She’s Coming For You – Chapter 2

Most people associate Pamplona with the Running of the Bulls – El Encierro in Spanish, part of the Festival of St Fermin which lasts from noon, 6th July to midnight, 14th July. The Bull Running takes place at 8 am each day from 7th July to 14th July and was first brought to worldwide attention by Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The Sun Also Rises.

 

Four rockets inform the crowd what’s happening with the bulls. They set off the first rocket at 8 a.m. to alert the runners that the gate to the bull’s corral is open. The runners can now run, though if you get too far ahead of the bulls, the spectators will boo you, especially if you reach the bullring without a bull in sight. A second rocket signals all the bulls are free of the corral and are in motion. The third rocket signals all the bulls are in the bullring and the fourth that the bulls are in their corral, marking the end of the bull running event, for the bulls at least. For the runners, there is still the excitement of being chased around the bullring by bullocks with padding on their horns.

 

An encierro comprises six bulls that will fight in the afternoon, six steers that run with the bulls, plus three more steers that follow the herd to encourage any reluctant bulls to continue along the route to their demise.

 

The release of the bulls occurs near the Piazza Santo Domingo. They take between two minutes thirty seconds and four minutes to run the 800 metres along a fenced-off course to the bullring. As well as the steers, official pastores, or shepherds, are on hand with sticks to ensure the bulls don’t lose interest. The reason people come to spectate is to watch 2,000 people (this is the limit for each day), wearing white tops, white trousers, a red neckerchief, and a red sash around their waist, who run with the bulls while bashing them with rolled-up newspapers.

 

Having seen some local bulls, I doubt any of them would even notice a direct hit from a newspaper, so this hitting is just an act of bravado by the runners, who literally fall over each other to get close. The wonderful sculpture, Encierro, in the city centre, shows the perils involved. At each festival, at least one person is seriously injured and 50-100 others suffer non-life-threatening injuries. Fifteen people have perished in the last 100 years, since records began, mostly by being gored by a 1,100-pound bull.

 

There is a ninety-degree bend called the Estafeta Curve, where El Encierro takes a turn to the right down Calle de la Estafeta after coming along Calle Mercaderes. Known locally as “La Curva,” the corner of Mercaderes and Estafeta Street is one of the most dangerous sections of El Encierro, and not for nothing is it called Dead Man’s Corner.

 

Most bulls will not have come across a 90-degree bend before out in the fields on the edge of the city. Consequently, some bulls run straight on and collide with the wooden barricades, causing the crowd watching behind, who thought they were safe, to scatter. Other bulls crumple to the ground when their hooves can’t gain purchase on the cobbles. The officials help the bulls regain their feet and make sure they’re okay, which seems ironic given the bulls are going to die in the afternoon in the disgusting spectacle of the bullfight. Runners also slip over and get charged by the bulls. Those runners who stay on their feet have to navigate around pointed horns, cloven hooves, and stricken humans.

 

Another risk comes from runners falling and forming a pile at the entrance to the bullring which acts as a funnel, as it is much narrower than Calle de la Estafeta. When this happens, runners can suffer from asphyxia and severe contusions. Such a pile-up has occurred at least ten times in the run’s history; the first time was in 1878 and the last in 2013. A runner died of suffocation in 1977 when one of these human heaps formed. When a bull encounters such a pile, they don’t stop, but charge straight into its midst. This sounds like me when the odds are against me.

 

I have enjoyed my time in Pamplona. There are plenty of tourists and the ones I am interested in are heading towards Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, going via the train rather than walking. I will be catching the train to Burgos soon and I am looking forward to the journey – it gives me a chance to read my book, The Day of the Jackal.

 

I bought some new clothes here. They are very distinctive and memorable and totally unlike the clothes I normally wear.

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 1

Alex Peters flew to Pamplona from Madrid. She was in her mid-thirties and her ginger hair flowed easily down to the collar of her light-blue shirt. Her blue eyes surveyed her fellow passengers on the turbo-prop plane as it rode the thermals just after takeoff from Barejas airport in Madrid.

 

As the plane flew over northern Spain towards Navarre, she thought about why she was on this journey. Her friends had recently expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the trophy hunters, who killed animals to boost their egos. Peters was a lifelong lover of animals and the sadness of her friends hit home, hard. She had vowed to pursue those who hunt the defenceless from long distance, a cowardly distance. She had been provided with the name of an organisation who could help her in this quest.

 

They had provided her with the itinerary of some trophy hunters in Spain and Portugal and she’d been delighted with their help. In her normal job, working undercover behind enemy lines, she had killed many animal abusers – people who hit their donkeys with sticks and people who’d run their horses into the ground. These people, the abusers, met their end. The animals were given some relief, some respite from their ordeals.

 

Alex took out her diary and started to write. She liked to jot down her thoughts about the places she visited, especially about their history. It would be fun in a few years’ time to reread these diaries and see what her experiences had been.

 

Peters had no hold luggage and was planning to buy some clothes in Pamplona, almost certainly from El Corte Ingles, the department store found in every Spanish city she’d ever been to. She wouldn’t need a bag as her carry-on luggage comprised a neatly folded black travel bag inside a rucksack. There was no point in buying a suitcase she wouldn’t need on the flight back from Lisbon to London.

 

As for toiletries, she was used to not brushing her teeth for weeks in her ‘day job’ back in the real world. She was working now, but not for her usual employers; this was more a favour, a career break in terms of target, but not in terms of methodology. The showers in the hotels would be a luxury compared to rivers and lakes. She looked at her passport as she walked down the steps of the plane. This was the last time she would be using her own passport until Lisbon. After clearing customs here in Pamplona, she would become Pat Walker, a name she would use until Santiago de Compostela.

Trophy Hunting

Trophy Hunting is upsetting It angers me there are people who want to kill beautiful animals for pleasure.

I wish someone would hunt these trophy hunters and poachers. I don’t have the courage to do this myself. Luckily, as a writer I can create a character who does do this.
This book called She’s Coming For You details such a person. And the book is available at a special low price of $0.99 until 22nd January.
Alex Peters has loved animals her whole life. When her friends expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the hunters of animals, she decided to rectify the situation. She was the ideal candidate. In her normal job, as a soldier behind enemy lines, she’d killed animal abusers when given the chance and the animals were given some respite from their ordeals.
Now she was not undercover.
She was on holiday, travelling on the trains in Spain and Portugal. There were no colleagues to back her up. She would have to take risks. She doesn’t keep a diary of the deaths, but does like to write about the history of the places she has visited. This makes her seem like a normal human being – even when she isn’t.

Odd things from Britain

England has many strange, yet real, traditions such as
  • Cheese Rolling
  • Haxey Hood.
For less than $1 you can read This book  which describes 40 made-up traditions in a similar vein to the real ones. All the stories are distinct and can be read independently; this is a book for the busy individual who has a spare five or ten minutes to discover the secrets of Biscuit Rolling.
Former athletes and DIY enthusiasts can marvel at people’s spitting, blowing, and digging exploits.

Strange Groups

This excerpt is from the book entitled 40 Strange Groups. Little is known about them, hence the shortness of the book and the low price.

==============================

On 5th December 1872, the ship Dei Gratia was about 400 miles east of the Azores, when crew members spotted a ship adrift in the choppy seas. Capt. David Morehouse was surprised the vessel was the Mary Celeste, which had left New York eight days ahead of the Dei Gratia and should have already arrived in Genoa. Morehouse sent a boarding party to the ship.

Below decks, the crew’s belongings were still in their quarters. The ship’s only lifeboat was gone. Three and a half feet of water was sloshing in the ship’s bottom. The cargo of industrial alcohol was largely intact. There was a six-month supply of food and water— but there was no one on board to to consume it.

What happened to the ten people who had sailed aboard the Mary Celeste? This is the main premise of The Mary Celeste Society, who meet every month in Lisbon, to try and find out what happened to this mysterious ship. As Joao Goncalves their chairman says no one knows for sure: “Theories have ranged from mutiny to pirates to sea monsters to killer waterspouts. The story of the Mary Celeste might have drifted into history but for Arthur Conan Doyle’s J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement in 1884; his sensationalistic account, printed in Cornhill Magazine, set off waves of theorizing about the ship’s fate. This is what we continue today. We would like to have found the lifeboat as that would have given us a clue about what happened.”

Speculation concerning sea monsters was easy to dismiss as the Mary Celeste showed no signs of damage, other than from storms. The ship’s fully laden condition seemed to rule out pirates. One theory bandied about in the 19th century was that the crew drank the alcohol onboard and either mutinied or fell overboard after pushing the captain and his family into the sea. Another theory assumed that alcohol vapors expanded in the Azores heat and blew off the main hatch, prompting those aboard to fear an imminent explosion. But the boarding party found the main hatch secured and did not report smelling any fumes. Nine of the 1,701 barrels in the hold were empty, but these were made of red oak, not white oak like the others. Red oak is known to be a more porous wood and therefore more likely to leak.

Another theory has come to prominence in recent years as Joao Goncalves explains: “Seaquakes have been mentioned as a possible reason why the crew would leave the ship, but that in itself wouldn’t be enough, because you would be moved up and down violently in both the main ship and the lifeboat. It would be more dangerous in the smaller ship, so why do that? There has to have been something else, some other reason. Fire has been mentioned, but why when there was no evidence of any fire on the ship? Perhaps the alcohol from some of the barrels caused a flash fire and everyone jumped overboard expecting the ship to burn? There was no smell of alcohol when the other crew arrived. Who knows, it remains a mystery.”

Sports Fiction

This book describes 40 fictional Sports. This should give you something to smile about when you’re at home longing for a little bit of escapism.

The Sports include: 
  • Curling Pool from the USA. Here the players have to score points, by trying to ricochet their curling stones into depressions in the ice.

All the stories are individual and distinct and can be read independently if necessary; a book for the busy individual who perhaps has five minutes to spare to understand the complexities of Bull Pulling or Unicycle Volleyball.

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing creatively especially about subjects such as British traditions, where my made-up traditions are no less ridiculous than the real thing. A list of my books, both fictional and factual (about travel), can be found here.

Fiction in Sports

This book describes 40 fictional Sports. This should give you something to smile about when you’re at home longing for a little bit of escapism.

The Sports include: 
  • The Dracula Race in Romania. Here contestants have to run around Sighisoara before cycling to Bran Castle and cook kebabs on the way.
  • Mongol Vegetable Chopping from Russia. Participants have to chop vegetables whilst riding along on horseback.
  • Curling Pool from the USA. Here the players have to score points, by trying to ricochet their curling stones into depressions in the ice.

All the stories are individual and distinct and can be read independently if necessary; a book for the busy individual who perhaps has five minutes to spare to understand the complexities of Bull Pulling or Unicycle Volleyball.

Fictional Sports

This book describes 40 fictional Sports. This should give you something to smile about when you’re at home longing for a little bit of escapism.

The Sports include: 
  • Mongol Vegetable Chopping from Russia. Participants have to chop vegetables whilst riding along on horseback.

All the stories are individual and distinct and can be read independently if necessary; a book for the busy individual who perhaps has five minutes to spare to understand the complexities of Bull Pulling or Unicycle Volleyball.

Bio: I am a writer. I love writing creatively especially about subjects such as British traditions, where my made-up traditions are no less ridiculous than the real thing. A list of my books, both fictional and factual (about travel), can be found here.

The Mary Celeste Society

This excerpt is from the book entitled 40 Strange Groups. Little is known about them, hence the shortness of the book and the low price.

==============================

On 5th December 1872, the ship Dei Gratia was about 400 miles east of the Azores, when crew members spotted a ship adrift in the choppy seas. Capt. David Morehouse was surprised the vessel was the Mary Celeste, which had left New York eight days ahead of the Dei Gratia and should have already arrived in Genoa. Morehouse sent a boarding party to the ship.

Below decks, the crew’s belongings were still in their quarters. The ship’s only lifeboat was gone. Three and a half feet of water was sloshing in the ship’s bottom. The cargo of industrial alcohol was largely intact. There was a six-month supply of food and water— but there was no one on board to to consume it.

What happened to the ten people who had sailed aboard the Mary Celeste? This is the main premise of The Mary Celeste Society, who meet every month in Lisbon, to try and find out what happened to this mysterious ship. As Joao Goncalves their chairman says no one knows for sure: “Theories have ranged from mutiny to pirates to sea monsters to killer waterspouts. The story of the Mary Celeste might have drifted into history but for Arthur Conan Doyle’s J. Habakuk Jephson’s Statement in 1884; his sensationalistic account, printed in Cornhill Magazine, set off waves of theorizing about the ship’s fate. This is what we continue today. We would like to have found the lifeboat as that would have given us a clue about what happened.”

Speculation concerning sea monsters was easy to dismiss as the Mary Celeste showed no signs of damage, other than from storms. The ship’s fully laden condition seemed to rule out pirates. One theory bandied about in the 19th century was that the crew drank the alcohol onboard and either mutinied or fell overboard after pushing the captain and his family into the sea. Another theory assumed that alcohol vapors expanded in the Azores heat and blew off the main hatch, prompting those aboard to fear an imminent explosion. But the boarding party found the main hatch secured and did not report smelling any fumes. Nine of the 1,701 barrels in the hold were empty, but these were made of red oak, not white oak like the others. Red oak is known to be a more porous wood and therefore more likely to leak.

Another theory has come to prominence in recent years as Joao Goncalves explains: “Seaquakes have been mentioned as a possible reason why the crew would leave the ship, but that in itself wouldn’t be enough, because you would be moved up and down violently in both the main ship and the lifeboat. It would be more dangerous in the smaller ship, so why do that? There has to have been something else, some other reason. Fire has been mentioned, but why when there was no evidence of any fire on the ship? Perhaps the alcohol from some of the barrels caused a flash fire and everyone jumped overboard expecting the ship to burn? There was no smell of alcohol when the other crew arrived. Who knows, it remains a mystery.”

40 British Traditions

England has many strange, yet real, traditions such as
  • Bog Snorkelling, 
  • Bonfire Night, 
  • Cheese Rolling
  • Haxey Hood.
For less than $1 you can read This book  which describes 40 made-up traditions in a similar vein to the real ones.
All the stories are distinct and can be read independently; this is a book for the busy individual who has a spare five or ten minutes to discover the secrets of Biscuit Rolling.
If you like any of the following authors, this book could be for you: 
Terry Pratchett
David Sedaris
Kate Forrester
Janet Evanovich
Kevin Wilson
Neil Gaiman