Short And To The Point

Last night my Macbook died. Until I can resurrect it or replace it, I'm going to have to rely on visits to our local Internet outfit (open evenings only


Carnaval in Nerja

This afternoon we went down to Nerja for the last day of Carnaval, el entierro del chanquete (the anchovy's funeral). Carnaval is a three day festival which ushers in La Cuaresma or Lent as we know it in English. Friday saw the children's fancy dress parade through the streets of the town, followed in the evening by the selection of Carnaval princesses, a Carnaval Queen and a Carnaval Prince.This is also the evening when various groups of singers, ranging from quartets to full-blown choirs compete in the singing of satirical songs about local characters, politicians and issues.
Saturday is the day of the main parade of adults in fancy dress accompanied by more music. The participants are judged in different categories with prizes for the winners. However, to claim their prizes the winners have to take part in the funeral ceremony. A marquee had been set up in the new Plaza Nueva, and the chanquete - in reality a tiny fish, but here about six feet long and constructed out of papier maché - rests on its bier awaiting the start of the procession. The widow and her retinue, prostrate with grief, receive the condolences of all before setting off through the streets on the chanquete's final journey. The town band follows the bier playing, alternately, funeral dirges and bouncy, popular tunes, the mourners by turns desolate and exultant. Finally the cortege arrives at the beach by the Balcon de Europa, where to the accompaniment of fireworks, fuses concealed within the chaquete are lit and the poor departed fish is blown to smithereens. Then it's into the serious time of Lent.
Except up the hill in Frigiliana, where our carnaval doesn't happen until next weekend when Lent has already started


Wonderful Walking Country

A warm, springlike day with the temperature up to around 20C, and an almost cloudless sky, so we set off by car and parked up by the Nerja caves. From there we walked about three kilometers along a dirt road through pine forests into the mountains before turning back on ourselves and dropping down into the Barranco (gorge) de la Coladilla. Two weeks ago we couldn't have done this walk as the river would have been in full spate. Today though, as the photo shows, it is once again a dry riverbed which makes for easy walking. About two and a half hours in total to cover a distance of seven and a half kilometers, and we were back home in time for lunch.


Seeing Is Believing.......Or is it?

I love the fact that there is never a part of the year when we don't have flowers in bloom. Recently I noticed this prickly pear beside the road from Frigiliana down to Nerja on the coast. It was surprising to see it flowering so early in the year, but what really hit me was that it was producing two different colours of bloom. Now that is unusual, so I had to have a photo (several actually). However, once I got close enough to take the photos I realised that all was not what it seemed. A prickly pear producing red and blue roses? They turned out to be silk, planted by someone with either a sense of humour or of beauty. Never mind, they still brightened up my day!


The Drought Is Over - I Hope!

No sooner had we bought our jacuzzi and installed it in its special corner of the roof terrace than notices went up all over the village informing us that the water company for the region had finally managed to get us included in the drought order (the village that is; not the two of us as a couple.) which applies to the rest of this area, the Axarquía. One consequence is that mains water cannot be used to fill pools. For other towns and villages it's understandable as the rains have never properly arrived for about five years and so local reservoirs were perilously low. Lake Viñuela, from which Frigiliana draws a little of its water had fallen to only 16% of capacity.

That shouldn't be a problem for our village, however. The bulk of our water comes from the mountains behind us. These start out in life as the Sierra Nevada, with Mulhacén being the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula. The Sierra is a huge lump of dolomite limestone topped off with a thick coating of snow for around eight months of the year, snow which slowly percolates down into this giant sponge, emerging as numerous springs when it finally reaches the clay base. So many of the springs arise around the village that for centuries the people of Frigiliana were known as "Los aguanosos", the watery ones, by the rest of the Axarquía.

Finally, though, the proper seasonal rains would appear to have arrived. We've had substantial rainfalls on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday night, yesterday evening and today. It's not a scientifically accurate measure, but the bucket out on the terrace, which was empty at the weekend, now has 5 inches of water in it. On that basis Lake Viñuela should be filling up nicely, and when the water in the jacuzzi needs changing in April, we should be free to get on with it. Fingers crossed!