TE19 Iberian Adventure

John Hartley

“The pig is consumed here in all its parts.” Grandad announced, “Their black pork is the real Jamón Iberico.”

“We feed thoseacorns,” Vitorinoexplained, “theoleicacid seasons the meat.”

“The Jews made their Chorizo with chicken.” Vitorino explained, “They hung them on their smokehouses to save themselves from the Inquisition.”


Old tyres and rusted machinery, vestiges from simpler times, faded in the long grass. Awoodengate creaked, and flies bothered the dogs in the late afternoon.

“Have you met their donkeys?” Judy pointed.

“We’ve had them ever since I can remember.” Matilde looked a year or two younger, at ease in her gentle cotton dress.

After feeding straw to the donkeys we wandered down the hill. Therewere no canopies of flaming mimosas or almond blossoms, onlydeep red earthdottedwithpine trees. In thevillagewepassed a single room Pombaline church with rough Rococo plaster. Further on Matilde pointed out the old schoolhouse.

“No one has graduated for a very long time.”

The single-story schoolhouse was fronted by a double door, the white lime paint offset by a thick strip of ochre or blue. 158

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