Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

Sniffin’ about an Andalusian pueblo at Easter

The other evening, Angelica and I went for a sniff about the pueblo to see what was up. It being Good Friday, the town’s Easter cabalgata was in full swing. The cura waved his pot of incense about with careless abandon while women dressed as dominatrix widows, banged long poles on the ground forcefully. Along with sinister hooded figures, they played escort to rows of hardy penitents out for one last night of appeasing their maker in return for all the sinning they’ve been doing over the last year. Penitence involves hauling great effigies of saints onto their shoulders before lugging them up and down Conil’s streets and alleyways every evening during Semana Santa (Holy Week). They do it till it hurts, and then some. People love to watch.

The weather reminiscent of a bank holiday Monday in Scunthorpe, few visitors spent much time on the beach, preferring to idle about the town trying to keep warm. Down by the Torre de Guzman holidaymakers hithered and thithered in numbers. After doing rather more dithering than hithering or thithering we parked ourselves on a handy bench. Cobbles gleamed greasily as we gawped at knots of souls wandering as aimlessly as a tide about to turn. More than a few might have been pondering as to why they keep worshipping a God with a humour wicked enough to have it spitting rain the very Easter they chose to take the family for a short break by the sea. In Scunthorpe, maybe, but on Andalucia′s Costa de la Luz?

On Easter Sunday morning, after briefly considering the Resurrection, we got into a discussion about the clocks changing. Having thought about being robbed of an hour that morning Angelica decided she didn’t like the idea of them messing about with our clocks. She doesn’t know why they do it. I told her they do it just to irritate people. Well, it does, so they must.

When you think about it, why do we continue to vote for the sort of governments that tell us to get up and go to work an hour earlier towards the end of each March. Then, seven months later, just as you’ve got used to it, they tell you to switch back again. It’s a psychological game they play with us. They only do it because they can. Think about it for a moment. Suddenly the government tells us that the new seven o’ clock is eight o’clock, and we all believe it without question. Am I the only one to find something rather disturbing about that? Why don’t they just tell us all to get up an hour earlier? It’s the same thing, except for the fact we wouldn’t have to go to the bother of having to check that clocks were right for at least a week.

We sat on a bench deep in thought. As we watched dusk rob what was left of daylight, a gaily-painted trailer dispensed the sort of brightly-coloured sticky stuff that boosts small children into hyperactivity. By midnight they would be buzzing. It was time to head back before all that sugar kicked in.




6 comments on “Sniffin’ about an Andalusian pueblo at Easter

  1. rangewriter
    March 31, 2016

    Ah, you deal with the time change, also? Ugh. I love having an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day. I wish they’d just keep it that way and never change it. Time is manufactured anyway. Like atmosphere, it has no form, no shape, we can’t contain it, capture it, or make tangible use of it. But by god we try!


    • Bryan Hemming
      April 2, 2016

      There’s a part of me that loves the longer days turning the hands the clock trick brings, but then I don’t like the shorter days at the other end of the year. Maybe, come October, we should all refuse to go along with it and stick to summer time all year round. I mean, they can’t put us all in jail, can they?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy Kate
    March 29, 2016

    I don’t like the hour changing, either. Just seems so unnecessary these days! We kept out of all the Easter goings on this year, feel we have seen it enough now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      March 30, 2016

      It all seems a bit sinister to me, though I was once very moved by seeing a march snake its way through the narrow streets of Cadiz.

      When life isn’t ruled so much by the clock you begin to see how we have been made slaves to the infernal things. Clock watching begins at school, where our love grows for the hands with each passing second that leads them towards the hour of four. But when they rush uphill to nine we attempt to exert mental control over them to stop them ever reaching their destination.

      My post is half in jest at the same time as showing how stupid we can be when we fool ourselves into thinking pushing clock hands round really alters time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Laura Bloomsbury
    March 29, 2016

    Happy Easter Bryan and Angelica. I enjoyed the parade (saints surely better than Easter bonnet version) and enjoyed the touch of Philip Marlow wandering these Conil streets. Darkness feels like a punishment and Easter whips us all back into the light along with the clocks going forward. Just wish it were British summer time forever – with some weather to match!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bryan Hemming
      March 30, 2016

      Happy Easter to you too, Laura. I’d almost forgotten all about the Easter Bonnet parades. I think I only ever saw one.

      Chandler was one of my favourite writers in my twenties, I loved the atmosphere he managed to create. And I agree with you about summer time. Nevertheless, I wonder if I would love it in the same way if we had it all year round. Darn it! Now, you’ve gone and mixed me up.


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