Sunday, 2 October 2011

4 Friends and a Funeral

There is something peculiar about Spain and bar owners. Perhaps it is because the Spanish economy depends so heavily on tourism and bars in particular, that there are so many of these drinking establishments and consequently their owners. Whenever you meet people there is a major possibility that among them will be a bar owner or an ex. Recently there have been numerous encounters with such professionals among friends and family, and as Laredo is going through a prolonged heat wave, the nights are balmy and the conditions perfect for such events.

As hinted in a previous post, Octavio was expected in town, and he appeared with three other interesting Madrid friends in tow (that makes four). These turned out to be folks that had crossed our paths in the past, and we met as long lost friends. The friends featured prominently and often among Octavio's stories from Madrid, and regularly populated his blog posts, had a large collection of stories of their own to keep the outings lively and time appeared to pass without notice.

First there was Patricia, who is a singer about to release a new CD and had a nice little side business in silver imported with her travels. She described her narrow escapes with security searches on airports with considerable volumes of cash and the precious metals. She was accompanied by her partner Antonio, who is a movie maker and producer and in turn described his larger than life associates in Madrid and their escapades as a result of swings between extreme shortage and a glut of money. The couple also confessed to their skinny dipping in the sea these days as they did not expect to find such hot conditions here in Northern Spain!

Octavio too contributed a hilarious tale about a French Count who lives in Madrid and who had occasional duties required by the French embassy, one of which had something to do with a royal funeral, and involved a taxi driver, an overdressed count, an urn containing the ashes of the defunct royal and a seedy bar. Not surprisingly the story which involved Octavio's rendition of the count's French accent, had us laughing for a long time, and one can probably come up with their own version with these diverse constituents.

And so we come to the ex bar-owner, the fourth friend, Juan who is retired from owning the often talked about El Manuela in the barrio (area) of MalasaƱa in Madrid. Over the years Octavio had described the legendary status of this bar and its owners, who we had occasion to meet once or twice in the past. Their organisation of cultural events, including intellectual forums and art exhibitions were much admired in Madrid and beyond. Juan shared many of the friends that Octavio and Antonio talked about, though Marisol and I were just interested onlookers enjoying the stories and the bonhomie of the group remembering old times.

Oh and I almost forgot, the funeral of the grandmother Maria, of our cousins Pablo, Nacho and Valentin...which took place today..RIP

1 comment:

Loli said...

!Que envidia no haber compartido esa tertulia!