When we moved to our Spanish mountain village ten years ago, we soon became familiar with the families who lived here. All of them were friendly and charming and we enjoyed watching the kids grow as the years passed. Little Paco next door had a friend, Miguel, who once tapped on our door, eager to show us his white rabbit. The rabbit hopped around our living room and was only evicted when it threatened to nibble through the TV cable.
Every passing year is marked by the village fiesta in October and the weather has always been kind to us. This year, however, as fireworks exploded in the sky at midday to herald the start of the fiesta, we looked up to see ominous grey clouds gathering above the mountain tops.“I think it’s going to rain,” said Joe.
But it didn’t. The band arrived and set up in the village square and the dancing began. The music carried on through the night, long after Joe and I had retired to bed.
On Saturday, a warm sun blazed down upon the pudding contest, the games in the square, the open-air table tennis contest and the flamenco dancing. But malevolent black clouds were moving in, leaden with rain, and that evening darkness dropped earlier than usual.
“I think it’s going to rain,” said Joe.
“The dancing doesn’t start until ten o’clock tonight,” I said, “maybe the clouds will move away.”
The band bravely set up their instruments, but it wasn’t to be. At first fat raindrops spotted the surface of the square, but then the downpour began in earnest. The band bundled their instruments back into their truck while we and the villagers ran for cover. Rain lashed down all through the night and for the first time in our ten years the fiesta’s big Saturday dance was cancelled.
Bad weather never lasts for long in Spain. By early morning, the sun was already drying the wet ground. We leaped out of bed in fright as a marching band passed our house, the musicians lustily blowing their trumpets and banging their drums. Then another explosion of fireworks soared into a blue sky, shaking the buildings and setting off car alarms.
At midday the church bells rang round the valley, calling the villagers to Mass, and the village Saint was paraded through the streets in a final triumphant procession. The band stopped playing and the procession paused, as always, below the balcony of a particular house.
A confident young man, tall and proud, addressed the crowd below.
“He looks familiar,” Joe whispered to me.
“That’s Miguel, remember? The little boy who brought his white rabbit to show us, years ago.”
“Good heavens! So it is!”
Miguel’s words rang round the valley.
“Viva El Hoyo!” he shouted in conclusion.
“Viva El Hoyo!” we all shouted back as flowers rained down from the surrounding balconies.
The band wheezed back into life and the procession continued, finishing at the church.
Despite the rainstorm another successful fiesta was completed. Viva El Hoyo indeed!
Spanish Recipe of the Month
Mushroom Tostada with Fino Sherry
60 – 70 minutes preparation and cooking
Tostadas are extremely popular in Spain and this dish is ideal served as a tapa or breakfast.
200g (7½oz) mushrooms
A fresh baguette
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1tsp fino sherry
Clean the mushrooms, remove the stems and slice thinly
Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms, sherry and a little salt to season.
Lower the heat and cook for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile slice the bread into diagonal rounds and toast lightly on each side.
When the bread is toasted, rub each one with a little garlic and then top with the cooked mushrooms.
Find more Spanish recipes at Orce Serrano Hams.
by Victoria Twead.
Victoria is a New York Times bestselling author. In 2004 she nagged poor, long-suffering Joe into leaving Britain and relocating to a tiny, remote mountain village in Andalucía, where they became reluctant chicken farmers and owned the most dangerous cockerel in Spain. Village life inspired Victoria’s first book, Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools, and was quickly followed by two more in the Old Fools series, all of which fast became Amazon bestsellers.
Victoria and Joe continue to enjoy life keeping chickens, writing, sampling the local wine and living alongside their colourful neighbours.
Read Victoria's other Expat Focus articles here or click the button below to view her own blog…