Two Old Fools and another Fiesta

When we moved to our Spanish mountain village ten years ago, we soon became familiar with the families who lived here. All of them were friendly and charming and we enjoyed watching the kids grow as the years passed. Little Paco next door had a friend, Miguel, who once tapped on our door, eager to show us his white rabbit. The rabbit hopped around our living room and was only evicted when it threatened to nibble through the TV cable.

Every passing year is marked by the village fiesta in October and the weather has always been kind to us. This year, however, as fireworks exploded in the sky at midday to herald the start of the fiesta, we looked up to see ominous grey clouds gathering on the mountain tops.

“I think it’s going to rain,” said Joe.

But it didn’t. The band arrived and set up in the village square and the dancing began. The music carried on through the night, long after Joe and I had retired to bed.

On Saturday, a warm sun blazed down upon the pudding contest, the games in the square, the open-air table tennis contest and the flamenco dancing. But malevolent black clouds were moving in, leaden with rain, and that evening darkness dropped earlier than usual.

“I think it’s going to rain,” said Joe.

“The dancing doesn’t start until ten o’clock tonight,” I said, “maybe the clouds will move away.”

The band bravely set up their instruments, but it wasn’t to be. Fat raindrops spotted the surface of the square, then the downpour began in earnest. The band bundled their instruments back into their truck while we and the villagers ran for cover. Rain lashed down all through the night and for the first time in our ten years the fiesta’s big Saturday dance was cancelled.

But bad weather never lasts for long in Spain. By early morning, the sun was already drying the wet ground. We leaped out of bed in fright as a marching band passed our house, the musicians lustily blowing their trumpets and banging their drums. Then another explosion of fireworks soared into a blue sky, shaking the buildings and setting off car alarms.

Marching Band

At midday the church bells rang round the valley, calling the villagers to Mass, and the village Saint was paraded through the streets in a final triumphant procession.


The band stopped playing and the procession paused, as always, below the balcony of a particular house. A confident young man, tall and proud, addressed the crowd below.

“He looks familiar,” Joe whispered to me.

“That’s Miguel, remember? The little boy who brought his white rabbit to show us, years ago.”

“Good heavens! So it is!”

Miguel’s words rang round the valley.

“Viva El Hoyo!” he shouted in conclusion.

“Viva El Hoyo!” we all shouted back as flowers rained down from the surrounding balconies.

The band wheezed back into life and the procession continued, finishing at the church.

Despite the rainstorm, another successful fiesta was completed. Viva El Hoyo indeed!