It would certainly be in line with the last survey of the Sociological Investigation Centre - Centro de investigaciones sociológicas - which reports that 34% of Spaniards have not read a book in the last twelve months, that 10% read only one book in the last year and that just 7% read more than a book a month. Maybe this explains why many children are unsure of the name of the capital city of Spain.
Talking of books my pal Carlos, writing under the pen name of Carlos Dosel, has just self published a book on Amazon - police story with a Nazi war criminal slaughtering Jews saved from Hungary by a Spanish diplomat. And, as that's a plug for Carlos, I should mention Miguel who writes a blog about The Six Kingdoms and has had a print book published La llamada de los Nurkan. So, even if Spaniards don't read much I happen to have bumped into at least two who write.
There certainly wouldn't have been much reading going on in the village this weekend. It was the weekend of our local fiesta dedicated to Saint James with Saint Joseph tagging along. There is a religious element to the fiesta because the local priest leads a mass from the village chapel before the Saints, in effigy, are paraded around the streets of the village. Jaime is carried by the men and José by the women. Otherwise it's all very non religious but very community. Someone I see regularly at the Wednesday morning session at Eduardo's commented on the number of people who were only ever seen in the village at fiesta time.
We had the meal on Friday evening. Catered event with metal cutlery, crockery and waiters followed by a duo with an electronic keyboard and songs from the seventies and eighties. I hear they, unlike us, went on till five in the morning. The next morning there was an organised water pistol fight and a session with drinking chocolate and toña (a sort of sweetened breadcake). A bit later, at lunchtime, there was a gacahamiga competition. Gachamiga is a food made from nothing - garlic, flour, water, oil and salt cooked into a sort of thick pancake. The procession was that evening followed by some buffet food and wine. Into Sunday the village was heaving with people taking part in the 5km or so walking and running race. There were over three hundred participants the event being rounded off with food of course. Into the afternoon there was some sort of children's entertainer - you know the sort of thing, bouncy castle and organiser with a floppy hat, baggy trousers and balloon sausage dogs. There was a bit of five a side footie going on at the same time. We got called over because there was a surprise and unscheduled vermouth session and I suppose they knew we would be attracted by the offer of alcohol. We were.
We'd left the village to go and have a very unsatisfactory meal in Aspe where we'd met one of Maggie's pals from Qatar. The after effects of that meal meant that we didn't go to the cena de sobaquillo and, in a way, that was there because we'd suggested it. What we actually suggested was a bring food to share meal but one of the neighbours shouted that down. She said that we foreigners always turned up with an inconsequential and inedible cake whilst the locals took proper food. A cena de sobaquillo is a sort of communal picnic. We'd stocked up with stuff to take but, in the end, we stayed home.
Good fiesta this time though. I tend to be a bit surly and uncommunicative when faced with people. I can hide either behind the camera or the alcohol but Maggie seems to be on a bit of a roll at the moment. Her teaching sessions, and simply being here all the time, means that she knows far more people and she is neither surly nor uncommunicative. She was running from person to person chatting away so I ended up talking to people almost by default.