Last weekend saw great excitement. Well…at least what passes for great excitement in Galicia.
On Friday we became ‘piggy in the middle’ between two local neighbours as they vie to get us to heed their horticultural advice. As an Englishman’s home is his castle, a Galician’s garden is his ‘huerta‘. There is a local guy with a tractor who, for a paltry €15, will drive onto your land and deep plough you and area ready for planting your potatoes and other staple Galician crops. He saves hours of digging or rotivating.
We’ve had a small patch turned over, roughly two hundred square metres, about ten times the size of our old garden in the UK and about twice the size of the average UK allotment. Already Amanda is getting cold feet about the work involved in keeping it weeded, watered and fertilised.
The ploughing passed without controversy, but now we have two neighbours giving us contradictory advice on what to plant, how to plant it, and when we should plant it. The only thing that they agree on is ‘potatoes, but not yet’. I’ve a feeling that we aren’t going to satisfy both parties, so now we have the tough decision of who will be the least offended by us ignoring their oracle.
On Saturday we crammed two events into one night, and spend Sunday and Monday recovering.
First up Rosa and Neil invited us to attend the ‘eggs’ festival at the community centre just outside Pontenova on the Vegadeo road. I’ve been there before, to celebrate the humble chestnut, but this was Amanda’s first time. The building is a bit of a TARDIS, small on the outside but massive inside, although not really needed on this occasion as there were only twenty or so of us.
I’m not sure why the theme was eggs but there does seem to be a lot of them about. We’ve currently got thirty in the fridge as people are giving them to us faster than we can eat them, and it is just rude to refuse, because you can guarantee that when we do want some, there won’t be any on offer.
We didn’t really know what to expect and we were happy for a simple meal of fried potatoes and vegetables, slightly more solid than ‘bubble and squeak’, chorizo (for the non-vegetarians) and mountains of fried eggs. The table was full of bottles of booze to which you help yourself. Hunks of cheese and knives followed the fry-up, and then some fresh fruit in a thin yoghurt. Finally, out came the chupitos, half a dozen bottles of different licors, mostly decanted into Cadhu bottles. Once again it was help-yourself, and by midnight Neil and I were both already a bit worse for wear.
The highlight of the night was to be the big music fiesta in Taramundi where the live acts were scheduled to start at 11:30. When we got there at 12:30 the disco was in full swing. The only way to access the marquee was to duck underneath the stage, the trailer section of an articulated lorry, no Health and Safety with their hazard tape and hi-viz jackets here. Between dreadful formulaic Euro-Pop tracks there was an announcement that the first live band were running 90 minutes late. I’m not sure how the first band can be 90 minutes late, especially as they are from a village no more than 5km away, I guess it is a Spanish thing.
When they eventually took to the stage it was dreadful formulaic Euro-Pop, but we, and about 2,000 others at this free festival were drinking our beer and waiting for the main act ‘Paris de Noia’ who are booked for every weekend for the next two years. With a forward order book they had to be pretty good.
The support act obviously liked playing to a big crowd and there was no shifting them as they banged out just over two hours of very similar sounding ‘music’ lapped up by the local Spanish, many of them sat around carrier bags of their own alcohol (some next to the official bars) getting slowly plastered through their own ‘botellon’. Then at 3am the curtains lifted on the second stage and Paris de Noia sprung into action, initially by slaughtering The Undertones, Teenage Kicks.
They then reverted to type with track after track of dreadful formulaic, if slightly more professional, Euro-Pop. The audience, perhaps with the exception of Amanda, Neil and myself, lapped it up. Old and young, drunk and sober, Galician and Asturian, they all loved it. There was no trouble, not a policeman in sight, and just after three-thirty we’d decided that we were too cold, and old, and as every track sounded like the last, we called it a night and left the party in full swing.
It is a twenty minute drive home from Taramundi and as we got out of the car you could still just hear the music coming down the Turia valley, creeping past A Pontenova, and up towards us up the Eo valley.
Thank goodness that once in the house the double glazing kept the dreadful formulaic Euro-pop out of our ears, and so we could start to sleep off the nights excesses.