Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Right! That’s over for another year. The last roast potato has been eaten. The last slice of jamón Serrano has been tweaked off the tabla jamonera. The New Year Madness in Sol was enjoyed by all who ate their grapes and the three kings have brought the presents for children of all ages. Now we can return to work, the kids can return to school and hopefully, we can return to the weight we had before this month long celebration of navidad.
Don’t get me wrong. I love this time if Madrid: The lights, the belenes, the illuminated streets and the chestnuts. And yesterday evening’s parade for the arrival of the three kings was quite spectacular. In fact it was probably the best I have ever seen – and I didn’t go. I watched it on television.
Two years ago I arrived early for the cabalgada. I had a great viewing position. But then the children began arriving and I, of course, allowed them to stand in front of me. By the time the parade went past I was so far back from the barricade I hardly saw a thing. Last year I thought I had a good view, but when the parade passed by, all the little children were hoisted on to daddy’s shoulders and obscured anything but the highest passing float. Later, I went with friends to a bar and had a much better view on the wide screen television on the wall.
So this year I decided to stay at home in the warm only to see high-necked scarlet giraffes, a ballet trapeze act suspended from two hundred helium filled balloons and a huge mechanical elephant. These things would have been visible from the back of the crowd. So now I am a little sad I didn’t go.
I celebrated Christmas Eve over a meal with a group of friends, Christmas day with another, enjoyed a splendid dinner party between then and New year, drank too much to greet 2010 and commemorated the Three Kings at a marvellously ENGLISH roast beef lunch. The amazing thing was there were only two native English there and were privileged to watch how Spaniards like spicy English mustard and glazed parsnips followed by hot apple pie and custard.
No one threw their cutlery in protest at being forced to eat an English meal. In fact one Spanish lady commented, ironically, “And they say the English don’t have good food!” She, incidentally, asked for more mustard, and being about thirty minutes old by this time, it was really hot. (Yes, we prepared our own. It did not come from a jar!)
Now I think I don’t have to eat for at least a week. If I made New Year resolutions it would be for more exercise and to go on a diet. But I don’t do such foolish things, so we will have to see. But I hate clothes shopping, so I will have to fit into these trousers again!
Looking at my calendar I see no public holidays between now and Easter. So, it’s back to work for all. Unfortunately for my eardrums the kids I share an apartment with don’t return to school until next Monday. And then it will be peace on Earth.