Those of you who have followed this blog, for whatever strange reasons you may have, will know that the rabit piligrimin has been through a rather extraordinary journey in these past weeks. Setting off on piligriminage – not knowing quite where he would end up – as Abraham did, and started a whole lot of similar nonsense with Jews setting off into the desert, arguing about what to do next, getting stone tablets brought down the mountain to complicate matters further, and then getting loads of Pharasaic rules and other silly stuff, with Saducees and Opus Dei complicating it even further, until Jesus came along with the Sermon on the Mount – which was all geared to donkeys – and finally we had a sensible Catholic religion.
But then people distorts that too! What starts off as the Sermon on the Mount – which is all about sensible picnics and being nice to the poor – ends up with a load of stuff about maniples, the order of lighting candles on the high altar, and how to lay out fiddleback chasubles in the sacristy…
Well frankly, stuff all that. While I contribute to the No.1 Catholic traditionalist blog, there’s a limit to how fussy I want to get about these things. Are you with me so far? No. OK forget all that and we’ll get back to donkeys. It is much more sensible. Rabit got a house…
I went to see a house yesterday and was driven there by a man who owns quite a lot of property around the village where I have decided I want to remain. Before we even looked at the house, I asked him if I could have the use of the little plot of land next to it. He looked surprised. I had spotted the alfalfa. Donkey food! I didn’t care too much what the house looked like, but I just knew the little plot with alfalfa would be a joy to a donkey. You just know when God is steering the whole show: this is where I needed to live!
Still mainly impressed with the alfalfa, I approached the house. (“Well, I won’t be able to afford this,” I thought, in parenthesis, while the property owner (in parenthesis) was thinking “I have to get rid of this house, as there are no tenants to be found anywhere…
“But what the heck (that’s me again in parenthesis): we’ll go through the motions just like I did when applying for all those jobs I knew I had no chance of getting.”
It was lovely. New kitchen: everything new. A couple of beds, a pair of sofas and a table. A wood burning fireplace for the winter. And that was it. No other furniture. An empty hutch for a rabit to begin a new life.It was 600 but he said I could have it for 400 as I was on my own and he wanted to have it occupied. It is a buyer’s market these days, with so many properties empty. This will make a nice home for rabit and donkeys.
Above the door are the neatly-placed ceramic letter tiles put in by a dyslexic building worker, announcing this to be ElCa seriu. EL CASERIU in Valenciano – i.e. Languedoc, but don’t even think about challenging the linguistic invention of ‘Valenciano’, equates with “El Caserio” in Castillian meaning “The Farmhouse”. The dyslexic building worker (or probably a Polish worker with no knowledge of “Valenciano” i.e. Languedoc) was told to cement he plain tile as a gap between the letters. So he did, completely at random. “ElCa seriu”. Perfect. I LOVE IT. Nobody speaks Valenciano (i.e. Languedoc) so Polish building workers and the dyslexics will eventually come up with their own version of ‘Valenciano’ and promote it throughout the region. An admirable extension of minority interests.
But…to the right of that, what do we see above the door?
Oh dear! Yes, it is indeed one of those… Rebrites will be falling over laughing at the irony here. It’s the I Ching hexagrams all set out to guide my life and good luck within the property, so that no evil spirits will plague me with Catholic traditionalism .
Yes, the sodding I Ching. Stuck on the house, after all I wrote the other day on CP&S. Well, OK, finish falling about laughing. Maybe I deserved it, but it’s not funny and it is coming down immediately. I will bin it. (Well may be I won’t bin it exactly, because that might bring bad luck, but I’ll put it near the bin and think about it.)
And from this house, my new rabit house where two donkeys will join me one day, I can see the lovely village of Finestrat, nestling under the mountain. It is just twenty minutes away on my rabit velocipede, and I can meet up with my new friends and teaching colleagues.
Somehow, things have fallen into place. God is good sometimes. He can be a pain in the arse, but He will never test you beyond your capacity.
Unlike Young’s Special Bitter on a Friday night.
To be continued….
PS: Just remembered! This afternoon I tried to get from the new rabit house to the village on the clever ’20-minute’ walking route that my landlord suggested is possible. I pointed out that 4km by bicycle from the village is a long way, so he came up with this instant solution: “You can go in a straight line from here to the village in twenty minutes.”
I went off to try it this afternoon. I ended up scratched to buggery, I stubbed my toes on rocks, got my velocipede all covered in weird grass, and fell into a ravine. All this took much more than twenty minutes – more like five hours – and the village seemed just as far away. In fact, after I fell into the ravine, I couldn’t see how far away the village was anyway.
But… I saw the most wonderful rabit! It leapt out of a patch of grass that my bike had just fallen into, with me somersaulting a few seconds behind; and bounded across the hillside looking very elegant. Considering it had just had its siesta ruined by a lunatic on a folding off-road velocipede, following the entirely invented instructions of a property owner which were designed to mislead the tenant into thinking it was a convenient place to live, the rabit managed to keep up a fairly good expression as it fled: as if saying, “Well, I was going to go bounding over this bit of hillside anyway, just now, even before you came along, so don’t think you startled me…” While I lay there stunned on the dusty ground and said, “Well fair enough rabit, but you might have at least shown me the way!”
This is not another dig at the pastoral incompetence of the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Southwark, I hasten to add. Sorry to those who mistakenly took that as an oblique reference, particularly Archbishop Peter Smith and the Vocations Director Stephen Langridge, Opus Dei, CBE and bah.