I'm not sure where, or when, this craze started. The first I became aware of it was when the newspapers reported that the Pont des Arts in Paris was in danger of collapsing under the weight of love locks that had been attached to it by starstruck lovers. They'd come to the bridge - literally hundreds of thousands of them - bearing padlocks on which they'd had their first names engraved. They then attached these padlocks to the metal structure of the bridge and threw the key into the Seine in a grandiloquent gesture intended to symbolise their unbreakable bond/ never-ending love for one another. Parts of the bridge collapsed in 2014 under the weight of all this sentimental nonsense, and during 2015 it was estimated that over a million further padlocks were attached to the bridge adding an extra 45 tonnes to its load, and threatening to make it collapse into the Seine.
Now in all of this my sympathy is firmly with the bridge. To my way of thinking this business of padlocking your love to a historic structure is nothing more than an act of vandalism. Moreover, if you stop and think about it, the symbol of a locked padlock is about as romantic as the dried gravy stains from last night's dinner. It conjures up all those disparaging references to wives and girlfriends as the ball and chain, the high maintenance partner who spoils life by not allowing their other half any freedom. And come on people: be original. There's not much to be said in praise of mindlessly following the crowd, like one sheep after another through the farm gate, with what was supposed to have been a grand romantic gesture. Where's the eloquence in that?
Anyway we took the WonderDog up to the Pedralta the other day for a run around. I've written about the Pedralta before. It's a huge rocking stone sitting on a column of other huge boulders just outside our village.
And beyond the stones there's a mirador, a scenic viewing spot, where you can survey the surrounding countryside from the sunny beaches of the Costa Brava all the way up to the snow-capped Pyrenees. It's a sweet spot, and <shock/ horror> I couldn't help but notice that it's wearing a few love locks of its own.
It's a place that's clearly special to lots of people. Last year I unknowingly walked into a family gathering at which they were scattering a loved one's ashes from the top of the rocks. I think it may have been an illegal operation, as they all looked a bit shifty, and Great Uncle Whoever was being tipped out of a very unofficial-looking plastic shopping bag. The proceedings came to an abrupt halt when the WonderDog and I appeared. It felt pretty awkward: the very worst kind of party-crashing. We turned tail and scampered off to let them get on with it as soon as we realised what was going on.
So I'm not surprised that it occurred to someone to fasten their love locks to the railings up there. And I'm guessing there's a slew of keys to be found further down the slope, within throwing distance of the top. Maybe they'll baffle some sleuth with a metal-detector in the 22nd century, who'll convince himself that there's a ton of hidden treasure locked up in strong boxes somewhere on the mountain. The old railings will by that time have collapsed under the weight of all the love locks, and have been carted off to a distant scrap yard where all the evidence will have been recycled into farm gates for sheep. Books will be written about the mystery, but none of it will be quite so strange as the weird story of how everyone suddenly wanted to padlock their love to an old metal fence on top of the mountain.
All the best for now,