In topsy turvy order, this post is about new year’s eve and new year’s day. Topsy turvy in as much as it should sequentially have been posted before the last one. Who cares?
So there we were, happily sitting out on the terrace on new year’s eve. The door frame had been painted up, so the decision had been taken to finish work for the day and the year, and chill out in the sun.
‘Holá’ said the daughter from next door. ‘Os invito a un reunion,’ she said. Which doesn’t translate remotely well, because she wasn’t inviting us to a meeting or anything like that. She and the two sons were performing in the Living Nativity on new year’s day that has now been staged in the village for ten years.
Did we want to go? Ambivalent really. Was her father going? (85 years old) Yes. The penny began to drop. Or the centimo in this case. Did José need escorting up there? Of course. Were we willing to go with him? Of course. None of this was said, natch, it took at least ten minutes for us all to have the discussion and agree what would happen. The Belén started at 6pm more or less, so we arranged to set off somewhere around 5.30/5.45.
……. Fast forward a few mins or hours or whatever
Next doors were chattering away to someone, I couldn’t quite hear who it was, as I was flitting between the terrace and the kitchen.
‘Anyways’ says José, ‘it will be a good evening, so if you want to come, we’ll call for you before 6pm.’
Seemed like the party was growing. I asked Partner, who had espied it all. Only the newly moved-in person over the road at the rich finca. Not only had they been chatting about the Belén but person from the finca had been happily chattering about us. ‘Los Ingleses,’ he said, ‘que viven en el Peñon,’ or something like that.
Clearly José next door thought it would be a good hoot for us all to go out together for the night – and for finca person to discover that we occasionally understood the odd bit of Spanish. Not that José bothered saying we were going too. Oh no.
Even later on, it transpired that one of the grandsons would join they party. How jolly.
Next day. We were called to the party wall around 11am. Grapes and anis were served. We were not allowed to depart before consuming two generous glasses of anis. Typically Spanish generosity – the full bottle of anis was placed on the wall for us to help ourselves (which we didn’t). We were ordered to take all uneaten grapes inside.
….. And, after paella for lunch, no siesta for us, as we psyched ourselves up for the Nativity show.
Come 5pm we were ready. Smart shoes retrieved from the cupboard that had only ever been worn twice. Nice clean jeans. Shirt. Warm pullover and jacket. That was just him. Me – trousers (top button not fastening but we won’t go into that), boots of course, vest, t-shirt, pullover, scarf, big coat – you can tell I used to watch rugby matches in Yorkshire and got used to sitting for hours on end in the freezing cold.
José saw Partner sitting expectantly on the terrace and looking smart, so shot inside to get changed. Off we set. No grandson in sight. We knocked on the big finca gate and rang the bell. No answer. Back down to the usual suspects. We dutifully chaperoned our neighbour up the village streets and arrived at the venue.
He kissed a few women, and we stood by smiling, like the token guiris. We found three seats that suited him, and made sure he sat in the middle. Partner and he chatted amicably away.
Suddenly, we noticed the man from the finca. Psssst, went José, and I said ‘Holá!’ Finca man came and sat in front of us. He had a puzzled look on his face.
‘You’re here with the vecino,’ (neighbour) he said looking at Partner. He clearly couldn’t understand why José was out for the evening with a foreigner. Partner held out his hand and introduced himself. ‘Encantado,’ said finca man. ‘Rafael.’ I introduced myself too. ‘Encantado,’ he said yet again. You could see the cogs visibly whirring around.
Every time he turned around to chat to José, José was in the midst of a chat with the non-Spanish speaking neighbour :D We haven’t seen finca man since. Nice enough guy – but hey! not all Ingleses lack Spanish. Especially after ten years.
It was a good evening, and like any local production, it had its share of mishaps. The star guiding the three kings didn’t pull across correctly on its pulley, one of the horses – frightened by a camera flash – stumbled and chucked its rider, and the curtains to the stable wouldn’t pull correctly to hide Mary giving birth, so poor old Joseph was tugging away at them in the end. But all in all, a good community venture and an enjoyable way to pass an hour or two.
The next day, it happened all over again – no we did NOT go. This time it was on at lunchtime, and we listened to the music and the narration which spread all over the village. It sounded totally different. Hopefully it was just as well attended. We’ve sent a few of the following pix to our Spanish neighbours.