The Last Troubadour in Spain

The Last Troubadour by
            John Clare
Price: £2.99

It is 1960. Spain is still a dark, medieval country. Outside the big cities there is no electricity. Half the peasant population is illiterate and in the iron grip of the church.

Over the years I travel around the country on creaky old buses with armed guards sat at the back. I walk the ragged roads, take part in the local fiestas, attend church to see the girls, and serenade them on their balconies at the evening paseo.

I end up in the small quiet city of Madrid, clap for the man who keeps the keys to let me in to my new lodging, then wander round the Prado museum with its crumbling walls and leaking roof.

In Andalusia I take part in my Saint's day fiesta with the rest of the village under the date palms, and later spend the night in a cave home in Baza with my new friends. While back in Galicia a church service is disrupted by a game of golf.

Finally, in a mountain village where only I and the village priest can read, I become the people's eyes on the outside world, and read the newspapers every evening to the assembled village. I am the last link with the past before television will make me obsolete.

It's time somebody told this story of a long gone Spain.