One night was enough for me (writes David Baird). Friends invited my wife and myself to stay the weekend at their new-found shangri-la, a remote cortijo in the countryside of southern Spain.
The idea was to enjoy the rural tranquillity. Tranquillity? Madre mía! Throughout the night it seemed we were under siege as a pack of wild dogs stormed around the isolated farmhouse, baying like the hound of the Baskervilles multiplied a hundredfold.
At breakfast our friends joked about neighbours dropping in at all hours, moody, taciturn types who would sit at the kitchen table gazing at them in a strange fashion.
The more they told me about these odd visitations the more the hairs on the back of my neck rose up and the more it became plain they had stepped into a hornets’ nest.
“It’s so beautiful here,” they insisted.
Maybe, but when night fell a sinister atmosphere enveloped the cortijo. As the facts emerged, it was clear the innocent newcomers had inadvertently become embroiled in family feuds and violent clashes over land boundaries.
The night of the wild dogs and a number of other strange experiences in rural Andalusia so spurred my imagination that I ended up writing Don’t Miss The Fiesta! It concerns an Englishman who seeks refuge in a small community only to find himself embroiled in dark secrets and dangerous passions.
Now don’t me wrong. The book is pure fiction. No connection with the small Malaga village where I’ve lived for many years. Heaven forbid. It’s a delightful spot.
Even so, no matter how peaceful a place may seem to an outsider you never know what lies beneath. Such dramas as Lorca’s plays Blood Wedding and The House of Bernarda Alba have their source in real life…