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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

Feral chickens, pondering murder, and so much gardening to do
27 March 2018

It has been a long hard winter, both in Spain and in the UK the weather has been awful. I had not seen my 'mojo' for so long that I don't think I would recognize it, even if it bumped into me at my local supermarket. January and February had been bleakly cold and I used up a whole winters worth of wood in just one month, leaving just enough olive wood for one fire on my March return.

So, we arrived late afternoon, sunny, still hours of daylight but the house felt cold. While my husband turned on the WiFi and opened the windows I decided to make a fire. I went into the courtyard and bent down to fetch the wood from the back of the wood store. A nightmare of wings and flurry came at me, and I fell back back and screamed. And screamed. And screamed.

I watched, dazed, as a chicken flew up the two stories it needed to achieve freedom, and waited for my caring other half to come to my aid. After a couple of minutes I realised I was being ignored so dusted myself off and went inside, on being asked if he had heard me, he replied that he 'thought I had seen a spider'. A spider! The scream I gave off would have indicated to anybody, who was sane, that I was being murdered . . . . . and he thought I had only seen a spider.

I told him about the chicken, and he looked at me, with that look that says, 'have you been at the gin again?' and said calmly and firmly 'Chickens can't fly'.

'Who Are You' I thought. Utterly aghast at his city ways, and lack of wing-feather-clipping knowledge.

I thought of murdering him, obviously nobody would react to a scream, but how to remove the body? You would never get away with it in a Spanish village. I would not be allowed to carry anything heavy, there is always someone around, a kind of organic CCTV. If we go for a walk for the rest of the day we will be regaled with 'Hola, my cousin saw you walk past his farm'. Or 'Did you enjoy the walk by the mill?' Outside of the house you are constantly observed even if you think you are completely alone, this is a great comfort if you start to worry about getting lost.

The weeks ahead are all mapped out. Tomorrow will be the market at Moron de la Fronetera, followed by breakfast in the old town and a trip out to the plant nursery Viveros Rey because I have a yen for an old fashioned red hibiscus, and also Spring is when I plant out the courtyard.

I had thought the evening wouldl be spent watching the Holy Wednesday Easter procession, (Holy Wednesday was the day that Judas went to the Sanhedrin and betrayed Jesus for money). There will be the usual silent procession, but this year the Venerable Hermandad de la Santa Vera Cruz y de la Pura y Limpia Concepción de María Santísima, are not arranging the street processions, they resigned en masse last year, and until an agreementi is reached it sadly looks as if the street processions may become a relic if the past. All the Easter celebrations will be held outside the beautiful Baroque church though, so it will still be spectacular.

Exhausted by my confrontations with chickens I will spend the Easter weekend gardening and tidying up the courtyards and terraces. On Monday a friend of a friend, an American, is coming to stay at a local Airbnb so I will be on call to show her the wonders of Pruna. She is thinking of moving to Pruna, so it will be interesting seeing her reaction. On Tuesday I will go the new Sevilliana flamenco class, twenty euros a month for a lesson a week, Sevilliana is a form of flamenco, set set steps in a set sequence, so it is ideal for beginners.

In between long walks with fellow hikers, having friends over for meals, swims at the indoor pool in the neighbouring town, decorating and sorting everything out, time will march along until just a couple of days before we leave when we will look at our now perfect house and garden and think 'well this is lovely', as we begin packing.

Having a foot in both camps has it's positives and negatives. For example if I lived in Pruna I could attend the councils dress making classes run for the villagers, free, if I lived in Brighton I could do the stained glass classes, expensive,, but because I dash between the two places I am unable to really join in the 'home' activities in either place. Brighton has wild swimming, Pruna has mountainous hikes. Pruna has fresher food, cheaper lifestyle, a laid back existance, but Brighton has libraries, cinemas, theatres, and Waitrose. I enjoy the contrasts.

Brighton has family and friends I have known for years, who I can trust. My fellow countrymen here in the village are a sublime mixture of the delightful and the dubious, however the 'saints' keep to themselves and the sinners use their alcohol fuelled boredom to promote bullying, weaponised gossip, and backbiting. This is not to say i have not made some fantastic friends, just to remind you that you should be friendly with everyone, but make friends slowly.

This morning I bought some ready made fresh dough (masa) from the local bakers, and am now off to bake a home made pizza on top of the wood burner. tomatoes, anchovies, cheese, and herbs. And will eat it watching a Spanish quiz show and drinking an ice cold beer. Pruna excels in the simple pleasures.

 



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