30 Nov, 2009 @ 19:34
3 mins read

Living the High Life

The Olive Press introduces a new blog on life in Spain’s highest village, Trevelez, in the Alpujarras, in Granada. “Living the High Life” is a light hearted look at life in the village, which sits at 1,476m, as well as the region and Andalucia in general. It’s about things that have happened to David Disney and his family and friends, sometimes funny, sometimes thought provoking but always true! Moving to Spain is an adventure, and I’m sure you’ll identify with a lot of the ramblings of this 50-something’s goings on. “It can be frustrating, it can be confusing, it can drive you mad at times, but overall, I can’t imagine being anywhere better,” he explains.

THE annual village feria has just packed up, leaving behind its trail of burst balloons, crisp packets, candy floss sticks and very empty pockets. The travelling fair is the same the world over it seems.

That kids should ever want to run off and join one is beyond me, having just witnessed the assembly, deployment and disassembly of three or four rides outside the walking information centre which I run here in the village.

The arrival is greeted with shrieks of excitement from all the little ones who watch with wonder as the conquering heroes atop ageing trucks cough and splutter their way into the lower square, set aside for the four days of festivities, originally conceived to celebrate the cattle market that took place here, before horse traders decided there was more cash to be made sending kids hurtling skywards via floodlit hydraulic spaceships, gyrating to the pulsating strains of disco music.

My sister says I’m being a killjoy, but I’ve never really enjoyed travelling fairs, the circus or anything of the like. I remember my old man, when faced with the prospect of accompanying me to Nottingham’s huge Goose Fair, offering me three quid to spend on rides, or a crisp blue fiver to stay at home — no contest!

My ten year old son, not wishing to appear “flojo” to his mates, looked decidedly green after he’d parted with €2.50

My ten year old son, not wishing to appear “flojo” to his mates, looked decidedly green after he’d parted with €2.50 just to be whirled around for a couple of minutes, and only now has the blood returning to his knuckles, which were prised off the safety rail with some reluctance, oh what fun!

But it’s not just the cost of the rides, the mixture of eardrum shattering music, or even the gut wrenching torture that amazes me, no, it’s the ease with which we accept the incredible lack of controls that exist when these rides are erected. I personally witnessed a young lad of about nineteen, ably assisted by two others, markedly his junior, erect the rides between them, and completely unsupervised by anyone who looked remotely aware of how the things actually worked. Several tons of iron and steel, all resting on little wooden wedges to provide some sense of level, ready and waiting to be hooked up to the village mains, and together with a sound system more aptly designed for a Robbie Williams concert, propel our loved ones in a variety of heart stopping, scream inducing lurches, spins and turns. And I , like all the rest of the strobe lit adults just stood by and watched, occasionally giving faintly enthusiastic waves whilst proclaiming to all those who were encouraging me to join the queue of hapless soles awaiting the next trip, that ……. “You won’t get me on there, it’s not safe!”

I’ve said before that some countries are in danger of becoming nanny states, overprotecting everyone, and making everything stale and unexciting. I do believe that totally removing all obstacles of danger makes children too cosseted, and especially here in the mountains, people have to look after themselves, as the big fella upstairs didn’t see fit to provide handrails on cliffs or ensure that snakes carry warning signs and vials of anti-venom. We just need to be able to tell the difference between a considered risk, and an obvious threat, and then decide accordingly.

Anyway, as I said, it came and went, nobody was mauled to death, and the only serious injury was to my wallet, but I for one will not mourn its passing. I think that faced with a Viper looking a bit miffed at being disturbed on a mountain path, compared to a ten year old full to the gills with fluorescent pink candy floss demanding twenty euros of your hard earned cash is no contest………bring it on hissing Sid!

David Disney

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact [email protected]


  1. Ha, I know the feeling! The 4 day San Jose feria left my village a few days ago and I really don’t know when Spanish people sleep (unless they sleep through the ear shattering music which ends at 5/6 am and starts again at 9)! I enjoyed a couple of beers in the big tent on friday night and it is great for the whole village to get together, but other than that – bring on the ear plugs!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Back with a roar

Next Story

Vultures under threat

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press