Each of the small villages around here has its Fiesta Patronal, a weekend of celebration, loosely tied in to the observance of some Saint's day. There is a similar and set pattern at each local fiesta - a meal, a chocolate feast, a religious procession, some traditional games, etc.
We were invited to join the meal on Friday evening at Ubeda in honour of Santa Barbara. We went last year when there were hundreds of us sitting out, eating from long tables set out in the light bedecked village square. We had a good time.
This year the setup was the same but we ended up on the table in the farthest reaches of the square with at least twenty other Brits. That would have been OK except that the village restaurant, the one that provided the food and organised the waiters etc. last year has closed down. So the best the organisers could do was to offer lots of different sorts of cold food. It was OK but not really much of a meal. I did enjoy the slices of cheese topped with quince jelly though.
Culebron's fiesta - Saint James - is next week but again, following a long established tradition, the Neighbourhood Association puts on a meal for its members the weekend before fiesta. Last year the food was absolutely splendid, ordinary Spanish food but served with a bit of style and some little touches that made it really different.
This year, like last, we had proper cutlery and plates (none of the plastic plates we'd used in Ubeda) and the food was dead tasty, but yet again there was nothing hot.
Sitting there, under the stars at about 2am, trying to decide whether I needed to roll down my shirt sleeves, because it was getting a bit nippy, and nattering alternately to the Spaniards on one side or the couple of English pals we had on the other it crossed my mind that life offers some very pleasant moments.