A bench in Asturias

 

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I walk past this bench most days. It sits on the side of the road, just above my house. Sometimes it has a collection of old folk on it passing the time of day and resting on their peregrinations. Other times, like today, it sits alone, dappled in sunlight, inviting rest and contemplation, offering shelter from the sun.

Roughly-hewn, in form it remains closer to a curving, flowing tree than a machine-straightened plank. It almost looks as if it grew there, naturally. The ‘back rest’ emerges from the end of the fence that encircles the field below, the seat itself an after-thought and canny re-purposing.

Asturias is a land of many benches. Asturians like to walk and they also like to sit and talk. They populate their environment with suitable seating. 500 metres from this one, by the bus stop in the village, is another, more official-looking, bench – all regular slats and metallic legs. While the last bus to have stopped here may have been back in the 50s there is nearly always a gaggle of pensioners sat under the hand-painted ‘Moncloa’ sign (Moncloa being a busy transport hub in Madrid).

In fact it’s thanks to these very same bench-sitting pensioners that I’m sat where I am right now, typing away on my keyboard in my office in our new home. We came to the village a little over a year ago to look at a house that we’d seen advertised for sale online. Unfortunately the house was all wrong for us but as we wandered dejectedly through the village and back to our car the bus stop crew alerted us to the fact that there was another house for sale just up the road and conveniently not advertised anywhere, because well, why would you?

After much consultation amongst the group a scribbled phone number on a scrap of paper was forthcoming and later that day we called the city-dwelling owner of the house. And so it is that a year and some extensive building work later here we are in our dream home in a place where sitting on a bench and chatting to your neighbour is not just the stuff of everyday life but can also be, just sometimes, life-changing.

 

Comments

  1. A bench where the fates were waiting :-)
    So pleased you found them before jumping in your car.

  2. bavariansojourn says:

    I love that story, it also reaffirms my belief in fate too! I wonder how long that bench has been there?

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