It’s Sunday; it’s the first of December. Which means that here in the UK, some people are celebrating the first day of Advent.
But the first day of December is cause for celebration for other reasons and in other places. In Chad, it’s Freedom and Democracy day. In Romania, it’s Great Union Day, celebrating the Union of Transylvania with Romania. It’s Myanmar’s National Day, and it’s Military Abolition Day in Costa Rica.
Those are just a few of the days that are being or have been celebrated today.
Finally, while researching for this post, I’ve also discovered that, not because it’s December 1st, but because it’s the first Sunday in December, over in Turkmenistan they’ve been celebrating Good Neighbourliness Day.
I’ve chosen the pictures today as, apart from the one at the top of the post, I think the damage the heads have suffered might make them quite good neighbours. After all, the last thing anyone wants is a nosey neighbour.
I talk a lot in the posts here about neighbours. Certainly when I lived in Spain they were an important part of village life, despite the fact our house was quite isolated. It strange to think that now I live in a town, in a house that’s been converted into three apartments, I don’t actually know any of the other residents, or indeed any of those who live anywhere down the street.
The following poem is the first of a set I wrote in Spain. Perhaps my current neighbours would be nicer people than some of those who feature in my Spanish poems.
My neighbour hung a kitten from a tree,
not by a leather thong looped round its neck
nor with a length of string: maybe he thought
the bundle of bone and fur too light
to snap the axis, sever the spinal cord.
Instead, he stuffed it in a plastic bag
and left it dangling in the Iberian sun.
“It had a manky eye,” he said; “It should
be dead by now,” and handed me a box
of eggs from scraggy hens that scratch their claws
blunt in a concrete coop. He swept a curve
encompassing, “Family and animals,
son lo mejor.” Mangy sheep, grandkids,
a tethered dog… I threw the eggs away.