Day 14, 17th Jan, The things we (don’t) know

Another set of literary agents have been offered the opportunity to represent my work as of this morning.  And I got my first rejection, but as a refusal goes, it’s about as lovely as I could imagine (rarely have the academic equivalents been so encouraging).  It said: 

Dear Julie, 

Many thanks for giving me the chance to consider your work. I enjoyed the material you sent but I’m afraid this isn’t one for me. 

Please don’t be disheartened though, this is a subjective business and just because a book doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it isn’t going to work for someone else. 

Best wishes,

I mean, if someone’s gonna say ‘No’, that’s how to let you down gently, don’t you think? So, I am encouraged by this refusal. I store it with the other positive feedback for my book and it makes me send out another five missives of hope.  I know this is going to be a slow game…

Then we went up into the mountains.  We’ve used a great App called “Wikiloc” all over Europe.  The App aims to offer footpath route-finding across the globe. We’re glad we know how it works. It has three different sound categories: a happy beep to say you’re on the right route; an unhappy beep when it thinks you’re straying from the path; and a triumphant ‘TaDah’ when you’ve completed your set circuit.

We follow the app until common sense takes over.  When it wanted to send us over a precipice (with Stan, a keen but not invincible Labrador), we chose an alternative clearing.  Eventually, having reached the summit of an imposing mount, the route back towards ‘home’ was steep to say the least.  We commit to a number of drops, Stan complies either behind us or taking the lead until we find an 8’ down-climb that’s roped up as a via ferrata route might be.  

Hmm…

We encourage Stan to go first, but nothing doing.  

M climbs down and I encourage our intrepid dog to follow: not happening.  

I climb down too… eventually, the poor puppy, whining in distress, commits to the descent.  

M grabs him part way, to reduce his drop and soften his landing.  As he reaches the earth, the dog stands up and wags at us as if to way “well, what are you waiting for?” running on ahead.  We knew we could do via ferrata (equivalent to a grade 1 or 2 scramble).  Now we know the dog can too.  Not that we want to put this to the test again any time soon.

When we return, I spend a fruitless 15 minutes, smartphone in hand, walking round a palm tree and a rockery. I’m trying to get the app to acknowledge that we’ve completed the route and give me the concluding ‘TaDah’ I’ve been hoping for.  I’m unable to achieve this, I don’t know how to get the software to recognise that we’ve done its route in full.

Back at the van, we all collapse, eat, rehydrate and then M and I face the inevitable. At some point, were going to have to do the laundry.  Having spied a launderette on yesterday’s jaunt round the town, we’re soon set up with three machine loads on the go (our clothes; all Stan’s bedding; all our bedding). 

I didn’t’ know that unless you choose the program you want on the washing machines BEFORE you put the money in, it gives you the first programme and there’s nothing you can do to change it; you can’t cancel or get your money back.  I do know this now.  Thankfully, the default setting is a cool wash, but it’s not a mistake I’ll make twice.  

Our evening concluded with a visit to a local bar for bocadillos (sandwiches) and drinks.  My knowledge of Spanish combined with the goodwill of a couple of customers facilitated conversation. We’d got on sufficiently well that I was offered and provided with a complimentary ‘Café Rhumm’ – a cream-free version of a bombadillo in Italy (alcohol and sugar syrup, with coffee).  Whereas in Italy this is topped with cream, in Spain it get’s a top layer of cinnamon and lemon.  Soooooo tasty.

With a warm smile on my tipsy face, M steers me out of the cafe and we go back to our car park for the last evening before we move on.  I don’t know where we’re going tomorrow, but I’m so glad we know about this place, it’s been magic.  

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