The Leper Kings. Not feeling the love tonight.

Yesterday was a gorgeous winter day in southern Spain.  Perfect park weather.  We left the apartment in a refreshing chill, but by mid morning we were stripping off  layers and turning our faces to the sun like lizards.

We average about five visits per week to the neighbourhood playground and are consistently alone.  We own that park in the winter.  The local kids are banished to indoor locations until May.

So shortly after arrival there were trucks, sweaters and half-eaten apricots strewn from one end to the other.  Why not, we weren’t bothering anyone.

Everyone was in their glory and shirt sleeves.  Yago was six feet up a fence, yelling obscenities at the high-school kids.  Río was crawling the perimeter, eating apricots off the ground.  I was  collapsed sprawled on the ground, soaking up the sun and congratulating myself on superior parenting.  Superior parenting defined by:

  • nobody crying
  • limbs intact
  • eating healthy (the apricots were organic)

A Spanish trio entered stage left; a well dressed, perfectly coiffed grandmother and grandfather with a vacuum-packed toddler in stroller.  All you could see were the kid’s eyes, the rest was buried under layers of wool and plastic.

Yago stopped mid profanity to stare.  Visitors?  To our park?  At only 12 degrees celsius?  Unheard of!  I could see his social expectations rising with the temperature.  Perhaps we wouldn’t be social lepers after all.

Alas, it was not to be.  We are a Spanish grandmother’s worst nightmare.

  • Poorly shod foreign woman face up on dirty surface.
  • A gravity defying,  hatless toddler.
  • A baby eating hippy food off the ground.

They took one look at us and high-tailed it out of there, as fast as Grandma could push the vacuum-packed stroller in her high heels.


  1. I’m going to have a very hard time not laughing next time I see a plastic-covered Spanish baby in a stroller! I had never thought of that vaccum packed bit before.

  2. Brings back memories! We lived in Madrid in the ’80s when my kids were small, and the woman who cleaned the stairs was aghast when she came into our flat for water and saw them running around barefoot. “Pero, ¡que van descalzados!” (on wooden floors, in July…)

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