If you know the Hondón area you’ll soon realise it has one stubborn but very quaint foot in it’s agricultural past and the other slow marching into the 21 first century. The valley has a long fertile farming history, particularly grapes, olives and almond groves. But over the last 20 years it has seen masses of foreign investment in property sales. Times they are a changing! Well, local expat’ Richard Seal, a teacher and writer, observes the traditional of Hondón village life…
The Spanish shepherd nods at the sauntering expat who has stopped in front of his flock on the mountain path in the Hondon Valley. Goats sit, staring back in defiance at the intruder, whilst the sheep set themselves to square up to the fluffy dog rounding them up. As the man runs the gauntlet, the group stands together calling the human back – if he thinks he is hard enough.
Further down the road the expat watches a farmer, moving slowly in the sun, leather-faced, dog pant-wagging at his side. Suddenly a mobile phone becomes a foreign object, not working or welcome here – decades melt away with each drip on his sweat streak-striped shirt. Silence shimmers in the heat, disturbed only by almonds dropping, shaken down from his trees.
Arriving in the village of Hondon de los Frailes, expat tips his hat to the aged couple, sitting on rickety chairs outside their house, listening to a crackly radio, with shutters closed against the August afternoon heat. On a low wall near the English bar, clear of the waves of Geordie and Cockney tones, sits a group of old Spanish men. Hewn from rock, faces carved in granite, they say nothing … their brown eyes are sharp, darting, sparkling over small cigars. An elderly lady stands beside a tree, leaf framed, small and proud, in timeless silhouette.
Speaking of Spanish
The expat eschews the English bar in search of paella while the locals enjoy their lunch at home. Lingering in the cafe, he luxuriates in the Senora’s sensual smile and mellifluous voice. He would love to share her song, fancying flamenco. His shaky grasp of the language falters further to broken words barely held together by a ‘bueno’. Watching the man struggle, searching for Spanish, the waitress hovers and flashes him a smile. A giggle sneaks out, brown eyes twinkle at his stuttered words. Returning with the bill, his ‘muchas gracias’ is met by a breezy ‘de nada’.
©2020. This article was kindly written for Hondon Villas and the Hondón Community by Richard Seal, a member of the local Hondon Writing Circle and has published “Strands” and many other stories / poems inspired by his Spanish & Hondón life.
Percy Chattey Books publish ‘Story Telling®, a series of Short Stories and Poems in both digital eBooks & paperback formats available online via Amazon and Kindle.
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