We three kings

THE three kings followed their star of wonder and arrived in Orgiva last night to commemorate the Dia de los Reyes. The Spanish don’t celebrate Christmas Day with the enthusiasm of we peoples of the north; January 6 is their main event, or Twelfth Night as it is known. The Magi are delivered from the east on pick-up trucks and their helpers toss sweets and toys to the crowd. Once installed on their thrones, instead of gold, frankincense and myrrh, they distribute presents (which have been discretely deposited by parents beforehand) to the children of the town. And as if by magic, swallows and house martins – which I thought had flown south many weeks ago – emerge from the church belfry like silver sparks in the glare of the street lamps and swoop above our heads. It’s a pleasant affair . . .

Meanwhile, Don Quixote’s statue gazes unimpressed and vaguely hostile as these kings from foreign parts are adulated in his native land. The centuries have done little to ease the knight of the sad countenance.

HAVE just finished watching a film called The Long Duel, starring Trevor Howard, Yul Brynner, Charlotte Rampling and Harry Andrews. It’s about an uprising in India during the final days of the Raj. Did you see it? Splendid views of snowy mountains – only one of those mountains looked curiously similar to Veleta, the foothills of which rise behind my house. A little poking about reveals that although the film was scheduled to be made in India, it was in fact shot here in the Sierra Nevada. I suppose that if the three wise men can make the leap from exotic lands to rural Andalucia in twelve days, moving a film from India is a doddle.


15 thoughts on “We three kings

  1. I remember seeing that film in the local cinema, some time around 1967. It wasn’t the sort of thing I’d normally have gone out for at the age of 11 but it had been one of six films adapted in the 1966 Lion Summer Super Spectacular Special (five as comic strips, this as a prose short). The others included Quo Vadis and some western called something like Ride of the Arrow. Ambitious, and in my case effective project, never repeated. I’ve never seen The Long Duel since, wonder what I’d make of it now? Thanks for triggering that memory, Alen. Oh, and Happy New Year.


    1. Hi Martin. A happy New Year to you too. Yes, the film was in fact made in 1967 though It had escaped my radar until it popped up the other day. I’m usually pretty hot on films of this nature but this one sneaked up in the undergrowth. It was good for its time, with Harry Andrews playing a typical stiff-upper-lipped British officer (but doesn’t he always?) and Trevor Howard his easy-going rival. I’d have been satisfied if I’d paid a few bob at the cinema.
      Cheers, Alen


    1. Hi Carol. Yes, that’s how it is. It’s Christmas, but not as we know it. Santa Claus and Christmas trees are not really part of it, though they have made inroads in the past few years. Very little commercialism, though the shops now stock Brussels sprouts and parsnips for we grateful Brits. Christmas Day is very quiet and low-key, and that suits me fine.
      Cheers and a happy New Year, Alen.


        1. We haven’t had a tree for years because we’re grumpy. But there was an illuminated tree in town, though it’s the first time I’ve seen it. Our most Christmassy thing was two Terry’s Chocolate Oranges that a friend brought from England.


  2. Hi Alen. I read about Dia de Los Reyes and the cake, Roscon. Sometimes you find a little toy in the cake that will bring happiness to the one who gets it. Did you get it?
    It’s a bit like in Denmark where many people eat Risalamande. An almond is stored in the dessert, and the one who finds it can turn it into a gift. Maybe you had the same tradition in England for Christmas?
    Did Dia de Los Reyes arrive by train camels or horses?
    Lovely pictures of committed children!!


    1. Hi Hanna. Happy new year. I’ve read about the cake too, but I didn’t see any. Perhaps I was looking in the wrong place. I did though mange to get a pocketful of sweets that were thrown from the trucks for the kids. And I wasn’t the only adult scrambling on the ground for them by a long way. The tradition of the almond is a new one on me. I’m not familiar with that tradition. Sounds nice though.
      Cheers, Alen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Happy New Year to you too, Alen!
        I remember that the almond gift was very important to me. In fact more than the other gifts. With the exception of a scooter 🙂
        The tricky thing about the Risalamande is that cracked almonds are part of the common ingredients
        Therefore, there are many adults ‘who seem’ to have got the whole almond. It makes the whole thing much more thrilling for the kids.


  3. Tynemouth whisperer here. A somewhat belated Happy New Year to you both. I thought you had suddenly vanished….it seemed an ages from you last blog. Nothing much to report……My beloved Omega watch ( an engagement gift) packed up for the n’thtime and I thought I will treat my self to a new watch. I was attracted to a watch with a face representing.a naval bridge binnacle ( you know the sort…much loved in films as bridge to engine…dead slow or full ahead …clanging as the the Captain tries to coax the chief engineer into obeying him.) well I ordered one from the ‘Uneployed Philosophers Guild ( no kidding) of the USA. It arrived and was much admired. However it is completely impossible to tell the time from it.( so if you were asked the time in North Shields and replied it’s 20 to full ahead you risk getting a fat lug.) Well it doesn’t matter….knowing the time is irrelevant ..you make new friends,recieive marriage proposals promises to vote for you to become PM etc. Any rate I’me Back. Pip Pip. Peter.


      1. Glad to hear both of you OK ! Re the watch…I looked on the back of (to see if it was battery powered, ) and in very small script,it said, For best results use other side! This seems to one more incident that always happens in my life…..Pip pip Peter.


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