Our neighbour

By: roughseasinthemed

Aug 02 2011

Category: Spain

1 Comment

A sunny day in Spain.

What else do you do but sit on your path with your elderly neighbour, and hold an umbrella over her to make sure she is sheltered from the heat of the sun?

We’d repaired and fixed up the outside of the house, hence all the rendered stonework and gleaming white paint.

Next doors gave us the gate and we had the finca gateposts to fix them to. Next doors gave us the black railings on top of the wall too to stop Prince the GSD jumping over.

But Spanish life must have been starting to take its toll as I notice Partner is already starting to go grey. Those curly locks underneath the Tilley hat are those of a middle-aged man and not the youthful 40-something-year old who set off for Spain a couple of years previously.

I’m fond of Adelina. She was in her lateish 70s in this pic and she’s turned 80 now. She can’t read or write, and was brought up to work in the fields instead of going to school. Such was the life under Franco for people who lived in Andalucia on the land. Her father was killed in the north of Spain during the Franco regime, in a prison in Oviedo. Not surprisingly she doesn’t like chivas. (Spies not whisky).

In spite of that, she will always share a joke with us, find something to laugh about, and has an acid sense of humour. Her eyesight is amazing. Her distance vision at 80+ is better than mine ever was. She borrows her husband’s glasses for sewing although I have no idea if she needs them or not. Her hearing is as acute as her vision.

And she taught me how to cook all the local food – gazpacho, ajo blanco, ensalada de Axarquia, lentejas, garbanzos, alubias, habas, chicharros, pimientos asados, berenjenas fritas, and – My Money!! This last one is a soup that is basically whatever you have left to use up – tomato, onion, garlic, olive oil, and some herbs. It’s cheap and it saves you throwing stuff out. Hence the name – and they really do call it ‘My Money.’

Like virtually all our neighbours she doesn’t speak English (why would she, she lives in Spain). And like the rest of them, she has been incredibly patient with our initially faltering Spanish, explained things to us simply, and waited for us to understand.

The umbrella in the pic came from Lisbon. Apparently they have bigger umbrellas in Portugal than they do in Spain. When Adelina’s husband – José – first saw it, he immediately said – Portuguese.

At one point they had moved away from home and lived in Badajoz, which is near the border with Portugal, so I guess they must have learned about Portuguese umbrellas amongst other things.

But later they came back home. Because, Andalucians do. Bought two rooms off Adelina’s sister and her husband, and slowly built up their own home. When I say built up, I literally mean built up, ie extended and expanded. It’s a world apart from a British life with a mortgage around your neck for 40 years, or 50 or 60 or whatever it is now.

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