Last weekend traditionally signifies the end of summer here in Sarria. In fact summer both starts and ends with a fiesta. We begin in June with San Juan and end in September with Remedios. For the children the time in between is holiday, for the residents the price of a coffee goes up and we have to compete with tourists for the limited number of parking spaces.
Remedios commemorates a miracle. Many towns have their own version. Here the Virgin Mary was seen in a field about 3 kilometres from the town many , many years ago. In normal years, the whole town and their many visitors put on high visibility jackets and walk out to that field. They have lunch on long trestle tables and drink quite a lot more wine than is healthy. The young people take tents and sleep out there to ensure that their family gets the best picnic place. It is, without doubt, the event that the townspeople most look forward to, and incomers, like us, and tourists are the most puzzled by. It’s a celebration of family and community and has changed very little in the last hundred years. Until now, that is. It has of course been cancelled by covid 19.
The council, and I have to commend our current mayor, have tried their best to have a children’s program of activities during the holidays. They have searched far and wide for activities that can be done in a mask and with everyone remaining two metres apart. They arranged a small parade with a performance afterwards in the park for the weekend. The town was full. All the people who come for Remedios normally, came anyway, and there was a a lot of milling around.
The lack of the fiesta, had the same effect on the town as a damp firework, everyone knows it’s there, but it doesn’t go off. People sat in bars saying what a good time they have had in the past. It was difficult not to be affected by the sense of gloom. The parade arranged for the children turned out to be three blow up animals and a man on stilts with a water pistol. To be absolutely honest they did try their best, but it’s hard to cheer up people who refuse to be cheered.
We ended up having a takeaway and eating it in Steve’s office, I enjoyed it in a strange way. We read, played games, and ate kebab. It did feel like a holiday. The kind when it pours with rain and you are determined to enjoy yourself anyway.
My writing news is that Mass Murder is now available in paperback, I know that some of you have already found it.
I have finished the first draft of The Wooden Box. I am always sorry to to write ‘the end’ on a story it’s like finishing a book that you are reading, you want to stay in that world. For me it is also the point that the magic ends and the work begins. At the moment, I am editing it into a draft that can be send to Andrea my editor (Andrea if you are reading this you can start to sharpen your red pen).
For those of you who are on my email list, starting from sometime next week you will be receiving a new short story every month, So be sure to check your junk folders in case you miss it. It will only be available for a month before it’s replaced with a new one. There will be more details nearer the time.
For those of you who have been following my giant vegetable saga I would love to tell you that the marrow season has ended but, alas no, they have been joined by giant pumpkins