This And That
Well, a week ago Wednesday was the feast of San Antonio de Padua, which meant that the fairground came to town and blasted away for five days. It sets up approximately 200 metres as the crow flies from our bedroom; likewise the disco in front of the sugar cane factory, on a slightly different trajectory but similar distance. We had reason to be pleased with the double-glazed french doors we put in a couple of summers ago. We got a decent night’s sleep even though the disco kept going until around 7.00am each morning. Last night the village was strangely quiet - apart from the roars when Spain scored - as crowds gathered down on the beach at Burriana in Nerja to welcome in the Feats of St John the Baptist at midnight. Bonfires are lit on the beach, barbecues are fired up, many bottles are downed, and as the evening progresses the younger revellers take to jumping over the bonfires (not always entirely successfully) and at midnight everyone heads for the sea. It is said to commemorate San Juan Bautista, but it falls suspiciously closely to the summer solstice, so I suspect it’s another of those ancient pagan customs highjacked by the church. Anyway, all this also coincided with the end of the school year on Friday, and so my wife’s Spanish class joined with the adult classes for the people of the village to wish their teacher, Jesus, a fond farewell over lunch. I got chatting to a village lady who I guess would be similar in age to me; it was quite an eye-opener as to the differences in our experience. She attends classes in ‘learning about numbers’, ‘learning how to read and write words’ and computer skills. As a child, in common with most of the villagers, certainly the girls, she never went to school. Now she chats regularly on Skype with her son and his family in Barcelona, and with video!! She urged me to take full advantage of the free computer facilities in the Guadalinfo centre in the village. It would have been churlish to tell her I had my own computer at home. The highlight of the lunch though, was when one of my wife’s classmates plucked up courage to ask the local ladies where she could learn palmas and cante, the characteristic, rhythmic clapping and the singing associated with flamenco. The women took to her as one of their own, and one lady of 84 immediately launched into a demonstration of how to sing a copla. THe lady in whose restaurant the lunch was held explained to us that up until about twenty years ago, the singer still reatined her long, black hair and her beauty and was well-known for her performances at each and every village fiesta. She was, we were told, “Muy flamenca, muy andaluza.” Yes, I really like living in this village, just for moments like that.