We are now in Spain and settled into our basic but cosy rented accommodation. The house sits on the border of Spain with Portugal, so close that I am in the bedroom typing this piece in Spain, whilst my husband is sitting in the Garden having a coffee in Portugal.
|Left foot Spain right foot Portugal|
Roman fortresses and moors buildings are to be seen all around, and the villages are awash with cobbled stones and houses with little red roofs. You can be in a town and suddenly come across small green areas of grass where goats or sheep graze.
In our little enclave of about 50 houses, we, like most villages in Spain, have the advantage of a merry band of dogs, all of which ,look well cared for and contented. We have named them and look out for them on our excursions out of the village.
Monty - Monty is, without doubt the top dog, if he had a baton under his front leg, and a little beret on, you can almost see him arranging the troops in Africa. Monty is usually the first to spot our GB car heading out of the village. He will sit and nod you through like someone at a border patrol one false move and you're in the brig. Following closely behind Monty is Yorkie, who is the most untidy and scruffiest little dog I have ever encountered. Yorkie always looks like it is all too much for him, and simply follows Monties commands. I think he has decided that Montys' ways are to be suffered and it is probably easier to follow than to argue. Yorkie, unlike Monty who sits and nods, lays in the middle of the road, and lays, and lays, eventually he will lift his head, give us a cursory stare shuffle over a bit and let us proceed to the next checkpoint charlie, who we call Squeak.
Squeak looks to be a cross between a doberman and a Chihuahua, erring on the side of a Chihuahua ( re his size) He really is there just to make up the numbers, he trundles down besides the car, driving my other half mad as he keeps going out of sight and we are worried he will end up under the wheels. Soon enough though the gang of 3 are sighted in the rear mirror trotting back to the border control, job well done. If you can manoeuvre through the gang then you can get get out of the village to get to where you need to go. There is a caveat to that. If the Cowman has decided that his Cows need to go up or even down the village you may have to wait a bit longer, equally if the local goat herd takes a sudden urge for village life as opposed to mountain life then you really are in a M25 situation.
It is all very beautiful and magical here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breathe it, let the sun bake into you. The skies and the lands are so enormous, and the detail so precise and exquisite that wherever you are you are isolated into a glowing world between the macro and the micro, where everything is sidewise under you and over you, and the clocks stopped long ago.
from A Letter to Alfred Stieglitz from Abiquiu, New Mexico., September 21, 1937
He could have been describing Extremadura