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A description of life in the village of Pruna, nestled in the Andalusian mountains of Seville

Village life in the Andalusian mountains

Changes in Pruna over the past five years
18 May 2017

This is my sixth summer in Pruna and sometimes it seems hard to figure out what exactly has changed. Because just as in a love affair, it seems to get better every day, prettier, more attentive, more adorable, but I know there have been have been some big changes, so before I forget, let me do a re-cap.

The village itself

Physically the village has improved massively, in 2012 the newly elected council started a plan of improvements. Initially this was just landscaping the entrance and main road of the village. Putting in a bus stop so people no longer just mingled in a loose queue for the Seville bus. 

Then the bins were put underground, recycling became heavily promoted, projects to keep children in school and not joining their parents during migratory work in the resorts. Older people were given free exercise classes and afternoon cinema clubs.

New parks were built and older parks improved. Building regulations began to be enforced. The abandoned dogs collected and taken to pounds. Neglected corners cleaned up, vandalism publicised so public disapproval became apparent.

Now the big projects began, new water distribution and sewage pipes installed, so slowly every road was dug up, the old system replaced, and then a new road laid over. 

Subsidised music lessons for the children, 18 euros a month gives a child an instrument and and lessons, some deserving children get these free (and it is possible to sponsor a child and pay for their lessons).

The council organised jobs for the unemployed with wages and conditions arranged and enforced. The village is now obviously wealthier, and as a side effect, it does seem to me that crime, both serious and petty crime has dropped. 

The sports facilities have been upgraded, the swimming pool improved, the fiestas fully supportted by the council.

And the last finishing touch to my mind, last month (April 2017) the council welded plant holders on all the railings in the village and put in Geraniums, with a request that the neighbours water them. Sceptics scoffed, 'they will not water them, it is a waste' but my neighbours tend them with care, and not one has been vandalized.

The ex-pat community

Belgians, Dutch, American, Irish, German, Icelandic, Chilean, Argentinian, oh yes, and British, the majority, the expats form part of village life

When I first arrived I think I met all the new (and rare) new arrivals, I would find them blinking in the hot sun looking nervous, not so rare now!  I do not know quite how many now live here, (as I have never frequented the bars and restaurants where I would meet newcomers, if you have not contacted me here then I have no real idea who has arrived and who has left). Five years ago when i counted with friends we got to 29 full time ex-pat residents, and off hand I can immediately think of 14 extra who I have bumped into, so yes, I would say a doubling.

Six years ago there was no menus in English, also no Sunday Roasts, no English breakfasts, and these are now to be found in the Hostal restaurant on the outskirts of teh village. Some think it a pity, some want British home styled replica food, (and many don't eat out much anyway, so it does not matter).

In 'my' square at the top of the village, the number of ex-pat owned houses has risen from 22 to 41. Now this may seem quite shocking, but as the Spanish neighbours sit outside their houses, and we sit inside, it is really not noticeable. Also most of the newcomers are only part-time residents at the moment, though planning to live here full-time after their imminent retirement.

They are made very welcome, there is no anti-foreigner sentiment that I have detected. Of course they prefer friendly people, who acknowledge them, but who doesn't want pleasant neighbours?

The vast majority of the residents are Spanish, The ex pats don't even make up 2% of the village,. It is still an authentic rural Spanish village.

The shops and bars

Since moving to Pruna the big Cooperative on the old Moron Road is now fronted by a Coviron, a chain supermarket, with it's own brand goods. This has added to the diversity of shops in the village.

Some shops have actually taken the daring move to have signs above their entrance so that you know it is a shop. This may catch on, you never know.

The Miramar was a delightful cafe that got the morning sun and was a lovely place to have a morning cafe, sadly closed five years ago and is now a very overcrowded ladies dress shop, you can anything rom a bikini to a business suit here.

Antonios Bar, my first point of call in Pruna for a whole five years, run by the delightful Antonio and Carmen, closed last year and was replaced by Champosquina, run by the efficient and friendly Rosa (a whole spatch cocked quail 2.50 euros!)

Pruna has a posh cafe! Cafeteria Pruna! Comfy cairs, carpet, wood fire in winter, home made cakes! Evenings serves a cleintele drinking coffee and caramel vodka. And very well priced, you get change from three euros when you buy a cake and a coffee.

And there is also a new Pizza parlour, Moyi, that bakes the pizzas (fresh dough) in an olive wood fired oven, unbelievable (and I wouldn't like to be in that kitchen in August!). They do deliveries and take away as well.

You can see that the village is becoming more prosperous, and it is ertainly a lot more physically attractive than when I first moved here.

Social media

Remember Whatsapp? That is what I used five years ago for free mobile calls, otherwise calls to the UK, and even in Spain if you only had the one sim, were ridiculously expensive. Competition now means that several providers now have same price calls and texts throughout Europe.

Five years ago only a couple of bars had WiFi, and now it is not only available in most bars, but the council provides a free WiFi service afternoons in all the squares. 

Facebook messenger is becoming the new Whatsapp, with it's ability to make calls, send videos, and message for free, it is a no-brainer. Years ago when you wanted to 'message' someone you had to become their Facebook 'friend', but with messenger you can just message someone and they can accept or decline, there is no need to become 'friends.

I think messenger, and in particular, group messenger (when you combine interested parties into a group for discussions or plans) will take over from Facebook itself because of the way that that Facebook is becoming the medium of choice for fake news, innuendo, and outright lies. I have recently stopped using it after some serious trolling, slandering, and rather worrying online bullying from a local community group (the village has been plagued by trolls in the past year). Ptinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat are what my kids use, but I have yet to join their ranks.

I use an 8 euro a month internet account with Tierraplex, this is enough for emails, messenger, bbc iplayer radio, spotify, audiobooks, streaming tennis matches over wimbledon, and internet browsing, It would not really support Netflix, but I watch Spanish TV, often in English with Spanish subtitles and it is amazing how much Spanish you can pick up that way.

To re-cap

In five years I have retired, moved here full time, written three and a half absolutely awful books (two of them crime novels set in a quiet sleepy Spanish village), Crocheted fifteen big blankets and one bath mat., Learnt to speak enough Spanish to easily get by. Neither lost nor gained weight. Had 26 guests (including the Mayor of Brighton, Denise Cobb) Made several excellent friends in the village, and traveled throughout Andalusia. Six of my friends have bought houses in the village!

Having a house in Pruna has been one of my most prized achievements. It is wonderful place and the Spanish residents are a delight both to know and live with, it is an honour to be accepted as their neighbour. Yes there are problems, but I concentrate on the good things, a Spanish neighbours concern if you are ill, children calling your name as you get off the bus from Seville. meals on terraces with good friends, falling asleep in the sun on a January day, an ice cold beer on an August evening. 

 



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