By Veronica


One of the many things the Spanish know how to do well is fiestas. The next three days are the fiesta of our barrio (neighbourhood), San Miguel, and the preparations have been going on for days. Not sure if the sofa throwing-out was part of them, but people have freshened up the paint on their houses, swept the streets, cleared up rubbish, installed awnings and illuminations in the streets, and erected a big marquee. Today most of the houses on the main Calle San Miguel had improvised bars outside them, barbecues going full blast, a buñuelo production line, beer and wine flowing; nearly everyone in the barrio seemed to be involved in some way. I noted one brave person had even designated their toilet as a public one.

They do processions well too. The statue of the saint on its flower-adorned bier was carried from the castle at eight o'clock, accompanied by a marching band and a slow drumbeat. The man walking backwards setting the pace seemed to be an essential feature. At each designated stopping place, the band stopped, and the dancers stepped in to the sound of guitar, singing, and castanets. What more can I say, it was brilliant. There's an album right from here.

We popped home for dinner at about ten, and then went out again, promptly bumping into guiri and F; the procession had just finished and white roses from the float were being handed out. In the marquee, a terrible rock band had taken to the stage, with an audience ranging from babes in arms to grannies bopping away, and the food and drink were still flowing. We left around midnight; the good thing about our little street is that it's at the opposite end of the barrio from the fiesta, so we weren't bothered at all by noise.

On the cards today: a "foam festival", a zumba show, and a tortilla competition. We won't be bothering to cook for the next two days; we'll just pop out into the street when we're hungry.

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