Hello and a Happy New Year to you all. I thought I'd start today with a photo of Chris and I enjoying the New Year's Eve celebrations at our local bar El Naranjo. (The orange tree). It is run by an English lady and most of the folk who go there are English, but it was the only place open in the village for most of the evening. The Spanish bars opened at 12.30 a.m. by which time we were nearly ready to go home to bed! We did actually stay out until about 1.30, because having celebrated the arrival of 2010 at midnight our time, we then did it all over again at 1.00 which was midnight your time. We had Big Ben on the television and saw the fireworks etc, and raised a glass to family and friends across the channel in UK. Earlier in the evening we had enjoyed a very nice buffet supper and been entertained by a lady called Kim who has a wide repertoire of songs from the 60's, 70's and onwards, so just right for all us oldies to sing and dance to. At midnight we listened to the Spanish clock chiming (I don't know where it is) and with each chime we ate a grape and drank from our glass of bubbly. Apparently the locals gather up on the town square to do this and they then party all night. They didn't disturb us at all, though when I had to get up at around 6.00 I could still hear faint music coming from the marquee, so I guess some of them at least, really do keep going all night.
So now life is getting back to normal. We had a lot of heavy rain over Christmas as well as high winds, but that has mostly passed and it is now dry enough under foot to take the dogs for their run in the mornings again. After the rain, everywhere is looking much greener. We even saw a few blades of grass this morning. I am watching with interest as different plants start to appear. For a while there have been some shiny green leaves growing close to the ground. I did wonder if they were wild arum. But this week they have started to flower and it is a bit like a cobra rearing up with it's hood open and it's toungue out. I love this photo I took of one. It looks almost as though it is shouting! There also a lot of very tough long green leaves growing in clusters that look as though they should eventually have a flower in the centre, so I am keeping my eye on them. I love discovering the new plants out on the campo. There are so many I have never seen at home.
We gave ourselves a bit of a problem this morning, because when we unlocked the door to go out with the dogs, we forgot to remove the key, so when the door was closed it moved slightly and when we got back home we couldn't unlock it to get in! The house is very secure with rejas (metal grills) at all the windows, so there is no way to get in there, and a locked metal gate covering the porch door which is also locked. At the back the door is locked and inside is a full length sliding glass door that cannot be opened from the outside, so even if we had forced the lock we couldn't have got in, so we were well and truly stuck. We have a strong five barrel lock on the front door which we didn't want to damage as it would be very expensive to replace, as well as security bars on all the glass panels around the door. Normally so much security is very comforting, but today it was a real nuisance. In the end we went down to El Naranjo to collect a local paper and eventually we found an English speaking locksmith who came out and managed to open the front door for us. So we had wasted most of the morning, but at least we were in.
After a quick turnaround we went into the village to see the start of the Epiphany celebrations. There was medieval music and street dancers, local artisanal stalls selling cheese, teas, bread, plus ceramics and jewellry, and on the plaza there were a few children's fairground rides. I bought a pretty pendant for €5, and some yummy fresh cooked crisps, and Chris tried out the beer stall. I'm not a fan of beer but I had a shandy which washed the crisps down well. We watched a very good dancer who was accompanied by a man playing a short wind insrument that sounded a bit like the thing snake charmers play. The fair ground rides were fun. The medieval 'barca' relied on the girl at the front to pull the rope to rock it, while the poor man on the roundabout had to pedal his bike twenty to the dozen to turn it. In about an hour from now the three kings will arrive in the village and process round all the streets, giving out sweets to the children. They then all congregate at the Town Hall to recieve gifts from the kings, previously supplied by their parents of course. This is a much bigger celebration for them than Christmas, and tomorrow there will be lots happening all day, so no doubt I'll be telling you more after then.