Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every week for Huddersfield Hub.
Along with about 300 people I attended the funeral of an old friend – Jake Mangle-Wurzel – last Sunday.
The bizarre celebration of Joker Jake’s life took place in a field adjacent his shanty town home on the outskirts of Huddersfield.
I have known this eccentric, complex character for about 45 years. Jake was well known around town for his outrageous humour, well displayed on the roof of his dilapidated car which had, for example, a WC and bath, or a blow-up doll on the roof.
But beneath that crackpot appearance was an intellectual man who would engage in lengthy, intense discussions. Read Huddersfield Hub’s tribute to Jake HERE.
Late for his own funeral, he was brought on the back of a pick-up in a handmade green soap box coffin with pram wheels which helped whilst being pushed down the field to the sounds of ‘On Ilkley Moor Baht At’, played by Slaithwaite Brass Band.
The celebrant, Dianne Hughes, read out a eulogy, written by Jake himself, before he was lowered into a self-made vault, reluctantly approved by the local council.
The box was a tight fit and had to be almost jumped upon by pallbearers to get it in.
Jake will be missed by the Huddersfield community and, as someone said, “Huddersfield will be a less happy place now.”
Meanwhile, back in Spain, we have often found Spanish drivers to be quite impatient. They will do everything to gain a few feet in busy traffic.
Stopped at a red light for over a nano second when it turns green and horns will blast to move you on. And why do they very frequently cross a centre line on bends?
Employing Spanish workers who might be on an hourly contract, it is always best to avoid the customary 10.30 morning break when absolutely everything stops for a lengthy period.
Most will have experienced shop closures in earlier days when they take the traditional siesta. Siesta means the sixth hour after wakening to rest from the harsh midday sun.
Spanish families, especially the older ones, will disappear into darkened rooms whilst holidaymakers continue to burn!
And there are dozens of holiday breaks (14 official public) and are not often announced, which might catch out the unwary tourist.
The usual Christmas and New Year celebrations are enjoyed by generations of families who turn out to feast with grandmas and babies starting around 9pm and chatter away, sometimes into the morning. We’ve often been leaving a restaurant when crowds are just turning up to dine.
Then there’s bull runs, tomato festivals and other events like Virgin del Carmen – a spectacular centuries old celebration where a huge image of the Virgin Mary is carried into the sea to give thanks for the fishermen and mariners as their protector.
And the San Juan – shortest day, crazy party where folks gather on beaches, light bonfires, drink copious amounts of alcohol and the younger ones attempt to jump over their fires!
I have passed beaches the following day and it was impossible to see the usually clean sand for rubbish. When they party here they are well practised.