Coffee and the Country House: New Year’s Eve 2012

In the morning, the country house is quiet and dark. I walk down two flights of stairs,opening the windows and the front door on my way to the kitchen. Apart from mindless humming and the clang of my spoon against the cafetera as I make my coffee, silence envelopes everything. I clean a few dishes in the sink and my bread pops out of the toaster as the microwave dings and I take out the Beatles’ coffee mug with milk warmed and ready for my cheapy Arabica roast that bubbles up on the stove. I kick open the screen door because one hand is holding Lennon and the other, my slightly oily plate with two crispy pieces of baguette and I sit in the driveway as the sun bakes half of my face and multiplies my freckles.

This, to me, is as close to perfection as a morning gets. This is my normal morning in the country.

Scene change. January 1st, 8:30 a.m. Far earlier than I ever get up here. Thump. Bump. Chump. The music is blaring two floors down and smoke floats up to my third floor window.
This is Spain and the party must go on. At 9 pm the night before, New Year’s Eve, the peña started to arrive at 9 am the morning after, a fifth of the attendees were still dancing–a solid twenty people in the main room. The floor was sticky (I now know why Spaniard’s have tile floors; it has nothing to do with the summer heat and everything to do with being able to hose things down after events like these). I made my way to the kitchen and it was a dungeon. My place of peace and quiet and solitude was a paroxysm of bottles, leftover food, cups, and stray partiers, including the “Free Hugs” guy that Rafa’s brother met in VLC last New Year’s. In vain, I reached for my familiar cafetera and pushed aside the trastos on top of the stove. Trying to light it, I realized the gas was out. Fine, I thought-there’s instant coffee and I can just heat my Beatles’ mug and add the powder and get out of here as fast as possible.

Ding! Mug ready, I stuck my spoon in the instant coffee only to find a hardened lump of coffee at the bottom that wasn’t going to budge. Bad omens.

Fast forward to 4 pm and it seemed that things were finally dying down a full 19 hours later. Cheesus.

And there was gnashing of teeth. And there was great mopping. And there were MILLIONS of bottles taken to an overworked and underpaid municipal trash can.

And this morning, I woke up.

January 2nd. And I’ll be darned if there wasn’t a clean-ish kitchen waiting for me and one straggling guest who offered to make me coffee. It was an offering of peace and good karma and finally some degree of normalcy was restored.

{Oh, but Karlitos is still here.}

Rafa at Piano

The beginning of the night. Craziness had just begun to arrive  as evidenced by the life-size doll on the piano and the Technicolor Xmas lights.


The Kaptain of Krazy: Karlitos.



A small sampling of the peña that would fill up the main room.



The clock strikes 12! Grapes down the hatch for good luck or something like that.


Normalcy returns. Evidence?  Our afternoon visit to the father of a friend and his two horses (Percherones) taking laps around a polígono industrial for a little New Year’s workout. Peace and countryside!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s