Saturday, May 14, 2011

A lovely day with friends

Today was San Isidro day. He is the 'second' saint of Los Gallardos (the first being Virgen de la Carmen), and also the patron saint of farmers and agricultural workers, so in our village it is a fiesta day. One thing I kind of like about Spanish fiestas is the tradition. You know everything will be more or less the same as last year, and the year before, and ...etc. So today started with the village band playing music as they passed along the streets. Then there was a mass in the church followed by a romeria, or country walk/picnic, when everyone follows a cart bearing a statue of San Isidro, and walks out of the village and up to the sports area beyond. Meanwhile, all morning up at the sports ground, there was a series of football matches between teams from the village league, culminating in the final for the Los Gallardos cup. In previous years we have followed the romeria, arriving in time to watch the final, and then having a share of the gran paella cooked behind the tennis courts. It is not a long walk but it is very slow, and very hot, and this year we decided to drive up instead. This was partly so that we could take a couple of fold-up chairs and a picnic bag with us. We went earlier so that we could watch more of the football. It was lovely to see the new pitch in full use. Several months ago I showed pictures of the new all weather turf that was being laid. It looked so clean and green, and with some of the surrounding trees cut down, there was a clear view of the beautiful backdrop of mountains. Apparently this new surface can be quite dangerous to play on if it is too dry, so after one of the matches they turned on powerful water jets that oscillated and pumped water from the four corners and the centre of each long side, and between them they soaked the whole area. We were sitting on the spectator steps, and one of the jets swung round a bit too far and we got well sprayed. It was lovely and cooling and as the sun was out, we were soon dry again!

After the football, we walked round the side to the picnic area which is mercifully shaded by tall trees, where we joined our friends John and Eileen, and we all enjoyed a picnic together. We have learned from previous occasions, that the benches on the picnic tables feel very hard after the first half hour, so we all took chairs, and also we were glad of our sunshades when the sun moved and the trees no longer shaded us completely. There are several fixed barbeques up there that anyone can use, and there were several huge family gatherings all enjoying parties, complete with balloons and streamers hanging from their sun shades. They really know how to enjoy themselves, and every one was in a holiday mood. John and Eileen have been living here for twelve years so they have got to know many English and Spanish families, and lots of people came over to talk to us. We stayed until about 5.30 and then came home to feed the animals and have a rest.

The top of our road is blocked off today and there is a huge stage built across it. Tonight there will be music and dancing. It won't start until nearly midnight, and will continue until early tomorrow morning. Chris and I will go up there for an hour or so and then we'll come home to bed, probably with the windows closed and the air-con on, so we can get some much needed sleep.

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