Friday, 25 February 2011
The precious lady was pleased
It all started with lunch. I’ve gone to the restaurant so often I’ve become friends with Luis and Maria. Both are big personalities. When they are in the room you know they are there. They are extremely generous and on a Sunday afternoon Luis, sporting a very large goblet of his favourite red, always feels compelled to buy drinks, usually for everyone. We have had many conversations about Spain in general and Galicia in particular. They have a home in A Coruña but they often visit La Preciosa where Maria’s room from her childhood is still there. Last summer when I was in Santiago they invited me to Sunday lunch in Rial. Luis picked me up in a car driven by the local Parish Priest Don José and they pointed out the local sights, particularly the bars, as we travelled along. We stopped at one for a pre- prandial drink…then we stopped at the local social club just to say hello to the locals and the inevitable cerveza…then we stopped at a bar at the end of the road which leads to Rial. There we were joined by a few more guests for lunch. There were 7 people in the company and I guessed that if everyone bought a round I would probably miss lunch and sleep until the next day. I was relieved when it was announced that lunch was ready.
The car drew up outside the house and there on the front terrace I met La Preciosa. A gargantuan Gallego lunch ensued. Starters of empanada and grilled langoustines were followed by home grown salad and home reared roast beef. The table groaned under the volume of food and all of us gasped when a pyramid of profiteroles running with fresh cream was placed in the centre of the table. “Of course if you prefer something else…” Maria announced as a circular cake the size of a car tyre was also squeezed onto the table. The wine had flowed and so had the conversation. La Preciosa sat at the head of the table surveying the merriment before her. Behind her stoic features lies the warmest of hearts and her face lit up as we chatted about village life. “We must visit the church” she commanded and so we did, our informal procession staggering slightly as made our way.
Thus the next day the organ arrived in Rial. The priest was delighted. The local people assembling for Mass were bewildered. Martín played, I played, photographs were taken and all was well. We were invited to La Preciosa’s for coffee. It was served with cake and homemade liquor. I politely declined which led to a bottle of whisky appearing. I still declined but raised a toast with the coffee. “To the new organ”. Martín decided it had to be done properly and poured himself a whisky. Then another. “If you have one more of those you’ll become Scottish.” I joked. “Oh, my friend, I’ve been Scottish many times in my life” was the reply.