El Burgo Ranero to Mansilla De Las Mulas.
“Unless you faint, puke or die, keep walking!”
“I think, Carolyn, that I have settled on my all time best St Mirren team. Of course when I say all time, I mean the years during which I have followed the Buds. Would you like to hear it? I’m sure you’ll disagree with some of my selections, but hey – that’s football.”
No reply. She was actually listening to music with the headphones on, so she couldn’t hear me. And she hates football. Undaunted, I pressed on. “I’ve opted for a 4-3-3 formation and I’m allowed 2 subs, so see what you think :
“In goal, Denis Connachan; back four of Steve Clarke, Gordon McQueen, Roy Aitken and Iain Munro. A midfield three of Archie Gemmill, Paul Lambert and Charlie Adam. Up front, Frank McGarvey, Frank Macavennie and Gunni Torfasson. Subs, Doug Somner and Lex Richardson.”
“ Once the music had finished, I received her response : “ Not sure about Adam in midfield. I always liked Norrie McWhirter, even though he played in a poor Saints team. And what about Billy Stark?”
The things you think about while walking along. You can’t chat for the entire journey every day, and you tire of listening to music, so you play daft games involving the alphabet, argue about the validity of the other person’s answer and abandon it once you get bored. Or you’re stumped. In my case, when I’m behind and in trouble, I announce that it’s a stupid game anyway, I can’t be bothered playing it any more and I need time for my private reflections. If I’m winning, it’s an excellent game that favours the deep thinker and keeps the the mind sharp. Sadly, such moments are all too rare (Note to self: next time you walk the Camino do it with someone even thicker than you.)
I have, nonetheless, created an invaluable method of drying my recently hand washed socks while marching along the road. Attach walking poles that you never actually use to either side of your rucksack like two radio antennae. Slide one wet sock over each pole and hope that the sun shines (it has – pretty much every day). The slight negative is that you now appear to be carrying two golf clubs (woods, Geoff?) with very unusual covers. After 13km stop for coffee and remove the now dry socks! I mean, come on!
Aside from the huge success of my mobile drying unit, today was an extremely pleasant walk in the company of an Irish couple, John and Margaret, who have now completed the second stage of their four year Camino journey. It’s very much the way the Irish choose to do it, mainly due, as previously mentioned, to work related time constraints. They are such convivial people, so easy to chat to, and always great fun. They are the best represented country on the route, and the strength of their faith is, to my mind, very impressive. To be fair, everyone is friendly, kind and relentlessly positive. There is no complaining, rather a stoical acceptance of the vagaries which can impede, but never halt, progress along The Way!
As we neared Mansilla we were delighted to see a herd of cattle for the first time since Navarra. Fields of corn also broke the monotony of the haystack fields and helped make things that bit more interesting. The things that get you excited!
On the subject of interesting things, the more observant among you, that is, those who tough this blog nonsense out to the end, will have noticed the huge nest on top of the church tower in El Burgo Ranero. We have come across these gigantic nests, almost always on church steeples, throughout the Camino and speculated as to what birds have built them. Having done a wee bit of research, I reckon they belonged to White Storks. I use the past tense because apparently they return south round about September time, which would explain why, despite seeing lots of nests, we’ve never seen a single stork. Nature Watch Camino Special. Minus the week of walking.
We have now completed three full weeks on the Camino. So far, it’s been terrific. Great people, great scenery, great food/drink, great weather, great fun! With a bit of luck, the next stage will be just as good. Tomorrow it’s the city of León and a day off on Saturday – excellent!
Today’s album track is “Smooth” by Santana, because it was as they sing, “A hot one”, and the walk went as smoothly as the proverbial baby’s bum
Time to eat! 🌟🔜🌟