IN the old days summer started on July 1. That was the date the French factories closed and people fled toward the seas. Spain being much cheaper than France captured the volume on our coasts.
Those French were large and hearty, fun loving, hard drinking and a fierce loving crowd. I couldn’t understand them very well but they didn’t care nor would they make an attempt to speak Spanish (obviously a lesser tongue than their regal French).
Summer was also when locals vacated the village for an afternoon and wandered down to the beach. With only two or three places to eat you inevitably met your urban neighbours you hadn’t seen all winter. Outrageous swimming costumes were the order of the day for them.
Dressing for the beach was one thing but allowing their bodies to be touched by water was a circumstance not relished by the town folk. Instead they stationed themselves in the most comfortable and convenient tables so as to give a boisterous and cruel running commentary on the native aliens that had trekked down from Albox and places beyond. That lot were more noisy than you could imagine. None of them could move a step without screaming, screeching or cursing at someone. Whatever drink t or food they had was discarded on the beach by their own personal decree. What once was a pristine beach became a garbage heap in hours while the new invaders tip-toed around their debris as an anointed right of passage.
Meanwhile the French too were aghast at what they were beholding and hated the new arrivals through their staring eyes. The spectator English said whatever they wanted and as loudly too as they knew the Spanish couldn’t understand nor the French would try. The beach was very much a three ring circus of differing languages and cultural upbringing.
Inside restaurants pandemonium ruled. Sometimes you had to tear strips off paper serviettes and put them in your ear so your head wouldn’t explode. Children ran about like free time at the zoo. Parents screamed at them for something to do but manners nor public consideration ever came into play. It was a hard way to earn money for The Virgen del Mar and the Puntazo but they both handled the melee with more decorum than any of us contemptibles.
Food got to the tables in the correct order of what we had ordered and rivers of red wine and Casera flowed in torrential drafts and always arrived with polite smiles. They were to be blessed infinitely. Because everyone came back the next day or next weekend for episode two until school started.
The Aliens returned north not be seen again for another year no matter how hot the weather. The village folk likewise having worn themselves out with rye comments and disparaging wisecracks too were done under. Then the seagulls returned and ruled once again en masse.