Yesterday I drove into Granada. Well, to be honest not all the way in. I got as far as Bobadilla where I stopped and filled the van with 89€ worth of logs. Should last a month or two.
You see, summer is over. How do you know when it is over?
You know when you are tempted to approach the dusty unopened draw that has housed your socks for the last 6 months.
You know when you think twice about buying another 5 kilos of tomatoes for the Gazpacho. Hmmm, maybe a warm soup instead?
You know when clouds return from their summer vacation and park at the end of the valley for the word to come on down.
You know when hear the calling of the log shop from afar. Thats how you know.
Yesterday an iconic figure in contemporary Spanish history passed away. Santiago Carillo was a young 21 years of age when the Civil War broke out. He was the elected leader of the Socialist Youth movement in Madrid and had just served two years in gaol for his participation in the Asturias Revolution in 1934. Santiago had seen it all: The Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in the 1920´s and the expulsion of Alfonso XIII. He had lived through the Republic, the Civil War, and then had fled Spain, where he remained in exile until the death of Franco. When the political left was finally legalised, Santiago returned to participate in the transition and to help bring about the first elections in the late 1970´s and early 1980´s.
I remember when Santiago Carillo came to my town about 5 years back. He came to talk about the Law of Historical Memory that was finally being pushed through parliament. Even in this small town, with its socialist council (back then) and its history of left wing activism, Santaigo was still jeered by hecklers for his controversial role in Madrid during the opening moments of the Civil War.
His talk that evening of of 'La Ley' seemed to be part of a new atmosphere in Spain. Suddenly there was public interest again in Spain's Second Republic, the unspoken injustices of the dictatorship and the whereabouts of its thousands upon thousands of victims. After so many years of silence, people were at last finding the courage to speak. It was a fascinating moment to see history come alive once more, and to feel on the streets an openness and pride in the valiant struggles of the opposition to that 40 year dictatorship. When I listened to his arguments: They were persuasive and his ideas sharp and well articulated. For a man in his 90's his mind was exceptionally clear.
There are not many left that continue to live a life of principle. There are not many left that believe in ideology and its capacity to change society for the better. In these times of market hegemony and instantaneous gratification, figures such as Carillo will always stand out to remind us of a more grounded and enduring approach.
Descanse en paz Santaigo.
"A country without a memory is a country of madmen" is an exceprt from the book on Spanish history and culture: Inside the Tortilla.
Upon awakening I knew something had arrived.
There was a detectable change in pressure. The wall of heat that had been here since June had finally lifted. To celebrate, I put on a pair of jeans. I even reached for the sock drawer, opening it a little, but then pulling back at the last moment. Silly boy! I peered in and the socks gave me an unemployed look. Have patience, I whispered as I pushed the drawer quietly to.
Oh such pleasure awaited me outside the back door. A delicious chill hung in the air, and in the sky a few clouds had returned after the summer break, to share anecdotes and muster a little solidarity. However, they did little else that morning but taunt me from afar. By the afternoon though, they began to grumble in anticipation and assemble in greater confidence.
I tried to close the balcony door for the first time in months - it complained - but I insisted. This was one of my unfinished jobs to do. But not yet. Now I wanted to just wander aimlessly savouring the richness of anticipation.
It arrived an hour later. First in my imagination - as the faint sound of someone or something tapping gently on the roof tiles, unfamiliar but insistent - and then reality hit. In fact, everything got hit. All the collective dirt, dust and grime of months of building work poured off the roof and down the still guttering-less walls. It streamed down as a wall of water, into gaps where windows ought to have been, under doors that still had no frames and back, flowing back into the house where tiles had still to be laid. And still it came, harder and harder, down through the air vent in the bathroom, running down exposed beams and filling one corner of the untilled patio with just enough water for The Hound to swim safely across.
Yet the Níspero tree smiled as its once cement covered leaves were showered off, and the fingers of the honeysuckle stretched out to welcome the water. And from the dripping hallway of an old house in the old barrio alto, one man and a dog learnt that the oven door had finally closed.
This was a short exert from the book Inside the Tortilla. Like to read more? Grab the ebook for just 3.99 or less at the Amazon Kindle Store or in other ebook formats here. Also now in PAPERBACK from here or from Amazon.
Why Orwell is essential to understanding Spain today. More here - Forgotten Stories From Spain
Find out More about the ebook and audio
Forgotten Stories From Spain Book HERE
And Watch The Tortilla Intro Video here...
Choose Your Tapa