Blogs in this series

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.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

All Saint's Day

My usual November 1st post revolves around how lots of Spaniards make a day of visiting the family grave complete with scrubbing brushes and bunches of flowers.

This year we avoided any morbidity and headed for the fair at Cocentaina. Spain is quite good at themed market type fairs but there are certain staples for them all - crusty bread that costs 25€ per loaf, the people from Guijuelo with boxes of cooked and cured meats for just 40€, big yummy sweets made with real fruit juice that cost 5€ for four and mustard flower soap that costs 12€ for the smallest slab. See the theme?

This one seemed a bit different though. For a start it was huge. We didn't quite know what we were going to and as we approached the town there were cars parked all over the verges of the roundabout we used to come off the main road in that amazingly higgledy piggledy way that Spaniards have. No flower bed too small to park in. We presumed there must be something going on right there and tried to park up ourselves but being scaredy cat Brits we couldn't find anywhere. We did discover though that the mass parking went on and on and on. We eventually found some space in a field but by now we'd sort of gleaned that it was a big market type fair. There was another odd thing, by now it was about 2.30pm, well into eating time, the time when Spain slows to a crawl on any day and on Sunday, well like Wales in the 1950s, nothing opens. But this fair was definitely open.

The whole centre of the town was in use as the market place with different zones being used for different themes - the horse fair, rides and toys, local products, food, an Arab suq, an area selling agricultural machinery and biomass burning stoves plus, the tourism area, the environmental area and lots more. All the usual suspects were there but it was also very different and much, much bigger. I was really impressed with the food stalls and Maggie had to stop me buying a slurry spreader as we browsed the agricultural section. I took the name and address of the people who did the family sized olive presses though - pretty and useful I thought.

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