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Saturday, August 15, 2009

What's a little fire between friends?



Perhaps there is nothing which shows up the differences in a culture as the approach to the health and safety concerns which come to the fore when there is a public event.

Today we ventured into the centre of Castelldefels for one of the celebrations for the Major Festival of our little town. This particular event was one concerned with the parading of dragons of Castelldefels and some of the surrounding towns which were preceded by drum bands and surrounded by ‘Devils’ who pranced around and let off fireworks some of which were directed as the crowds which had come to see this part of the festivities.

The Pauls were horrified by the seemingly indiscriminate spraying of red hot material towards vulnerable people which included little children. Exactly my attitude when I first experienced this pyrotechnic chaos a few years ago.
The likelihood of this sort of event taking place in the United Kingdom is so laughably remote that experiencing it in Catalonia gives one a true guilty pleasure and a feeling of having escaped the Nanny State for a couple of hours.

The Pauls were happier with their firework explosions happening some distance away when we were sitting in the restaurant a few days ago watching the start of our town’s festivities which commenced with a spectacular firework display on the beach.

I have attempted (yet again) to take a decent photograph of fireworks and am beginning to believe that it is impossible without a tripod.

Similar problems confront the would-be photographer when attempting to take a decent photo of the fiery dragons and their attendant devils.

But these are small problems when confronted with the Pauls’ determination to get a tan before they go back to Britain. They remind me of my own steely determination which governed my behaviour when I used to visit Gran Canaria out of season so that I could return to Wales with an unseasonable tan in January. Every daylight moment in Gran Canaria was spent lying prone on a sun bed (whatever the actual weather) casting accusing eyes at the sky and praying to all known deities that the sun would shine. Now that I live in a sunny country I can smile with benign condescension at those dwellers in more northern climes.

The Pauls still haven’t visited the beach and thrown themselves in to the Med.

This must be remedied tomorrow.
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