Sunday, 14 December 2008

Christmas 2008

We've been a bit busy the last few weeks - I've had a couple of jobs with tight deadlines, and MamaDuck has been spending most of her waking hours either at work or making mincemeat. We're doing our traditional mince pies, mulled wine and carol singing thing next weekend.

Madrid's Christmas budget has been slashed from about €4.6 million last year to €1.6 million for 2008. The town is still looking pretty festive, although the lights are less plentiful than we saw last year.

We tootled into town this afternoon: MamaDuck had seen a notice pinned up at work about Carol Singing on Calle Preciados. It was supposed to be outside Zara starting at 4 o'clock, but when we arrived (in prompt Madrileño fashion at quarter past) there was only a fed-up looking guy with a guitar. It turns out there are two Zara shops on that street, so we joined the group of Santa-hat-clad singers outside the other one. Actually, the Duck did - my singing tends to scare people away. They sang mostly English songs, but threw in two or three Spanish ones as well. MamaDuck had bought some CDs of Spanish 'villancicos' a few days ago, so we knew the tunes even if the words were a mystery.

After about an hour of this, the Duck decided she wanted a break, so we wandered around the back of El Corte Inglés, where we had to fight our way through a crowd of about 48 million people to get to a bar. The crowd was there to look at 'Cortylandia', a massive animatronic wossname on the rear facade of the building.

When we got back to the carol singers, they'd been joined by a crazy old man who was playing an industrial-strength harmonica. He could also moonwalk and stand perfectly still for ages. Useful talents to have, obviously. Oh, and it snowed! Only for about fifteen minutes, and only tiny flakes that had no chance of settling, but it definitely feels like Christmas now.

The guys above are one of the more spectacular busking outfits in Madrid. I don't know what the instruments are called, but they're like the inside of a grand piano, and the players beat hell out of the strings with hammers. Fantastico!

Merry Christmas, you lot.


the real nick said...

Merry Christmas to you, too Keefie.

But ditch that keffiah. Grow up, man! Or relocate to Athens.

Keefieboy said...

TNR: ditch the Palestino! No way - it makes me look like a MAdrileno and fends off the pickpockets and robbers.

Jayne said...

Don't ditch the keffiah! You do look rather dashing in it with your hat as well :-)
We put up the tree & threw a heap of tinsel around, but it doesn't feel anything like Crimble here. (no need to ask 'so what's new?' Lol)

Merry Crimble to you & MamaDuck

alexander... said...

The Best of the Season, Silly Scribe!

nzm said...

I guess that you won't be doing any Dunkin' Donuts ads with that around your neck!

Went out to photograph some of Berlin's lights last night. Somewhat subdues affair also, but will post what I took.

Hope that you're putting out your German Chrissie decorations - if you remembered to pack them!

Merry Christmas to you and the Duck, Keefie, with love from us both. xoxo

nzm said...

Frickin' German keyboard vill not allow me to spell proper.

Seabee said...

Merry Christmas to you two too.

I wondered about the Dunkin Donuts jihadi chic keffiyeh too.

Keefieboy said...

Keffiyahs are pretty trendy in Madrid. They are called 'Palestinos'. Every third under-30 person you see is wearing one.

I got this one in Jordan a few years ago, but never wore it in Dubai (it was never cold enough). In Madrid, in winter, it's just perfick.

Keefieboy said...

NZM: of course ve haff ze Cherman Deccies!

Grumpy Goat said...

Merrie Chrystmasse to you and your lot.

Incidentally, it seems that as well as El Palestino, you picked up your hat from Syria!

Keefieboy said...

I think those instruments are Hammered Dulcimers.