The secret gallery’s blog

Maybe the first secret gallery in Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland

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The Secret Garden

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Spain (Camino to Santiago)

The back of our Lada Niva 4×4 was filled with the contents of James’ herb garden, which luckily was in pots! Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Mint, Tarragon, Fennel and a few more, along with lanterns and candle holders, painted tiles, pieces of oak from old wine barrels which had some words painted on them hoping to inspire the passing pilgrims. A couple of woven table cloths to cover the top of the rusty well, and a watering can. The location was the sight of an anciant Roman village, now all that there is is a dry well and two benches. Suddenly it was a little herb garden!

Every morning we brewed fresh coffee and water for tea that were left along with a little teapot and cups for the ceramony! We left a mound of oranges and lots of granola bars along with a few handy backpacking supplies like cloves of garlic, chillies and shallots! Every morning after leaving the fresh supplies James and I would light the candles and wind up the musical duck pond and dissapear quickly to give the pilgrims a very surreal experience in the middle of a lonely track!

For two months we left these little offerings for pilgrims. The idea of the donativo or donation system that we always used was so that anybody could afford to have something to eat and drink it didn’t matter if they had no money, people could leave what they could afford and what they felt happy leaving in the donativo box. This system worked really well for us and things seem to all level out in the end and everybody seemed to be happier including us! It was hard to believe what a huge difference this little idea made to people’s day, perhaps even their Camino.

Art and Poetry on the Camino de Santiago, Spain

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The first time I started leaving art and poetry on the Camino de Santiago was when I walked it, starting it on the summer solstice of 2004. I brought along some beautiful poetry of somebody else’s, which I would like to talk more about in another post. I wrote the poems in coloured chalk pastels along the Camino, under bridges and in places that could do with some poetry. After I met James my ephemeral chalk turned to a beautiful shade of indigo permanent marker! The surfaces I chose were somewhat in need of a more committed poem! A dumped white freezer and lump of cement on the Via de la Plata, if you are passing! A run down refugio where James framed two of the poems with wood from a broken chair and twine. There is also a scroll of one of the poems up a tree by a fountain in a town in Galicia, we it hid there exactly 4 years ago, I know because it was James´ Birthday!
James and I spent allot of time toing and froing on the Camino by foot, car and a camper van. We did various projects along the way. Starting in Saint-Jean-Pied-du-Port where there should still be a Haiku on the back of a wooden sign post.

Pilgrims passing through
mountains crowned with clouds
Trail of grace

Then further on in a valley etched into the side of a rock

Midnight procession
shepherds lantern
and sheep bells

Where once we had the Secret Garden before Moratinos three pieces of oak from a wine barrel supported the words

Journey to the moon
between two worlds
astronauts sing






“Trail of grace”



Copyright © 2008 by Marianne Potterton.
All rights reserved

Written by Marianne Slevin

14 August, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Posted in Art on the Camino