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, December 07, 2014

Rather reassuring

It's not Christmas in Spain yet. Not by a long chalk. No lights or trees in the streets. But today, in our house, it suddenly became Christmastime. True we've done a couple of subtle things before today but not so as you'd notice. We bought our lottery tickets for el Gordo Christmas lottery, we finished our Christmas cards in the last couple of days and I bought some more figures for our nativity scene a while ago.

This nativity thing is a personal sort of crusade. A couple of years ago I spent a fair bit of cash on some hand crafted figures for our Belén. The idea was to be a little Spanish and start adding to the nativity scene every year. The marginalised poor in the shepherds one year then the kings to represent the different continents, the wealthy and so on. It didn't go to plan because Christmas was cancelled last year by Maggie's absence in Qatar and our consequent meeting in Sri Lanka. It wasn't worth putting up the tree or the lights in Culebrón  as I avoided the perishing cold of interior Alicante for the much milder climate of La Unión. No tree, no lights, no Christmas food and no new figures. This year though Christmas is on so I got down to the Regional Artisan Centre in Murcia city and handed over 90€ for some kings. Poor people, the shepherds, are good but you never go wrong buying the rich.

The cards were interesting, Well sort of dully interesting. We bought some charity cards from Corte Inglés when we were in Murcia weeks ago but we needed more. Not many cards to be had in Pinoso but one of the local tobacconists had two packets. There were maybe fifty cards and we bought thirty of them. The shop owners were amazed. We explained about the old tradition of sending cards to people we hadn't spoken to for years, about sending cards to addresses that we were pretty sure were no longer correct and about sending cards to people who may well be dead. Nice tradition though - with a different quality to Facebook or email. I love getting cards.

But today we buckled down. It was wreath on the door, Chinese shop Westward leading star with a comet like tail of flashing LEDs fastened to the outside of the house and the tree. 

The tree we got in Huntingdon from Woolworths maybe sixteen or seventeen years ago now. It was bought to grow old along with us. Every time we drag it out of the scruffy box and attach the same wesleybobs (glass baubles to you unless you're old and from West Yorkshire) I always think what a good choice it was. Bit of a change with the tree this year through. We had to change its location because of some furniture changes since Christmas 2012. I took the change in my stride though because I was buoyed up by the inevitability of it all. A nice fino sherry to start then whisky (though I can no longer afford a decent Islay and have to do with blended) helped the process along. Nat King Cole roasting chestnuts on an open fire then a choir from Kings. Como siempre - as always. 

It had been the same outside. There were a series of hooks for the lights, the string on the wreath was the right length to hang it dead centre and the correct height on the door. In truth I'm not a big fan of Christmas. Lot of fuss about nothing in my humble but I do find, as my remaining time shortens, that whereas, in the past, I disliked the annual sameness of the process I now value at least one part of the inevitability of it all. And that part was today.

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