Fiesta Time Again!!!!

Where has the time gone!!!  Doesn’t seem 5 minutes since we added our last entry and now we’re almost into May.  This weekend is the Fiestas de la Cruz in honor of Santo Cristo del Zapato – patron saint of Pinos del Valle.  On Saturday 1st May there will be the Romeria de Carrozas – when all the locals dress up their trailers, cars etc with flowers etc and parade around the streets.  Many will be dressed in traditional dress and friends and family will flock to the village for the fiesta.  Later on Saturday afternoon there will be the big free Paella feast and later on that night live music.  The village has been well spruced up in time for the fiesta and the sports area at the top of the village (where the festivities take place) has been painted and is looking very smart.  Sunday 2nd May will see the floral offering outside the church in the upper part of the village and many crosses will be decorated around the village for people to view.  Then later that night there will be the big firework display followed by more music and dancing well into the early hours.  Finally on Monday 3rd May the framed picture of Christ will be taken back up to the newly built hermitage and the village is invited to follow it up (not a walk taken lightly as it’s a steep climb and will sort the weak from the strong!).  Those that manage to make it to the top will be rewarded with food and drink to fortify them for the downward journey!

On the subject of the hermitage – it’s been well over a year since it was destroyed by lightening (see our post 1st March 2009) and finally the village has gathered enough money together from donations to have it rebuilt and after walking up there for an inspection the other weekend we can confirm it’s looking very smart now and there appears to be a viewing point which has been created behind the building.  The views from up there are stunning and well worth the tough walk up.  (Attached a few photos – more to come after fiesta)
Work on the house has been progressing (albeit a little slowly due to us being busy with our satellite/digital tv installation work – which is good considering the current economic climate) and we can report that the new floor is in, the new staircase built, dividing wall taken down to create the new guest lounge and now we need to start thinking about plastering the ceiling and walls.  However first the walls need “picking” to get off all the loose plaster or paint to prepare them – a killer on the arms and wrists!  Poco a poco as the locals say – little by little.

The weather has now warmed up considerably and the smell of orange blossom is wafting around the valley – beautiful.  The roadside verges are full of colour with the spring flowers and after the abundant winter rain everywhere is looking lush and green.  My clematis on the patio are in full bloom and looking gorgeous and for the first time since I bought it, my lilac tree is in flower and smells heavenly.

We’re looking forward to our friend P visiting very soon and hope she likes the new bedroom and ensuite which we finally finished at the start of the year.  She’ll be the first to try it out! There’s quite a bit of work done since her last visit so lots to see.

Well that’s all for now folks – more updates soon.

Mel & Phil

Deocrated FloatDeocrated FloatNewly Decorated FuenteNewly rebuilt hermitage

The Work Begins & We Take a Break For The Village Fiesta

Newly laid concrete floorEl DumperAt last we’ve started the work on Casa Molino!!! 3 huge skips and lots of rubble later we
are now on our way with the work.

We have been very fortunate that we have been able to borrow a small dumper truck to help with all the rubble removal and transportation of the sand to the house for the cement. Without it we don’t know what we would have done but it must be said that “el dumper” can be a little tempremental at times due to it’s advancing years! The first time we borrowed it there was a steep learning curve in driving it – firstly the handbrake doesn’t work, the foot brake is a little spongy, it wanted to go backwards in forward drive and forwards in reverse, the steering had to be turned & turned before the wheels did anything and lastly you have to crank start it and flick a leaver!! Well after mastering all that we managed to get it to the skip which had been parked off in the church square, applied the brakes (2 large bricks behind the wheels) and started loading the sand (sand is delivered here in the skips that you use for your rubble removal so firstly you have to unload the sand and then once that’s done you fill the skip back up again with rubble! I can assure you that after doing all that there is no need for a gym membership!). Once our first load of sand was in the dumper we trundled off back to the house to tip it down the side street and return for the next load. However things didn’t seem to be working as they should – we pushed and pulled the hydraulic lever to tip the sand but nothing happened. Very confused we called the owner who said he didn’t know what the problem was. We decided to switch the engine off and have a think about it. We looked all over the machine for a hidden switch or something that might show what we were doing wrong but nothing. By this time we were getting quite frustrated and without the tipper working it was almost useless as we’d have to shovel the sand out of the bucket. As a last attempt we decided to start the dumper up again and have another go, and would you believe it – it worked and we were able to tip the sand without a problem. We also discovered the dumper went backwards in reverse and forwards in drive as it should have done earlier!! As you can imagine we were pretty relieved at this and trundled back off for the rest of the sand which after 3 hours of shovelling was nicely transfered to the street outside the house! The following 2 days we filled the skip with all the demolition rubble we had piled up and arranged for the skip to be collected. The local men seem to be facinated by the fact that I’m getting stuck in alongside Phil and shovelling sand and shifting rubble. Our neighbour explained that Spanish women don’t do that sort of manual work but I said we English women are made of strong stuff!!

The next job was to lay the new concrete floor on the ground floor area of the molino which will be used as Phil’s workshop and lay the new drainage pipes. 4 days later and many loads of concrete it was finished. I can now add “cement mixer operative” to my cv and found it quite satisfying watching the huge pile of sand slowly diminish to virtually nothing and see a lovely new smooth floor in the molino.

Statutes of the SaintsDurcal Marching Band & MajorettesThe Statute of the VirginAfter the new ground floor was laid we had a break for the village fiesta which ran from 14 – 17 August. Each morning we were woken by exploding rockets and a marching band at around 9/9.30am and each evening there were various events taking place and late night parties at the top of the village (unfortunately we don’t have the stamina to party to 4am!). On 3 evenings the statutes of the local saints (San Roque and San Sebastian) and the Virgin were carried through the village streets to the churches and followed by all villagers, visitors etc. We had a birds eye view as they came directly down our street and we could stand on our balconies and watch. On the first night of the procession after it had passed by our house our Spanish neighbours asked if I wanted to go and see inside the church so they took me along and I got a good view of the inside of the Church of San Sebastian (the one just a minutes walk from our house). After that the procession then proceeded down to the lower part of the village and to the other church (San Roque) so our neighbours took me along with the procession and I got to see the inside of the other church. It was really kind of them to take me along and on the walk they pointed out the various houses in the village that belong to their families and I met a few of their friends and one of the sisters that was down from Madrid for the festivities. One of the nights entertainment was a marching band and majorettes so Phil and I went along to watch (Phil seemed quite happy go along to watch – not sure whether the majorettes little white skirts and kinky white boots had anything to do with it!). On the last night of the fiesta Phil and I followed the procession down the village and watched a fantastic firework display the village had put on to mark the end of the fiesta. I can honestly say it was one of the most spectacular displays I’ve seen in many years.

Once the fiesta had finished it was back to work again and we ordered another skip with sand which we duly unloaded and reloaded with rubble and once that was full ordered yet another skip but this time without the sand.

So as you can see we’ve been keeping pretty busy. We had last week off from working on the house as we had a friend over for a weeks holiday and had a lovely time showing her all the sites, visiting the many bars to sample the local brews and free tapas and visiting the Alhambra and the Arab Baths. However it’s now back to the grindstone but my brother is coming over to see us in 2 weeks time to give us a hand with the work and to have a bit of a holiday so I’m looking forward to seeing him again.

That’s all for now folk – hope you are all well and that the September weather in the UK is
an improvement on August!! (We’ve now got satellite tv hooked up so we get to watch BBC, ITV etc and see what wonderful weather you’ve been having!).

Hasta luego

Mel & Phil

Dia del Cruz – 1 May 2006

Fiesta TimeSpent a lovely long weekend with Phil and managed to top up my tan again!!  Squeezed in a good 4 hour bike ride (1 hour of this spent at one of the local bars sitting in the sun half way around!) on the Sunday and soaked up the spectacular views.  Monday 1 May is also a holiday in Spain (el dia del cruz – the day of the cross) and our village was in full party mode as this linked in with their own village fiesta.  The villagers decorated their farm machinery with flowers and the ladies & girls put on their best flamenco dresses and climbed aboard the decorated machinery for a procession around the village – even the local Mayoress was dressed in a blue flamenco dress and was sitting on the back of one of these!  Check out the link to the photos on the photos page!!

We also had a visit from the Mayoress, the Mayor from Niguelas and another chap to look at the logistics of moving the Olive Press & mill stones and it’s now agreed that the action will take place on Sunday 14 May!!  Watch this space for an update and hopefully some photos.

That’s all for now folks – I’m back out with Phil on 18th May and we’re off to Sevilla for 2 days which will be wonderful – I even booked the hotel myself and all in Spanish over the phone & confirmed in writing by e-mail – feeling very proud of myself!!