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Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Monday, August 03, 2009


The pregon has done his stuff, he opened the 10 days of fiestas in Pinoso on Saturday evening by cutting the ribbon and turning on the lights just after he'd finished his turgid little speech.

Talking of crisis, financial crisis, is old hat in Spain. Every radio show I've heard this weekend has said something like "We don't want to talk about the crisis on this show but...." Not having money, huge unemployment, people losing their homes, deflation, apalling economic figures, banks pulling up the drawbridges - that's crisis - and it is everywhere here.

For Pinoso, with income from the marble quarries slashed, the local Town hall has no idea how to balance its books. Increasing income through increased local taxes is on the cards but cutting services, making people redundant and axing posts is something the local councillors have never had to do before and they don't want to do it now. Presumably the people they would have to sack would all be family members anyway! - so I suppose most of them are a bit worried about getting it in the neck from Aunt Inmaculada or Cousin Paco if they end up sacking young Manuel.

So, no bull fight this year. Too expensive. The lights in the street are less gaudy and there are fewer of them. The programme features no big name acts and even the programme itself, the paper version, is slimmer and less lavish. There are fewer stalls too. Presumably some of them have gone to the wall since last year.

My guess is that traditional fiestas in Spain were having a hard time before the crisis. Where we live would have been very isolated not very long ago. When the time came for Fiestas it would be the opportunity to buy new pots and pans for the house, to try some tasty tid bits of food, to drink too much, to have a laugh on the stalls, to eat out, to buy and show off new clothes, to dance, to sing, to run with bulls - to take a bit of time for yourself and for your family to do all those fun things that were denied to you most of the year - things miles away from your everyday existence. But it's not like that now is it? Carrefour and Mercadona have pots and pans and more exotic food than ever came to town with the fair. It's easy to drive to any number of shopping centres or hypermarkets in your car and it's easy to do all of the other things too. How can a ghost train set out in a dusty car park compete with the multi million Euro equivalent just 60 minutes away in Terra Mitica Theme park?

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