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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

December in a mountain village in Pruna
04 January 2018 @ 14:13

I felt I had been away for too long, two whole months, and as I opened the doors to my house I mentally begged that all would be OK. And it was, there had been no catastrophes, no flooding (now you would think that flooding would not be a problem living, as I do, at the top of the village, but one big crisp wrapper over the drain during a downpour could wreak havoc, happened to me once in Brighton, total panic).

And straight up into the garden, where there were surprisingly few weeds which just shows what a thorough tidy up in early October could do. The hot winter sun making us glad to be alive. And then I noticed something in the Mahogany tree, a round papery globe thing, bit more than an inch across, as I am extremely allergic to wasp stings I did an immediate google on my kindle, and it was a preying mantis nest, and the text said that meant that 'mum' was somewhere close guarding it, another peer into the tree showed an enormous praying mantis, exactly the same colour as the leaves. She turned and looked at me, and as I felt I was intruding in her space I placed some plant pots strategically around the tree so no one would accidentally get too close and spook her.

It was much warmer in the garden than in the house, the thick thick walls hold in the cold as much as they protect from the heat in summer, so it was light the wood burner time. It is a great joy to play with a wood burner, to lay the fire lighters, the kindling, the logs, open the airway, light the fire, close the door and wait for the roaring and heat.

I layered onions, garlic, potatoes, and peppers, topped with chicken thighs, dusted with herbs and salt, and poured one glass of red wine over it, sealed with foil, and placed it in the top of the wood burner, it would be cooked when the aromas said it was cooked.

Checked the post, all bills paid by direct debit so no surprises there. While my husband pootled in the garden I called on the two neighbours on either side of with the small gifts of Terry's chocolate orange and jelly babies that I always bring. And I freely handed out toffees and sweets to the local children. Then back home, eat and to bed. The first night back in winter you need extra bedding, the heat from the wood burner takes a day or so to 'get into the walls' and that sleep, under those heavy blankets is the best of the year. 

Woke late, then started the winter turnaround, the dining table gets brought into the living room, and the dining room becomes the fourth bedroom again, also the spare sofa gets brought into the living room and is placed at right angles to the other sofa, making a seating area that faces both the wood burner and the TV. The warmest coziest room is now the living room, the heat from the fire rises to warm all the upstairs, but downstairs this is the heart of the house now.

I had arranged to go for a coffee and a walk with my new neighbour from over the road, Yvette, afterwards she collected her dog and we walked the back of the village to where her friend's horses where. The village is very proud of their horses and will use any excuse to ride them through the town, there were two young foals, both suckling, tails swishing in the sun. We handed over carrots and carried on walking. later on in Bar Chamsquina I was told all the gossip, most of which, outrageously ignored any sense of reality, or truth, the usual mass delusions continue, I despair of the childishness exemplified by village life and have now given up correcting the misinformation.

I walked down into the village and say Hola to everyone and asked about family and answered about family, and gave children toffees. I bought some pine nuts, garlic, and hard cheese because there was still some basil growing in the courtyard and tonight would be pesto linguine. I love cooking and do not think I will ever be fashionably thin, or even unfashionably thin. Arranged to go for a long walk to the Roman aquaduct a few miles outside Pruna along country lanes with Janine Davenport, a renowned dog rescuer with several dog rescue and re homing schemes to her credit. Ominously she will be teaching me how to walk with Nordic poles!

While eating that night there were several knocks on the door and no one there when we looked, This happened again and again, 'knock and run' we called it when I played it as a child. My husband however had never played it, and was getting very upset, and no one is allowed to upset my husband but me. So I girded my loins and at the next knocking went into the square outside the house and shouted really loudly 'Niños, no llamen a mi puerta, por favor, no es aceptable.' (Kids, do not knock on my door, it is not acceptable) I shouted this a couple of times until the adults looked out to see what was happening, in winter when it is dark and cold the streets are deserted, and then I loudly lamented, and carried on as they had disturbed a sleeping baby, or an ill Mother. Within minutes I was being Whatsapped apologies from parents who would ensure it didn't happen again. And it didn't. 

Spanish kids still play in the streets like I used to, they ride bikes around, run errands, it reminds me of my childhood. And all kids will be little monkies when they can get away with it. But just like my childhood you can complain about them, and you can tell them off, it will not be held against you.

The days pass with walks and talks, and meetings in Juan's bar where we sit and drink cerveza, or coffee (or coffee and brandy) with my women friends. If we sat at any of the other bars people would come up and join us, and soon there would be ten at the table, but sometimes you just want to sit and complain/brag about your families, pets, and life, in peace and quiet. At Juan's bar one cannot see in to check out the clientele, and the old Spanish men, the only other customers, watch us with both amusement and astonishment, as we gabble away. My husband is an unsociable creature, loath to go out, so I enjoy these sessions.

But now rain is forecast, heavy rain, and I worry about Mum and the nest in the garden, my husband has vetoed constructing a shelter over it, with the logic that if the winds got up it could damage the nest, and Mum, even more than the rain, and that the building of it would stress Mum, and nature will take its course. I hate it when he uses facts in an argument, it is very unfair.

The house is now toasty warm and as the rain lashes down I fall asleep with the burble of water from the gutters falling into the courtyard.

The next morning Mum is fine, the nest has survived and the the last remaining blossom from the bougainvillea, has fallen. So the day is spent cutting everything back for the new growth in the spring. The garden and courtyard begin to look quite bare as branch after branch, shrub after shrub, is cut back down to the trunk. I am not allowed near the grapes because one year I over enthusiastically pruned and the grape harvest was greatly reduced. During the day it so hot and sunny that after lunch we lie on the sun beds and snooze.

It is now mid December and a Christmas buzz is spreading the village, I notice that one or two Brit neighbours have put up lights, but the Spanish are just starting to think about it. (To it's credit Pruna council put up their decorations on 21 December! Wouldn't it be nice if we did that in the UK?). I however will have to spend Christmas in the UK with elderly relatives, a duty I no longer mind because at least now they let me cook so I can stay busy all the time. As I leave I give the neighbours a tin of Roses chocolates each, a regular Christmas gift, inexpensive and appreciated.

Photo by Dave Drury


Like 4


Lizy said:
06 January 2018 @ 09:16

Great blog, thank you very much. A joy to read.

ianhumphries said:
09 January 2018 @ 01:10

nice story.I wish I was there its so hot in Queensland now. However I will be there this year.

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