Semana Santa is a big thing in Spain.
While Brits celebrate Easter from Good Friday to Easter Monday, apart from the civil service and the queen who start on Maundy Thursday and years back some public sector organisations took Tuesday too, in Spain it is a clear Sunday to Sunday of processions. Back to work on Monday.
Sitting on the terrace peaceably working away (me) and reading (him), we were distracted by next door’s conversation. This is the problem with understanding Spanish. You can’t quite shut yourself off in a little English bubble.
‘He’s going to Ronda today,’ said José. This was his grandson, aged around 22 now. He was off to play his trombone in one of the Semana Santa processions.
The next day was Cordoba, then Motril, and then he was spending the night in Seville before going to Cabra the next day. I was confused with this as cabra is Spanish for goat. How could he be playing in the goat procession? But no, Cabra is indeed a place between Cordoba and Málaga. Then he was back to our home town for Jueves Santo (Holy Thursday) to play there. Unlike the big city processions, our local town has narrow streets and the swaying tronos (floats) get perilously close, and there is nowhere to escape if anything comes unhinged as the streets are packed. One visit was quite enough.
He wasn’t playing anywhere on Friday for some reason.
This conversation was repeated not just that afternoon but every day of the week. Spaniards enjoy repeating things. We could soon recite the itinerary like tour operators and hence I can still remember it now.
During the week another neighbour dropped round and was obviously regaled with the itinerary. ‘Semana Santa,’ she sighed, ‘no one wants to work this week.’ She has goats and they also rent ground for crops. They work seven days a week all year. For a good catholic she’s certainly got the protestant work ethic.
I was surprised at that, given there is so much unemployment in our area. Next door, no one has had a permanent job for more than ten years. The mother cleans, part time. The husband gets the odd building job, very occasionally. The two lads trained at catering college, one as a chef and the other as a waiter. The young one (waiter) hasn’t worked. The older one gets part time stable work and occasional chef work.
While I’m not the world’s biggest supporter of religion, I think his parents must be well pleased that their oldest lad is involved with music and not the usual entertainment of unemployed young people without prospects in life. Playing in a band for Semana Santa is a damn site better than getting in with the illegal wrong crowd.
The story of the lemons
Partner had gone to the rubbish bin which is all of twenty yards away. He met one of the village men he knows (the younger brother of the woman who works in the supermarket) who was carting the lemons up the street with another (unknown) man.
They’d obviously been hired to pick them and throw them out from one of the larger plots down the street. ‘Do you want some?’ asked Loli’s brother. Well, when does Partner say no? He was gutted he didn’t have a bag with him so he scooped as many as he could into his arms while the unknown man stood by glaring, presumably because Loli’s bro was hobnobbing with a foreigner.
Scandalous waste, muttered Partner and then took a bag and shamelessly raided the bin while José held it open for him.
This must have gone round the street because the next day, next door but one collared him with a bag of freshly picked lemons from his trees. You can never have too many lemons. He also gave Partner a titbit of Gib news. ‘Four people stabbed to death.’ !!! No! People don’t get murdered in Gib.
They do apparently, a baby, a toddler and a couple. He was British, she was Spanish, the baby was theirs, and the toddler was the woman’s by a previous Danish partner. Police described it as a murder/suicide. It’s so much outside Gib experience that a UK forensic team came over to investigate, and some of the Gib police at the scene have needed counselling.
Anyway, back in Gib, after a lengthy frontier queue, Partner set to donating lemons. Everyone seems to use them in cooking whether savoury or making lemon cakes. Like me, another flat owner drinks lemon and hot water in the morning. In fact we didn’t have enough lemons to give to everyone. Maybe next time. And I’ve nearly run out now. So much for generosity.
But continuing with the freebies, a bag of books from a neighbour, including books two and three of Pullman’s Northern Lights. Yes! What a result. The rest was a varied selection including Stephen Fry, Jeffrey Archer, Peter James and Jeffery Deaver. Can’t remember who else.
To top off the acquisitions, Partner noticed some clothes chucked away at the top of the street. Camo jacket and trousers, shirt and pullover. In the wash they went and he now has a nice jacket and waterproof trousers, (shirt and pully were too small), just in time, as we’ve had a few more rainy days in Gib.
Oh, almost forgot the Easter egg from some neighbours. Think that might find its way back to the finca for my Spanish neighbours. Always nice to give them something back.
Note: Paris post on Friday