Beginning Over, 24. End of Summer

September is here, and summer is mostly over. With September has come the rains after two months of drought, compounded by a drier than usual spring and winter. There are cities and towns that have already started to ration water. Arqueological sites and ancient villages are appearing from under the receding waters of reservoirs. The earth is bone dry and grasses and shrubs, that normally stay green all year, are turning yellow and dying. 

It has been a bit of a boring summer, at least in the month of July. I did go on the maritime procession to celebrate the Virgin Mary on the 16th. It was the first time I had ever gone, and I loved it. I will try to go again next year. I have left Catholicism far behind, but the procession was wonderful.

Other than that, I didn't do anything interesting all month, except give classes. Even those were diminished this summer, partly because now there are no recuperation exams in September for those who fail in June, and partly because my regular students got from decent to good grades in English. That's the paradox of being a private English tutor. If your students don't do well, you won't get clients. If they do well, and you teach them how to learn, they end up leaving because they won't need the classes. But the diminished classes also mean diminished earnings in these inflationary times.

August was better. We went to a local concert in nearby Catoira, during their celebration of
the Viking invasions. There's a re-enactment on the first Sunday in August, of Vikings disembarking and destroying the town, in which liters of red wine get thrown about, a suitable substitute for blood. At night, there are concerts. The night we went, two small rock bands were playing, Vacalouras from Teis, in Vigo, and Heredeiros da Crus. The last band has been around for more than thirty years, and has a passionate following. It was a night to rock.

At the middle weekend of the month, we went to the music festival Festival do Noroeste, in A Coruña on Riazor Beach, back after being away during the pandemic. UB40 was the foreign group invited this year, and we enjoyed the evening on the urban beach, watching dusk creep in, the beam from the lighthouse in the Torre de Hercules sweeping around the distant promontory, dancing to music we remembered. There were a lot of people, and a shuffle to leave the beach afterwards. Then, the walk back to the parking lot along a closed-off street, observing people heading for late-night snacks at the shops still open, and lounging along the beach.

The next night, my daughter and I had signed up for a night walk in the woods that we had last done three years ago. That year, in company of friends, it had been a fun night. There were a lot of people, but it was still good. This year, so many had joined, well over two thousand, that it lost some of its flavor. We couldn't find our friends, and when we set out, there were moments when we found outselves in bottlenecks, waiting for the all the crowds before us to move so that we could walk. The theme of the night walk was the Santa Compaña, the legend of the spirits of the dead, and there was a large area where actors had dressed up and attempted to scare the walkers. That part was good, with a few screams ringing out, and lots of laughs. But just too many people.

At the end of the month, my husband and I went to a music festival we had never yet been to just over the Miño River, in Portugal. The Festival Vilar de Mouros, in the village of the same name, is the oldest music festival in Portugal, dating from the late sixties, though it hasn't been continuously held throughout the years. We went and saw a couple of Portuguese rock bands, Blind Zero and The Legendary Tigerman, as well as Iggy Pop. 

We parked in a cleared field and set up our tent next to our car, right behind a small tree.
There was room at the campsite, but this way we didn't have to carry anything into the village, and would be in relative peace afterward. We wandered around during the day, took naps, and then walked into the blocked-off area in the evening. There were food trucks surrounding the area, with picnic-type tables and benches, and a large stage at the further end. We had our first taste of national Portuguese bands, and were not displeased. The first, Blind Zero, was a little too melancholic for our tastes, but The Legendary Tigerman was a surprise. At one point, the singer threw his guitar to the rear of the stage, took his mic, jumped off the stage and tried to walk into the crowd, but the mic's cable wasn't long enough, and he threw the mic at the stage and thundered back, picking up the song again when he had finished climbing back on stage. Somehow, I was reminded of Ozzy Osbourne. The drummer, a young woman, was mean with a drumstick, and rolled out the beat with a vengeance. They were good. 

Iggy Pop was classic Iggy Pop. We had seen him already in June of 2019 when he came to the festival in Santiago de Compostela, O Son do Camiño. He truly deserves to be called a legend. He didn't let down the crowd, singing, among others, "Lust for Life" and "The Passenger." Also, rolling around on the stage, and using "fuck" every other word. Hopefully, this won't be the last time we see him onstage. 

We didn't stick around for the last band, Bauhaus, because we were pretty tired by then. So, we retreated to our tent. Earlier, it had been hot and dry, dust filling the venue as people danced in place. But a sea fog had rolled in, and our tent was wet on the outside. We crawled in, closed it up, and slept. In the morning, we were alone in the field except for a couple of cars and tents set up on the farthest side. The morning was foggy and as wet as if it had rained. We packed up everything as well as we could and drove home, stopping along the way for breakfast. We have to add Vilar de Mouros as a festival to look out for next year. 

So, summer is gone. Now, we have September. I had wanted to go to France this year, but we simply can't. So, we've got reservations for two nights in the mountains of Asturias, next week. It's all we can afford, and even so, I will dread the end of the month. I will have more students in the winter, though a few will be gone because they've finished formal schooling, and others because they've moved away. I have a few new ones, and, with luck, as many as I had last year, at least. Maybe this year, despite the inflation, I can put together some more money so we can go to France next September. I envy those who can travel at the drop of a hat, without any problems other than time.  

Life continues. 



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