I have had a very indulgent morning - I stayed in bed whilst everyone else got up and listened to 'Saturday Live' via my computer and the internet; then I had a bath in the half-sized version that seems to be the norm in many Spanish homes; then I had a very leisurely breakfast and whilst Cesar took the two youngest to the swimming pool, I went shopping. I said good morning to two neighbours and met and kissed two family members who were also out shopping; I also used my 'Dia' supermarket card to collect points on my shopping; came back; took a telephone call from an old friend of Cesar's - then cooked lunch for us all. I feel very much at home just now!
It has helped knowing that Ruy and Romy have started at a lovely primary school and can catch the bus there in the morning and stay for lunch afterwards. They have both enjoyed their first couple of days and seem to have settled very quickly. The headteacher is a pretty charismatic, relaxed sort of man who is a musician, which is great as there is a big emphasis on singing and enjoying music for its own sake. When we arrived in the morning, there was a loudspeaker playing some celtic-type music and then when we collected them, it was definitely jazz! Jose Luis took the new starters into school himself and as Romy was at the front of the line, he held her hand and off they disappeared into the school, without a backward glance! I am relieved that they are sorted for the time being. I was less happy having visited Mateo's school but we went and looked at a couple of others too around here and they are all pretty much the same - big, modern-looking blocks, mainly concrete, uninspiring - reminded me a bit of the sort of inner-city schools I saw in London and there were about three within spitting distance of each other. Condesa Eylo Alfonso (!) has a good reputation and we know it's not forever - Mateo is quite happy to give it a go - and he will start on Wednesday this week, not Friday as I thought. He'll be able to take the bus and the only negative is that the school day starts at 8.15! Negative because we are not good morning people - none of us!
We had a phone call from the estate agent in Aguilar de Campoo yesterday too, saying he had 'found it' - another house for us to check out, but we can't go until Saturday. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he's right - because whilst I am feeling more settled here, I really want us to be in a home of our own as soon as possible. I know Cesar wants to build a house and find a piece of land to do it - and if we could find it soon, I would like that too, but there are very few bits of land available for sale - and not that many houses either! At least we know the estate agent has us in mind.
We have spent the week visiting the Fiestas and Feria in Valladolid.
I think we were a bit overawed when we first arrived!!
Waiting to go on a big ride!
And they're off!! What you can't see is Romy's little face - she wasn't quite sure whether she had enjoyed it or not....
We all like the dodgems best!
What I have always liked about Spain is that despite the enormous number of people in the streets, there is never any threat of violence. People of all ages are thronging together - groups of old people, families, groups of young people, couples - and everyone laughing and enjoying themselves and stopping to talk to others along the way. It is the difference we were looking for when we came here to live. It is impossible to imagine the same atmosphere in Huddersfield lasting from 8pm through to 2am - if it starts off well, something changes as the influence of alcohol takes hold. Despite being out so often this week and until late in the night, I haven't seen any one who was obviously drunk - not one person. And yet, all the bars are open and stalls selling wine, margaritas and beers are all around in the fairground.
The house search continues, the sale of our old one is going forward OK so far and we are comfortable here in La Flecha, Valladolid for the time being. I think I should say that this afternoon, Cesar and Ruy are going to see the Toros - the bullfight - at the Plaza de Toros in Valladolid. Mateo does not want to go - Romy does but I won't let her. Ruy understands what is going to happen but I am a bit concerned that he won't like it at all - or worse - that he WILL like it! I have been once myself and it is definitely a spectacle, impressive in its pomp, ceremony and colour. I am quite surprised at myself for not disapproving of it in principle but I don't and do watch it on the television - though I am not keen to go again to a live one. It is being stopped in Catalunia but I suspect this is more on political grounds than humanitarian or animal rights ground.