Posted by: puebloman | January 29, 2009


It is the custom in the villages when a newcomer arrives that one of your Spanish neighbours will appoint themselves your “minder” -making you welcome, passing the time of day and where necessary keeping you on the straight and narrow. In Almachar, our minder is Paco.He is called “Paco Manchester” because his brother lives in Manchester. A feature of the recent history of the white villages is their appalling poverty and many young men after the Civil War left to seek their fortunes in the north or abroad.Paco’s brother was one such man. Paco himself comports himself with the warmth and generosity typical of the villagers. He has a parcela (allotment) near the village and once when our son turned up with his friends on a Sunday, expecting that all the shops would be open as in London, Paco took them to his allotment and gave them food. He makes beutiful and original ashtrays which he gives to Judy, who likes handmade things. He has also given her two handmade miniature dustpan and brushes. A hint perhaps. In Cutar we have land and our minder, Antonio, helps and advises us on every single aspect of our land management. This usually involves him rushing down, ashen faced, to explain tome that I am jeapordising the entire crop by pruning/not pruning,watering/not watering, fertilizing/not fertilizing. I have come to realise that everything I do is going to be wrong. However,remarkablythere always seems to be a remedy that only Antonio can effect, and this invariably saves the day. Antonio is called “El Gordo” – “fat bastard” in colloquial English. However he is a small, wiry, spare man, very fit and able to move across the nearly verticalland like a goat.We assumed his nickname was ironic until we were told that he had been very fat and had drank a lot,but then had a heart attack and had changed his lifestyle. These days he take a glass of chamomile tea with a half shot of brandy in it at about 8am before he goes tothe campo to work on his grapes. Apart fromthat he nolonger takes alchohol.


  1. Your Antonio and our Manuel – cloned and separated at birth!

    You are so right, everything you do is wrong! I only once have had a grudging comment that I was doing The Right Thing – when Manuel saw me conserving figs!


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