So just what is a preguiceira?
Well, it’s Galego for a lazy person. Each summer, since 2009, we ladies who don’t do much, restart the Preguiceiras Club.
Ah, 2009, the year my life changed forever. I was visiting my GP and as it was January, she’d decided that today was going to be medical history day, so I’d swotted up all the terms and words that I would need, wrote them down and told her my lengthy medical history.
Then after this, I endured the lecture (modern life is too sedentary, dont’ eat too many carbs, or fat and do loads of exercise) and wandered downstairs to see most of my neighbours sitting there.
We’d all had the same sort of lecture, even Celia who is 80 something and as thin as a pencil.
My nearest neighbour invited me for a coffee and asked if I’d teach her English. This threw me a little, as I’d not really thought about teaching English and hadn’t a clue where to start. I gave myself a few weeks to find out what to do, just to get started and turned up on a Saturday morning and there they were, waiting for ‘La Inglesa’ and that was it.
Bitten on the neck, sucked dry and welcomed into the vampyras…well no, not exactly.
I’d spent 9 months or so avoiding talking to people (lack of Spanish, not unfriendliness) but now here was no escape and thanks to the funny, generous and open heartedness of my immediate neighbours, this was the beginning of the end of solitude.
We’ve had some laughs. Trying to teach my immediate neighbour the difference in pronounciation between fork and fuck ended with us both on the floor as the two words became dangerously confused.
In the end, we abandoned English lessons and they got on with the heavy task of educating me in colloquial Castellano and Galego and who was who in the village.
By the time the summer arrived and my neighbour (who is some five years younger than me) finished her school year, we’d settle into doing as little as we could get away with.
Last year was an excellent year. There’s a small cottage across the lane and it is jointly owned by three sisters, the oldest of whom came for the month of August, with her husband.
We’d wait until 10 in the evening and then walk around the village, across the through road towards the north and loop around the ‘other’ part of the village. It was a nice relaxing walk, well it would have been if Maria hadn’t been in charge. It was a rampage.
We’d walk around the other bit, soaking up the gossip, admiring the progress on a newly renovated house and cross the big road again, walking into the dark.
If we were lucky, we’d see glow worms. The milky way hung like a massive curtain overhead and when the moon was rising, it would be as bright as day.
We’d meet Rafa (Maria’s husband) and his enormous dog on the way back and then walk the loop up past our house, shouting ‘boa noite’ to my husband, lying in bed, the windows open and up past the enormous 60 foot tall Eucalyptus tree – yes, a real Aussie one, planted by Manolo’s mother, Lola some eighty years earlier and back past Manolo’s house which was opposite Pepe’s. This is where Maria (age 50 something) comes into her element. Pepe and his lovely wife Sara sleep a room alongside the lane and Maria starts off by rapping on the window, she and Manolo singing ‘Dispiertame, dispierta’ and then running away. We, innocents shout ‘hola’ at Pepe as he opens the window with a ‘Corallo’. I ask him if he sleeps naked like my husband does and he puffs out his chest with a ‘si, mujer’, by which time the partners in crime, Maria and Manolo have returned so that we can point the finger of blame at them.
On a really good night, we’d retire to the pavillion-style tent outside Maria’s house, where she and her husband Rafa would rush in for ‘chupitos’ (a thimblefull of homemade liqueur) and a snack.
One night, the monster-sized dog, (named Kobe) was wandering around, attracted by the aniseed in the licor de hierbas and walking under the plastic table, which was unfortunately smaller than he. With glasses flying, one of us lured the monster back to his bed, with an irrestistible glass of hierbas and cries of ‘Rafa! Your dog is an alcoholic!’.
It was rounded off with an unforgettable walk down the Winter Camino de Santiago from Diamondi to Belesar…but more of that another day. A vintage summer.
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