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Now living in l'Olleria, south of Valencia

Monday, 20 February 2012

Let's have a celebration

If there's ever a good thing to celebrate, it has to be New Year.

This year, we were invited to join Paco and Victoria for a spanish family new year. The only thing I was certain about, was eating 12 grapes at midnight, so I took a big bunch of juicy, seedless grapes, as well as a bottle of sparkles and some nibbles. Sadly, our invitation was too short notice for me to make a cake!

We arrived at about 9:30, and found many of the family there; son, daughter-in-law, mum, brother - all people we already knew. The tables were already groaning with food! There was the normal selection of prawns, olives, salads, ham, cheese, doorstep bread (sliced about 1" thick!), as well as loads of drinks. We spent the next few hours laughing and chatting, while merry demolishing the buffet (which seemed to be constantly replenished as each plate emptied). The sweets were the normal spanish ones, which I merely sampled, rather than finished off!

As it approached 12, the tables were cleared, ready for the main celebrations. The women prepared small tumblers with 12 grapes in each one. My grapes were dismissed, as (apparently) they were too big to eat quickly enough. Some of the grapes were from tins of fruit. Closer inspection revealed that it is possible to buy tins of 12 grapes, in readiness for the celebrations. Brilliant idea, if you are out for the chiming of the bells. Another trick, is to put your engagement ring in your glass of champagne - as you drink your new year toast, this brings you luck in love. Soon, it was the count-down. Ed popped the first grape into his mouth... and everyone shouted at him - he was too early, it was just 12, but the bell hadn't chimed yet! 'Dong', munch 1st grape. 'Dong', munch second grape. 'Dong' much third grape, and remainder of second! 'Dong' shove forth grape into mouth and attempt to chew and swallow along with remainder of second and third. We had hit a problem. My juicy seedless grapes had been replaced by smaller, seeded ones! The first grape was ok - but the seeds in the subsequent ones made it harder to simply munch and swallow! Somehow, we managed all 12, and everyone cheered.

Time for the celebratory toast. Ah. New problem. My champagne flute had a pretty ball shape at the bottom, so my engagement ring was now stuck at the bottom of my glass! I didn't fancy tipping the whole lot down my throat, so I had a difficult time drinking, and watching for my ring! Finally, I gave up, drank the drink, then tipped my glass up and shook my ring back out! Not quite the right idea, but never mind.

We had a really fun night out, making up for the last 6 months, when Paco had been working in Cairo. (He broke his front tooth on a date while he was there!)

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