Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com rockpool in the kitchen: Post Christmas everything

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Post Christmas everything

Well, Christmas is over at last - it goes on longer here because of the three kings and had a day extra added this year because the big holiday, 6th of January, fell on a Sunday. So that's it, the lights cease to be lit and and will be removed, in due course, all the cribs, the 'Belens' round the island will be removed, in due course. In due course here means not soon or fast. Granny and Beloved might get their local carpark back eventually. But only eventually. Not that they use the car park much, or care much if it's there or not. It's just the principle you understand. Possibly.

One trend was a bit different this year; the use of life-size - or semi-life size figures. A large proportion of those in the local car park Belen, backed by nice paintings of volcanoes, etc, were child-sized and dressed in local dress although the main Christmas scene in the front had only miniature ones. The Belen in what used to be the old capital, Teguise, was in the courtyard of the little colonial type palace there and had all its figures life-size. And a real goat and two kids penned in one corner. Only Joseph Mary and the baby were biblical figures. All the rest were of men and women in local dress doing local things - a carpenter, a drawer of water, someone shucking corn, a woman pounding it, another woman doing the laundry. Every last one of these figures has been carved with worn, old, depressed faces, with wrinkles and with bags under their eyes. Joy of Christmas was not in evidence, exactly. An indication of how hard life used to be here? Possibly. If so the impression was enhanced for Granny and Beloved by the calendar put out by the local Ayuntamiento (town council.) It consisted of old photographs, a lot of them of people standing about in local dress or that of the time the photos was taken, mostly grim looking; only a few attempting smiles. There was one picture showing the local church and the town hall, at right angles to what is still the main square. But the square wasn't pretty then, didn't have trees, paving shrubs, flowers; it was just a dusty open space - it was the village threshing-floor possibly, among other things. Behind were scrubby farms spread over the hills, the odd dirt road. No gardens with flowers round any of them either, no palm trees, nothing. Just bare land and hills.

There are gardens all over the island now, and squares in the centre of village, surrounded by trees, like in any southern village - admittedly cactus, birds of paradise plants and palm trees aren't so common in Europe. Water desalination and tourism do have something to say for themselves perhaps. The island can be bleak enough now at certain times of the year. But back then....help. You wouldn't wish it on anyone; even despite the round of festivals which happened then as now - they didn't look so jolly, though.

In haste. Granny has a deadline: she has to finish Going Mental by the end of January, ready to be edited: one reason she has stopped putting it up here. And on Thursday she is off to the UK for this and that. Sorry, folks.

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