I just popped in on Amatxi yesterday and she was bent double over the kitchen table taking in the waist on her grandson’s lace petticoats. Carnival time is coming .. by far the most exciting and loved moment of the year for our village of Ituren. There is a general buzz everywhere, groups of youths congregating in farm sheds and clinks and clonks going on late into the night. If you come across a motorised bracken stack speeding around the village square next week like some demented Dougal from the Magic Roundabout then Iñaki, Sagrario´s son, is usually somewhere inside it on a tractor!
However, I have been told that this year Iñaki and Juanito are preparing some bizarre carnival version of Herri Kirolak (Basque rural sports) which is in fact Maika’s domain (and SHE is always a force to be reckoned with at carnival time!).
p.s. My great friend, Maika, who deserves many blog posts in her own right farms much of the land around here in Ameztia and has made national fame as a Spanish cross-country running champion and as a Herri Kirolak Basque heroine (with particular reference to her way with an axe and her stamina on the ‘corn-cob’ relay races.!)
Tiny, muscles of steel and a mischevious grin, I have discovered her soft spot for cheddar cheese and apple pies! One of my greatest friends and partners in crime, Maika, you are in for a blog post pretty soon.
For a charming little picture of Maika see Simon Busch’s article on the Basques: Bells to Men.
Also read here Max Walker´s article in the Guardian about the Joaldunak: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2010/apr/17/spain-basque-navarre-culture-walking