Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


During the long hot evenings, we have been playing a Spanish card game called Escoba, which is quite addictive.  Escoba means brush, usually a long handled broom-type brush and so I suppose the translation of the game could be 'clean sweep'.

Cesar Snr likes to play against me and is very competitive - I have beaten him a couple of times and he's very keen to eradicate the memory! Whilst he's been away in Leon, I've been practising with Ruy - and unfortunately for me, I've taught him too well and he keeps beating me!

The game is played with a deck of Spanish cards and I have just looked this up on Wikipedia and found this image showing exactly the same deck that we play with. I have discovered something myself by doing this.

If you look carefully at the 'suites' of cards and you will see that they go 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 - and then directly to 10,11 and 12. I had thought that the cards in the Villa family were missing something important, but that like many things in this house the 'put and make do' attitude was prevalent! Bear with me....

The game requires each player to have three cards each and to start with, four cards are placed face up in the centre. The aim is to make 15 points with one card in your hand and as many of the centre cards as possible. If you can take all of them, that counts as an 'escoba' and you win a point. Now, imagine playing this for the first time and being pretty cool about adding up to 15 - and then discover that the 10 is only worth 8, the 11 is worth 9 and the 12 is worth 10.. takes some getting used to. Anyway, I can now confidently say that 11 plus 6 equals 15 and thus gather my cards as necessary from the table! Hope it doesn't have a negative effect on Ruy's mathematical development.

As to the 'put up and make do' attitude here - it is comical on good days and frustrating on bad. A few examples are:
i) The house is full of heavy old chairs - in the dining room alone, I counted 11 and usually there are only 2 people living here. That would be OK if there was room for them, but there isn't. One of them lives in front of the big old 'dresser' where the plates are kept and it is impossible to open the door to get plates out without moving the chair or taking the plates one at a time and turning them sideways to get them out.
ii) The dining table is again very old and very heavy - a solid walnut thing - oval with lots of inconvenient legs. It's in three parts that keep coming apart. It is impossible to get the big heavy chairs under the table because the legs are too close together on the table. Getting five of us round it a meal times is a challenge.
iii) In the upstairs part of the house, where we sleep, there is a terrace over which is a canopy - many other houses round here have one - but this one, when extended, is so low at the front that you have to stoop down to get under it. Occasionally, Cesar Snr must get irritated with this, so he winds it in - only to find then, that because the metal arms of the canopy have bent inwards as it closes, you can no longer open the door wide enough to get in easily!
iv) Another door that is impossible to open wide enough is the bathroom door, because is shelving unit has been put up behind it - most of the time, this isn't a problem, you just have to remember not to open the door too wide when you go in. However, the washing machine is in the bathroom, and because the bathroom door doesn't open properly, neither does the washing machine door! So, to load it, you have to 'post' the washing in bit at a time - there isn't quite enough space to go in, close the door and open the machine wide either - just in case you think I'm being picky!!
v) I'll stop after this one, though it's not the last! The plugs in the house have a tendency to leave the wall when you extract a plug... exposing the wires behind. OR, there's a disconcerting spark when you plug something in... I am constantly telling the children not to plug things in though thus far, no one has been damaged.

There are lots more little 'features' about the place...mostly created by Cesar Snr... the garage door, for example, is on upside down so you have to lift the handle up to close the door and vice versa to close it. As I said, mostly, it's amusing and there's a never ending supply as I keep discovering  more things. We keep making suggestions about making changes, but they are not usually accepted...and it is their home so we put up and make do as well!

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