Monday, 11 April 2011

Very Spanish Sunday

An extraordinarily Spanish sort of day yesterday.

First, it was warm and sunny, which helps. At 11.45 to Mass as usual, accompanied by two young pilgrims who are staying with us, Rachel and Jean. Mass was enlivend by Don Santiago getting to the consecration only to find he had left the chalice in the vestuary. We all had a smile, including him.

Then to the Ayuntamiento for wine, vermouth, shrimps and strawberries (the last provided by us). The strawbs had blueberries in them - arandanos in Spanish, which puzzled the locals, who don't care much for being puzzled, but no harm was done.

Then there was a long Spanish bickering contest at the table about certain people not doing their bit as far as local politics and village life is concerned.
Reb promised to become the Mayor as soon as possible.

Then home for a nap, then back at four for chocolate cake, flan and Champagne for the April birthdays, of which there are several.

Then off at five to Sahagun to hear the Pasos, the big Passion Week floats, being auctioned off. People bid large sums of money for the right to carry them around. This odd blend of religion and lucre is intensely Spanish.
Much shouting, badinage and applause.

Reb was conducted to a front row seat by our pal the local vet, and so I strolled up to the Deportivo Bar. The Sunday bullfight was on the TV, utterly ignored by the Mus players. I watched two 'fights' (not the right word at all). The first was a shambles by a torero who was plainly too scared to do it right. I don't blame him being scared, but that being the case, he should not have gone into the ring in the first place.
Nevertheless, after poking his sword from a safe distance a couple of times roughly into the bull's neck, he managed to bleed the unfortunate and noble beast to death, for which he was given a standing ovation.
The second matador was an oaf named after 'El Cordobes,' the man generally regarded as vulgarising the Corrida almost beyond repair in the 1960's.
El Cordobes 2 was brave enough, and skillful. And, like his namesake, he was also utterly flashy and tasteless, constantly jumping up and down and flinging himself into a kneeling position. He received, not only a standing ovation, but two ears as well.
Then back in Sahagun, there was a procession of marching bands, playing the weird braying and whining music, backed by dozens of drums, that we know from the Godfather movies. Some of the uniforms resembled what one might expect a Serbian postman, in 1920, to wear, or possibly a Bosnian station master in 1890.

We are going to follow Holy Week closely this year. But no pointy hoods for us. So far.

Friday, 1 April 2011

April Foolin'

This being April the first, and the Day of Saint Crossan's sacred toenail, Toad fondly remembers this date in the year 1990. It was his first April Fool's Day in Toledo, Ohio, and he decided to treat the readers of The Blade to 'a bit of fun.'

To achieve this he called on his new friend Homer. It must have been Homer's idea - a brilliant one, naturally - to run a story saying that, in order to improve the somewhat unhappy reputation, (thanks, among others, to the late John Denver) of the city - the Movers and Shakers thereof had decided the place needed a new name. New name, new beginning.

And the the new name was to be Fallen Timbers. There are historical reasons for this, too utterly obscure and tedious to be gone into here.

So, the story asserting this was duly run, at the top of Page One, with Homer's byline on it.
Naturally, Toad, (Patrick, as he was then) saw no reason to inform the Publisher, John Block, of his actions.

The result was, very early that morning, Homer got a rather irrascible call from John, asking why he had not been appraised to this earth-shattering bit of news in advance.

Homer pointed out the last paragraph in which he had inserted a sly reference to April 1st, but John was not wholly mollified. Far from it. "You shouldn't have let him do it, he told Homer."
"But he's the managing Editor," said Homer

Patrick, as usual, escaped unscathed.