Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Monday, 31 October 2011

Long shadows and Halloween

Halloween has been a funny old occasion this year. I've spent the whole week talking about it to my students, from the history going back to the pagan celebration of Samhain to playing Hangman with only spooky words allowed. Romy's class dressed up at school on Friday because Monday 31st is a school holiday and they didn't want to miss the opportunity to make masks and go around making loud noises.

But then, we couldn't find a pumpkin to carve - nowhere, no how. I can't say quite how disappointed we all were by this as we are rather fond of pumpkin lanterns.

By way of consolation, I decided to make a graveyard Halloween cake even though I had limited access to decorations - our local supermarket being good but basic. It tastes, rather surprisingly, out of this world!

(But somewhere in 'tidying up' the computer, we've lost our photo editing programme, so apologies that this one really is warts and all!)

As Monday and Tuesday (All Saint's Day) are holidays from school, we decided to go to the coast today. We had really wanted to go the the Sierra Nevada before the snow comes again, but the weather forecast was poor and there was no point in going if it rained or was cloudy. And as we headed south, we could see the clouds hanging over the mountain ridge in an ominous sort of way. The path we chose took us through the Sierra del Chaparral - a stunning, (probably best walked!) track that wound through some wonderful pine forests (and how we love our pine forests) where we stopped for our picnic and clambered up a dry river bed and walked several kilometers without meeting a soul.

And the long shadows? Well, our journey through the forest was made more exciting when the car engine suddenly started vibrating erratically, a previously unseen warning light came on and then the engine stopped completely and suddenly - leaving FR and I looking at each other in shock, wondering how we would get out of the woods before nightfall. However, after a brief poke under the bonnet, we were fortunate enough to discover the trusty Volvo had not let us down and it growled back into life. It seems that our slow and sandy drive over the bumpy forest track had temporarily clogged something up. Let's not dwell on it - we made it safely out and down the winding road to the coast.

Where we enjoyed a late autumn afternoon's sunshine on the beach at Salobreña and where the sea was still warm enough for the children - well, the brave ones - to venture in.

In fact, it was when FR also stripped off and waded in that I realised I'd left the camera in the car but it took me too long to get there and back to catch him.

And the sun had just gone down a bit too far to capture those long shadows too but I did get the moon! (That tiny crescent high up in the sky - see it?)

When we came home - in the dark - Romy was absolutely amazed to discover it was still only 8pm and there would be time to go out in her witch's costume. Which she did, and Ruy with her in a scary tunic with his heart beating on the outside. We were surprised to see several children out and about in Halloween costume - not a lot but enough for my own children to feel it was OK to knock on some doors. They were pleased to come home a short while later with a reasonable haul of goodies. Halloween is not exactly a traditional Spanish celebration....the power of advertising.

We've had a full and lovely day but one with time to sit and listen to the birds and the silence of the mountains and forests; one to feel the sand between my toes and the sea on my feet.

Time can go as slow as it likes when there are days like this to enjoy.


  1. Hello Annie:
    What a very enjoyable day you all seem to have had. Quite an unusual combination of events for Halloween and, in our view, so much more special because of it. How amazing that the children were able to swim in the sea. It is very wintry here now so thoughts of stripping off and bathing seem difficult to imagine.

    And, as for the graveyard cake. Well, that is a first for us! We rather think that we should call it 'Death by Chocolate'!!

  2. as always.... great to read what you're up to...fabulous photos of the Halloween swim.

  3. Thank you for your comments. Jane and Lance - of COURSE! Death by Chocolate. I hadn't thought about that one and it made me chuckle. And Janice, I love reading about what you're up to as well. What a long way away from those early days when we first met. I do still miss Anna such a lot! Axxx

  4. Brilliant cake! And looks like you had a great day.

  5. I love the cake...warts and all! This sounds like a really nice day; beach, getting candy. You're right, if only time on days such as these could slow down. I see the moon. You may have heard this many times, but, here, it is referred to as God's fingernail when it becomes a sliver like that.

  6. What a very different Halloween. Just wait - I'm sure that the Spanish will soon catch-on.
    It is quite new in Norway but of course the kids here today are raised on American cartoons and films. So in the space of only a few years of marketing by the shops it has become a national obsession.
    I think your graveyard cake is a brilliant idea. I will remember it for next year.


  7. Thanks Annie - yes, it was a really good day. One we'll look back on with much fondness in years to come!
    Kirsten - I haven't heard that description of the moon which is rather nice. Here, though, seeing the crescent shape over the Moorish castle makes me think more of the arabic culture - of which there are many reminders around.
    And Anna - as you say, there's a lot of American influence here too, resisted by the adults, embraced by the children. It will eventually take on but as it has no religious (Catholic) overtones or undertones, it won't ever become part of the culture - though yes, the marketing will ensure it appears to be important to the nation!

  8. What a super description of an unusual and lovely Halloween holiday, Annie. Your photos are fabulous - so atmospheric. Glad you're managing to find the thinking time you need.

  9. Hi Annie,
    I love the photo of the winding road looking up to the tree line. Just my kind of adventure. Like you when my children were the ages yours are the care of choice was a Volvo - large enough to give room for everyone with a boot that holds just bout everything.
    A lovely trip and beautiful photos.

    PS - I was speaking to Anna just last month. She is volunteering with a local community project and seems to be enjoying herself. Bridget and I keep trying to arrange to go down to Bristol to catch up and now that Bridget is to be retiring (to take up cake baking) we may now manage a visit.

    Celia xx

  10. What a lovely day you dad. We visited Granada last December, and also drove up to the Sierra Nevada National Park. We had lunch in a tiny little restaurant there, and ordered odd things to try them out--rabbit stew, oxtail stew, and a kind of black sausage. All very good--and memorable. And the day started out sunny--and then it snowed in the middle of our hike. Which made it all the more memorable!


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