Jan is returning early from England, missing her animals, possibly slightly worried about their survival in my tender care . . . so it's back on the road at the weekend . . . Spring is here, time to head North . . . first stop the Dao, since it is close, then on to Porto to pick up the Camino Portugues to Santiago . . .
A brief chat with local builders, Steve and Dave, doing up a place nearby for fellow Brit, Nick.
Terry and Mitch call by, en-route to town, wondering if I fancy a trip, which is kind.
Over coffee the subject turns profound, with Terry doggedly denying God or god, Mitch and I suggesting a mystery which some call God . . . Terry believes in Nature or nature . . . the spoken word is not capitalised and that changes the meaning. Giordano Bruno proposed Nature with a capital N and was burned to death by the established church, in the name of Jesus, for Christ's sake . . . better not to name or explain the ineffable, it only leads to division, violence . . .
The Dalai Lama knows a thing or two about Buddhism and other religions too (leaving aside for now the question of whether Buddhism is a religion), yet he asserts very simply that what counts is to practice kindness every minute of the day (not just on Sunday, as he cheekily told the front row of the audience in Inverness some years ago).
Some rather disturbing information from Mitch about a deal Monsanto did with the government here . . . leading to heavy pesticide use (and dog killing) . . .
Reflecting on the impact of immigrants here, mostly North Europeans fed up with overcrowded, over regulated homelands, with cold damp climates . . . arriving with funds to buy a piece of land, often abandoned terraced land with a ruin to be restored . . . learning how to live alongside the locals, many of whom have worked in those same Northern countries and returned with funds to do up family houses . . . it seems to be working better than the Algarve, though not calling me . . . let's see what's next . . . and home, which could be anywhere, feels like Stanhope now . . . and since Emily, my younger daughter, has her one way ticket and work visa for Australia lined up for the end of April, it feels good to be heading there (Stanhope, not Australia, which never appealed to me, though my brother emigrated there, and his children are happy to see their cousin).