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.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer exodus

There's an advert on the telly at the moment. The premise of the ad is that, during the summer, everyone abandons the cities and heads for their village. The village that their family hails from. Some poor souls have no village to go to. They are left alone, orphaned, in the deserted cities. So the advert directs you to a website where inhabitants of the idyllic rural villages can nominate their villages as reception centres for the poor lost souls and where city orphans can seek refuge in an adoptive village.

The idea that cities are deserted for the summer isn't quite as far fetched as you may imagine. There is even a phrase in Spanish for the plight of the men left behind to work whilst the family heads for the cooler mountain or beach air- estar de Rodriguez.

Down in Cartagena I needed to park in a part of the city where parking space is normally at a premium but not on Thursday it wasn't. Oh no, it's after San Juan, the children have broken up from school, the exodus to the beach has begun.  It's the beach in Cartagena but as an awful lot of Spain is a long way from the nearest beach people have to make do with anything rural.

Over the past few weeks nearly all of my students have been preparing their summer homes ready for the 10 or 11 weeks they will spend there until the children are back at school. Sometimes the house is theirs but often it's just someone's in the family. Brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and grandparents all muck in and somehow manage to find enough sleeping space for everyone.

We're back in Culebrón. Our next door neighbours who usually live in Elda are here too. I noticed a light in one of the houses down by the farm - the last time they were here was the summer of 2011. Culebrón is filling up.

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