Weather: Sun and hail happening at the same time, that should mean a magical rainbow, but there was NOTHING.
Mood: a bit dazed
Word of the day: Aceldama (n) site or scene of violence or bloodshed
Last night the bathroom light cord wouldn’t switch on, no matter how I pinged it, so I had to clean my teeth in the dark and then wait until this morning to see if I’d sprayed toothpaste everywhere.
Got to spend the day with Mateo today, he always avoids me when we walk the same way to the tube station, so I assumed he didn’t like me much. It turns out he’s generally reluctant to talk to anyone, but once he relaxed a bit we got on well. He looks like a weathered Leonard Cohen and can build anything out of anything. If we find a bit of metal tubing or a sheet of plastic dumped in the gardens, our boss will say, ‘Take that back to Matee-o [how everyone pronounces his name] he can build something with it.’
Anyway, today we were building a climbing frame for Clematis out of some packing crates. Went pretty well in that nothing collapsed and it looked smart at the end. I also got to hear Mateo ‘s story. I started by asking him if his name is really pronounced Matee-o , which is what everyone seems to call him. He said no, ‘it’s pronounced Azider’.
‘Ah,’ I said, ‘of course.’
Turns out that he’s a Basque separatist, and grew up under the oppression of the Spanish. Not allowed to speak his own language in the schools, not allowed to have his own name on any official documents, so officially he is Mateo, but it isn’t his name. He reckons Azider is too difficult to pronounce for English folk, so keeps it simple (even though we can’t get Mateo right either).
His teenage years were spent in and out of prison because of fighting with the police. To him it was a war, to the government, they were terrorists.
(The conflict ended in 2011)