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, May 24, 2014

Village hall and pub

I'm cool with a romería and with Elena gone on to her birthday party it was up to me to save the vermouth session. Last night we had the annual village meeting to plan the summer fiesta.

I forget the reason. Actually I've got a bit of a bad head this morning because I popped into Amador's bar on my walk home and that sort of set me on the path of wrongdoing and amnaesia. I've just remebered a conversation with Eduardo outside his restaurant which was faltering, as always, but this time because of alcohol rather than more general stupidity. Anyway, whatever the reason everything got changed around a bit this year.

So on Friday instead of the vermouth session to kick off the village fiesta we're going to have a catered meal followed by the music and dancing. Cost cutting was the order of the day because the grant from the Town Hall will be 900€ again this year and lottery ticket sales haven't been very healthy either. There was talk of not having live music. The blasphemy of a "party tape" was suggested.  Eventually they decided on Raphael - for pasa dobles and cha-cha-cha. I tried a little joke with the woman sitting next to me about it not being the Raphael but she had no idea what I was talking about.

That was like me and the meeting. I was just about keeping up with the gist as the ten or twelve people there mounted simultaneous conversations but to say I understood would be being economical with the truth.

The foot race has been moved to Sunday along with the football and the chocolate. The gachamigas and the church parade have moved to the Saturday. I think we cut out the rockets to save money. I realised that the vermouth session was missing from the plans. I nearly spoke up but, in the end, my nerve failed. Kipling would have been cross. Fortunately when Inma was checking the budget to see if we could save any money anywhere she spotted the vermouth and she had the temerity to suggest scrapping it. Elena spoke up for alcohol as the perfect accompaniment to the football and the vermouth was saved.

Then there was the romería. Someone suggested a romería instead of a procesión. Suddenly everyone was voting. I was nodded at across the room - join in - vote for the romería along with everyone else said the nod; so I did. There was talk about whether it should be in plan formal or informal. Now I know what a romería is. It's a Catholic festival where there is a journey to a shrine or suchlike with or to a saint or Virgin. I asked my neighbour what the route would be but, again, she had no idea what I was talking about. So I asked Inma when she was checking that I'd understood what was going on. "Yes, that's right," she said, normally romería is a bit of a pilgrimage but we just mean that it's not like this - she crossed her hands across her body at waist height - and everyone gets to follow the saints instead. The problem is because the priest can't say mass till eight it's going to be in the dark so we'll have to choose a route that goes to lighter places. Another of those things where I know but I didn't.

And the vermouth? Well as Inma was showing me the running order I pointed out that the vermouth session was missing. "So it is," she said and it was written down on the back of the official envelope.

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