The night of Halloween is the eve of All Saints or Tot Sants and for this we were holed up in La Rectoria, snuggling around the open fire which had been appropriately augmented with a couple of pumpkin lanterns.
We arrived on the afternoon of the day before Halloween to find that the builders had kindly tidied up the part of the house that was to be home for the next couple of days. Our wee gas kitchen established and make shift dining table erected, one end supported by a stone wall recess the other by six bags of cement. John,Mar and Martin arrived and promptly inflated their double bed mattress topped by blankets and quilt….home from home. Us, we rolled out our ground sheet, old rug and sleeping bags on the hard concrete and thus our ´ying` and ´yang`sleeping arrangements were established adjacent to the kitchen.
We enjoyed post dinner seasonal treats of roast chestnuts and toasted, runny golden caramelized marshmallows fortified by a good dram. Then it was lights out in a water tight but windowless house. Appropriately for Halloween, the night was black but for the outline of the windows. Sleep was punctuated at times by the sound of wind and rain, sometimes light at others more intense and by the cold of autumn and the mild discomfort of the concrete floor beneath.
Daybreak brought with it the last of the rain which gradually gave way to a sunsplashed autumnal day. After breakfast we drove to the La Fageda, 6km or so from Olot. Packed. The diasporia of Barcelona and Catalunya had converged on this most beautiful of woods dominated by tall stands of handsome beech trees. Autumn and the golden hues it brings makes this one of the busiest times of the year in this part of La Garrotxa. Given that it is autumn a blanket of leaves covered much of the forest floor, broken in parts by rocky hillocks covered with mosses. A steady line of waterproof clad visitors trod through the wood many stopping regularly to take photos; panoramas or close ups. Those leaves that remained on the trees shimmered with the remnants of the residual rain. We wandered off the path and were soon rewarded with a rich find of Trompetes de la mort and three tiny Ceps. A couple of handfuls of chestnuts completed our forest foray. After lunch back at the Rectoria it was up the hill that flanks the south west of the house. This time we found ‘Escarlets’, large pink topped fungi in some abundance.
Through Sunday and Monday morning numerous families came to Sant Miquel to pay their respects to loved ones in the small cemetery behind the church and soon the graves were marked with brightly coloured floors. As a holiday and celebration that we are not accustomed to in Scotland in hind sight this seems a fitting way to remember the departed.
As for the house, work on the interior is now well and truly under way. On the uppermost floor the “paletes” have been more than busy erecting partitions and so bedrooms 5, 6 and 7 have now taken shape with bathrooms marked out. The same process is now well underway with two remaining bedrooms on this floor. A window has arrived for our inspection and has passed the test. Numerous other issues are now looming – swimming pool, garden shed, radiators and more. Meanwhile we still find time to earn a crust during the week.