Life in a Spanish Village: What’s hot and what’s not

Gratuitous: Bear 'Money Shot' Grylls is Hot

We are living in interesting times here at Bibsey Towers. After 1 1/2 years here in this little village we are moving. Moving a good deal further up a mountain (to 1000m to be precise) and away from civilization. Civilization being the bright lights of the city which is currently a 1/2 hour drive away. When we move we will be over an hour from the city.

Just to assure you that I am not going completely Bruce Parry (or Ray Mears or Bear Grylls – yum) on your arses, we will be living just outside a village all the way up that hill. And it will be 10 minutes of snaky (literally) downhill road to the nearest town. Apart from the view, which is utterly breathtaking, the most important change will be that we will be OUTSIDE the village. Any romantic notions that we might have had about village life in rural Andalucía have been soundly knocked out of us. While there is much to love there is also much to drive you completely nuts.

Here is the Bibsey guide to the ups and downs of village life in Spain:


The Sun. Obviously. Just one of the glorious facts of life here in Southern Spain.

Fiesta time. Much, much fun if you are able to drink copiously and can stay out all night. This is such an important part of village life and a highlight of the year. Ladies get there hair done and spruce up the outside of their houses with a lick of paint. Boys roam the streets with armfuls of rockets to let off, thus fulfilling the need of the Spanish man to make noise (oops slipping into ‘not hot’ territory here).


Oranges by the sack-load

The generosity and community spiritedness of our neighbours and friends. Since we arrived we have been in receipt of figs, oranges and lemons (by the sack-load), all sorts of vegetables, jams, bakes and marmalades. We have had help with the car, with the dodgy electrics and with the plumbing.

Little old ladies. Yes, the abuelas, with all their unsolicited advice on how to dress a baby in all weathers. We will miss them. We will miss one in particular, who we call the Cou Cou lady. She is Bibsey’s best mate in the village and the bearer of much fruit.


The white van vendors. To differentiate themselves they each have a individual signature horn which they use as they are passing through the village. Some use it intermittently, some insistently, one just leans on the horn and another actually uses a loud haler. I understand that for many of the old dames of this village these sellers provide an important service, bringing fish, meat, fruit and veg, ice and bread. However, for a lady with baby who is often just hanging on until the next naptime, it can be a little problematic. So instead of just griping about it, we are moving away from it.

Fiesta time. Oh so not fun when you have a small baby that doesn’t understand why there is a marching band playing outside the window at 8.30 on a Saturday morning, or why people are letting off endless random fireworks throughout the night. When you are pregnant or breastfeeding during fiesta time you can neither drink copiously nor stay out all night. You can neither beat them nor join them. Misery. Misery with a side order of no sleep. Double bubble.


Dog Don't

Dog sh*t. I think that I have mentioned before how great it is that kids can play out in the streets here. Yes, that would be lovely if only the streets weren’t paved with poo.

The barking dogs. Since I started this blog there has been a post inside wanting to get out about that effing dog next door. However, I worry that if I started to write about it, so much bile and vitriol would spew out onto the screen that I might scare you off. Let’s not go there people.

Building work. And more on noise. There seems always to be an angle grinder, cement mixer or a hammer in action in the vicinity of our house. And in the heat of the summer, when you are trapped in the house for the hottest part of the day, these things can get on top of you and cause you to tear your hair out while silently screaming inside. I say silently, because we wouldn’t want to wake the baby now would we?

So you see, on balance, while it is of course ‘hot’ in the village, it will be ‘cooler’ – literally thank goodness – up the mountain. I think that this will be a good move for us. We will be near enough to humanity in our new place, but just out of earshot. Other people’s street-roaming dogs will not be barking or crapping on our doorstep and hopefully the only noises threatening to wake up the little one will be the sound of the birds and crickets in the garden.

Now, about packing up and moving with a nearly-walking 14 month old. How do you do that then?