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Now living in l'Olleria, south of Valencia

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Festes - Ying Yang

After the comedy parade, there was a live band in the park called Ying Yang. They didn't get started until 1:30 am and they were still going strong when we left at about 3 am.

It took a little while for the crowds that had been lining the streets to filter to the park, but once they had got there, things certainly livened up. Although many of the songs were in Spanish, so we didn't know them, it was quite apparent that the group were singing very popular songs, as the crowd joined in for most of them, and everyone had a lovley time, dancing and singing.


One funny thing, as we went back to our car, I noticed a young lady sitting on the pavement near our car. As I pressed the fob, to unlock it remotely, she said something to someone I couldn't see. As Ed walked around to the kerb side of the car, he looked down and smiled, as another girl moved away from the car. Once we had got in, I asked Ed "was she having a pee?" He laughed and said that it appeared as though she was about to! Poor girl - of all the places to hide behind, she picked the only thing that was about to move! video

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Festes - Comedy Parade





It seems strange having a shower at 11pm, getting ready to go out, but, since the parade wasn't due to start until midnight, that seemed like the right thing to do!

The parade was great fun. Many of the participants had political points of view and some of them were simply outragous, but they all raised a smile.

I think the most politically significant one, was a float consisting of a long table, surrounded by chairs, as though for a meeting, on which brooms were placed. The idea being the symbolic 'sweeping out' of the current political party, ready for the next.

Somewhat outrageous, was a 'tribute' to Michael Jackson. The float was led by 5 men with blackened faces and huge afro haircuts, and on the float itself, was an open casket, surrounded by flowers and tributes. The casket contained 'Michael' who occasionally rose and waved his hat to the crowd. Immediately behind, was a group of zombies, along with another MJ, that danced to the Thriller music. Superbly done, probably the best float there.

The most unnerving (!) was a troupe of male dancers, doing a 'dance of the 7 veils'. They were led by men dressed as a tropical island. I'm not quite sure about the masculinity of some of them, as they certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves (although one or two looked a little uncomfortable)! video

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Festes - Carnival Queens


On Friday night, we attended the presentation of the Queens, Captains and Ambassadors. On the main stage in the park, there were big screens set up and camera's everywhere. Not suprisingly, there were no signs of life at 10pm, apart from lines of chairs in front of the stage.

Once procedings began, the frst queens to be introduced were the young children. They seemed to be about 6 or 7 years old. All of them where in white, and were accompanied by equally young brothers or friends. The final one to arrive was the one that was then crowned queen for 2009. The same proceedure followed for the older girls.

In essence, these are 'debutantes'. All of them are 18 years old during this year, and in later years, when older Festival queens are called for to attend a function, then those from the same peer group will attend. For example, when they are all 40, they will attend a function along with those that were first presented along with them, aged 18. This is a very special year for each of them, and the families that were involved made a big show of it. Houses had beautiful flower arches around their doors, and/or red carpets outside the houses. The girls that were to be presented stood outside the houses so that all of the neighbours could see them and congratulate them.

As each winning queen (child and adult) received her crown, there was then a huge firework display. Thereafter, there were parties and discos in the streets and the town was still partying at 5am!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

l'Olleria en Festes 2009

This year, we have actually managed to find a list of events that are taking place, as well as where and when. As expected a huge number of events don't even start until midnight - so lots of late night for the next 2 weeks.

The leaflet was all in Valenciano, but I think I've understood it all!


Date

Event

Start Time

Friday 17th July

Announcement by the Mayor of the forthcoming activities

22:30

Friday 28th August

Proclamation of the Procession Queens, Courts of Honour, Captains and Ambassadors

22:30


Mobile Disco

00:30

Saturday 29th August

Supper

22:00


Night of Comedy Parade

24:00


Live Music and Dancing acts in the Park

To end

Sunday 30th, Monday 31st, Tuesday 1st Wednesday 2nd September

Bulls in the street

23:00

Thursday 3rd Sept

Paella Competition

23:00

Friday 4th Sept

Ringing of the bells

12:00


Music Band

19:00


Band at the Castle

20:00


Offering of flowers, followed by a procession

20:30


Live music in the park

24:00

Saturday 5th Sept

Musical Parade

11:00


Mass

12:00


Parade – Arrival of the Bands

17:30


Parade – Arrival of the Moors and Christians

19:00


Music in the Park

24:00

Sunday 6th Sept

Mass – followed by fireworks (Mascleta)

12:00


Children’s parade

18:00


Parade of St Michael

20:00


Musical Ledgends in the park

24:00

Monday 7th Sept

Mass – followed by the storming of the castle

11:00


The Christians re-capture the Castle

18:00

Erm. Ooops?


On Friday morning, we heard the ominoius sounds of crashing bricks very nearby. Next door but one, the new neighbours are building a paella house on the terrace. The problem, that the terrace is about 15 feet high, and hollow underneath. Both Ed and I thought that the new construction had fallen down, but a quick peep showed it not to be the case.

About an hour later, as we were near the end of our drive, we looked across and saw the true source of the problem. A delivery lorry had backed right onto the terrace, but one (or more) of the concrete beams had given way, and the lorry, with its load, had fallen right through the terrace.

The truck was stuck there nearly all day, until a hi-ab turned up, to lift it back out. Hopefully the weather will stray dry until the terrace is fixed, since, if we have a heavy downpour now, it will wash their entire supporting wall away.
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Thursday, 27 August 2009

La Pobla Del Duc ~ Fiestas - Part 1


We went to a nearby village, for one of the Fiest Activities. The amatuer bull fighting. On this paricular night, the Recortadors were the stars of the show (see other posts) but the night was certainly full of a mixture of events.

To start with, they had challenges for the children. As you can see, these are taken just as seriously as the main events, even though no-one comes to any harm. Wonderful.


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Part 2 - Over The Wall

There are times in life, when the best thing to do, is to simply run away...
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Part 3 - Recortadors

The four guys in the ring, were trainee Recortadors - acrobats that work with bulls. Some of the things they do are fantastic. They literally vault over the animals, either with poles, or simply springing over, doing somersualts or jumps.

They are very dependent on the bulls, as the speed of the bull dictates what mode of evasive action they can take.

Thankfully, I managed to get something on film...
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Part 4 - See Saw


Pipi Longstocking and her friends decide to play on a see-saw. They find a see-saw in a nice round park, but there is a cow loose in there too. "Whatever shall we do?" "It's ok, Pipi, whenever the cow comes, we'll just jump up out of the way".

And so they did, and they had a lovely time in the park, until the cow went home.




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Part 5 - Don't Move

If you dare to stand still, it won't see you.

Not convinced? Well, this bull seemed to think that there might be something there, but he wasn't certain, so he didn't investigate too much. Mind you, the poor lad would have had a problem getting away if he had too!


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Part 6 - Won't Get Fooled Again

When I saw the recortadores climb into the costume, I thought they must be mad. What would happen if one of them fell over? How could they dodge the cow, to get safely out of the way?

Well the answer lays in the sheer stupidity of the animal. It obviously has no common sense at all. It truly believed that the big bull in the ring was superior, and trotted along quite happily beside it. Very funny (but there was no need to the pole to be thrown).


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Part 7 - Motorised Bullfighting


Somewhat rash idea? How do you think the conversation went?
"I know, let's get the cow to chase me on a motorbike",
"How's that going to work then?"
"Well, I'll just ride around while the cow chases me."
"Right. And what if it catches you?"
"Nah. I've watched Valentino Rossi beat Jorge Lorenzo - I'll just open it up and get away smoothly!"

"Ha - ok, let's give it a whirl!"




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Part 8 - Free For All

At the end of the evening, the local hero's were all given the opportunity to have a go. Needless to say, one of them took a tumble (not on film). He tried to sumersault over the bull, but musjudged it, and was struck hard on the top of the thighs. He bravely carried on, but I'm certain he was black and blue the following day.


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Friday, 21 August 2009

Xativa - August Fayre




For the last five days, there has been a street fayre in Xativa. The main Avenue has been closed to traffic, and market salls and fun fair rides have taken the place of cars and taxis.

There was everything available, from artisan cheeses, to walking sticks. (Actually, I think I saw some yucca plants too!)

Some of the funfair rides looked great, but we didn't bother to try them out (although we did recommend them to people we met).


Last night was the final night, and there was a live concert (free) in the football stadium, followed by fireworks. It was such a warm night, that at 9pm, the temperature was still 37 degrees. We finally got home at about 2am, and our outside thermometer still read 25+.

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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Excitable Visitors

Max and Paddy have had their own special visitors - Tom and Jerry!

As you can see, they are so good-natured, that within seconds of saying 'hello', they just wanted to play.

Poor Tom and Jerry got so worn out, that they both jumped into Paddys basket for a lay down. (Were were going to take a picture of Tom and Jerry, with Max and Paddy next to the Flowerpot men, but we didn't get around to it!)


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Older Boys - Bigger Toys


We have arranged for some of the pool pipework to be installed (later in the year), so Ed has to get a door made for the pump house. As one side of the house was the original stone wall, it wasn't straight enough to build a door-frame. Problem soon solved, when Ed casually sliced through the wall, creating a perfect line for the door and frame.



(Must remember to wash the mint leaves, before putting them in the potatoes!)


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Bienvenue

I know it's not much really, but I am quite pleased with myself!

I have been going to the swimming pool regularly (ie, 5 times a week) and on each occassion, I have swum a minimum of 1/2 mile. A quick calculation, and I have realised that I have swum the English Channel this summer! That is, I have totalled more than 21 miles so far.

The girl I go with (Tracey) was very amused, when I said "Hello France" as I touched the end of the pool at the appropriate time!



I suppose, to be more appropriate, I should have checked how wide the Strait of Gibraltar was. Well, it happens to be 14.24 km at its narrowest point, so I could say that I have swum to Africa and back!

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Lightening Strikes Twice


WOW, We have had a really strange storm this evening, which promises to carry on for the night. The sky has been alive with lightening, but there has been no thunder (yet) to go with it. I apologise for the length of the video, but it was too good to miss! If you can bear with it, at around 1 min 30 ish, it gets better!

Bizzarely, the sounds in the background are NOT thunder, there were fireworks going off at Alfarasi, which I could see at the same time, but were too far away for the camera to pick up!


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Global Warming or Ice Age?


We have just had a refreshing storm, which has been forcast for a few days. It lasted all of about 20 minutes!

One day, the forecast is red-alert for forest fires, and the next day, we had orange-alerts for flooding and/or storms.

The photo is not a stray ice-cube, but a hailstone. In the video, the white flashes are a mixture of very large raindrops and hailstones. If you listen, you can hear the hailstones hitting things. (I've checked my car, and there is no damage to the roof, but it is certainly a reminder that we need to decide where to build the car-port!)
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Castles in the Air - part 2


I've just looked through the photo's Tim and Lauren took in May, and look what I found... just goes to show you, that it wasn't built in a day!!

Castles in the Air



We went to Benidorm for the afternoon recently. It seems funny to say that, but for us of course, it is only an hour or so away - a bit like living in Nottingham, and going to Skeggy!

We soon conducted the business we needed to do, and then strolled along the beach front, and through the old town. The castle in the photo has misty bits, as there were actually garden sprinklers built into the castle, to stop it drying out. It made it look quite ethereal.


I'm so used to the Spanish waiters now, that it was very odd to be greeted by 'hola/hello/guten tag' as the waiter checked out where we were from! I ordered in Spanish, but he was obviously good at his job, and chatted in English, without any offence. Strangely, he got our order wrong, and bought two beers, even though I had ordered Fanta limon, so he left the extra beer for Ed and didn't add it to the bill. That's the kind of service I like.
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Monday, 3 August 2009

Aielo de Malferit - Bull Run


The next town along from us (in the Val de Albaida) is Aielo de Malferit and this week it is their Fiesta week (ours is the first week of September).

Ed and I went along to their bull running event, which has taken place over the last few nights (more fun than watching TV). One of the wide streets has been closed off at two points, with safety cages and grandstands, creating a 'bullring' about 400 meters long and 30 meters wide. Within this area, are several more safety cages as well as a number of A-frames to climb/hide behind.

For the run, the animals are mainly cows, rather than bulls - however, these are not doe-eyed jersey's or docile friesians, but agile, long horned, muscular beasts! More agile than most of the bulls we have seen in the past. At 8pm, a single rocket is launched, signalling the begining of the event. Bang. And everybody starts running away, even though the cow is nowhere to be seen yet! Not a bad idea, considering the speed that they go past. The cow then has the entire area, to run around and chase/consider/attack any potential victims at will.

Thankfully, although there are certainly a few 'heros', there was no chanting, or malicious handling of the animals. After their 20 minute run, a large bull was led into the ring, and the tired but unhurt bull followed the large bull out, into the pen. A few minutes later, another rocket went up, and the next cow entered the arena.

There were certainly a few spills and incidents during the event, but Ed and I sat at the top of an A-frame, feet well out of the way of any passing animals, enjoying the atmosphere, and wondering what on earth H&S in the UK would think of the event!
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