What's happening in the old fool's village?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by VictoriaTwead, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. VictoriaTwead

    VictoriaTwead Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's been a little while since I posted, and some very kind BYC people have messaged me (is that a proper verb?) to ask what's been happening in our village.

    Well, New Year's Eve was interesting. The Spanish have this tradition where you are supposed to swallow one grape every time the clock strikes midnight. So we walked down to the church at midnight as usual, clutching our (seedless) grapes.

    If you've read 'Chickens', you'll know our church clock is rather erratic. It usually chimes twice, so at midnight it'll chime 24 times, or it doesn't chime at all. At midnight, Joe, all the villagers and myself waited with baited breath, grapes poised.


    Geronimo was obviously expecting this hitch, so he began to climb up the rickety ladder to the church tower. We all watched, the village ladies ooohing and aahing as he climbed, Joe and I worrying about how much beer he had consumed earlier.

    Well, Geronimo had obviously done this many times before. When he reached the bell, he drew out a hammer from his back pocket. Twelve times he clanged the bell, so loudly that it reverberated round the valley, echoing as it bounced off the mountains. The grape ritual began. I choked on grape number 6 and had to be slapped on the back by Paco, our next door neighbour. Joe got off to a good start but only managed 10.

    After the usual round of cheers, kisses, hugs and 'Happy New Year!' we wandered back home, Joe still complaining that Geronimo had rung the chimes too fast. Looking back over our shoulders, we could see Geronimo's silhouette against the night sky, high up in the church tower, taking a hefty swig from his beer bottle.

    And so began 2010.

  2. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

    May 24, 2008
    Southeast Arkansas
    Oh, Victoria, I had forgotten! We had an exchange student from Barcelona once, and we all had to do the swallow the grape thing. It was fun, and nobody got choked.


    ps yes, you can say "messaged me", whether its proper or not, totally acceptable.
  3. Slywoody

    Slywoody Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2009
    [​IMG] Love the stories from you, Victoria!!!!!!! [​IMG]
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Gosh...lol...I"ve never heard of the new year grape tradition. I'd have been practicing up on my heimlich maneuvering (and made doubly sure Joe knew it) before attending! What a fun story!
  5. VictoriaTwead

    VictoriaTwead Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jenjscott: Lovely to 'see' you again. I hope all is well with you. [​IMG]

    Slywoody: Thanks for the lovely compliment, I've gone all smiley and squirmy... [​IMG]

    Teach1rus1: I'd never heard of the grape-swallowing thing before we moved to Spain, either. I'm just amazed more people don't choke every year. I know in the UK we aren't even allowed to play Conkers anymore for health and safety reasons, so the grape thing would never happen there! [​IMG]

  6. jenjscott

    jenjscott Mosquito Beach Poultry

    May 24, 2008
    Southeast Arkansas
    So now you're going to have to tell us what Conkers is.
  7. sfw2

    sfw2 Global Menace

    When my DH was still in the Navy, we had a neighbor whose wife was Spanish. That's when we learned about the grapes.

    I was born in the UK (and had brothers), so I have fond memories of conkers. And probably still a few scars on my knuckles.
  8. mendygnl

    mendygnl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 3, 2009
    Glidden, IA
    Victoria, I ordered your book and it just arrived yesterday. I'm enjoying it so much and enjoying the tales about the villiage enhabitants. Thank you.
  9. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    Hi Victoria - It's nice hearing from you again. We're all waiting for the sequel now - Two Old Fools, Part Two!
  10. VictoriaTwead

    VictoriaTwead Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Aha, so you'd know about conkers! I wondered if it was a British thing, and I think it must be.

    So, in answer to your question, JenjScott, conkers come from the Horse Chestnut tree in autumn. They have a green, spiky shell, but inside is the chestnut, or conker, a beautiful, hard, red shiny thing. Small boys gather them and swap them like currency. A hole is bored through the conker and a string threaded through and knotted. Then, two boys stand facing each other and take it in turns to swing at their opponent's conker. If hit hard enough, one of the conkers will break. The conker that remains intact is the winner.

    My brother used to bake his conkers in the oven to make them harder. They've been banned in English playgrounds in case pieces of conker fly off and hurt someone. I have to say that I never saw any injuries when I was a child, except for hurt pride when a champion conker was defeated. [​IMG]


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