One of the things that has fascinated me since childhood is decay....I'm not quite sure what that says about me, but crumbling ruins whether they be of castles or houses or even old sheds have always appealed to me.
When I was in my pre-teen days, I liked nothing more than scrabbling around the remains of old Welsh castles. I remember the happy days of exploring such icons of dilapidation as Pembroke, Manorbier and even Conwy, which in those days almost seemed too well preserved even to me.
Later, I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist (no surprises there, I'm sure) and to confirm this obsession with all things falling down, I went still further into ruination by going on digs to unearth the remnants of Roman villas in Dorset. Even better were the finds from Bronze Age barrows with which darkest Dorset is lavishly littered (sorry...couldn't resist).
Sadly, and maybe because I spent too much time digging and not enough in studying, I didn't get the grades I needed to do archaeology at university. In those days, I think there may have been an active policy to discourage hopeful dirt grubbers by asking for very high A Level passes, and while my aspirations were high, my marks weren't. Instead, I gathered the remains (sorry again) of my pride and clutching my rather average A level certificates, I went off to do a teaching degree (teachers were in short supply then, hence the greater leniency).
Nevertheless, the passion for all things crumbling remains, which might explain some of my attraction to Portugal. There is so much to be seen and wondered over, even in the urbs and suburbs of cities like Faro and Olhão; there are so many wonderfully abandoned places. These are manna from my personal heaven, especially living in a country like the Netherlands where everything is maintained to death and even 500 year old buildings still manage to look new.
On that note, here are a few of the places that drew me on our recent trip to Portugal:
|A rope of sturdy proportions wrapped around with greenery. What was it|
there for? It was half buried with what looked like a stone post.
|The sorry but beautiful skeleton of someone's house. Who lived there once?|
What was their story? Why is the whole place abandoned?
|Stones are scattered far and wide as if a storm has flung them off the walls.|
|Just as lovely as any castle |
|Now this got me. The remains of an old aqueduct. Where did it lead?|
Why was it put out of use?
|And lastly, the road to our hostel. Several traditional old houses stand in|
a ruined state. The marks of life long gone are still there, but I fear these
houses are beyond repair.
As you can see, I'm still feeding off the richness of that trip and it hasn't given me indigestion yet, so bear with me. In fact nothing much has happened since we came back as I've been busy preparing for courses and continuing work on those 600 questions I mentioned last time. I still have 250 to go, so that'll keep me quiet for a bit. I've also started two new courses and marking is about to take over much of my time. That said, there are still walks and other small adventures to relate, so I'll be back to normal again soon.
Oh and yes, I have a new book almost ready to let loose onto the world. I'm clutching onto it as long as possible, though, as it's probably the most personal one I've ever written. It's the story of my Sindy dog, whose character and legacy still make me reluctant to have a new furry friend, but I'm getting close. Maybe once I've let the book go, it will somehow be symbolic of letting her go too. I think it will probably come out next week....maybe :)
Enjoy the rest of your week allemaal!