Thursday, March 08, 2018

Springtime Notes

A bit like Punxsutawney Phil, the ground-hog that throws a shadow, here in Mojácar we have been slowly emerging from our underground burrows to see if our drastic and fierce winter is truly over. Really, it wasn't that bad, tee-shirt weather at Christmas and so on, although we could sometimes see the snow on the mountains up past Bédar...
I've stopped lighting the fire - the only heat in my house, apart from the sunshine that pours through the windows most days. I had wood this year, after cutting down last Easter three eucalyptus trees whose roots were poisoning the garden around them, making the brussels sprouts taste funny.
My mobile phone thinks it might rain again, but it is often wrong.
I got a new phone from the Orange people. This one is a Sony Xperia. A fine tool indeed. For some reason it comes equipped with adverts.
The other day, it rang. No doubt some important communication from my stock-broker, but I couldn't get rid of the fucking advert (I'm not kidding - it was for Durex). Pressing and prodding the screen like a lunatic. By the time I got to the proper place, the phone had rung off. The biggest surprise came yesterday however, when out of the blue, DHL delivered 144 boxes of french letters to my door...
Mojácar has been in lock-down. Even the knick-knack shops have been closing early. I went up there last night for a drink, but found almost all the bars shut. In 'Sin City': the Ibiza of the Mainland. So much for the hoopla about 'the prettiest village in Spain'. I gave up after just one beer in the company of a barman who insisted on answering my Spanish with English (turned out he was from Cornwall), so drove down to next-door Turre (surely the ugliest village in Spain) which was - as always, heaving. I think that not being a tourist village (no beach, no hotels, no views) makes it concentrate more on residential tourism (as the Spanish authorities blandly refer to us foreign settlers). A good dinner in a rather full restaurant. I even saw a few people I knew.
In Mojácar, we have a short and decidedly mild winter, another six months worth of low season with only the Belgian cyclists to amuse us; and in the middle, the three months of tourist hell that our Masters (the aforementioned knick-knack owners and their families) have decreed we must endure from mid-June to early September.
When it's too bloody hot anyway.
But now, it's nice. The garden is beginning to awaken, the bees are out and the birdies are tweeting, warbling or croaking according to their convictions.
Yesterday, there was the local fiesta called 'La Vieja'. A piñata of sweeties hidden inside a paper granny is taken out into a quiet spot in the countryside and gleefully beaten to pulp by the children with sticks (one can't help wonder if this is a homage to a rather sinister event occurring during the Great Starvation of the early eleventh century).
No doubt they collected all the trash - oh, and granny of course - before they left.
The next fiestas (we live in a kind of Disneyville) include the tuna (merry troubadours from Granada and beyond come to visit and are solemnly organised to death), Easter parades (Praise the Lord!), some new rockabilly weekend (huh?), and the Moors and Christians extravaganza on the June 10th weekend. I think there's  also a 'Spring Break' organised by the hotels coming up soon.
The beach awakens around now. The town hall pretty much ignores it, keeping all the fiestas firmly in the pueblo (where less than 10% of us live). Down on the coast (the player as the Brits call it), new restaurants are being prepared for our pleasure (usually obliged to pay exorbitant rents) and the painters and decorators are busy. Our single beach road is now filling with traffic that drives up and down. Up and down.
The police are polishing their breathalysers; 'have you taken any drugs in the last 48 hours?', they ask. They have a drug-sniffing dog now (called Eccles), and a drone to keep order.
See, Turre doesn't sound so bad, does it?

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