Tales of the Lecrin Valley

A personal view of life in an andalusian village.

Having a view of the Sierra Nevada mountains from my house I am fascinated by the cloud formations that roll over them.  Clouds you only ever read about in meteorological books or see on the news are commonplace.  And because of the great difference in temperatures betwen the mountain tops and the sea, only thirty kilometres away, there are often clouds with ruler-straight undersides at the head of the valley where the hot and cold air meet.  This winter has been fantastic in the valley, cloudless skies and temperatures into the twenties during the day, and marvellous starlit nights with the temperature well below zero.  I was up at sparrers this week doing something or other and the ground was frost-covered and the rivers running to the lake and the lake itself were both steaming.  As the water was part snow-melt the air temperature must have been well below freezing.  I was so taken by the sight I took some photos.  Here they are.Lake steamingLake steamingRestabal 

River steaming






It has happened to me all my life.  If I am sitting in an empty bus a nutter clutching a brown paper parcel will get on board, sit beside me and whisper,

‘It’s an elephant’s foot, the right foreleg I believe.  One of Hannibal’s elephants.   I’m off to have it re-soled in Dartford,’ or something similarly astonishing. 

 Having lived the first fifteen years of my life next door to a Mental Hospital these things go almost unnoticed, unless there is someone with me who will dine out on the story for the rest of their lives.

So when I was in Casablanca and attending a flamenco concert in the Instituto Cervantes it came as no surprise when a young couple sat next to me and as soon as the music and dancing started they got out their smartphones and started frantic conversations by SMS.  The girl had one phone and was going for gold, but was beaten hands-down by the lad next to me who had TWO smartphones and was ambidexterously using the pair.  I don’t have any idea what he needed two for, but I supect that he was acting as a go-between between a boy and a girl.  Relationships, or even friendships are closely monitored in Morocco and often youngsters go behind their parent’s backs to carry out even a harmless friendship.  Of course, when you are young a bit of forbidden fruit makes things that much more exciting, but whatever it was, three flashing LCD screens in my peripheral vision was extremely annoying.  Not once did they look up to see the flamenco artist strutting her stuff, and as there were many turned away for lack of seats I was a little annoyed at their selfishness to say the least.  Being British I didn’t say anything, just harrumphed a few times and gave them both a meaningful look which fell on deaf ears, their profiles only being shown to me as they sat hunched over their phones.  But it made me feel better.

Then last weekend we went to a concert here in the valley and were entertained by a quartet called Jolís.  At least I think it was the whole foursome that were called that but suspect it was the singer only, as his name was Jose Luis.  It was well attended and the seats were packed tight together with little legroom or space between them.  So I found myself shoulder to shoulder with a bloke who, as soon as the first song began, delved into his pocket and brought out a Kindle electronic book, switched on its built in light and proceeded to read a chapter or two.  The venue had had the lights dimmed for the ambience but this bloke seemed oblivious to the fact that he was causing a nuisance, to me at least. The Kindler He merrily hummed and nodded his bowed head to the music which sent the beam of light dancing around like an anti-aircraft searchlight, illuminating my trousers as well as his, the jacket of the woman in front and glinting with kaleidoscopic brilliance when it encountered anything the slightest bit reflective.  I thanked my lucky stars that I had had my eyes lasered a few years ago and didn’t have to wear glasses anymore.  If I did I would have had to put up with rays of light flashing across my bottle bottom lenses as well.  Carmen was amazed and looked at me with that look she has when a Brit is doing something unthinkable in Spanish society and that added to my annoyance as I felt embarassed for him, although it obviously bothered him not a jot.  So, although the concert was good, it was marred for me by this ASBO contender alongside whom I had the misfortune to find myself.  I think I prefer the nutters.  At least they say what they have to say and then sidle away to annoy someone else.  I had this clown for an hour and a half.