For the last few months we’ve woken up to the sound of harvesters felling trees over a large tract of forest above the village. Thousands of eucalypts cut, shredded, piled up and taken away. What’s left behind is a scene of post apocalyptic devastation.
The annual timber season upset me when I first moved here. The crack and crash of huge trees echoing down the valley sounded so final and destructive. I’ve gotten over it now. We are in the heart of timber country and it’s not like eucalypts are native, carefully tended or even very old. The variety grown here, Eucalyptus globulus isn’t particularly well-suited to Portugal (it doesn’t even flower here), is left to grow inefficiently in awkward clumps, not resembling at all the majestic Triassic trees of home. Eucalypts grown anywhere but Australia will strip the soil of water and nutrients at the cost of every native plant around them, eventually causing irreversible erosion. They don’t belong here.
But I don’t begrudge the loggers and land owners from earning their living. Most of my neighbours own slices of the forest and fortunately not all of it is being replaced by the fast growing gum tree which fetches a higher price than pine. Once upon a time the pine tree’s partners in this forest were oak and chestnut – trees which continue to fertilize and enrich the soil and are indigenous to Southern Europe. There are a few varieties of oak which are specifically native to Portugal (including the cork oak, an enduring major commodity) and the Romans probably introduced chestnuts to Portugal, as they did in most places, as a food source. What depresses me is the loss of these great timbers in favour of the spindly, super-combustible paper-making eucalypt. Strange to think there is still such demand for paper, when paper was clearly the loser in the great paper/scissors/data storage contest of the late 20th century.
Just as the last tree fell from the hillside, a hundred tractors descended upon Cu de Judas to collect firewood. Now every village around here has a huge pile of stumps at its gates. The scavengers, us included, came in every evening and all day on Sunday in industrially organised teams – one truck we saw carried 7 men and about 5 tonnes of gnarly stumpage. All and sundry seemed to understand the rules – that it was ok to scavenge (even though the land is privately owned by a guy who lives nearby) and the designated times that scavenging would take place.
I’ve been a bit put off by the huge scar looming above us. So when I went up there at dawn, only a day or two after The One and I became like locals and filled the kangoo with next winter’s wood, the sight of newly planted tree-lings was an inspiring sight. Just a pity they’re not noble, or maple… baobab… a field of sunflowers… lavender?
Just being up at dawn is inspiration enough. Watching how the weather for the day is taking shape. The cool crisp air. The silence. And the wookie possessed with fun and freedom. It’s been too long since I’ve done this.
The day before, I had a long chat with an old friend who said ultimately that she didn’t understand why I had moved to Portugal. Why Portugal? The financial crisis has had me by the throat for so long I have forgotten why. I’ve even been planning to go back to Sydney to work just so I don’t have to watch every bill that comes in. This tedious self absorption with money makes Poor in Portugal no different to Successful in Sydney.
So the clouds dancing around our little village at 7am meant something. And then my 8am superb coffee and sticky, still warm croissant, plus a loaf of bread and an extra croissant for the sleeping husband all for €3… that meant something too. Stopping for a long chin wag with Tia Maria, who’s now a little older and grateful for the help carrying buckets of feed to the ducks and chickens. Waiting to rest with her and admire her healthy, feathered, free range crew all destined for the table. All that meant something too. The time to linger.
I asked Tia Maria what she knew about the current crisis in Portugal. She wasn’t bothered by it because it’s not effecting her (graças a Deus) and she gestured towards her field of cabbage and potatoes. Does she remember at time when things were worse? Her old eyes went glassy as she talked about her post-war childhood, when all they did was work – the olives, the vines, the wood, the fields. All the time working and nothing to eat, just turnips all the time. And no flour for bread – she still hates corn bread. How one time they walked to Entroncamento. She can’t remember how long it took, maybe a month?
What a whinger am I! We eat like kings, the pets are happy, we have no major debts and we sleep in until 10. Why Portugal? Why anywhere else?
beijinhos to tessa and virginia
Dear Sir/ Madam
We would like to explain Emma’s protracted absence this month, and hope for your understanding on this matter.
To start with, Emma had a cold. We cannot provide a doctor’s certificate but as we are recovering from the worst winter on record I’m sure you appreciate that a few sick days are to be expected.
We believe the cold was brought on by stress, first initiated when Emma’s old but faithful ibook refused to start up. Thus began a search for the nearest apple repairer which led to the fateful trip to Coimbra.
On the way home was when the accident occurred. In a setting of rain, congested traffic and roadworks, the driver in front braked suddenly and in reacting, Emma’s vehicle slid into oncoming traffic and collided with the another vehicle. Yes, yes, all her fault, technically. Fortunately, no excess of speed was involved, and Wookie simply slipped from the passenger’s seat onto the floor.
In service of expediency, Emma admitted fault and she and the other driver got all amicable together. It was then that Emma had the dumb idea of calling the cops. In the meantime, Emma was experiencing shock and some confusion regarding the circumstances of the accident. She stood staring at the large amount of debris on the road, particularly at a broken number plate that did not belong either to her vehicle nor to the other driver. The quantity of broken plastic and glass was most bewildering, especially the Fiat badge on a busted front grill and a discarded bumper bar. A road worker approached Emma and taking her by the shoulders, guided her back off the road. “This is the seventh accident here today. They only just finished sweeping the road after the last one,” he said.
Then Emma realized how the accident had happened. The road was as slippery as an ex-prime minister at a tribunal hearing, covered in a fine and compromising layer of dirt and oiliness. She had unwittingly ventured into an accident black spot. Bummer.
The coppers arrived. They didn´t help. They were mean, in a bad mood, and I´ve met some surly pigs in my life. Egyptian police for example; you have to carry cigarettes for them to calm them down. I encountered Turkish police after being sprung kissing in a public place, and even though I had apparently broken the law and they took us down to the station, there were quite ok, possibly a bit embarrassed as I kept asking them what they were doing at a remote lookout at midnight… was there a murderer?
But here goes the porty policia; after I so rudely interrupted their card game or something… They asked me to explain the circumstances, then banana 1 walked away, just as I started to speak. Banana 2 was not interested in looking at the scale of the debris left by other vehicles or speaking to the roadworkers on the scene. They wouldn’t even look me in the eye. B2 shouted. I replied, I´m foreign, not deaf. They made derisive remarks like “we. don’t. speak. engrish”. They accused me of excessive speed (based on what?). If they were so keen to do their job, the opportunity was there eating a doggie chew on my front seat – Wookie should have been in a box. But I surmise that these gents were as adequate at policing as they were at being decent.
But it´s just bad police PR: this behaviour I think is so very unportuguese. The other driver was embarrassed for them and within a few minutes of the police’s arrival apologised to me on their behalf. After several attempts, and despite me not holding the right bit of insurance paper, the other driver convinced me not to involve them.
Driving past the location a week later, the traffic was diverted and the same stretch of road is closed, like it was all some b-grade conspiracy movie about an hysterical blonde journalist.
Now car-less and computer-less I decide the time is right to chop off the dog’s nuts. Wookie becomes tomato-less. On a previous visit home (during houseminding) I met another 6 or 7 little wookie-poodles who may, any day, be abruptly given a new home in the wild. There are other male dogs in the village to father future furry tragedies, but at least I and mine will not be a part of it. So then, a couple of days leave-of-absence were spent passing the bag of frozen peas to the dog. I am secretly hoping that the desire to chase sheep and chickens was sexual, and has also therefore been neutered.
Speaking of home, houseminding bliss in the Ribatejo came to an end and I had to move back to the village. Nastiness awaited; my entire house went mouldy while I was away. The walls had mould, the toaster had mould, the picture frames had mould. Not just a few days were spent cleaning, scrubbing, washing, drying, painting and moving stuff in and out.
And just when I almost had the house habitable again, a film crew wanted to move me out again! They came to shoot an episode of House Hunters International, a cable show about foreigners and real estate. Naturally, with drama/disaster in my aura I took the whole filming thing like a visit from demons-past. Not only that they wanted me to re-live the whole house buying catastrophe but the ghost takes the form of the film industry and this time I am to be the instrument and not the musician, or even the composer. Warm props. Actors. Talent. Yuck.
Of course it wasn’t so bad. In fact, the crew were so adorable (hi to chris, davide & jeff, we are still missing you) that it made me want to be back in the business. They reminded me of some of the great people I worked with, and particularly of the world-wise, liberal, sharp and simpatico men the film industry has in its employ. As for the action, Mao stole the show by hiding in the stone oven just as I was trying to act out ´getting a feel for living here´ and poked him with a bread paddle. He flew out, towards camera, quite literally like a bat out of hell. Soory for the heart attack davide, but god I hope you got the shot.
Meanwhile the car is fixed and my 4 week shitfight to get a new mac is finally over (just cut to the chase and buy it from fnac, portuguese mac-people, and don’t be seduced by the price of the mac mini, as it’s a hassle and a half. The piece work then becomes cable wrangling and more whatnot. And how much is this non-mac keyboard shitting me? Just buy the macbook next time. Just buy the macbook. Just… Grr) Another few days spent unpacking boxes and searching for items lost (if filming is tolerable then try moving house and filming on the same day). But now there’s the internet connection problem. Apparently the phone line also went mouldy and PT hasn’t fixed it yet and nor do they seem interested in doing so. Usual game. It’s been said before, but when it comes to modern life, Portugal is a pain in the arse. They have the technology, they just don’t know how to work it.
Now if all that isn’t enough of an excuse, I also slipped off to Stockholm for the easter weekend to do another day’s shoot (again, super nice crew, Izzy Paul and Ray), and to hang out with some sorely missed Swedish friends. If I really could relive the house purchase, I would take a tin shed there rather than a stone chateau here anyday. Sorry tugas, but Sweden is truly utopian.
The only bad thing about going away is what I come back to. Not only did Mao abscond for 4 days of the 5, he also to broke a toe. But Wookie and I are back on track after a few months where there was no love left to lose. There’s a whole lotta brown furry love going on at my place.
So while I am not exactly online, I am at least trying to be. Standby for more, if you please.
Walls Built: 1 Injuries: 0 (!)
And now for the weather:
Yes it’s a royal flush of sunniness; we are having a very proper summer and so far, not many fires. Being an australian I am paranoid about bushfires. The smell of dry eucalypt reminds me of the apprehensive summers in Sydney of my childhood. When I ask sweetly if the neighbours wouldn’t mind cutting the scrub on their land they snuffle and shuffle and say there won’t be any fires here, like they’ve had a message from god. Bloody hope they’re fair dinkum, or we’re all up shit creek.
I’ve built another drystone wall in the garden. I’ve finished the drainage on one side of the annexe and have started on the other side. I’m stacking up bags of lime ready for some serious wall building next week. And I’m on the search for decorative iron gates.
“Drunk-tired on heat, the pets are happy.”
“The rabbits have bunnies and the dogs have puppies
but the guppies just have little guppies.”
Haven’t been posting for a while because I’ve been busy dying. Almost.
A couple of weeks ago I woke up and then walked a few steps to the kitchen. Suddenly the floor fell out from under me and I was lying on the concrete yelling at Wookie to get his wet nose out of my ear. I thought the dizziness would pass, but as I sat with my head between my knees, a searing pain shot up my neck and into my head. Migraine. I crawled back into bed somehow, but I can’t remember much more except being hung up on by Emergency when I called them an hour or something later.
For those unacquainted with migraine: plucking out your own eye seems like an appealing solution to stop the pain. I would have been quite happy for someone to drill a hole in my head with the Black & Decker there and then to give me some relief. It’s like that. You’re insane with pain.
I rang Emergency not just to avoid self-harming with power tools, but also because the world was whirling around me like I was a 14 year old with a cask of Fruity Lexia. Except there had been no dancing beforehand. I did feel like spewing, but.
It’s a bit of a bummer for the ambulance people (Bombeiros, they’re called here: Portugal has the American system of combining ambulance with fire fighters. So you could have a Firey deliver your baby, which is an interesting idea, to me at least. Hi to my Colorado friends Dom Pedro and Vasco, if you’re out there). Anyway, bit of a bummer as I was saying, when you don’t have a street name or a house number. Basically they had to wander around the village looking for someone to ask where an urgently sick person might be living (or dying). It took quite a while, but they got here eventually.
And then we had to have a Portuguese lesson. Can’t imagine why, but the words Migraine, Dizziness and Vertigo had not entered my vocab databank. I think I got there in my little verbose way by explaining that the world was rotating and I had a really really big headache. Three new words that I’ll never forget! Enxaqueca, tounturas and vertigens!
Fortunately for me, but very unfortunately for her, my mother suffered an attack of Vertigo last year. It is a rare, very debilitating and very strange condition. Basically you completely lose your balance. Like being incredibly drunk but completely lucid at the same time. You can’t walk, can’t see, you want to vomit. Even when I’m lying down with my eyes closed, I still have a sense of being on a boat on the high seas.
Anyway, if Mum hadn’t had it and hadn’t told me all about it, then I’m sure I would’ve been terrified. I can handle the feeling that someone left a sharp axe planted in my head, but having an uncooperative body as well is just a bit too much to take.
The Bombeiros really sucked. They weren’t that cute and they didn’t have gas! It’s almost worth being critically ill in Australia just for the hotties and their nitrous oxide. This scabby socialist country wouldn’t even give me oxygen on the house. Buggers. So I writhed about on the pointless voyage to the health centre, where, lo and behold, they took one look me and said “too hard” and off we went to Coimbra Hospital.
I’m not going to give a blow by blow account of the whole hospital thing. It wasn’t nice. The veryold were there. The dying were there. And the groaning were there. There were flirting frivolous stupid people who stuck needles into me without even introducing themselves. There were big machines on me at 3am. There were some drugs, but I needed them too much to enjoy them, if you see what I mean. At the end of it all, they said “too hard” and sent me home.
My arrival in the village was a soft fuzzy warm one: all the neighbours were out to greet me, including the dog-killer suspects. They were all being really sweet, just like people who care! I was really touched! (but I was also on drugs). I was forcibly removed from my home and taken to Tia Maria’s for some proper TLC.
But it wasn’t to last. Once the hospital-strength drugs wore off, the migraine came back- this time in my sinuses, all sharp and pointy and nasty. I was already verging on an overdose of codeine, so I had no option really but to call back the Bombeiros. And now I had a new, alarming symptom: half of my face had gone numb. I thought I was having a stroke.
The Bombeiros were delightful this time. A very nice person called Anna held my hand and stroked my hair on the way to the “still too hard” health centre where I had a fight with a couple of people for jabbing needles full of paracetamol into me without asking if perhaps I might be allergic to anything, like, say, paracetamol? My mother is, you see. If the stroke wasn’t going to kill me, a hapless nurse would. Thank god for Anna, who put in a good word, got me a shot of something strong, and then whisked me back to Coimbra. Another night of state sponsored torture to make Salazar proud.
Some of the same suffering people were there, ranting in that special dementia way. But the staff were a different horrible bunch altogether. One little charmer, raised on a diet of House and Grey’s Anatomy, tried arranging a date with a nurse-boy while attempting to extract blood from an arm of mine. She slipped with the needle, provoking a suitable flow of blood and a flow of words from me suggesting that she should pay a bit more attention to what she was doing. She replied by saying she could do two things at once (!) provoking another flow of words that included Fuck and Bitch. That put me at the bottom of the morphine waiting list for the rest of the evening. It didn’t really matter, as approaching death kinda feels similar to morphine anyway.
No one had a clue what was going on with my head, but seeing as they’d cleverly ruled out a heart attack, a stroke and swine flu, they decided that a forced discharge was the next proper course of action.
Disclaimer: Don’t misread me, people, I love socialism. I believe in free health care for all. I’m grateful to Portugal for allowing me access to the health system. It’s just that I’ve had better care in Africa. It’s also free in Australia and the care is of an infinitely higher standard. Why not charge non-citizens a surcharge so you can pay the nursing staff more or invest in better training?
So after I made sure that my surviving pets were still fed, medicated and watered, I went back to Tia Maria’s 5 star nursing home. It really was awesome. Big comfy bed, enormous and yummy meals brought to me in bed three times a day. Regular entertainment brought to me via children and naughty dogs. And two mobile phones running hot with international text messages. Top quality TLC. With furry visitors taking full advantage of the situation too.
Considering I was lying like a useless lump in bed the whole time, it was actually an action-packed week. Tia Maria’s is something of a transit point for all the neighbours so I got to see way more of all of them than I wanted to. They were all morbidly interested in the progression of my illness. In someone else’s house you inevitably get exposed to their dirty laundry, and here it was like the whole village was queuing up to use the washing machine. As a captive audience, I became in-confidence to everyone’s blunt little prejudices and grievances and ancient inter (and intra)-family quarrels. Reconfirming what I learnt when I first came to this little village, everyone has it in for everyone else. Even old granny got a serving. Forget Telenovelas: this here is a seething hotbed of hate and dirty little secrets, and everyone is a villain dressed as a saint.
As far as the Case of the Missing Babywookie, accusations were flying left and right: the accuser’s motives were more of interest than the accusations themselves. Once I could stomach the truth, it was pretty obvious. In three weeks, three dogs disappeared; first Dingo then Max then Baby. As I’ve said before I don’t really want to know the ugly details – but everyone has had their part to play, either by giving the orders, carrying them out or keeping mum about it. I feel sorry for the kids here, though. Old enough to know what’s going on and old enough to know it’s wrong. Silenced and confused, they are doomed to grow up just like their parents.
Lest we forget the little guy, here’s an encore pic of Baby at his fuzzy finest:
There are those who think we bring illness upon ourselves, and for those who think that illness is a manifestation of unprocessed emotion, I have this to say. I couldn’t properly grieve for my little pet, nor spit out a torrent of snowballing fury, because I just didn’t want to believe that a neighbour would kill my baby. In short, stress brought this on. These people give me a headache. But a victim, I ain’t.
The other night I had the sweetest dream, (in Portuguese they call them pink dreams) that Babywookie came home with six little puppies. In the dream, no one had realised that he was actually a she. When I woke up I realised that I had been waiting for Baby to come home. But he isn’t coming home. Under the influence of a potent pharmaceutical cocktail, I got really angry and confronted a few people and told them what I thought of their stupid, uncivilised, cruel little lives. Now I feel sad, but better, and more determined to get the house done and get the fuck out of here as soon as possible.
Meantime I’m still stumbling around like a hopeless drunk. Wish I was. It’s a good cover for ranting whenever I feel like it.
So as not to leave you on a bum note, two slightly amusing things happened while I was in my sick-bed: a chook got out (I love it when there’s a chook free on the streets) and the rabbits had babies. Check out the newborn bunny-kitten!
…and Wookie enjoying the spring weather.
Injuries: none… well nothing physical, anyway.
Life Satisfaction Index: down 18%
I should’ve known that a holiday would be a bad idea. But it’s not everyday you get invited to Paris by a generous brother, and we all need a shot of Paris once in a while.
It’s maybe my 4th or 5th visit to the City of Light but every time I’m spellbound by how beautiful it is. And I swear it’s getting more Parisian all the time. It’s as though every ordinary cafe has been retro-renovated to look like it was always a classic old French joint. Or maybe the rest of the world is getting more modern and bland and Paris is still as cool as it always was. Maybe it’s me who’s changed. I know I’ll sound like my mother when I complain about how expensive it is. Café Portugal: 50 cents. Café Paris €2.50! And to use my Portuguese friend Tania’s words “and it’s shit coffee!”. I’m not one for definitives when it comes to films or coffee, but I’m certainly used to the smooth, caramel flavour of Portuguese coffee. In contrast the french cup tasted like a burnt chop.
After waving my family goodbye on the train to the south of France I wandered dreamily around Montmartre without realising that the mobile phone that just died was the one with the correct time. My other phone was still on Portuguese time. I woke up to this ten minutes too late. Thus, I missed my flight home. After forking out for a new ticket, I bedded down at the airport, along with half a dozen other jet-set refugees.
Thanks to Ryanair, who will provide almost free flights for those desperate enough to want to check in at 4am, I am accustomed to an airport sleep over. Me and the world’s backpackers. I laughed out loud the first time I saw Stanstead airport after midnight. It turns into an industrial sized dormitory, with thermarests and sleeping bags lined up in orderly fashion along every available wall. Numerous times I have carefully selected a quieter, darker, sneakier spot, only to wake up sharing the bed with 50 others. The really professional air-slumber-party-goers carry eye-mask and ear plugs, courtesy of some airline, but at Paris Orly they were truly a cut above : they were watching tele on their laptops and portable DVD’s.
So anyway, I arrived home tired and emotional. The cat wasn’t at home. He hadn’t been seen by my house minders for two days. Panic. Just as I’m on the hotline to sympathy sister, he comes slinking in the door looking as fat and content as ever. Then I realise the reason he’s been out: the neighbour’s tom cat has been in and has pissed all over the house. It reeks. Mao not happy, me not happy.
And now to the dogs. Wookie has lost his voice from crying after being tied up 24/7. I appreciated his enthusiasm to see me but this was overshadowed by Babywookie’s absence. Where was my Babywookie? No one had seen him for 5 days.
Could it be that my neighbour’s threats to get rid of any dog of mine not leashed have been realised? According to my neighbour, all dogs are potentially bloodthirsty sheep massacring psychopaths (except his dog). Even the toy poodles that another neighbour keeps are lethal teeth-gnashing werewolves. I’ve tried explaining that in Australia dogs work with sheep and we also employ a concept known as a fence to protect our warm investments.
Another neighbour firmly believes that my over-fed, one year old playful pups are going to kill their goats. Goats: 120kg, Dog: 12kg. Goat: horns. Dog: bark. But forget logic and commonsense. “We know dogs here” I am told. They know maltreated dogs, more like.
At this moment I can’t help see the significance of the arrival of two lambs and two goats since my departure a week ago. Coincidence? Or motive?
However, as my ex-policeman neighbour pointed out, you cannot know for sure what you haven’t seen with your own eyes. And there it is. And I’d prefer not to know for sure. I’d prefer to believe he has charmed his way into a nice home a few villages away where they have taken him for an abandoned dog. Now that the truth is subjective, and I can choose what to believe.
Meanwhile I’m trying to occupy myself with the immediate reality. Wookie hasn’t eaten anything for three days. It seems he’s on a hunger strike until his little brother comes back. So I’m tempting him with things formerly forbidden. Cat food, fresh meat, vegemite toast… so far he’s only taken a toffee caramel, which we can’t count as any kind of victory.
I pacify my mind with sweaty hard work. I’m digging a trench down one side of the annexe to seal the lower part of the wall against water. My good neighbours, who are very very good, drop over to see how I’m holding up. We get talking about an overgrown patch of land that is standing between me and fire safety. And wouldn’t you know, they own it. “Want it?” she asks, in that off-hand portuguese way. “For how much?” I ask. And in a nice piece of circular symmetry she wants the same amount as the flight from Paris cost me. Either the flight was very expensive or the land is a bargain. But just like the truth, the value of things is completely subjective.
Mao is a 7 yr old brown Burmese and he is the love of my life.
Mao’s interests include chasing imaginary monsters, fetching small mice, smooching and sunbaking. Mao also enjoys travelling… I brought him here from Australia. He’s never been happier, fatter or smoochier.
…were born in December 2007 while I was on holiday in Australia. The day I got back, the neighbours appeared on my doorstep with this brown puppy wondering if I wanted to adopt him. Mao wasn’t even off the plane. There was no way I could consider having a dog until Mao was settled and happy. Just No Way.
But Mao did settle in, and the caffé latte pup was very charming. He clearly stood out from his brothers – more confident and outgoing. We liked each other. So when he was about 10 weeks, I took him home for a trial.
It didn’t go well. He cried constantly and pissed and shat everywhere. He wasn’t ready. I sent him back to his mother.
But then, after a couple of weeks, he came to my house all by himself. It’s about 250 metres over steep and winding cobblestones, but this little guy had the goods. He’d stay with me during the day, and then go home at night to his mum and brothers. It was perfect. I had half-adopted a little brown dog. I named him Wookie because he’s brown and hairy. Like Chewbacca.
After a while he gave up going home at night, and then a funny thing happened. His little white brother made the trip to my place and never went home. I took him home several times, but apparently my house, with Wookie, is where he was determined to be. He was the smallest of all the dogs in the village, and maybe he was tired of fighting for his food. I denied being his owner for quite a while, which is why Babywookie hasn’t got a proper name. But Baby has stuck, because he is one.
Dingo is not my dog. He just lives here. Dingo comes from the next village, and when his old owners became ill and went to Lisbon, Dingo decided to come and live at my house. For the first 6 months I fought him. I shouted at him, I threw stones at him, I stuffed him in the car and took him back to his village. I tied him up. Nothing worked. He always came back and sat on my doorstep. So eventually I gave up fighting and realised that he was quite a nice dog. He’s a loyal and enthusiastic guard. No one gets anywhere near my door without a serious warning from him. If the other dogs jump on me he’s always there to make sure they’re not hurting. He sits on your feet. He leans on you when he’s cold. The Wookies love him.