A Little Ingenuity
One of the defining characteristics of a village situated on the side of a mountain is that in order to go from A to B or back again, you have to contend with steep gradients. Level stretches of road are few and far between. Even the main street through the old part of the village rises steadily until almost at the town hall, and then descends equally steadily until it emerges from the far end of the village. This, of course, is something that we are used to and which we take in our stride, if you will excuse the expression. However, I have been affected by long-acting hormone injections which I must now have every six months, and which have the effect of reducing muscle mass, so that my ability to play the mountain goat has been adversely affected. For the last six months I have been telling myself that I need to compensate by taking more exercise and walking further. Saying it, but not doing it. In September it was sitll too hot, then in October we had some rain, in November I was in England for three weeks, and in December we had gale force winds for most of the month. This year, I have been discouraged by cold, by wet, and by the fresh bout of gales rolling through this region. And all the time, I slip a bit further back, and a bit further. Something had to be done, but what. Well this weekend I found a solution. Our house stands on top of another one. Logically, you would say that it is a top floor apartment (un piso or un ático), but I am assured that this cannot be because picos and áticos all share a common entrance with other units in the block, whereas we have a separate and private entrance from the street. So even though we sit neatly atop Dolores’s two storey casa, we too live in a house (una casa). From our separate entrance we then have to climb twenty eight steps to reach the door to our living room. Suddenly it dawned upon me that being an internal staircase it is wind, rain, and cold proof. It has a 20 cm riser, giving over 5 metres of climb in total. To require some proper exertion though I need to climb the steps, then head straight back downstairs and climb straight back up again, by which point I am breathing heavily. Five “doubles” spread over the course of a day adds up to an impressive 56 metres of climb every day, not a marathon but it will do for now!