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 24, 2013

'Til the only dry land were at Blackpool

I've been to some cold places in my life. England in January isn't that warm; the Isle of Lewis and Stockholm are often colder but they are not uncomfortable places. Culebrón on the other hand is uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. Outside it's about 7ºC and it's midday. The house isn't set up for it. Wind whistles under the doors, through the windows. Marble and tiled surfaces don't help. Built for summer, not for winter. The only warm place in the house is under the shower. Outside, the sky is blue, the sun is shining. Wrapped up, with gloves it's warm enough. But inside the chill soaks through your bones. Down in La Unión I haven't yet started to close the windows at night or use a heater but here. Brrr!

Our local petrol station has no petrol, no diesel and no gas bottles. Everyone says that the owner can't pay his bills so the oil company won't deliver except for cash payments. The next nearest petrol stations are at least 10kms away. The car wash is still in business though. I used it today rather than plunge my hands into a bucket of cold water.

The local bodega on the other hand was doing a roaring trade on Sunday. I think, though I'm not sure, that the farmers who produce the grapes which make the wine, have a running account with the bodega shop. They buy things on tick against the money they are paid for the grapes they harvest. The shop sells groceries, things for around the farm, workwear etc. It's an interesting place.

In the Santa Catalina district of the town, one of the older and possibly poorer parts of Pinoso they are having a fiesta because it's her day on the 25th. I plain forgot to go to see the street bonfires on Friday evening. Yesterday I was going to go and watch the flower offering and have a look at the mediaeval market as I drove back from the cinema but I changed my mind when I noticed that the temperature was hovering around 2ºC and there was a chill wind blowing. What fun in drinking a micro brewery beer or eating a chorizo roll with hands frozen by the cold? I did pop in today though.

There's a circus in town. I half wondered about going. The camel and the strange long horned cow type beast parked outside the big top looked very mangy and very out of place. I arrived to take a few snaps just as the Sunday matinee crowd came out. There wasn't much of an audience.

I'm just back from lunch down in the village hall. It was the Neighbourhood Association AGM. We always have one of the local paellas with rabbit and snails and gazpacho, a sort of rabbit stew with a flat form of dumpling. It's always the same. The meal started late, there was applause when the metre and a half paella pan was brought into the hall from the outside kitchen where it has been cooked over wood. There was plenty of drink and the actual meeting was sparsely attended and very disorganised. For the first time ever, and despite being the only foreigner in the place, I didn't feel too lost. I laughed when I didn't understand and I voted knowing what I was voting for despite the chaos. It looks like we're off to Benidorm again in March. Everybody else was drinking the very fashionable gintonics (gin and tonic) but someone found a bottle of whisky for me. I drained it. My typing may have suffereed.

The title, by the way, is from three ha'pence a foot by Marriott Edgar. Snaps on the Picasa link at the top of the page.


It rained and it rained for a fortni't, 
And flooded the 'ole countryside. 
It rained and it kept' on raining, 
'Til the Irwell were fifty mile wide.

The 'ouses were soon under water, 
And folks to the roof 'ad to climb. 
They said 'twas the rottenest summer 
That Bury 'ad 'ad for some time. 

The rain showed no sign of abating, 
And water rose hour by hour, 
'Til the only dry land were at Blackpool, 
And that were on top of the Tower.

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