The Almond bashers

The dew is on the trees as myself and Tonto, my half-breed Podenco set off from our villa which is perched on the side of a mountain nestled in a massive wild valley. We head off down the track towards the pine forests in the distance on the far side of the valley I can see a church spire which dominates the skyline of a small white village.

 Parcent Raisin Trail



The bell tolls. “Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!” A small white van drives past us with four Spanish farm workers inside.

As we walk along the track I hear one deep bass “bonggg!” It must be eight thirty. “Bish-Bash-Bosh……..Bishy! Bashy! Bosh!” The bashing gets louder as we pass through some almond groves Tonto is apprehensive and sniffs the air.

Tonto has hunted down the bashers and is giving them a good yipping. “Yip! Yap! Yippy!” In the grove on the ground around the trees are big sheets of netting collecting the almonds that have been beaten from the branches.

Nine bongs must mean breakfast in Xaló the four amigos are sitting on a low stone wall and are passing around and eating cold pizza they are drinking the local Valle de Xaló rosado.

One rubs the top of the wine bottle with his filthy tomato and manchego cheese covered mitt and offers me a drink. “No gracias amigo.”

The old boy in the straw hat tears a piece of curled up pizza from one of the slices laying in the tin foil and rolls it into a wrap with wild figs, crushed carobs and some olives inside. He pulls up a sprig of wild sage from the wall that he is sitting on and carefully crushes some and sprinkles it over the top of the wrap; aqui perro.” Tonto sniffs at it and turns his nose up. I do the same.

The amigo with the Robbie Williams arm tattoo snips a large bunch of white muscatel grapes from the vine he is sitting next to and offers them to me. I scoff these later on the walk. “Adiós.”

One waves his pizza wrap at me. “Hasta luego.”

“Bong!” Nine thirty as we walk on two Podenco Ibicenco come prancing along out of the grape vines. Tonto greets them but they turn their noses up in the air sniffing at my bunch of grapes. Cripes they think I am a bandido and I have stolen them.

They hear a Kangoo coming along the track. The Ibizans back up into the vines hiding. Tonto has a lash on the black grape vines. The wine will have a unique special flavour on the palette and have a good nose this year.

Ten bongs the white van with the four amigos goes by they wave to me as they go for elevensy’s

Eleven bongs why the devil cannot all the churches have the correct time eleven more bongs from the next village.

Must be about three hours outward bound by now. Tonto senses we are being followed. Twelve bongs from behind in the valley twelve bongs from the village across the other side of the mountain.

“Bang! Bong! Bang! Bong! Bong! Bang! Bang!” The hunters are blasting some sparrows and blackbirds to smithereens. “Bong! Bong! Bang! Bang!” they shoot them down. “Bang! Bang!” That awful sound.

The birds were eating the white muscatel grapes. “Holy crap!”

“Bang! Bang!…. Bang!” Two swallows and a white dove go spiralling into the grove they are innocent. “Bang! Bang!” Ha! They missed a muscatel vine goes up in smoke. Alas three geckos come limping and crawling out of the smouldering leaves and grapes.

“Bang! Bang!” Two rabbits fly into the air. “Bang! Bang!…. Bang! Bang!” Two rarely seen foxes escape and run for their lives. I sternly warn Tonto not to eat any of the poisoned meat the hunters had baited numerous traps with. “Roobiroo!” He is a very intelligent dog.

Several more bangs blast away in quick succession. Tonto thinks the local Feria fireworks have started and darts off up the nearest mountain following the foxes´ scent. The grapes that I hooked onto his collar bounce around his neck. The two Ibizan hounds are in fast bounding pursuit.

After climbing to the top of the mountain and pulling myself over some boulders I find Tonto banging away at one of the Ibizans the other one is watching whilst eating grapes, figs and an avocado. “Bonk! Bonk! Pant! Pant! Bonk! Bonky! Yip! Yip! Yap!”

“What’s that Tonto their names are Cleopatra and Nefratitty?”

“Yip! Yip! Pant!” Accompanied by a wolf like howl. “Howooool!”

Thirteen bloody bongs from the other side of the valley I check the time on the mobile twelve fifty five pm you would think they would set up for twelve hour bongs and not twenty four hour jeezus! Stone me blind if Esmeralda appears over the next rise I am gonna shoot her ass off!

Quasimodo is at it again “Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!

Bish-Bash-Bosh…Bishy! Bashy! Bosh! Bong! Bong! Bong!” I meet up with the almond bashers again. “Wack! Wack! Wacky!” The bashing drowns the noise of the bongs and bangs “muy tranquilo por aqui mi amigo con cara roja” says Pepe as he bashes the branches with his axe handle.

“Si, si amigo,” I reply.

Hundreds of almonds cascade down onto Tonto, Cleo and Nefy. Tonto has a lash over the biggest heap of almonds Cleo and Nefy squat down and do the same.

The Alicante Turrón nougat will have a special taste as well this year.

I sit down for a rest with the bashers they explain that I must be careful there are “Las Brujas” rumoured to be haunting the valley at dusk and that I must be on my journey away from the forest and mountain and get return to the windy track back to my villa before night falls. Bloody hell! Tonto where are you now as I go looking for him again.

All is quiet only one bong and two bangs, two seagulls fall from the sky. Another single bong is it one thirty or the other church?

The amigos whiz by in the van which is bouncing along the track with a trailer full of buckets of almonds and crates of grapes they wave and warn me again.

“Bang!” Wisps of smoke rise from the barrel of my over and under thirty inch gold inlaid magnum Purdey as I shoot the poxy fly that has been pestering me for the last few kilometres. The track looks unfamiliar as Tonto returns with his bitches.

What’s that Tonto? “Yip! Yip! Woofy! Yip!” The Ibizans join in “Yip! I know I am lost but which way? “Yip! Yip! Woofy! Grrr!”

They keep running towards me and gesturing with a flick of their heads for me to go through the pine forest. Was that twenty bongs? “Yip!”

The hours, bongs, bangs and kilometres pass by and I am going delirious. The hounds have drunk my last drops of water. “Grrrr! Yippity! Yip!” As we emerge into a small clearing a rustic bar has a neon sign it is flashing Cerveza it hypnotizes me……….. “Must have beer! Mmmmmm!”

Was that twenty three or twenty four bongs? Some bats flutter past my head. Tonto lashes up the door and sniffs the air. “Yip! Yip! Woofy! Yip! Yip! Yip! Yip!” The hairs on his back bristle and his ears prick up erect “Yip! Yip! Woofy! Yip! Yip! Yip! Yip!”

“Do not go inside was that six yips?” I ask Tonto.

“Yippity! Woof!” He is not his usual self and is acting strangely. “Grrrr! Whimper….Grr!……….. Yip!…..Howl!”

“What’s that Tonto you see dead dogs?” I feel a deep sense of foreboding but the smell of the beer has a strong calling and I have no will power over its aroma. My knuckles drag along the floor behind me, my tongue hangs out, my eyes are out on stalks and I have developed a nervous twitch as I drag my left foot sideways along the ground. My shoulder and back starts hurting.

The door opens by itself  “Yip! Zossigezzz!” Tonto looks at me shaking his head side to side, he is shivering as if he is going into the vets and his tail is in-between his legs.

When I enter the bar it is quite noisy until all those inside turn around and look in my direction and everything goes silent. Hola soy yo moscarda el segundo y mi mestizo podenco.” Did I say that?

The first thing I urgently need to do is go to the toilet as I look such a fool standing there with my knees together holding myself. I find them located in a dark corner. Great! They have a small sign on each door indicating which one I must use. I enter the one marked Señor.

It is very dim and the light is faulty which flashes on and off. The smell from the hole in the floor is overpowering but I manage to keep a hand over my nose and mouth and grab the rope hanging from the ceiling to steady myself before proceeding. “Bong!” This makes me jump back but the floor is very slippery and I grab hold of the rope again with both hands. “Bong!… Bong!……. Bong!………..Bongggggg!”

After swinging around on the rope in the dark for a while I eventually manage to finish in the toilet and wash my hands in the metal bucket of water and dry my hands on the back of the shirt tail of the guy who was next to me on another rope.

“Slaap!” ………“Ouch!” The light comes back on. Good grief! I am drying my hands on the back of a waitresses skirt. “Slaaap!” That one was my fault again I should have checked my fly zip was not undone.

How daft is that no partition once you go through the toilet doors. I apologize to her and go back into the bar. The four almond bashers are inside looking and tapping at their watches. There is a waitress behind the counter. I spot the hounds sitting under a table away from them and go and join them.

The waitress comes over to our table and I order two large beers and a one litre bottle of water no gas for Tonto. He will have to share with Cleopatra and Nefratitty.

As I sit waiting a gypsy woman taps me on my hump and offers me a bunch of roses with her hand out. “Grrrrr! Snarl!” Tonto, Cleo and Nefy look at me wondering what I said to her.

When the waitress returns with the drinks she passes me a menu. “Hola guapo. Quieres algo de comer.” She asks with a smile.

Podría tener un enorme desayuno Inglés completo con dos de todo y patatas fritas francés y cuatro tostadas con mantequilla, con una taza de té con leche y azúcar.” I ask her without opening the menu and lick my lips in anticipation of a great feast.

Eres tonto.” She is getting agitated about something.

El nombre de mi perro es Tonto.” I explain to her.

“Que Dios me ayude. Qué quieres comer! Tú cerdo Inglés.” Well that is not nice I think to myself the customer service in this establishment is awful.

Está bien estúpido. Dos mas cervezas grandes por favor. Gambas al pil pil y cuatro entrecot. Perdón cinco entrecot con chaqueta patata y chicharos y champiñones y cebolla frita con salsa de pimiento.” I reply.

“Cinco solomillo?” She starts writing down my order.

“Cinco filetes de solomillo si, por favor.” All this walking and stress has made me more hungry than usual. “Lo siento hacer que seis filetes grandes cocidas medio raro sin sangre.” Three for me should be enough.

Seis filetes grandes entrecote idiota.” She looks at me very angrily.

“Yes! Six large entrecote steaks! Three on one plate with all the trimmings. Three entrecote steaks without trimmings, one for each dog.” This conversation is getting difficult for me and I bang the table with my flip flop to show my frustration. “Entiendes!”

“Slaaap!” She smacks me one in the kisser with the palm of her hand. “Okay no problem Sir. Would you like anything else, a dessert perhaps?” She enquires.

“Arroz con leche y un café con leche dos azúcar.” I wince as she slaps me again. “Gracias!”

The Hunters arrive. “Hola maloliente” one grunts to me. He has a string of blackbirds and sparrows hanging over his shoulder and throws them onto the bar.

One of the others throws a Billy goat that was around his neck into the corner of the bar it chases him around the bar and head butts the waitress sending her flying into my lap. “Bang!” One of the hunters shoots the goat dead in its tracks.

One of the other hunters is giving me the evil eye treatment. It is the quietest moment of the day. I quickly cotton on it is his girlfriend who is licking my ear hole. He tosses a brace of rabbits over the bar.

Esmeralda sees the evil eyed one giving her the “I kill you” look. She smiles at him and smoothes back the strands of long black hair that were covering her face, her tongue passes slowly over her top row of gleaming white teeth as she throws her arms around my neck, her large gold hoop earrings swing back and forth. The temptress pouts and blows kisses in his direction. Tonto whimpers.

Noisily passing wind “Perdóneme!” I throw her to the floor she grins and beckons me to join her. “Gulp!” Tonto gives her black lace stockinged leg the doggy love bonk.

“No es tan dificil que están perjudicando a la pierna!” She scolds Tonto.

Senõr evil eyes has smoke coming out of his ears. The amigo next to him throws a lamb (dead) over the counter it crashes onto the floor of what looks like the kitchen.

The cook who is chopping a pig into ribs with a dirty great cleaver is chewing on an unlit cigar. I hope they have already got the frigging bull in stock.

The last hunter enters the bar and slams the door behind him. He wipes the back of his hand across his mouth as he looks searchingly around he throws his shotgun to the floor and then drinks one of my beers in one gulp. Then he dusts off his shirt and takes a sword from the bar wall. Lastly he straightens his curly black hair by pulling his forelock into place and goes back outside. “Mooo! Snort! Grunt!”

“Olé! Toro! Olé!” they all chant.

I call to the waitress. “A glass of milk or sarsaparilla and gazpacho soup will be fine.” She runs to my table and gives me another slap. Luckily I had turned the other cheek and managed to drop my trousers just in time. “Ooooh! Aaaah! Cantona!”

One of the almond bashers gets up from their table and starts having an Argentinean salsa dance with evil eyes and Tonto’s girlfriend. One of  his amigos is strumming away at an old Spanish acoustic guitar. “Snap! Twang!” One of the strings breaks.

Tonto, Cleopatra and Nefratitty all hide under my table and lay on the floor with their paws over their eyes.

Eric Clapton is now bashing the guitar bongo style and wailing away. “Baila! Baila! Baila mi!………..Este mundo y no para vivir tormento!…….Oy!”

The salsa finishes. “Thump! Thump!” Robbie bashers gaucho boots slam on the bare bar floorboards. He raises his arms above his head in an arc, his hands twist and turn his fingers operate the invisible castanets. He turns his head side to side as his heels clatter along the bar floor.

Esmeralda flings her head back her bosoms are heaving. “Jiggle! Joggle! Wobble!” As she falls to the floor again basher circles her his heels thunder along making my sarsaparilla foam onto the table.

Robbie Basher’s feet are now silent as his hands clap intermittently above his head as he slowly kicks heaps of empty monkey nut and sunflower seed shells that have been dumped on the floor. Curly interrupts the show as he falls through the door; he is badly gored. He throws six big steaks into the kitchen and then grins his two front teeth are missing and only one gold tooth is visible through the bloody mess that is left in his mouth.

He stands upright with his hands on his hips and spits out one of the bulls ears onto the floor beside Esmeralda. Robbie basher takes offence to this gesture and decks curly. “Slap! Slappity! Slap!”

The other three bashers throw tomatoes at him whilst he lays unconscious on the floor. The other hunters pick curly up and drag him to their table and remove the bullhorn from his behind. Then they prop him up on a soft cushion seat with his head flopped on his chest.

Esmeralda lays my table her eyelashes flutter as she serves the pil pil starter and lights the funny looking candle that she has stolen from the hunters. “Fizz! Fizz! Fizzy!”

“Pan de ajo por favor.” I ask her as she looks back at me with those piercing green eyes. “Slaaaap!” I think she likes me.

Tonto, Cleopatra and Nefratitty enjoy their steaks. My three were superb served up with a huge jacket potato in foil doused in alioli accompanied by fresh garden peas also a heap of fried onions with boiled mushrooms and a side salad with a basket of garlic bread. “Burp!” Bastados no French mustard.

My thirst is quenched and the cravings for more food have finished. my back feels so much better also my leg is okay and the twitch seems to have stopped as well.

The hunters were just finishing the spit barbecued wild boar they had brought with them and were picking at the bones and throwing scraps over to Tonto.

Sunflower seed shells surrounded the floor around the bashers´ table they were just finishing a squiddely diddley paella and pizza with some olive oil soaked rustic bread.

The waitresses are on another table plucking the feathers from some live chickens. “Pluck! Pluck! Plucky!” The plucked bald cockerels and hens are thrown up into the spinning ceiling fan and hacked into two wings, two breasts and two thighs and land in a builders bucket marked KFC. The feet neatly drop into another bucket marked Umpius.

“Cockadoodle!……Doooooo! Squalk! Cluck!…..Cluuuuuck!” They shriek out.

The hunters and bashers were drinking heavily. Curly had some ice cubes wrapped in a towel sitting on his head. The pack of ice he was sitting on had melted and it looked like he had an accident. He was reminiscing about the night he single-handedly had a big fight with twenty or thirty English football hooligans whilst on holiday in Benidorm.

He shows them various scars, lumps and stab wounds. The Doctor Martens sole imprint is very similar to the size twelve one I have on my back. They all find his tale amusing and laugh heartily when he explains they suffered much worse than him.

The waitress overhears the storey and smacks me one in the back of the head when I am not looking.

As I look out of the window next to me darkness had fallen the air was still all that I could hear was Jiminy Cricket “Bang!” Got him. “La cuenta por favor.” I ask the chicken plucker on the next table who is now cracking fresh laid eggs into a jug of Don Simon vino tinto with vodka, tomato juice and mixed fruit. She is stirring it around with a wooden ladle and dropping Worcestershire sauce and bat wings into it and chanting with a chicken foot!

“You need some Tabasco sauce in that!” I tell her.

She goes over to evil eyes table he gets up and pulls a huge Rambo hunting knife from his belt he puts the bill down in front of me and slams the knife into it and through the wooden table. Faithful Tonto bites him in the groin. “Snarl! Grrr! Gnash! Crunch! Crunch! Zossigezzz!”

“Oh! Ohhh!” Tonto leaps out of the window next to me startling the hunters´ donkey which buckaroos the bashers van windows smashing them. “Eeegh! Haw! – Tinkle!”

Evil eyes is leaping around clutching his cream crackers the other hunters find this new dance hilarious and copy him by leaping around the bar doing the same. The bashers join in assisted by the waitresses who give them all a swift kick in the goolies to liven things up.

I try to put out the sparkling candle on my table as I leave and pull out the Rambo knife and stab a twenty euro note into the table that should cover it including the tip.

“Buenas noches a mis amigos.” As I tip toe out of the door. “Muchas gracias.” I whisper.

Tonto is waiting for me at the pine forest path he is having a lash (pipi) up a tree I go and join him. I should have gone before I left the bar but I did not want to play Tarzan again on a full stomach.

The full moon throws eerie shafts of light through the forest and I notice from the corner of my eye that someone is nearby. Oh! Ohh! Esmeralda the waitress and the two Ibizan hounds stand watching me pointing and giggling. Hold on a minute you know what it is like once you have started. “Whizz! Oooh! Splish! Splashy! Ooooops! Sorry Tonto!”

I must have had too much beer the hounds seem to be transforming before my eyes. “Poof! Poof!” Two wizened old Spanish hags dressed in black stand where the Ibizan hounds once were. They point and cackle insanely as well.

“Boomb!” The shack goes up in flames after a small explosion. The hunters and bashers fly through the air screaming. “Aieeeeee!…….Olé!”

One smashes upside down into the tree beside us he falls and splats onto the ground in a heap of crushed bones and burnt mushy flesh. Two evil eyes look up out of the mess asking “What the $%#@” A hag stamps on the bloodshot orbs with the heel of her boot. “Stompity! Squelch! Stomp! Squelch!”

“Poof! Poof!” Esmeralda and the giggling waitress turn into more hags in black. “Ven aqui muchacho grande.” Esmeralda beckons me to them cracking a long leather whip. “kerrrrack! Whip! Whippy!”

Ignoring Esmeralda. “Wow! Hubba! Hubba! I know why they call you Nefratitty! Wahey!”Frog

“Poof!……………. Ridip! Croak! Croak! Ridip! Croaky!”

Tonto laughs. “Poof!……… Bzzzz! Buzz! Bzzzzzzzzzzzz!” He is mutated into a Spanish potato fly.

“Mmmmmmm! Ridip! Slurp! Gulp!”





Happy Halloween!








This blog was originally posted on 31 Oct 2009



About Umpius

I retired and moved to the Costa del Sol in 2003 and I now live in the Jalon Valley which is in the Costa Blanca area.
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