The secret gallery’s blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘spain

Miracle Box Continued

A while ago I wrote about `Miracle Box´, project where I was asking people to write their own miracles on paper hearts that will be going into the Miracle Box. I would would also like this to also be an online project here on this blog, so over the next few days we shall be putting together a new page just for this, stay tuned, and in the meantime if you have any miracles yourself you would like to include in the project email them to me at   mariannepotterton at hotmail dot com.

One of our miracles

We love tents and over the years have collected quite a few! So the first miracle story I would like to write is about finding a tent!

One New Years Eve we were joined by some pilgrims who had stayed with us when we were living in a different house on the Camino de Santiago. James had been planning a walk, starting in Merida where we had stopped walking over two years ago. We had been looking for a one man tent but could not find one anywhere. Probably because it was December and there aren’t too many people going camping! Apart from this minor issue James was packed and ready to go! One of the pilgrims said he had been walking the Via de la Plata and he had got fed up carrying his one man tent and left it outside somewhere along the 900km trail! It happened to be not to far from Merida where James was going to walk from! But a long way from where we were spending New Years Eve. The directions included mention of a steep track that would be muddy as it had been raining a lot, this meant that it because it was too muddy for car to drive up there we a high possibility that nobody would have seen the tent and it could still be there!

On New Years Day we started driving towards Merida and wished very hard that the tent would still be there. After a day of driving the sun was starting to set and we drove up the muddy slope in our Lada Niva! James ran up to steps to the roof terrace of the closed Albergue and I could hear a happy sounding `it is still here!´. We looked out at the sun setting over the lake and felt grateful for the mysterious workings of the universe and our friend from the Camino!

Cooking in Interesting Places

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Four years ago in a small town called Negreira about 20 kms west on Santiago de Compostella, Spain, I first met James. I had been living on the simplest of food; no cooking just lots of tinned sardines, with the variation of sardines in oil one day and tomato sauce another, sometimes interspersed with tinned mussels or squid, Manchego cheese, olives out of a plastic sachet, the occasional tomato and a lot of bread!  Yes I did have one or two of the famous Bocadillos con tortilla de patatas, which translates to a roll with potato omelet, these came in varying degrees of dryness and hardness, but if you were lucky could be delicious!

My first sniff that James was an extraordinary artist of food, in the best possible way, was when out of his three wheeled baby buggy which contained his life since he began walking from London, he produced a great salad! James had a pretty extensive range of herb in there!  We still ate olives and tomatoes but they tasted amazing, I don’t know if it was just a little seasoning and oregano, but I just knew it was different! That night we made a fire and James made some bread, which we devoured with garlic butter and roasted freshly picked corn on the cobs! Ever since those days while we were walking, every time James cooks it is something different; never ask him for the recipe or how he made it because he wont know! his food is like eating originals no mass reproductions here!  

One of the lovely and delicious memories I have of are time walking to the south of Spain was when we were walking through Portugal and stopped in a bus shelter for a rest while it was raining, and James made the most amazing Pumpkin soup! I did something in my sketch book and suddenly there was a soup brewing, cream, onion, garlic, cumin and I am sure a few other magic ingredients were added. I would like to confess to taking the pumpkin from some farmers field, sorry, but thank you for the pumpkin, who ever you are! I would also like to say thank you to the lovely man who brought us into his garden, sat us down and gave us figs and home made bread!  Possible the same man, thinking we were very hungry! Along with cooking in nature and bus shelters we frequented Band Stands to dine in and sleep in too! We ate in the band stand in Merida and a few others along the way! 

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.