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Monday, 8 September 2008


It seems that once the big summer fiesta here is over an air of lethargy sets in. The kids have got to go back to school, summer's over, the outdoor swimming pools start to pack up and even the dress code changes. This is the time of year I love. When nobody goes to the river and I have it all to myself until a family plonks itself right in front of me perhaps because if they don't it will be seen as anti-social. At times I find myself cruising along staring upwards at the birds of prey until I look ahead and on the road it is just me and the Dutchman in the car and a gang of vultures attacking a dead sheep on the roadside. Well, them not us. I counted 50 but there were probably about 70. They walked around the car for a bit and I just stared and swore under my breath in astonishment. Gradually they flew away but one seemed determined in true Aragonese style, meaning he was not going to budge. There was no way he was giving in. Before I came here I had never seen a mountain so vultures within a few feet of you sometimes require some expletives. What is the collective noun for vultures? A committee? A wake would seem more fitting.

After this we drove on to the 12th century Loarre castle built by King Sancho Ramirez as a defence against the moors. Now you can sit outside a cafe overlooking the Sotonera plains contemplating the castle or the sound of bees.

Despite the air of gloom that it's back to reality as far as work and school ar concerned, the Spanish can't quite let go of their fiestas. A great deal of thanks should be attributed to the church despite every other person telling you they don't believe in God and never go to church unless of course someone is getting married or dies or gets christened but not in that order. I didn't make it to the Romero or short 'pilgrimage/day out' yesterday which took place at the hermitage of Our Lady of Salas. If I had I would have been one of many who ate the 2,400 'tortas' that were distributed or quaffed some of the 30 litres of vino. The vicar claimed there were some 20 litres left. He wasn't too happy about the grafitti that greeted him earlier so maybe he needs to drink it. I must go and have a look and wonder how long it will take the council to clean it off. Apart from the town many of the villages from Albero Bajo to Villanua are either coming to the end of their fiestas or starting another one. I've checked the academic year and no sooner have the kids started school or should I say gone back to school full time as the younger ones only go in the morning we will be celebrating one of the biggest fiestas in Spain. Down the road in Zaragoza the 'Pilar' will kick off in about a month's time.

It's all happening here. From the local rag I gleaned that a fire broke out in the early hours round the back in the Avenida de Danzantes. Nothing unusual you might think but the use of the word 'fortunately' appeared twice in the short article. Fortunately there was only material damage and no personal damage meaning no one was burnt to death but it would have made a better story I am sure. Also, there were some 'momentos de tension' when it was feared that a police officer present, one can only imagine he turned up as there was f all better to do, had been overcome or 'intoxicated' by the fumes but fortunately he's OK. Good, hopefully he can still come round to sort out my noisy neighbours when he's got a momento free of tension.

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