Tales of the Lecrin Valley

A personal view of life in an andalusian village.

09 Feb 04       

 The February moon is on the wane.  I saw it last night.

 This weekend in Saleres was just work.  We went into Granada first thing on Saturday morning to see the solicitor and from there to the nursery to get yet more plants and pots.  This time Carmen bought some red-flowering things and decided she wanted them planting around the kitchen door.  So I did.  Personally I love bees and  I have told Carmen that the plants are only in flower for four months of the year and that she can come through the kitchen door for the other eight months in complete safety.  But she still wants them moved.  

 The swimming pool is now looking nice.  The water is crystal clear, the ph level is perfect.  The chlorine is just right.  There are a couple of bits of algae on the bottom of it which I will scrub off when the water is warm enough to swim in.  This weekend I didn’t even need to vacuum the bottom as no detritus had accumulated during the week.  One less job to do.  Until Carmen decided to re-pot a rosemary plant and hang it on a pillar next to the swimming pool.  At first I thought it was a long promised earth tremor, but when I looked out of the kitchen window and saw the plant floating in the pool and the pot and earth on the previously spotless pool bottom, I realised that this was just Carmen.

 We had some night storage heaters delivered during the week, and I intended to fit them at the weekend.  I unpacked one and assembled it, only to find that it had no cable and that the shops had shut for the weekend.  So I set about the next task, running a telephone cable from my house to Carmen’s.   This had to be routed from the front door, over the roof of the cloisters we have around the swimming pool, along the outside of the cloister wall, through the tunnel, along another wall, through my bedroom window, across the ceiling and into the telephone point.  Thirty seven metres with supports every metre or so.  Tedious work.

 There was a wedding in the village at the weekend, and for once we were not invited.  I didn’t know there was a wedding until I was straddled across the ridge of the cloisters, the cheap new drill I had purchased in a sale in Madrid in my hand, ready to drill a hole to fix the telephone cable.  I pressed the trigger of the drill and the world exploded.  There were flashes and hisses and the most incredible explosion.  I looked at my hand, expecting it to have been blown off, but it was still intact.  Then I realised that it wasn’t the drill which had caused the explosion but rockets from the celebration at the bottom of the village.  As I believe I’ve told you, we are at the top of the village, and these things went off at about head height.  The tinitis in my right ear from my Commando days was immediately triggered and is still ringing now, days later.  Antonio Two, who hadn’t been invited to the wedding either, but was sat on the wall next door watching me working, thought it was hilarious.  As did Pablo, Antonio One’s grandson, who was sat next to him.  Pablo was supposed to be in the church for the wedding ceremony but had skipped out because the sermon was dragging on.  Evidently the cura was taking full advantage of having the majority of the village captive and was giving them a fair old dose of fire and brimstone.

 The telephone task took all afternoon.  Antonio One’s family were all at the wedding and they then came home at about five to get ready for the reception.  Antonio One himself didn’t want to go as the smoke in restaurants aggravates him, so when the family had gone, Carmen suggested he came around to us for a glass of wine later that evening.  He popped around at about eight and after a few wines he told us some things about the village, especially about the civil war and it’s effects.  He said that five men from the village had been executed for being Communists, although the truth was that they were nothing of the sort, but braggarts trying to impress the other villagers.  Antonio was eight at the time and knew only of the Red and the Blue sides, with no notion of their politics.  Of course there are still those in the valley who remember and who carry grudges, as after any Civil War.  During Franco’s time Antonio got out of Spain and went to work in Germany.  I told him some of the stories that my mother had told me about being in London during the Blitz and he seemed surprised to hear that we had had a war and that the Germans had been involved.  We had a couple of bottles of wine and a Sunday Roast I had prepared and he rolled home at about midnight. 

On Sunday morning he told his family we had wined and dined him, and they gave him a bit of a hard time as they had all been feeling guilty about going to the wedding and leaving him behind.  He retaliated by saddling up his donkey and going off to the campo.

 I bumped into Antonio Two a little later as I was taking some rubbish to the square.  He was loading up a friends car with his decoy bird.  This is a partridge which has been kept in a cage and encouraged to sing.  It is taken to the campo and the cage is placed in a likely spot for an ambush.  The idea is for the bird to sing and attract other birds, which are then dispatched with an escopeta, or shotgun.  It seems a little unfair it seems to me, but I keep my mouth shut.

 The plumber had arranged to come at four on Sunday, to talk about putting more taps in the garden for Carmen’s plants.  We waited til seven, with no sign of him, although I hadn’t been holding my breath.  We left then.  It normally takes an hour on a Sunday evening to traverse the sixty metres from our house to the car as you have to stop and say goodbye to everybody, but this weekend the streets were bare.  Then we bumped into Juan and Antonio Two in the square.  Antonio was annoyed, as his prize songbird, on whom the hunters had been relying for a good shoot, had decided to stay dumb for the afternoon and no-one had shot anything.  This annoyance was added to somewhat by the sound of it singing it’s head off in his garage, making up for lost time.  Evidently the thing is agoraphobic and only sings indoors.  

By some oversight we had forgotten to invite Juan and his wife to our house warming party so we told him they must come round one evening for a drink.  His eyes lit up and he said, ‘Bueno, I have some very  good mosto just coming into it’s best.’  And my heart sank.

 Which day next week can I afford to write-off because I will have a screaming hangover?