Tuesday, 28 August 2012

18-25 Aug 2012 – Family Visit – Week One

My son Stuart and family came for their annual two weeks in the sun.   Unfortunately they arrived during the hottest part of the hottest summer we have had in some years.  Coming from north of Newcastle such high temperatures were something of a trial.

Much of the first week has been spent in the pool.   For most of the year we seem to spend more time cleaning and looking after the pool, but in the summer months it makes it all worth while.   Not sure how we would have coped with the heat without it.

We have also spent a lot of time in the evening eating and chilling on the naya.   Jack, aged 5, has discovered Gecko’s.  They are small lizards who gather on the naya roof waiting for small insects attracted by the lights.   Each evening when we put Jack to bed we had to promise to get him up again as soon as the Gecko’s made an appearance.

During the heat of the day we did what the Spanish do – kept indoors out of the sun.    Jan and I usually read or watch TV.   Jack and Stuart have their tablets to keep them occupied.   Both engrossed both totally unaware of each other.

The weather forecast is for lower temperatures next week.   Hope so, then we can all get out and enjoy the local area.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

15 Aug 2012 - Parcent Fancy Dress Parade

The annual fancy dress parade is our favourite part of the Fiesta Week.   I suspect that those taking part much travel some distance to do so.   Each group had a theme, and the young children in particular seem to love taking part.

In past years we have always had a village band, who could be heard practicing for many weeks before the fiesta week.    But this year there was no sign of them ambling along in their untidy uniforms looking very Spanish and relaxed.   Instead we had this rather bored looking band, who played much better than they looked.
But the highlight of the parade was this very professional looking, and sounding, steel band.   They had obviously put a lot of rehearsal into their routine and it was a joy to see and hear them.   

It’s obviously not only the children who enjoy dressing up and showing off.   This group of Spanish ladies seemed to be very popular and to know most of the spectators.

The parade would stop every few hundred yards, so that each group could “do their thing”  The steel band was particularly popular, and would quickly gather a large group who were quick to join in clapping and dancing.

The parade was due to start at 7pm.   We booked a meal for 9.30pm, thinking the parade would be finished by then.  However it did not start until 8pm, and was still going strong when we had to make our way to Tramonti Restraurante for our meal.   It was surprisingly quiet; obviously more experienced locals had booked much later.

On our way home we passed the village square where the Pensionistias were having their fiesta meal.   It seemed a very quiet and sober affair after the noise and confusion of the parade.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

August 2012 - Fiesta in Parcent

It’s been a quiet week for Jan and I, as least as far as activity is concerned.   We have both gone into summer hibernation to get us through the higher than normal temperatures of this summer.   On the other hand it’s been anything but quiet in Parcent, at least after midnight.

Fiesta has come to Parcent again.   The giveaway is the crowded car park.  Seven cars is a crowded car park in the village.  Normally we comment if there is one in the car park.  This is partly because it is well away from the main road around the village, and only locals would know how to get to it.  Parking is not normally a problem, most locals just stop their car where they want to get out and no one seems to mind.

The village remains its sleepy norm during the day and early evening, apart from an occasional outburst from the town band.   However at midnight, or just after, a band or disco starts in the village square and goes on until daylight.   They must be paid by the volume, because the sound rolls around the valley in waves.  Fortunately we are outside the village and far enough away that it is just a loud rumble.  We manage to sleep through most of it, but I hate to think how they manage in the village.   This might explain why it is so quiet during the day.

On the other hand from our naya we have a grandstand view of the firework display which opened the fiesta.   We love the spectacle of the town band calling at the home of each festero to escort them to the church for the evening mass.   It’s great to see how the whole village, from babies to old ladies sitting outside their house on wooden kitchen chairs, enter into the spirit of the fiesta.  The enthusiasm with which the village band play their limited selection of music.   It’s very much part of village life and the noise is a small enough price to pay to be part of it.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

August 2012 - Our New Car

I guess for some people getting a new car is pretty uncomplicated.  They know what they want and they go and buy it.  Not so for us.   We had our Vauxhall Astra for nine years and had never really thought about other cars during all of that time.   So when we decided it was time to change we did not know where to start

So the last month has been devoted to researching which car to buy.   Hours spent on the internet comparing VW, Peugeot, Opel, Seat and Ford.   Countless visits to showrooms, both in UK and here in Spain.  

Then what to do with our old Astra.  It’s in perfect working order, for its age, but is right hand drive.  Worse still, it does not have air conditioning.   This joint disadvantage apparently makes it of no value at all locally.   We could have sold it privately, but that can be a minefield in Spain.  So we wanted to part exchange it.   But no one was interested.

Then we found Dunia, the sales lady in our local Seat showroom.   Seat was my first choice, but it took about six weeks for Jan to agree.   Dunia was patient throughout and extremely helpful.  She even managed a good exchange deal for our old Astra.   And when we picked up our brand new Seat Ibiza she made us feel like we had bought the car of the year.