Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Price of Fireworks and Palm Trees

Mother arrived at the San Juan festival in a Spanish town, that I can't spell and am not going to attempt to try spelling, donning the new nick name fag bangle and for very good reason too. Our designated driver repeatedly told her what BMW stood for, in the way an eight year old might tell you, as she screamed at him for reversing out of a very tight parking space into an angry Spaniard. We parked and got out, greeting more of mother's homosexually inclined friends. It didn't take long for me to realise that she was out on the town with five gay men and no real adult supervision, which she seems to need more than me at the worst of times.

So, she was deemed a fag bangle, Lee linked arms with her to demonstrate how the fag bangle worked and how it was a must have accessory for any gay man. The gays swarmed her and one G&T turned to 12, which in Spanish measures is about 152. We wandered down the beach to watch the main event, the burning of the efigy. We had read up on the festival before we came. We knew it was the celebration of the shortest night of the year, we knew we had to jump over the waves in the sea three times, run around the bonfire then throw a piece of paper with our sins written on it into the bonfire to cleanse our sins, and we knew that an efigy of an important part of Spanish culture was burned as part of the celebration. We knew that, what we didn't understand though, was how The Hulk and Spiderman fit into all of this.

We watched The Hulk and Spiderman, sat atop the large wooden ornate building that some Spanish artist had dedicated six months of his life to building, get consumed by flames within seconds. The crowd that had pushed and prodded at us to make sure they could get to the front then fled the beach in a stampede as the whole thing went up in flames a little too quickly for their liking. The wind carried burning embers from the fire to the surrounding palm trees and lifeguard watch towers. We watched and cheered with the British love of things going wrong, and sighed with disapointment as the runaway fires were put out with buckets of water. Mother, nursing her gin, told us how much the palm trees cost and how much the fireworks that followed cost, despite the few comments on how pretty they were, all she could say was "No wonder there are holes in the roads and the pipes don't work, the Spanish government spend all their money on fireworks and palm trees."

She's probably right on the money too - that's mother.

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