Fides et Rabit

The long journey is over for the rabit piligrimin, on this stage of the piligriminage, and this is a photo of the end of the track.  I am now high up in the foothills of rugged mountains on the Costa Blanca, looking down at the nearby Mediterranean.  My temporary accommodation in an out-of-season mountaineering chalet is a twelve kilometre bike ride from the International College where I shall be teaching, starting the day after tomorrow, and I went for my first visit to the college this morning.

Then I went to the police to obtain my employment credentials and get my National Insurance number for Spain.  After the horrendous experience of the CRB in England – which prompted my journey – I was dreading the visit to the police station.  The Policia Nacional officer processed my application in twenty minutes; he was perfectly welcoming and pleasant; and the cost was just 6 Euros and 82 centimos.

Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t help making this comparison: in my attempt to return to teaching in England, the CRB messed up my life for three months, cost me the job I was hoping to return to, refused to enter into discussion of the problem for weeks, then admitted seven counts of error in processing my application for clearance, and they charged £40 for this nightmare.  Those same unspeakable people are now continuing to argue with my solicitor about the amount of compensation they are prepared to pay.  But I do have the CRB to thank for inspiring me to leave my own country and go and teach in another country, where citizens and professionals are respected.  Oh yes, and this place gets 360 days of sunshine too!

I cycled back up the long hill in the 40 degree midday heat, but now it has clouded over slightly and the mountain air is cool and pleasant. I now sit on a terrace drinking a large bottle of beer from the local shop: near to the church tower of San Bartolomeo in the photo here.  I shall go to the church for Sunday Mass.

Just up the hill from the church in a narrow street of whitewashed houses, there is a small plaque on the wall: Camino de Santiago and an arrow pointing the way.  On further enquiry, your rabit piligrimin learned that there is a local piligriminage association, so I decided to make their acquaintance pretty soon.

Also in this photo, just to the left of the brightly lit yellow house in the foreground, there is a smaller, ochre coloured house.  I have been reliably informed that I can find there a man who keeps donkeys.  I shall also be visiting him soon, and if you have followed this blog you will know why.  So I will end with two more photos of the aminals I shared the piligrimin paths with.

The Airnimal “Rhino”  and Dalie donkey.


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself dividing my time mostly between looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca and preparing a legal case against the corrupt management of my monstrous last employer - the Elians group - for unfair dismissal. I like to hear the wind in the pine trees. I do not like struggling to get a duvet into a duvet cover. My musical tastes are extinct and I have mostly given up cycle racing.
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7 Responses to Fides et Rabit

  1. Gertrude says:

    I am so glad you have arrived at the end of your pilgrimin trail Rabit, and I wish you all good things in your new life. I am sad your memories of England are so awful, and pray that in time they will fade, snd you find the peace in Spain that eluded you here. I continue my prayers daily for you.
    God bless.

  2. Brother Burrito says:


    With your blog as evidence, I am about to make a presentation before the Hywel Dda Health Board executive, management, consulting, conference, meeting, planning, and officiating, subcommittee on Necessary Health Board Travel, on the following topic:

    All NHS Consultants must hand in their Mercedes/Ferraris/Bentleys/BMWs etc and start using Trust-provided donkeys for all Trust business travel.

    The unnecessary vehicles will be sold to the lowest bidder to raise funds for the Aromatherapy Suite for the terminally ill-disposed.

    Hay will be provided, in season, and within budget, to keep the new vehicles ready for action, in the event of a clinical emergency.

    The donkey’s livery will contain the amusing aphorism:

    Don’t ASS-u-me anything, etc.

  3. Frere Rabit says:

    Thank you for your comments, Gertrude and Burrito, and I am sure Dalie donkey will be pleased to know she has helped to revolutionise health care transport derangements in a far away land.

    These ideas have much to recommend them, and a donkey of course has its own emergency siren -with a braying level just below the maximum decibel level recommended by the health and safety wonks. However, I do wonder, where would you fix the blue flashing light to a donkey?

  4. omvendt says:

    Vaya con Dios, conejo!

  5. Frere Rabit says:

    Gracias, amigo Omvendt. Tu eres un amigo fiel y un hombre de principios. Te respeto. Paz y bien.

  6. gertie says:

    A good read, as ever, rabit, and I wish you all the best! (As ever)

  7. Frere Rabit says:

    Thank you Gertie. Back to work today 🙂 It’s the first time I’ve started work in a new school in September while still being in a Spanish holiday resort… How weird is that?

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