We had a very busy day on Saturday as it was the fiesta for San Isidro in our village, and in the afternoon we had our first choir performance of the summer season.
San Isidro is the second saint for our village (the first is La Virgen de la Carmen in whose honour we have the three day fiesta in July), and he is also the patron saint of farmers and agriculture. So after the mass which officially starts the fiesta, there is a romeria, or country walk, through the village and up to the sports area where they hold the finals of the inter village football, followed by a picnic and/or gran paella, accompanied by lots of loud music. The romeria used to be led by a small mule-drawn cart bearing a statue of the saint, but this has been replaced by a sturdier trailer drawn by a fairly elderly tractor. This is followed by a small crowd of the more stalwart villagers, sometimes several horsemen, and the village band.
We have walked with them on a couple of occasions, but this year we knew we needed to be able to get away early so we drove up to the football stadium in the car.
Next to this there is a large picnic area with lots of tables fixed under the trees for much needed shade, and between them, there are several built in barbeques. These are bricked 'boxes' with a grid over them, and anyone can take charcoal and food up there at any time to have a get- together with friends and families. But this is the only day when they are nearly all in use at the same time. Very early in the morning, someone from each family is sent up to 'bag' a table, by laying crockery, tablecloths, cool boxes and anything else they might need, on one of them. Often they put up a canvas pergola as well, and string it with bunting and balloons. Later the rest of the family arrives with more food than you can imagine. Often there will be several generations of a family in each group, and for many of them, these fiesta days are the only holidays they ever have, so they are very special occasions.
We met up with our friends John and Eileen, and some other British couples, and we all shared a table. From there we watched the romeria winding up from the village. As usual there was a huge paella cooking up behind the sports pavillion, but we didn't wait for any of that this year. We just took our own picnic up, spent a very pleasant hour or two in good company, and then we had to get home and change ready for the afternoon.
Up in Arboleas, a town thirty minutes drive from here, there was a much more 'English' fete going on, to launch the Walk for Life, a sponsored walk to raise money for cancer charities. Our choir, Cantante, had been asked to sing at the opening cermony. It was very hot on the plaza and we were glad to be standing under the town hall parapet to sing.
First we watched a group of women zumba dancing, and then the children from the village school sang.
We were not singing all of our programme, just four songs, which was just as well. We have no amplification, and it is hard work making enough noise (tuneful noise I hope!) out in the open. Our lovely pianist has been seriously ill in hospital for some time, but fortunately someone else stepped in at the last minute. She did really well, as she had only had one practice with us to learn how we do the pieces.
For our last number we sing World in Union which is a lovely song, and as we sang the final high note, they released a sack of sponsored balloons and then we went straight into just the chorus of 'Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee' which also has a wonderful finishing note. It was quite spine-tingling, and we got tremendous applause after it. After some tricky practices and worrying hitches, it is very satisfying when it all comes together at the end.
After that we waited for a while and watched the first of the walkers coming back. It was very hot for them, around 30º that day, and the last bit of the walk was a steep hill. The hero of the day was a little seven year old boy who has already had twelve heart operations. He completed the walk and he looked like a little beetroot when he got back to the plazza.
We got back home in time for us to relax for a while, and we watched the final of Britain's Got Talent because I had been following the whole series. Then we went out again around midnight for the rest of the San Isidro fiesta. The top of our road is cordoned off and a large stage is built across it. There was live music and dancing that started at 11.30 and went on until early Sunday morning. We just stayed for a couple of hours and went home to bed. Chris got up at 5.30 and said he could still hear the music, but it was all over when we got up at 8.00.
You should have known I couldn't do 'brief' two posts on the trot! This is longer than I had intended. Unfortunately blogger has been 'improved' (there are a lot of us users who wouldn't agree with that), and it has made it much harder to insert photos, and I certainly can't always put them where I want them now, so I will just add a few here, but there are several more in my gallery. Just click here to see the rest.
This will be my last post for a little while as we go to UK for a week on Thursday. But I am sure I will have plenty to tell you when we get back. You have been warned!!