“Christ, that is a house.”
I felt like a trespasser, but only fleetingly. It isn’t frowned upon here, looking at ruins or houses where no one lives, not like it would be in the UK, and besides I was with a friend who was from the area. We’d been walking down the lane to take her sheep back, when I mentioned I had never seen that building before, barely visible from where we were standing. “That? That’s the old priest’s house. I’ll show you.” she had said.
Most abandoned village houses and buildings share a theme, the same stones, the same colors. Where they differ is in stages of decay. The more decay, the more opportunity you have for allowing your mind to wander.
This house however, sang from an entire different hymn book. The entire layout was odd, the person who created it had perhaps envisaged a manor house, albeit on smaller scale, but had no idea how to go about it. There were still signs of a garden, a little decorative stone bridge and a round stone table with a circular moving contraption on it, we assumed to move the food. Visions of a banquet. A garden where people would have been entertained.
The walls of the house had several big shells attached to it, the ones from Santiago de Compostela, the pilgrims route. We tried one of the side doors but they were padlocked, the glass in one of them cracked and dirty. I thought of looking through it, but I looked up instead, a devil like statue peering down on me from the wall above the door.
A priest’s house. There were too many steps up to the front door, giving it the impression as if you were making your way up to an attraction, rather than a residence. The balustrades on either side had dozens of horseshoes attached to them. Superstition.
I had a memory flashback. Warner Bros World, a visit a lifetime away, it had a ghost house. It wasn’t that this house was similar, but it gave me that feeling, not spooky, but appearing to walk on a set feeling. As if it had been created to look abandoned.
Dusk began to set and I wanted to stay a bit longer to see what the light would do, but my friend wanted to go home to put the sheep in their shed.
There is a story I have been told about a priest ousted by the village women of the area. It happened not that long ago. It never seizes to fascinate me, and I’ve still not found out what exactly happened that day. Apparently the village women had point blank refused him entry to his own church. I can imagine them standing in line, armed with silence and the look of outrage on his face. “But you’ve been to my house, to my parties! You drank my wine! And now! How dare you all treat me like this!”
That last bit I made up. But it would have been perfect. This house. A house fit for an ousted priest.