The environs of Sant Ponç, where nothing has changed in 1000 years

The year: 1990. I had been living in Catalonia (Spain to the ignorant) for 8 months. Easter had arisen. Lord Tupelo, expecting a searing heat situation, arrived for his first visit to my humble dwelling sporting his boar-hide shorts and fancy parasol. This visit had been carefully timed to coincide with my holiday from work days. Our plan was to write as much new material as we could for The Reeking Hegs and also to revise pages previously written. It was during this stay that quite a large part of what was to become Canto 9 (The Full House) materialised out of the ether and was set in stone, as they say. In truth, even as I write this it comes to me that His Lordship had actually arrived a few days before my Easter break began. I recall returning home one evening to find him in the most excellent spirits. It transpired that earlier during the day he had ventured out into the village and discovered the local “Body Gas” shop : Spanish Bodegas (Bo-DAY-gaz). He described to me in terms of great wonderment and delight how he had ventured inside and been gratified to find the place crammed to the rafters with barrel upon barrel of fvarihued wines. To make the discovery even more perfect, said wines were on sale at ridiculously low prices. Needless to say, Tupelo had seen fit to take advantage of such tremendous good fortune and had bought several litres of tinto (red). The tinto provided all the body gas we needed to focus our minds on the proceedings in and around Bucks Full House.

The Bodega with resident vintner family sporting the traditional Catalonian Noddy hat. A place where nothing has changed in 1000 years.

I now must needs backtrack in time a little.

Arriving, as I had, alone and friendless in the capital city of Catalonia the previous Autumn, I had felt the need of making some acquaintances to enliven what might otherwise be long days and longer nights. Some call it chance, others – A Mr.D.Vader comes to mind, prefer to see it as destiny. What happened was one day I saw a message glued to a streetlight. In short, it read, in english; “Do you speak english? Do you want to make money? Call this number…” I ticked all the requirements boxes and duly telephoned the number given (Streetside callbox. No mobiles at that time) I was invited to interview the following day. At the appointed time, all excitement, I went along to the address I’d been given. To say I was surprised at what I found there would be an understatement. There were a lot of people milling around in a large hall at one end of which was a raised dais. On asking around I discovered that all of them had been invited to this “interview” but nobody knew anything more than that. I sat and waited. As it happened, a young lady sat down in the seat next to mine and we struck up a conversation. During this conversation I revealed to her that I was very new in town, was currently lodging in a pensión in the not so salubrious Plaça Reial and was keen to move on and out. As chance or destiny would have it, she exclaimed that she was renting a big apartment in a swank area and needed somebody to share the space and the rent. Was I interested? (The job was a diet product pyramid sales type scam. We were scandalised and left early.)

A day or two later I moved into the apartment on the Paseig Sant Joan with Elisa. She was a New Yorker, had been in Barcelona for a while and had quite a circle of friends to whom I was duly introduced as “Pete Pru”.

The Passeig de Sant Joan, looking up.
No comment. Once was enough.

One of these friends was a Kanuck, name of Nick. A funny guy, very much the earnest student of fine literature of oriental provenance. He and I became buddies. Anyway, my stay at Elisa’s turned out to be a very short one. Maybe a week after I’d moved in I got a phone call from a man offering me a job with accommodation included, an offer I accepted and so, because of that, the existence of the Abbey of Sant Ponç, an 11th century abbey located near the village I now resided in, entered my awareness. The threads of this story tie together now, because it was through Nick that I was made aware of the existence of Wild Turkey and thus I have drawn together all the parts of this jigsaw and am ready to get to the ick of the gristle.

The job I’d been offered was in a village about 15 miles from Barcelona. Nick came to my place with a friend, Adam, also Canadian, who styled himself a “smell artist”. That was fine with me and Tupelo. Fine too, if not finer, Adam had with him two nice ladies. They were all agog with excitement as the plan was to head out to Sant Ponç ( A couple of miles away up in the hills that surrounded the village), light a fire, eat chorizo and cheese, pass the Wild Turkey around and see what happened. And that is what we did. My personal memories of the evening are limited to the initial proceedings; the gathering wood, the getting the fire going, the sitting around taking shots from the bottle.

I woke up feeling extremely rot-gutted and ill. To my surprise I was in my bed in my apartment. I had no idea how I’d got there. Tupelo, sprawled across the sofa, had gone a ghastly verdigris around the gills. The last thing I remembered from the Turkey shooting was encouraging one of the girls in her artistic jump the fire activity.

The hat made it especially special.

To enjoy the unique work of dedicated authors Pete Peru and Lord Tupelo get yourself a one-click ride to ANY Amazone outlet where you can regale yourself of a copy of The Reeking Hegs – paperback, ebook and audiobook available.

Published by peteperu

To find out more about me read The Reeking Hegs.

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