Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Getting Told Off

Twice since Tours i've been ticked off, but i'm not convinced that the ticker-offers were entirely justified in either case. The first time was on the medium-sized country road leading south from Aulnay, in the Charente-Maritime region of southern France. I was upbraided (mildly, i should say) for being on the road, when the official Camino-Way was through fields some way off. To be honest though, the Camino in France is sometimes absurdly windy, not always very well marked, and on one occasion led to my being knee-deep in water, where the river Charente had burst its banks. Not only that however - a frequently seen 17th century map of the Camino actually shows that the road i was using was the authentic ancient pilgrimage route! Then last weekend i took an excursion to Valladolid, since my parents had sent a package to the Post Office in Leon, but it was closed when i arrived on Saturday lunch-time - i had nearly two days until Monday morning, when it would open. One of several very impressive churches in Valladolid (not least interesting also; they have storks everywhere, in the same way that we have seagulls) is dedicated to St James the Apostle. The altarpiece however depicts him in the frankly offensive incarnation of 'Matamores'- the Moor slayer - on a horse, with a sword in his hand, and two or three saracens prone beneath him. A sacristan told me off for taking a photograph, but in fact there was no sign anywhere to say that one couldn't take photos. Moreover, i was merely talking a picture of the Apostle to whose tomb i am still making my way, God-willing, as a pilgrim. Sometimes one can see that such depictions of St James have been doctored, so as to accord more closely with the Gospel. It seems reasonable to suppose that Spaniards would never need to be touchy about depictions of their patron saint, if such depictions were never actually in direct opposition to the basic tenets of Christianity. Mind you, on one occasion i took a photograph of a deeply impressive crucifix with the flash (since i hadn`t checked to turn it off), during the reading of the epistle, at Mass in a chapel which had a very clear 'No Photos' sign outside (i'd missed it when i went in). So on that occasion at least, i deserved to be told off but wasn`t.
   In the last few weeks it has been a privilege to meet lots of very nice, kind and interesting people, about whom i hope to write more in future, please God. The 'Peaceable Kingdom' in Moratinos deserves a special mention however!

1 comment:

  1. Followed up your reference to the 'Peacable Kingdom' and their blog at has a photo of you and your note book. Do Well and Doubt Not.