My apologies to those who regularly read my other blog, as much of this will sound familiar. I have mentioned Flat Susan on several occasions, but now it is time to collate it all in one place, and there are some previously unpublished photos.
The idea was for Flat Susan to come to share Christmas with us in Spain, but unfortunately her flight from Australia was delayed, and she did not arrive until Boxing Day. That´s plain old 26th December for us, as Boxing Day is not celebrated in Spain, so it is just a normal day, which why the mail man was working as usual. Poor Susan had done a lot of waiting around over the past few days so she was glad to meet her new hosts and just relax for a day.
But she wan´t able to relax for long as the very next day we took her across the green zone at the back of our house, to watch a simulated traffic accident. It was a training/information exercise, and we were impressed by the way all the local services worked together to sort out the traffic, give first aid, and get the patients (all volunteers from the village), loaded into ambulances.
Flat Susan was quite upset by it all at first, but once she realised it was only ´pretend´she began to enjoy it, but she stayed tucked inside my jacket for most of the time, all the same.
Her first real celebration was New Year´s Eve. By then she was getting used to having the dogs around and they no longer felt the need to sniff her to decide whether she was friend or foe. Foxy was more interested in pinching her snacks than in eating her!
Although they are yard dogs really, we usually invite them in to see the New Year in with us, so we all settled down to watch Big Ben strike midnight and enjoy the fireworks. I think F.Susan was a bit confused because we had already celebrated an hour earlier when the Spanish clocks all rang in the New Year. But she was happy to have a sip or two of wine from the tiny `glass´ I had made just for her.
With just a couple of days to catch up on some sleep, we then took her out to lunch with a group of friends from our village art club. They all wanted an introduction and she got on well with everyone.
My Spanish friend Cati was most interested. She thought I had made her, and asked whether I could make one for her, so I tried to explain that Flat Susan is quite unique, and soon she would be travelling back to her home in UK. Cati was very disappointed!
The meal started with entremeses, a plate of meat and cheese. Flat Susan nibbled at the cheese, but found the meat a bit too chewy. She decided to just watch while we ate the main course, but she got quite excited when the rice pudding came along!
After the meal we sat around chatting so I made her a raised seat from the wine corks so she could see better what was going on.
On January 5th, the night when the Three Kings arrive for Epiphany, we drove over to Almeria city, to meet up with some friends. We had never been to the procession there so it was new to us as well as to F.Susan, and we all enjoyed it immensely. Flat Susan couldn´t believe her eyes when the procession started with two real elephants walking down the street. There was a huge crowd of people, and it was very noisy, so she was a bit afraid of getting separated from us, and decided to stay very close, but I pinned her to my coat so she could see everything. The Kings arrived on very ornate floats and she loved all their bright lights and music.
But we all loved the last bit when the big, inflated caterpillars (?) floated along with ever changing coloured lights inside them. It was the perfect end to an exciting evening. Then we had to drive home to get some rest before the Three Kings Fiesta in the village the next day.
So January 7th dawned clear and sunny. Once again we were blessed with a beautiful day for our fiesta. We went across to the plaza in time to watch the pageant. First the soldiers arrived at King Herod´s Palace, and it is fun to see our friends dressed up and obviously enjoying the parts they played.
Then it was time for the Kings to arrive, and F.Susan thought they looked very fine!
When the play had been acted out, we took Susan around the stalls, stopping to chat to friends as we went.
I asked Flat Susan if she was feeling brave, and when she nodded I took her over to the tent where there were several birds of prey and some reptiles. i warned her to sit still while I held a very big, and heavy long-eared owl. He was very beautiful, and she stayed so still, I don´t think he even noticed her.
She behaved so well that I took a bit more of a risk and asked to hold the boa constrictor. They said he was too strong for me which was a shame, but they did let me hold this one, which is also a type of boa. Susan was a bit more wary of this, but she stayed very still, and afterwards, when she how close he was to her in the photo, she felt quite proud of what she had done!
Food plays an important role in all our fiestas, but particularly this one, and she was amazed at the variety available. I always think this barbecue looks amazing, with its racks of ribs, slices of lomo, choritzo, black pudding, sausages and chicken. And it smells amazing too.
Other people prefer the big pan of paella, but I am not so keen on it if it has lots of shell fish or snails in it! Here the rice has just been added, so it will be a little while before it is ready to eat.
Then there is the meal provided by the Town Hall for anyone who wants it, and this year it was a giant tortilla - layers of potato and onion with beaten eggs, and cooked over a log fire. It is hard enough to cook evenly in a little pan made for the purpose, so I am filled with admiration for these men who use a pan the size of my dining table!
When it is ready they serve up big slabs of it in huge bread rolls so we all shared one.
After lunch we took Flat Susan home for a rest, but then, as it was twelfth night, it was the traditional time to take down the Christmas decorations and pack them all away. F.Susan asked if she could have one more cuddle with my little angel bear before I put him away, and she also had a last chat with Santa.
Well that is the end of Susan´s Christmas Adventure. Tomorrow I will write part 2, and you can see what else she has done during her stay with us.