2021 in El Parral and on the Roads to Compostela

Camino de Levante in La Mancha September 2021

Happy New Year to readers of the EquusAsinus blog.  I imagine it has been a difficult year for everyone, so I will not go into any details about why this has seemed a particular annus horribilis for me!  Suffice to say, I have survived the year with at least good physical health, and so far have not needed to call Samaritans in complete despair!

Enough has been written already about the Aitana donkey health crisis, so I’ll not put up any more photos of her, but here’s a link to the wherepeteris.com web page, where Mike Lewis the Managing Editor decided to include photos of Aitana in his reporting of the Christmas Orbi et Urbi address by Pope Francis in Rome.  He asked me to approve the inclusion of the photos, but I still can’t see the relevance – for the life of me! – although it is good to have photos of my recovered donkey alongside the Pope, for good luck or something!

On this blog at the beginning of the year I continued the series of posts on the Virtual Pilgrmage to Compostela based on my 2008 classic 2,500 km walk from Worcester to Compostela, and the episodes stopped shortly after crossing the Pyrenees, when I realized that there was such little reader traffic on this blog that it was no longer worth my while spending such a lot of time writing regular articles.  (Blogs come in and out of fashion: that is in the nature of them, so I didn’t take it personally!)  During Lent, I began to write for wherepeteris.com – the American website that supports the mission of Pope Francis – and it was really good to have the writing discipline of working with an editor again.  Mike Lewis is a very discerning editor and will usually provide helpful comments when changes are needed; but he also encourages all contributors to WPI with his enthusiasm for new writing. 

After a few general articles early in the year, I embarked on a continuation of my Compostela theme (from this blog) and turned it into Postcards from the Camino for WPI.  I shall continue my series What have the Saracens ever done for us? in the new year, when I hope to meet the imam of the Vilajoiosa mosque and discuss the historical Muslim presence in this area.

The major writing work, now going on behind the scenes (with the planning all over my study walls!) is the historical novel The Beach at Benidorm which is a long-term project that was consuming most of my energy before the Aitana donkey health crisis. Due to the drain on my energies of the animal drama (and associated loony family dramas which I will not even begin to describe for an unsuspecting general public!) the work on the novel has come to a complete halt, after three months of really promising research and sample chapters.  I must get back into it quickly or I will lose the momentum.  The project was the only thing that was keeping me going – in the solitude here in El Parral – and it needs to be recovered quickly, both for my sanity and for a world which needs such a great novel!

Happy new year, everyone.