WITHIN my first month of being here I became startled to realise how the itinerant folk lived.
It was September of 1969 and hotter than an air rifle at the fair, yet everyone still wore what I presumed must have been their winter wear.
No one made the slightest attempt to dress for the climatic conditions. This just didn’t disturb me, I was shocked.
Here was an entire race of people following a living pattern that obviously hadn’t evolved for 500 years or longer.
Heavy winter clothing was still being worn daily. I decided to sleep on it.
But, when one awoke, had breakfast and finally strolled outside the blazing glare of the sun would almost knock me over. My eyes most certainly had to be shielded to see.
The air was so hot it made breathing difficult so you immediately sought shade and sat for a few moments.
While resting you couldn’t help but observe the tradesman clad in long sleeve shirts, heavy pants and small black berets balanced for no purpose.
Possibly I am not explaining this well. That summer was hot, really hot. It was so hot that if you stood too long in the same place, the stone terracing under your shoes would cook through and burn your feet.
You had to keep moving and most certainly head for the shade. I expected everyone to have a huge sombrero to keep the constant glaring heat off them but no one did.
Nor were shorts worn or sleeveless tops. Yes, some of the braver worked shirtless. It was summer, an evil heat loomed preeminently and embraced each living being – but it wasn’t recognised.
It was obviously to be faced off in a stoic manner as if something to be endured for what must have been evils or sins committed in previous nights or dreams.
It was unfathomable for me to watch. My understanding of man diminished.
Darwin’s law of inevitable change hadn’t made it to this lost corner of Spain.
No one was adopting to circumstances; life was being head on.
About five days later I was asked to leave a bank in Vera because of my inappropriate dress, wearing Bermuda shorts, sandals and a t-shirt.
A good 10- 15 years must have passed before I witnessed a local Spaniard sporting my same casual garb from way back then.
Now, everyone is dressing cool and comfortable with the metrological conditions considered.
But, long ago, back then you met the sun like a man and how they survived is still a mystery to me.
But then, they were a strong stoic folk accepting few frivolities in life, unlike the modern ‘fiesteros’ of today