came and lived in our spare bedroom for a while until he recovered. Here is a little excerpt about what happened.
I took him dinner one night, pork chops, and he looked at me, horrified.
“Are you trying to kill me?” he asked, with a look of shock and surprise on his face.
“Everyone knows if you eat pork when you have been injured, you will die.” I had never heard that gem of Dominican medical practice, but Danilo and the rest of those gathered for dinner confirmed it, and were astounded I did not know. I decided to conduct an experiment and asked Hector if he would like sausages instead, which he readily agreed to, of course not realising they were pork sausages. Surprisingly, he did not die.
There was a children's television programme in the UK called Hector's House, about a dog called Hector, and people would say to him, affectionately, "you are a silly old Hector". He was not very bright.
Dominican Hector is brilliant at stating the obvious. I think I will start a list saying “Hector says..”. Yesterday it was “It cannot rain as it is windy and clouds have to stand still to rain”.
The water had arrived by pipeline as it does every two weeks and the cistern was slowly filling up. It was about half full when I went to check it and he informed me, “If the water keeps coming through the pipe, the cistern will fill up.”
The book is selling steadily, and I am receiving some lovely emails and lovely reviews about it. I am trying to market it more now, and have written to all sorts of newspapers in the US, Canada and the UK. Unfortunately none have written back yet so I will just have to keep plugging on. Please let me know if any of you have any great ideas!