It is autumn in El Parral. I imagine it is also autumn in other places too, but I am only here. As always, the donkeys set the pace here. Every new morning begins with Morris waking me up with the reminder-bray that food is required. This might be at six o’clock in the morning, if I turn over in bed too loudly or put on a light to look at the time; or it may be at a leisurely 8 o’clock if Morris has been otherwise engaged, for example by pushing through a fence to destroy an olive tree by eating the bark of the central trunk.
I harvested the olives, cured them and today put them into the brine solution in the storage jars. It is the first crop of olives since 2018, and only from three of my olive trees. The rest have not produced any crop this year and my neighbouring farmers tell me I am lucky to have had three trees producing olives, for they have had none.
“You know the secret of my success?” I asked. My neighbours shrugged. “I do not put any donkey manure on the soil around my trees.” They laugh. All my donkey manure is collected on Saturday mornings – in a dozen big baskets – and taken to their olive groves to be scattered around the roots of the trees.
In a world consumed by news of disasters, climate change and pandemic, it is a great privilege to be able to simply wake up to your own disaster: an olive tree ruined by a naughty donkey; a chicken spirited away by a fox in the night; a few straw bales wasted because the tarpaulin was pulled aside by the wind during a thunderstorm and became waterlogged. A tree full of olives, half of them eaten by birds.
Happily, none of this is reported in the press. None of the disasters on the farm require me to sit down and spend half an hour reading about them over the breakfast marmalade. I can just see the event and assess it myself.
No news report is required.
I continue to contribute most of my blog articles to @wherepeteris and the latest is simply a defence of the Amazonian people who have been nastily treated by the traditionalist Catholic blogosphere since 2019: https://wherepeteris.com/our-lady-of-the-weather-forecast/
I am writing a book at the moment and have been researching the anticlericalism of 1930s Spain. While nobody could ever justify the attacks and the murders that took place all over Spain in the early 1930s and during the Civil War, it is clear that the sheer arrogance of Spanish clericalism had a lot to answer for. To revive this reactionary force within the Catholic Church in the 21st century – which is what the traditionalist movement has actually done – is a blot on the witness of the Catholic Church.
I can say that here, but have to keep a slightly lower profile in my comments on Where Peter Is. In case the ‘traditionalists’ (including the clowns like @bruvvereccles and @great_stalin) might dismiss my views as ‘liberal’ or whatever, I need to point out I am writng a very strong defence of the pro-Catholic forces in Spain in 1936-39 and at the same time examining the extraordinary efforts by moderates in this region to minimise the bloodshed and maintain human dignity during the Civil War. The object of my studies is not a historical book but a novel.
An image from the 1930s in our province of Alicante