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Pedro the Goatherd

Pedro the GoatherdThis sketch of how I see Pedro, the old goatherd in my novel GABRIEL was inspired by one of three goatherds drinking (thirty years ago!) in the only bar open when my friend and I visited the village of Macharaviaya to call on an artist friend. It’s a white mountain village (pop. nowadays under five hundred) in the Axarquía area 20 km north-east of Málaga, built on the remains of a Moorish settlement.

Interestingly, on a later visit to Macharaviaya with husband David, we met a party from Galveston, Texas photographing the Gálvez family grave. They told us their city was named in honour of Bernardo de Gálvez, Spanish colonial governor and general who led the fight against the English during the 1700’s. (His remains, though, are in Mexico.) Gálvez is honoured in Mobile and Galveston and has featured on US stamps.

Macharaviaya is worth a visit, especially during its fiesta in August. During the 1800s, it was known as ‘little Madrid’ thanks to the influential Gálvez family who made it their base. They introduced a Royal Playing Card factory (now a private residence), an agricultural bank, and a drinking water system, an innovation in those days. There’s a Gálvez museum open at weekends. Many foreign artists have settled there, and, from time to time, the Town Hall organises exhibitions of their work.