Mercifully, I can probably count on one hand the amount of times in my life that I’ve been so embarrassed or ashamed that I’ve wanted the ground to swallow me up, right there, right then. Being a fairly confident, laid back type of person, it takes a lot to make me blush or drop my cool however, something quite out of the ordinary happened a few weeks ago. Something so toe-curling that I still squirm in my seat thinking about it as I write this post.

It was a regular Sunday morning here in Las Pilas. The sun was shining, Colin had been out for his ‘Paseo Domingo’ and all was well in the world of Casa Nevino. Being a lazy, indulgent sort of day, I’d made no effort to tidy up the house or make the beds. Instead I’d poured myself a large glass of Cava juice and was messing about with some drawings in my studio. Upstairs, Don Pedro O’Riley was working on a painting, Buddha Bar playing at top volume in the background.

Two large glasses of Cava juice down, I decided to go outside and stretch my legs. While watering the pots of geraniums at the front of the house, I noticed a large group of people, a swift head count made it forty or so, walking up the hill. They were all ages and I didn’t recognise any of their faces. ‘How strange’ I thought to myself ‘I wonder what they are doing’? as I wandered back in to the house and got on with my work.

An hour must have passed when I became aware of loud shouting outside our front door. ‘Lottie! Pedro! Estas en tu casa?’ I put down my work and went to see who was there. Imagine if you will, my surprise on opening the front door to find the merry group of 40 + visitors and a handful of locals standing on the doorstep.

Pepe could hardly contain his excitement. He was jumping up and down like some sort of manic elf and beaming from ear to ear. It should at this point be said that, for pretty much all of the time, Pepe’s days are mostly spent sitting on the low whitewashed wall across from the bar, chatting to whoever walks past or feeding titbits to Colin. Today however was different. He’d clearly given himself the mantle of ‘Entertainments Manager’ to the hoard of sightseers that were now stood waiting expectantly in our yard.

Not to be outdone by Pepe’s smart new career move, Little Jose stepped forward to add his pennies worth. At rapid speed (Andalucian dialect is famously fast, this was even faster) of which probably only 30% I really understood, he explained that the visitors now gathered in our forecourt where a big family gathering who had come specially from Jaen for a visit back to the village. One of their relations had built the old flour factory here. From what I could gather, one of the great-grandparents had lived in our house. ‘These people are very keen to see your courtyard’ Jose explained and as an after-thought ‘only your courtyard’.

‘Of course! Of course!’ I said ‘They are most welcome!’ ‘Come in! Come In! I gushed, gesticulating rather drunkenly that they should proceed through the large wooden doors in to the courtyard. But suddenly, it was like the flood gates opening of the Grand Harrods winter sale, – the punters flooded in. Hoards of them, all peering and poking and looking around and then! before I knew it they were inside the house. This mad crush of people, pushing, and shoving and squeezing themselves in to every available space on the ground floor.

‘PEDRO!’ I wailed loudly ‘Come and help me!’ The music upstairs was so loud I doubted that he could hear me ‘P-E-D-R-O!’ I shrieked like some mad hyena from the last vestige of space that I could find – the log basket by the fire. And then he appeared! But with his sudden appearance, so too the bowing and scraping started ‘ Signor Pedro is a professor you know’ said Pepe proudly, now totally at ease in his new role as Chief Entertainments Manager ‘And, a very famous artist too – sold one of his paintings to the King of Spain don’t you know’ said Little Jose puffing out his chest not wanting to be outdone. I sunk my arse deeper in to the log basket.

The madding crowd dispersed themselves as best they could around our pint-sized ground floor. Every cupboard, every drawer, every nook, every cranny, every single object was picked up, looked at, scrutinised and, for the most part, admired. I fell for it hook, line and sinker – After what was now almost an entire bottle of Cava juice I couldn’t help but feel anything but happy that this unexpected troupe of visitors were enjoying their time in our house. The house that once belonged to one of their ancestors and that now we had made our own. And, they made ALL the right noises. Lots of ‘Ooh’s and Aah’s’, and much appreciation for our sympathetic restoration.

What these wandering travellers didn’t yet know was, that I had a box of photographs and letters. Lots and lots of letters that we had found, along with live bullets in the hayloft at the end of the house. Over the summer we had dismantled part of the end of the house. The last vestiges of the working Finca, and, hidden deep inside the dusty old straw, the old wine skins and boxes of rifle cartridges, where leather satchels of correspondence relating to the Spanish Civil War. Personal correspondence, photographs, letters that for the most part I could not decipher because of my appalling lack of Spanish language. I’d purposefully set these aside for later, in a box in the hope that one day I could dismantle them, make some sense of this bloody history and discover for myself what life might have been like for the person/people that lived in our house years before.

It therefore seemed appropriate that at the point that the house becomes a cul-de-sac – namely my studio space in the old donkey stable, that I should hand over this box of treasures to our visitors. They were after all the rightly inheritors of such bounty. These letters were penned in the hand of some relative of theirs – I’d be mean not to part with such a stash even though I so desperately wanted to keep it for my own.

Well, if I thought the unexpected visitors mad dash inside our house was akin to a Harrods Sale, then I was wrong. So wrong. The tears that ensued up on my giving them the box with the letters and photographs was beyond compare. No amount of sale items, no amount of massive HD TV’s at bargain price could compare with the joy on these strangers faces.

It was at this point that Don Pedro took over as bountiful tour guide. ‘Please come upstairs, come and see my studio, see what we have done with the top of the house’ I was so busy wiping away my own tears at how happy I had made 40 + people on gifting them a box of dusty, ancient letters that I quite forgot that my Piss Bucket was still at the top of the stairs. Unable to hail Pedro down, to even get his attention because of the mad chatter from what seemed like a thousand Andalucians descending on our home I just prayed that he’d found a way to make the horrid, stinky bucket go away.

At last, trailing behind the what now seemed like the 5,000 Spanish visitors I noted happily that FULL, to BRIMMING (remember it’s Sunday, and I’ve been idle all morning) Piss Bucket was not at the top of the stairs – at this stage I couldn’t actually give a damn where it was, as long as it wasn’t obvious, I didn’t care.

Please now enter (stage right) our packed out front bedroom, which from now on, will forever be referred to as, SCENE OF CARNAGE.

I am referring to THE MARITAL BED. The lovely bed where we sleep and where I, only the night before had a massive menstrual haemorrhage and which flooded, repeat FLOODED our special MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS. I’d stripped the bed earlier but the horrendous remains which had occurred from the night before, plus 100’s of other leakages over months, and years passed, remained clear for all to see.

It was at this point that I really wanted to die. Here, crammed in to this tiny room, it was like taking 50 CSI investigators to a crime scene. There was no going back. Desperately trying to avert their gaze from my blood soaked/filthy mattress I then found myself manically pointing out the new windows that we’d recently had custom made and installed at vast expense. There were a few oohs and aahs but then their eye’s immediately turned STRAIGHT back to the mattress. Little Jose and Pepe were having a field day! London Dungeon eat ‘yer heart out.

Don Pedro, finally noticing my puce face, and realising the situation that we’d got ourselves into, made a point of trying to direct attention to the old hooks on the beams He asked if anyone knew what the dozens of hooks up on the beams on on bedroom might have been used for. ‘Blood sausage’ ‘Morcilla’ they all cried like baying hounds…oh Lord, I could have wept.

But you know, behind every cloud is a silver lining. Ghastly, embarrassing, hideous blood stained mattress aside, my dear beloved husband was given a commission on the back of it (perish the thought) ‘Paint the factory!’ ‘Paint a picture for our dear great-grandfather…’ and he is, right now, painting a picture of the factory ‘money is no object’ they said…

We wait and see!

photo

63 Comments

  1. Sorry for the embarrassment but you can be sure you’ll be in their conversation for years to come! Fame, here I come! And I’m sure the commission will be very interesting…Nice to hear from you Lottie!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have a horrible feeling that you are right. It’s the sort of thing that can’t be un-seen. My bloody mattress will forever be burnt on the retina of the fine assembled company – I just know it! and of all the things to be remembered for……..

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  2. And I’ve been wallowing in embarrassment because I didn’t understand the pool hours at our health club and got in the pool while swimming lessons were going on, when I shouldn’t have been there. I’m SO over that cringie-feeling, as of right now. Thank you, Lottie. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha!! that’s just the sort of thing that I would do – time tables are not my forte. I’m glad that I’ve managed to expunge your cringie-feeling with this story. Not my finest hour, that’s for sure! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my, Lord have mercy, you poor thing. I would have said to the “tour guide, “have you no shame and please remove these wayward folks from my bedroom now.” Or did he not understand your broken Spanish?

    I woud have died a thousand deaths and believe me that little Spaniard deserves a talking to. Who knows if he will not repeat the same thing again, You just do not know.

    I cant believe those folks were so insensitive that they opened drawers and cupboards. Besides the fact that bedrooms are off limit. At least where I come from that is private quarters. Or is that how the Spanish behave?

    Bless, Pete’s pea picking heart. He did try to cover for the situation. If I were able to drink I would have drunk myself into a stupor after all of that. There is only one positive thing that I can see here and that is that you were able to give the packet of antique letters to the relatives. Wonder if they fought over them.

    Candidly written and, funny but, in a distressing way. 🙂 I am still thinking about how ashamed you must have felt.

    Hugs,
    ~yvonne

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Yvonne, it really wasn’t so bad – It’s a story and as such needs embellishments – I don’t think anyone actually went through any drawers but it sounds much more crazy and fun if I say that they did! They were very charming visitors though I’m not sure I’d be so crazy as to have a house full like that again. It did get a little claustrophobic – I certainly will NEVER allow anyone upstairs again without checking that everything is as it should be – I was mortified that everyone saw my mattress in that state – it was beyond disgusting!
      Pete was brilliant- he realised just too late about our bedroom but by then everyone had flooded in – excuse the pun! xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Love those puns. Flooded and pailed/pale in comparison. You are so quick and witty. You must wish that you could been witty when the horde was there. If this makes you feel any better, let me just say that the happenings that you have experienced and are still going through is really minor to the embarrassment of what of you have written about in this post.

        Yvonne xxx

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  4. Lottie, it’s great to have you back. And OGM, what a come-back story. I would have probably died from panic (at 40 people in my house) long before they got to the mattress. I think you handled the situation with supreme grace. You made a terrific story of it. Mega-hugs. 😀 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You disappoint me Lottie. A bottle of vino collapso and you couldn’t think up a suitable’and he died in this bed’ story.They’d have taken that home and entertained themselves for years on it.
    I’m so sorry sweetie, I can’t help but admit you’ve raised a real laugh today. Thank you.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well I’m very glad that I made you laugh – at least something positive has come out of the sorry state of affairs. If only I had made it upstairs first, I could at least have thrown something over the bed but alas. I fear that forever I shall be remembered as the woman with the filthiest mattress in Spain – can you imagine? xxxxxxxx

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I read this on FB originally and I understand your feelings. There was an article on the BBC website recently, captioned roughly “menstruation and sport, the last taboo”. Sad stories about how elite lady athletes had been trounced by lesser players because they were almost unable to play. But having half the village traipsing through your bedroom is a recipe for disaster, whatever the circumstances. I hope there was no sign of a rampant rabbit. Keep them downstairs next time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I read that article too – no wonder it’s known as the Curse. As for rampant rabbits, no such luck. My bed may be an eye-opener but my bed side cupboards are truly disappointing – not a sex toy in sight, just books, books, books and more books 🙂

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  7. I thought the letters were going to indicate some terrible dark secret among the family and that they all ended up starting a vendetta.
    Embarrassment is a hard emotion to put aside. There was a little incident, not interesting enough to write about, when I was about 8. I still go red and feel the world closing in around me if I think about it.
    What a horrible situation. Glad you were able to share the story with us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m still intrigued about the letters. Who knows, maybe they will throw up some dark secret? That said, it was very nice to be able to hand them back to the family – they were so delighted. Yes, embarrassment is hard to handle. I’ve not felt that way in a long time. Not something that I’d want to go through again, that’s for sure!

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      1. I can imagine how surreal that day must have been Lottie. I know how you feel. We both live in Spanish villages where nothing should be happening, but, boy, the stories keep coming ! 😀 ❤

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  8. Ohmigosh, Lottie, I can’t imagine how you felt…and you were so worried about the pee bucket. I bet you’ve made the bed every day since then. But I think that your visitors probably went away with the happy thoughts of everything else good that day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know, the pee bucket was the least of my problems! The pee bucket pailed (hahaha) in to insignificance after that. The trouble is that now, every time I have to change the sheets on our bed, I get flash backs of that day and the expression on the peoples faces when they saw the mattress. HORROR!

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  9. Oh gosh..
    what a nightmare on a sunday afernoon 🙂
    Normally you are frightened of a situation like that in public: trains, planes, restaurants and and you can’t reach a toilet at once… but at home… you don’t think about an awful lot of spectators :-O
    Poor you, Lottie!!!! Cheer up!! The indruders had to be ashamed not you!!!
    Big hugh from Berlin !!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I belive you 🙂 … just imagine there was hatchet nearby.. I bought once one in a DIY warehouse and also big trash bags.. and the cashier asked me what I’m going to do with it 😉
        But fact is that is quite wonderful that the letters and fotos you found have come to the right place now!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh gosh..
    what a nightmare on a sunday afernoon 🙂
    Normally you are frightened of a situation like that in public: trains, planes, restaurants and and you can’t reach a toilet at once… but at home… you don’t think about an awful lot of spectators :-O
    Poor you, Lottie!!!! Cheer up!! The indruders had to be ashamed not you!!!
    Big hugh from Berlin !!

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  11. Funny now, not so funny then. Oy! Blood Sausage, indeed. The relief you must have felt at the bucket’s absence, only to see…..

    As you said, maybe a silver lining with the commission, but the agony. I guess there is one monumental memory for that foam to forget.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought the piss bucket was bad but the mattress was much worse – hideous and nowhere to hide. Actually one other terribly embarrassing thing happened a few weeks after we arrived here. You may remember that at that time, the piss bucket was also used for poo? well picture this is you will, the builder came over to ask me a question at just the point when I was taking aforementioned bucket outside ‘fully loaded’ – his face was a picture!

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  12. Oh dear… Every woman’s worst nightmare come true. I have to say, you are very lucky they were not American tourists. Americans are much more squeamish than Europeans. Or so it seems to me. Thank goodness I wasn’t there–I might have fainted! 🙂

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  13. Oh, how I laughed and laughed, and I’m sorry it is at your experience, Lottie. I, too, know of those tricky mattresses when Aunt Flo shows up unexpectedly. The secret to reduce it? Simple hydrogen peroxide.

    P.S. I’m guessing the piss bucket didn’t even compare. Let me know how the painting and sell of it fares. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s been awhile, so I thought it would be a good time to pop in and say hello. and when I said experience I meant expense, but I’ve been sleep deprived working on building my business. Hope you’re enjoying Spain far more than Jakarta. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sleep deprivation is the pits so even more reason for me to say thank you to you for taking time to stop by here and leaving a comment 🙂
        We love living here. I’m grateful for the experience that Indonesia gave us, but this little corner of Spain definitely feels like home in a way that Jakarta never could xxx

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  14. Well that’s a doozy of a yarn there Lottie! Thank you for your over-sharing, it makes such fascinating blog fodder :). I still remember the mortification when as a teenage girl a sanitary pad (unfurled but thankfully unused) fell out of my bag and onto the busy footpath in my hometown on the day of the Santa parade. I wanted to d i e. You handled your situation with such good humour – though I presume most of the village has now heard about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your comment made me smile Hayley. I remember something similar happening to me at a teenager except it wasn’t an unused one. I was playing hockey at school and it flew out of my gym knickers, straight on to the pitch. Many, many moons on you can see I still haven’t really got the ‘hang’ of womanhood!! 😛

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  15. I know this is a bit late but for some reason I was ‘un-followed’ on your blog and missed your life affirming posts. Hopefully this one will get through. A great and funny story. Except for a piss bucket, a bllod matrass will never happen to me. Did you go to Maastricht?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear from you, Gerard! No, we didn’t go to Maastricht but all’s well that ends well because we’ve just started another HUGE project here in Spain. I shall write about it soon 😀 I’m sorry that I’ve not been able to keep up with all your posts – I’ve had an exceptionally busy couple of months and it’s going to get even more frantic. This is all good though and working towards getting our project underway. I’m never happier than when I have fingers in lots of pies!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh Lottie – so lovely to read your wild adventures. All I can say is – Wow! You’re still menstruating? You can piss into a bucket? You have a man painting in your attic? You have people who spontaneously visit you?
    You’ve still got it all baby – that’s for sure.
    (Went to Jakarta via DenPasar the other week and said a hello to the old town for you…lots of love from your antipodean twin – Chas xxx)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and Lots of love back to you. Yes, all of the above! Though I’m well fed up with the ‘monthlies’ and I could well do without having to piss in a bucket! I had a very strange dream about Jakarta the other night….I must admit to waking up with a sigh of relief that I was here and not there. Still, they were extraordinary days and I got to meet YOU! Keep in touch, dear Chas and great to hear from you xxx

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