Hollywood Comes To Town

Yet again I find time rolling by between posts. I guess it’s a consequence of writing about life in the village and the wider Spain for six years; when it comes to ‘events’ they usually come around every year and so I’ve already written about them at least once before, and I don’t want to keep repeating myself. However, we do have a local event which has not happened before and which has caused great interest within the village. Tomorrow and Tuesday large parts of the old village - el Barribarto - will be off limits whilst filming is in progress. This is not just some promotional short or documentary. This is a proper film, with a proper story set in 1950s Spain. Calle Real will be closed to motor traffic all day, and a village of the 1950s will be created from our Morisco quarter. Not only that, but on Thursday of last week villagers were queueing right round the Salon de Usos Multiples (the multi-purpose community room) in order to be inspected for possible roles as extras. Great excitement! On a personal note, we were out for lunch with friends of ours who live along the coast at Almuñécar and heard that they have sold their apartment and will be heading back to live in England. At the beginning of August, as we were setting of for a holiday in the UK, another couple, this time from the village, also left for England. In each case the motivation was the same; they wanted to see more of their grandchildren while their grandchildren were still happy to see them. I suppose in that respect we are less concerned as we have always been used to living a long way from our own grandchildren and seeing them only occasionally. Even so, both couples leave a gap in our lives as they were - and are - good friends. Oh, and one final event that has filled me with quiet pride; my blog has just passed its nine thousandth visit. Onward to 10,000!


In Fourteen Hundred And Ninety Two, Columbus Sailed The Ocean Blue

So runs the mnemonic taught to British children in my schooldays. Today, 12th October, is a national holiday in Spain. Except, of course, that as no one works on a Sunday, it will be celebrated tomorrow. El Día de la Hispanidad (The Day of Spanishness) is actually the national day of Spain and is also celebrated throughout the former Spanish empire, although one suspects that in South and Central America Simon Bolivar might be accorded greater status, he being the man who effectively liberated the people from the yoke of Spanish colonialism in the nineteenth century. The 12th October, you see, commemorates the day in 1492 when Christopher Columbus - funded by Ferdinand and Isabella - made landfall in what are now the Americas. Given the mineral wealth that was discovered there, this was particularly important for Spain at the time, as the Catholic Monarchs had only recently concluded a long and expensive war of reconquest against the Muslim powers who had ruled Spain for the previous seven hundred years, and the royal coffers were seriously depleted. We know this sea captain as Christopher Columbus, which is from the Latin Christophorus Columbus, but to the Spanish he was and is Cristóbal Colón. I mention this because it is from his name and his activities on this and subsequent voyages across the Atlantic that we get the words colony, colonial, colonist and colonise. And speaking of words deriving from people, the liberator of Latin America from colonial rule, gave his name to the country, Bolivia, to the Venezuelan currency unit, the bolívar, and indeed to the official title of the country, The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.


Then And Now

I was looking at a painting on my living room wall recently. I painted it in 1997, but it had lain neglected with other paintings until about a year ago. What struck me most was that the lomas (ridges beyond the village) were barren and empty. The land was what is known as secano, non-irrigated land.
What a difference today. The construction boom that began not long after this was painted, and which was fuelled by people from Northern Europe looking for holiday homes in the sun, led to a rash of new villas springing up everywhere. The photos were taken from my balcony a few minutes ago.