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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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Snuggly and warm

Would I lie? The knife stall.
The fair and fiesta in Pinoso runs from the 1st of August for nine or ten days. When I suggested that the event was getting quieter each year and perhaps, not so important in the lives of Pinoseros as it once was a young woman, born in the UK but bred in Spain, was quick to reprimand me for my disloyalty in a "Go Home Limey!" sort of way.

Officially the fair and fiesta aren't yet underway. The official opening, the pregon, a sort of opening speech, will happen on Monday evening. But, weekends are weekends, and last night the stalls and fairground rides were in full swing.

The town's equivalent of running with the bulls, a sort of chase and be chased by a small terrified bullock around some waste ground, took place for the first time this year, or at least I understand it did, fortunately for both my boredom and cruel stupidity tolerance thresholds I wasn't there. Later the new Carnival Queens and their entourages were crowned in a ceremony that seemed to last for an eternity. As we strolled around the stalls and fairground rides the crowds seemed pretty sparse to me. We could have chosen to sit at almost any of the food and drink establishments from the 5€ bargain specials to the upmarket shining crystal and linen napkin places.

So it wasn't the heart racing, non stop fun event we may have hoped for. There was an odd thing though. We started by the Town Hall. "Nice lights," said Maggie - "not as good as the lanterns but better than last year." We said hello to someone we knew. Later, as we bumped into the first of the stalls and the commentary started - aah, I see the pots and pans man is here, and the knife stall. We avoid the free samples at the "Mr Galicia" ham and cheese stall and consider, for at least the sixth year, whether we should buy a grilled corn cob, the white chocolate crepe was my first. We have comments about so many of the stalls and bars - not there, they overcharge at fiesta time, that bloke with the waffles always plays heavy metal - what a character, crikey that Peruvian man's hair is even longer than last year but he looks so much older, look the jewellery stall isn't here - I wonder if she died, she was knocking on a bit, no way! - the chips are always cold and expensive there.

We've strolled those stalls a lot over the past seven years; we're old hands. Gently re-assuring in a small town sort of way.


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Anonymous said...

Hi! The chased cow (the call it «la vaca», «¿Vas a ir a la vaca?») is nothing new. It has been one of the favorite attractions of Pinoso's Fair since the begining, and many people from far places come every afternoon to see it during the fair days. Sad, but true. And it has always been in that same spot, under las cuevas, that little mountain. They called it las cuevas, because there are cuevas were people still live. The place were "la vaca" takes place each year is like a monument, the first thing you see when you arrive from Yecla or Jumilla, a piece of empty land, waiting for the first week of August to come. I went once to la vaca, when I was very young. I was horrified.
There is another poor chased bull in the mornings, for younger people, in El Badén, or at least it used to be. Even sadder....
The thing is many Spanish people hate this vaca show (me, for example), but all those so machos don't. They must be the same men that go hunting every saturday morning... and the same men who carry the Virgin in Easter.... Deep Spain. But there are other people in this village who are completely different and who care and worries about all this, who respect animals and nature, and reads and travel, etc...

Yes, I also think the fair is emptier each year, and I am Spanish and bread in Spain ( not in Pinoso). I personally don't like it, it's like a nightmare. If you had gone there as a child, you would recognize now people you saw 20 or 30 years ago in the old faces still wandering up and down the paseo de la Constitución. People who is still in the same place, after soooo many time... and who wil also l die here. The bells will sound to anounce their death and life will continue...

In Pinoso, you couldn’t hear English or any other language but Spanish or bad valencian 10 years ago. But then you suddenly arrived, the Brits, and gave a new look to the place, bought some old houses (people in Pinoso thought old country houses were useless!! But that is another story), refurbished them, open bars, magazines,.... and I think the place is much better than before. Thanks for coming, and for writing. Still, I wonder every day: Why did you come?? Why did you choose this dry land??

Chris Thompson and Maggie Brocken said...

Sorry, that was just poor English. what i should have said was something like the chasing the bullocks, which has taken place for ages, long before I got here, was held for the first time this year this evening.

They scrapped the morning event for the kids a couple of years ago as a result of the problems with insurance, problems with not comlying with the law and a couple of injuries.