Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Romeria Arrival at the Ermita

Jairo y Aurelio

La Mesa de los Guiris

Anne, Jeannie, Nick, Candy, Janet

Jeannie, Jackie, Penna, and Hughie

About halfway there.

Arriving at the Ermita

La Romeria. El camino

Aurelio plays his guitar for the singing and dancing. Later he and his wife will direct the choir at the ermita.

Sanchez Sanchez en buena forma y mas joven cada año

Rockets are launched as we turn onto the Cortelazor road.

¡Olé olé Judith!

The mules tow the cart with the sin pecado banner.

The Romeria

Every vehicle carries a trailer of supplies; beer, wine, tortilla, jamón and sausages of various kinds.

Jeannie and Fidel

Estéban with Cruzcampo

Tengo un Tractor no Amarillo

Grania, Eli and Angel

Los Tonto-er-Culos

Monday, May 29, 2006

Romeria de Los Marines 2006

Every year, on the last Sunday of the month of May, we celebrate the Romeria (pilgrimage) of Our Lady of Grace.

She is the patroness of the village and her image is kept above the altar of the village church, on the gilded and carved baroque reredos.

Once a year, however she is taken out to the countryside to spend the day among her people.

Fabian and Jeannie

The main entrance to the village is thronged with romeros

The statue of Our Lady of Grace is carried through the village square.

Fernando and Fabián

The national anthem is played when she comes out onto the street.

The bells are rung.

Everyone is waiting to follow Nuestra Señora de Gracia as she is carried out of the church, through the streets of the village, to the little country chapel, about three kilometres distant.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Another year, another Romeria

¡Viva la patrona de Los Marines!

¡Viva la Virgen de Gracia!

The Benefits of Computer Translation

We had lunch today with our cookery students, on the banks of the Guadalquivir by the Triana market. One of the best things about the restaurant is the English translation of what is most probably not on offer.


The hot weather arrived early, bringing temperatures of 30ºC to the mountains. The cork trees are shedding their old leaves as well as drifts of yellow pollen which are driving us all mad with hay fever. The patios need constant sweeping; however the roses have never been so prolific as they are this year.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sunday Lunch in Losma

It's Sunday 7th May and Jeannie deserves a rest from the kitchen so we went into Los Marines to Bar Carlos with the family.

Carlos Jr. was frantic, with the place full, so Judith kindly set up a table for us in the street. Carlos lent me a hat, courtesy of Legendario Rum, and Jago ordered Solomillo de Cerdo Ibérico for us, which was delicious as usual, but after a minute or two of blazing sunshine we had to move into the shade of the palm tree in the main square.

Liza's Birthday

Manolo and Millie are getting married in July!

Liza was 19 on the 6th May. It fell on a Saturday so it was a great excuse to celebrate with a gang of our friends from Sevilla and the UK. Jago baked a chocolate cake and filled it with raspberries and cream.

Paddy, Jeannie and Rob. Teaser, the dog is trying to get in on the act!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Broad Bean Slavery

The first tiny broad beans came up from the huerta a couple of days ago. Jeannie, Bertie, Dorelia, Lucy, Liza, Grania and Sarah all dug in to the task.

Nobody is looking quite so smiley on day three!

Half of the beans are picked small, and the plants are pulled out to make way for the tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, and courgettes which have to go in soon. The rest of the beans will be left in the ground to swell to full size.

Recipe for Tender Broad Bean Stew

The bean pods for this must be the the very youngest,about as thick as your small finger. Take about 1Kg of these, and snap of the tops and tails.

Slice 4 or 5 cloves of garlic into a large pan with a lid. Tip in 20-30cl of virgin olive oil. Add a glass of water, a finely sliced onion and the broad beans.

Turn the heat up until the liquid begins to simmer, add salt and pepper to taste, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Turn down the heat and allow to cook gently for about 30 minutes.

Check that there is enough water from time to time. When the beanpods have changed colour to a sort of grey-green, add one small can of tomato puree, and two teaspoonfuls of sugar. Stir around with a wooden spoon until well amalgamated. Reduce liquid until you have an oily, shiny appearance, and then turn off heat.

Taste again for seasoning. Eat tepid.

At Buenvino we serve this for a spring lunch, perhaps along with tomato and almond salad, local cheeses, chicken schnitzels with turmeric and sesame, and a rocket salad.

La Danza de la Lanza

On the last night of April, Jeannie and I had been to Sergio's Christening party in Los Marines, where we hatched a plan with Mariano and Juli to drive up through the hills to the beautiful and remote little village of Hinojales.

On the first of May, the young men of the village perform a dance with castanets, in front of their patroness La Virgen de La Tórtola.

The 7 young men wear a strange costume with embroidered cummerbunds and head-dresses, and pleated starched broderie Anglaise petticoats to their shirts. The dance and the costumes are thought to be Celtic in origin, and were brought here after the villages were repopulated with families from Galicia and Leon after the reconquista.

Everyone puts on their best clothes and the image of Our Lady is carried around the village

A young girl throws rose petals.

We drove north through a blaze of euphorbias, pink phlomis, poppies, blue pimpernels and arrived just in time to see the Virgin being carried from the church of La Consolación. We followed the processions, and when the Virgin was placed once more in front of the altar of the church, all the men who when young had danced in the church (those of them who were fit enough!, removed their jackets and joined in the dance, which turned into a fantastic rout. It was very moving to see people who had left the village to find work in the cities, returning to join in with the festivities.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Spring has arrived!

Spring has Sprung in the Sierra de Aracena, and the meadows of the dehesa by the lake are purple and blue with Viper's Bugloss.

It's only 20 minutes or so from Finca Buenvino, where we live, so today we drove there and picnicked on goat's cheese from Aracena, and Serpa sheep's cheese (from just over the border in Portugal) and home-cured jamón and salchichón, homemade sourdough bread, and home grown salad leaves with lemon mayonnaise. Our owns eggs too, but I wish we had made the wine! As yet, we have no vines on the farm except for some eating grapes down in the orchards.

Afterwards, Grania, our daughter, and Liza, who is wwoofing here, braved the cold water, whilst we lay in the long grass beside Willy and Anne who were staying with us, and snoozed as the bees droned around the flowers.

On the way home we stopped to pick some wild peonies which grew in a field where cattle were grazing.