It is August, and in Puigpunyent, August means serious summer is here.  We do tend to have pretty spectacular weather most of the year, but August is when summer really hits.  A good time to be able to enjoy the new addition to La Antigua. 

Last week, after all the tiling was completed, I received a phone call from Juan’s office to tell me that I needed to go to the Ayuntamiento (city hall).  I, being a good little villager, strolled on over one morning only to find that my project permit had finally been approved.  “Approved,” I said?  “But the project is completed already.”  Yes, they knew that, but I needed to come in to sign the approval forms and pick up my construction permit.  I did what I was told to do, and after signing several forms, was given a moderately large sign with a number on it to post on my house, so that any roving building inspectors would be able to see that the work being done was approved.  Right.  First of all, this is a little village and we don’t have any roving building inspectors.  Second, everyone in the village hall knows about my project.  Third, my project was done already.  I thought for a second, and then thanked them for the approval and the number (although I simply filed it away with all the paperwork on the project that I had been accumulating since I thought it up in 2005. 

B.P. (before the pool), I had a group of Oleander in pots on the terrace.  One reason was to make it a bit more liveable and Oleaner plants are pretty low maintenance.  The other reason was to help me keep my mental visual in place of where the pool would be.  Once the work was done, I realised that I really didn’t need them there anymore, and all the plants were a bit much.  So, again, being a good little villager, I met with El Alcalde (mayor) of Puigpunyent and donated them to the village.  No, I am not anticipating a ‘Dr. Rieley’s Oleander Park’ or anything; I just felt that the village might like it better to actually use them in their ongoing effort to make the village centre a nice place to visit.  Besides, this was a better solution than hauling them to the recycling centre to be mulched away.  The mayor sent someone over straight-away to collect them and now they are waiting until the weather cools a bit so they can be planted.   

August in the village also means the arrival of the summer festival.  Last year I wrote about this and I think I emphasised the fact that some of the events – notably, the rather loud rock-and-roll band events – took place in the little plaza in my neighbourhood.  This year, it was the same.  Last evening it was the Gran Nit de Playback – sort of a combination of American Idol or the X-Factor, Puigpunyent style.  I was torn between going to visit friends (last year it was pretty loud, with the sounds from the various bands wafting through my open windows at record-breaking decibel levels (or so it sounds like), or, just walking over to the plaza and enjoying the show.  The event was to begin at 2200 (things do start late here), so at 2100, I decided to just relax until the programme began…and I fell asleep, not waking until the programme was over.  Either everyone forgot their amplifiers, or I was just dead knackered.  I didn’t hear a thing.  According to the festival flyer, tonight it will be the CIRC MAGIC BLUES FESTIVAL, again located at my neighbourhood plaza.  With luck, I will actually make it to this.

Today was something called ‘VI MERCAT DEL ‘TRASTO’’ in the village centre.  I knew that this must be an open market, but I didn’t know what would be there.  A good reason to walk on over and take a look.  This village is incredible; it seems that no matter where you go or what you do, almost everything turns into a social event.  Go to the recycling centre, and there are several people who have brought their discardables in, talking away as if they hadn’t seen each other in months.  Go to the market, and it is the same thing; people chatting away about God-knows-what.  I reasoned that by going to the VI MERCAT DEL TRASTO, I would run into some of my neighbours and be able to chat away…and that is exactly what happened.  My only surprise was that the Mercat del Trasto was like a boot sale for children…and it was very special to see all the budding entrepreneurs selling their old stuffed dolls, old roller-blades, frayed copies of Harry Potter in Spanish, and whatever else their parents probably told them to get rid of.


Three last minute post-scripts:  1) The Circ Magic Blues Festival (which turned out to be a musical jazz-based group) was simply fabulous.  If they come to your city, and play in your neighbourhood, you really should go see and listen to them;  2) I have been thinking about the idea of a Dr. Rieley’s Oleander Park, and whilst that does sound a bit over the top, I do think that a nice wooden park bench amongst the Oleander, inscribed with something like ‘una sonrisa le vuelve siempre’ does sound nice;  3) After the clearly stated waiting period of twenty-one days to let the cement cure properly, I did begin to fill the pool, and yesterday after returning from the market, I was in it.  It was, as my last letter said, well worth the wait.


the terrace  before the pool



the terrace with the pool



budding entrepreneurs (village style)



free market competition


This year's festival flyer

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, James B. Rieley