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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Between The Showers

The Bell Batterer's Belfry
Between showers yesterday, the dog and I went out. He and I both need the exercise. The sun shone bright between downpours. The smell after the rain here in the Sierra de la Francia is different to how it is in Andalucia. Maybe it's all the trees. There are Chestnuts – thousands of Chestnuts, Oaks, Pyrenean Oaks, Portuguese Oaks, Holly Oaks (no, not that kind), Eucalyptus, and Ash – no ash dieback here. I haven't seen one pine, although there were two large pine cones on the track yesterday. And of course, strangest of all for this fish out of Andalucian water, there are no palms.

Alongside the track, there are brambles. About half the fruit is ripe, but there's still enough to make blackberry pie for the world, or at least the local town, tourists and all. I picked a few to eat along the way. The berries were so juicy there was no hiding the evidence on our return.

Later, in the evening we went out into the lush greenery again. Looking down the slope to where the church nestles by the river, I could see someone in the bell tower. The bell began to toll, I asked not, of course. It began as though someone was pulling the rope to strike the hour, only it was half past six. On the strike of 10, I saw the tiny figure in the belfry move. The resulting noise seemed like he'd decided to hammer a second bell with avant-garde jazz syncopation. It went on for several minutes. The next thing I heard was some kind of Public Address announcement. It was too far away to discern a single word, and the echoing valley made sure the language could have been sanskrit. Then the bells began again.

Two Old Dogs, No New Tricks
The old dog is not keen on loud noises, sonic booms, aircraft engine runs, slamming doors - anything that might sound like thunder to a dog that hates storms. So the Bells of Hell going anything but ting-a-ling-a-ling didn't bother him... but they did bother me. I wanted to know what all the noise was about. Perhaps I'll ask someone today.

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