Looking on the bright side, having a car with a mind of its own did mean that we got to meet most of the villagers on our first day. Perhaps not the most orthodox social introduction to the people whose lives and work revolve around the olive trees and groves but it was a good start and an icebreaker of sorts.

mist-portrait

Remembering people’s names has never been my forte but fortunately, here in the village there’s a proliferation of men all with the same name, Juan. This is great for me as if ever I am in any doubt as to what someone male here is called, I know that I’ve got a 60% chance of getting their name right. There is however just one problem, knowing which Juan is the Juan being referred to in conversation. It’s now become something of a standing joke between Irishman and myself whenever a Juan is mentioned ‘Which Juan? That Juan or This Juan?’

mist-landscape-one

It was ‘That Juan’ who famously came to sweep our chimney. A couple of days after we’d moved in to our new home, I mentioned to Irishman that we really should get the chimney swept. I’ve been paranoid about house fires every since our farmhouse caught fire years ago when we lived in North Yorkshire. It wasn’t the chimney that caught fire but the wood burning stove’s pipe had been installed too close to the wooden ceiling and on a tempestuous January evening whilst we were out, it set fire to the ceiling beams and 40% of the house caught on fire. When we returned from our evening out, the house was a blaze and to this day (this was pre mobile phones) I still don’t know how he managed it but my first husband risked life and limb by crawling into the house to call the fire brigade. After what seemed like an interminable age we heard the siren of the first fire engine. However, our relief was short lived as it came to grief on our steep, winding farm track and rolled over onto its side. The second fire engine had to be towed by a neighbouring farmer’s tractor 1.5 miles through the top meadows to the house. Our story, and the heroic attempts by the firemen to save our home made front-page news of The Yorkshire Post the following day.

amongst-the-olives

Not wishing to relive that particular experience I wanted to find someone to sweep our chimney sooner rather than later. Since Paco and Antonia were our first port of call for everything in the early days, it gave us a perfect excuse to go round to the bar, have a drink and ask their advice.

another-ruin-in-the-olives

‘I’ll give Juan a call’ Paco poured our drinks and soon was on the phone to Juan. ‘Which Juan do you think he’s calling?’ I asked Irishman ‘This Juan, That Juan or the Other Juan?’ to which we both burst into fits of giggles. It was pointless trying to explain our mirth to Paco. Even if we had the Spanish, our childish humour would have got horribly lost in translation.

the-artist

We’d hardly started our second beer when That Juan turned up accompanied by his mate, Jose. They’d been working hard all day so it seemed only right and proper that they should relax and have a few drinks before they tackled our chimney. When at last they deemed themselves suitably hydrated, we walked back with them to our house. That Juan took a large bunch of twigs out of his van and handed them to Jose who then went inside to the fireplace. That Juan then leapt onto a low wall and nimbly climbed up, and onto the roof. A spot of showing off and machismo then took place as he ran along the ridge of the roof dislodging a few tiles as he went. Irishman and I stood open-mouthed watching from the field above the house.

house-from-field

Standing by the chimneystack, That Juan then hollered down to Jose that a rope was on its way down. A few minutes later Jose had tied the bunch of twigs on to the rope and then with a bit of pulling and tugging, That Juan then hauled it up to his end of the proceedings. With much laughter and loud singing, Jose then pulled it back down. Up and down, up and down went the bunch of cherry twigs until the Laurel and Hardy duo felt confident that the chimney was soot free.

montefrio

With a theatrical flourish to show that their job was finished, That Juan took a bow. His audience of two clapped in appreciation and everything would have been just perfect if he hadn’t then slipped. The only thing he could do was to grab the chimneystack to break his fall. Seconds later he was up on his feet with the broken chimneystack in his hands ‘Oh dear! I’m terribly sorry’ he shouted down to us ‘I’ll come and fix it mañana’. Irishman winked at me ‘We both know what that means’ ‘Yes, we sure do’ I replied ‘I think he’s pulling a fast Juan’ and with that we walked back down through the field to the house.

field-by-house-that-I-want

32 Comments

  1. Very oh Dear. If you can’t have your chimney swept again until someone brings you a chimney. Maybe Manana is a bit quicker when it Juan or the other’s fault?
    I love your style of storytelling Lottie. Hope things soon get sorted.
    xxx Huge Hugs

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    1. David, it was very funny. He stuffed the chimney back on the roof but we are still waiting for mañana – like the song ‘tomorrow never comes’. Every time we get so much as a small breeze here, I’m waiting for it to fall through the roof. Fortunately we’ve not had any gales. If you don’t hear from me, you’ll know that I’ve come to an untimely end; squashed by a chimney pot that fell through the roof one night. Huge Hugs to you xxxx

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    1. I sympathise with the rain – we’ve just come through 2 weeks of rain, fog and then snow. Today was beautiful but I had stuff to do inside so didn’t make the most of it. Juan and Jose were brilliant fun and they did a great job on sweeping the chimney – shame about the chimneystack though! 😀

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  2. LOL Exactly !! It’s how they do it here !! Normally there is no need, as usually the metal pipe catches fire and sounds like a jet engine or a sparrow decides to fall down the pipe and flies around the room leaving soot marks all over a recently white painted ceiling. Andalucia is fun isn’t it Lottie 😉 Ralph xox 😀

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    1. It sure is!!! 😀 I feel you are writing from experience about the sooty bird and white ceilings and walls! Come Spring, I’ll be up a ladder painting the house. I’ve heard that it’s women’s work and I’d hate to let the sisterhood down! XOX

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      1. Painting is also true unless you hire professionals. Women also stand knee deep in the river all day washing out sheep intestines. You’d love that !! 😉

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    1. Awww, thanks Puffin, glad you approve of my childish humour and that you liked the photos. Tomorrow Pete and I are off to make our very own spaghetti western, more childish fun on its way! 😀

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  3. The boys should have had Juan more for the road before proceeding. You could start a whole storybook of Juans upon a time stories.
    This was really funny – but I worry about you in snow without a chimney pot to er… you know what in.
    I think we will see Juan’s brothers when we reach Mexico at the end of the week.
    Great photos of the area.

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    1. Thank you, Rod. The chimney pot is still there, just not attached to anything….balanced precariously on top of the stack – one puff of wind and …..it’s on the ‘To Do Mañana’ list.
      I’m envious of your trip to Mexico, I saw that you’d mentioned on Steve’s post on fbk earlier. I hope it all goes well for you and looking forward to reading about it when you are back 😀

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  4. Oh this was Juans again very funny and so cute. Yep- manana will be one of your most used words. Along with Juan. I think you were most wise to have Jose and which Juan did you say, to clean the chimney?

    Now I can readily identify with Juan and Jose. The Mexican carpenter that builds things for me once in while is named Jose and his helper was Juan. But Juan was the best carpenter but alas he had a drinking problem and so Juan day, Jose kicked him to the curb.

    I loved reading this Juan. Excellent, Lottie.

    yvonne xxxx

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    1. You see how tempting it is to write another Juan? and you had a drunk Juan too? I’m glad you can identify with Juan and Jose, they are like a double-act, where one goes, the other is never far behind. Still waiting for him to fix the pot! 😀
      Yvonne, it was a wonderful surprise to get your email this morning, thank you! XXXXX

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      1. Yes. It’s funny how those two names are often linked. The emails will be in “dribs and drabs” since typing for very long is hard on my hands and lower back. I think I sent the same one two times. 🙂 xxxx

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    1. I don’t think I shall ever tire of this part of the world. The landscape is beautiful and we have a bit of everything here, hills, mountains, valleys, flatter areas – we are about one and a three quarter hours from the sea. Andalucia is very special! I’m thrilled that you are enjoying the stories, Sherry. They are written in chronological order so hopefully over time you will see how our first few months have panned out here – now it’s time to write another juan 😉 xxx

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  5. Juan today, Guon tomorrow. How good is Irish (or you) on a ladder? A couple of tubes of liquid nails or even cement and then re-join
    the pot back on its base.
    I loved the photos and the story with the funny hilarious duo sweeping the chimney.
    The photo of Irish. Was that on the way back from the loo?

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    1. haha!! no, he wasn’t on his way back from the loo – fortunately his ‘back door’ is more stable than mine if you get my drift 😉 I’m terrible on a ladder and I’m not sure that Irish is much better – so far it’s remained intact, stuffed back on top but it really should be fixed soon. A bit of cement should do it.

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  6. I had Juan or two good ones, but after reading all the comments, well that is the price for always falling behind with my commenting. After that performance what else can Juan do but nod sheepishly and amble off.

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  7. It reminded me of the song of the duo trying to pull some bricks up and down and the guy getting hit every time…Next time we need a video!

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