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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

The Old Family Home
Monday, September 4, 2023 @ 5:20 PM

During the fiesta in the small pueblo of Tahal in Almería, which falls in the early part of October, many local people who have moved away over the years to the city in search of jobs, wealth, comforts, distraction and a decent restaurant will return to the family home for a few days. They will be a bit better dressed, probably not wearing those ubiquitous carpet slippers, and will politely park their Mercedes down near the fountain to not unduly upset the locals with their old Renaults.

The pueblerinos will feel a little uncomfortable by their richer cousins but then they will reflect that – Bueno, they’ll soon be gone once again.

And so it is. Those villages more than an hour away from nowhere will have a small population, but a far larger number of maintained homes. The folk who moved to the city will keep an eye on the old property, fix the roof maybe, put in a proper cooker and a TV, and will visit once or twice a year (probably bring a hamper with them). There will be no tourism and the shop, if there is one, will be in the back of the bar. A van will regularly drive up the hill and honk its horn – the fish-man is here!

These villages are technically moribund, and there should be houses for sale there for those who crave a quiet and lonely life.

But few people want to buy, and the villages stay quiet – except for the annual fiesta with its enthusiastic band, its tin bar with tapas and draft beer set up in the square and the fireworks to round things off.

Those in the ciudad will tell you of their home in the pueblo and enthuse about the freshness of the tomates or the higos which can be found there.

The prettier pueblos nearer to the coast may count on foreigners buying property there, but again won’t see much tourism. A couple of shops and a bar or two, but most of the remaining Spanish population will be living on pensions.

Other pueblos, happily located nearer to Civilization, will have become dormer-towns and Goodness knows, they might have become perhaps a little funky over the years (like the one where I live), but they’ll be full nonetheless.  

The Covid evidently brought about a modest renaissance in the pueblos, after all no one wants to get sick and if one owns a place to keep one’s head down, then why not – but that’s over with for now. Maybe, to extend that thought, they’ve been joined – in the harder to reach ones – by a few survivalists turning their backs on modern life.

But when you can’t get decent coverage on your Internet, then being a hermit soon begins to lose its shine.  

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