The morning after: Fri, Jun 25, 2004

Well you could have written the script yourself. It’s happened before hasn’t it? Worst bit was scoring first. Why is it that millions around the world watching on TV know that the worst thing you can do is sit back and defend all the game whilst our football master tacticians don’t realise it? Just look what happened to the Spanish when they played Portugal? We made a good Portugese team look very good and when you give them so many opportunities to get crosses into your penalty area or shots on target then the probability is that one of them will end in a goal. Which is precisely what happened.

Our wonderful tactical genius who is paid millions per year (Sven, of course!), signalled his intentions by replacing our only creative midfield players (Gerrard and Scholes), with Phil Neville (cant get a first team place with a poor Man U team) and Owen Hargreaves (who?). The Portugese midfield, who had been playing for 110 minutes by then, still ran faster, passed better and were more skillful then them. How is this possible? The final acts have been seen many times before. Golden Balls Beckham missed a penalty that Jonny Wilkinson would have been proud of. A further miss late on sealed our fate. Good luck to the Portugese, I say. I hope they win it. Us ….. let’s get rid of the manager, Beckham, Heskey, Nevilles, James, Hargreaves et al and all the other third rate, overpaid players. Replace them with Robinson, Smith and some hard working young grafters. Not biased a bit am I? Glad I got that lot off my chest!

Anyway, it took me some 24.5 seconds to get over the game. We left the bar and treated ourselves to a 2 euro squashy ball on a string that lit up with florescent colours that we purchased from one of the stalls in the street. By this time the week-long fiesta was in full swing with flamenco dancers and street partying. At midnight a hooter sounded and thousands of people were left in the narrow streets as the bars locked up for an hour. During that hour the locals hurled buckets of water from balconies onto the thronged streets. Drunken firemen hosed the masses down from all vantage points. The masses chanted “Agua” “Agua” “Agua” time after time. Water pistols were the best defence against attacks from buckets and hoses. Millions of gallons of precious water thrown around that signalled the start of summer here. The revellery went on for an hour until the hooter sounded again, the water stopped flowing and the bars re-opened. No trouble, only good clean fun. What a place!

Funniest sight this morning was the local police. There are three in Lanjarón. They were still the worse for wear when they went on duty this morning. They sat near the fountain in the square and threw bangers (fireworks, not sausages!) under passing cars. They were hysterical with laughter when these exploded and were very amused by the bewildered, confused and somewhat scared looks on the car drivers’ faces. The Chief of Police then went for his customary morning coffee and brandy top-up. Leaving the bar I saw him get into his car and weave down the high street, wearing a baseball cap the wrong way round, no seat belt, and holding a mobile phone to his ear. What a laugh! It can only happen here.

Written by:
Richard Hartley

Richard is an avid blogger and the founder of Spanish Highs Sierra Nevada. He is author of the Cicerone Guidebook Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada