- At the start, when Father was very young, he walked down to the village with 30 litres of milk on his back. He went from house to house to sell the milk from his cows.

- Father milked the cows twice a day, morning and evening, and helped them to calve. This was a very exciting moment, which some guests were able to see. The calf would clamber to its feet alone and slowly make its way towards its mother, guided by smell, by contact with her skin and, as soon as it found the teats, would start suckling.

- Mother used to get angry with the cows because they ate her soap for washing clothes, or when their tails rubbed against the clean washing she had just hung out to dry.

- Speaking of clothes, our mother washed them by hand at the sink outside the house all year round, and in winter everything she hung out froze and the pieces of clothing went as hard as boards.

- Our parents loved flowers. Father used to go for walks and collect flowers in the fields to but them in bunches on the tables in the restaurant. Mother took great care of the flowers in the garden. She had beautiful hydrangeas, dahlias, chrysanthemums, daisies, lilies and roses, and in winter she brought the geraniums into the house to protect them from the cold.

- At breakfast in the morning, guests drank milk straight from the cow and many of them still remind us of the cream it made and how good it was.

- Breakfast consisted of Dolç i Salat (Sweet and Savoury), which means toast with butter and jam or with tomato, always accompanied by coca flatbread which we went to fetch from the village bakery every morning. And the children's afternoon snack was nearly always bread and chocolate.

- As well as the cows we had pigs, rabbits and chickens. At least once, even though the chicken coop was properly closed, the foxes came too close and managed to get in and eat all the chickens.

- We children had to take turns watching the cows, but we weren't particularly interested in it. More than once they escaped and we got calls from angry farmers because our cows had got into their vegetable gardens. The cows were also very calm and often while they were grazing they had the habit of stopping on the railway line, even when the train was coming. The drivers had to stop the rack train, get out and move the cows firmly out of the way.

- The cows were very spoilt and both Father and the guests loved them. They often came up to the dining room window and guests would give them fruit and vegetables while they were eating.

- Guests went with a jar to get water at the spring and left the porró wine pitcher in it to keep the wine nice and cool.

- At lunch and dinner time, Father would go out with the cow bell and ring it to tell everybody that the meal was ready and guests should come in. The guests would generally be outside, sitting at the entrance, as the step had become the usual place for conversation.

- To identify the tables, we went by the distinctive feature of each one. For example: the table in the middle, the one under the plates, the one by the window, the one by the fireplace, the one behind the door, the one under the stairs, the one by Our Lady and so on.

- We referred to some guests by their names: the Pareras, the Catots, Mr. Nuri, the Casilaris, the Caparroses, the Beneytos... or others by their occupation, like for example the Tailors, who had a clothes shop; we still carry on the same tradition today with some of them, referring to their children in the same way.

- There was only a narrow path to get to the house from the village and Father had to carry provisions, big boxes of fruit, drinks, food of all kinds, on a donkey called Platera. We were able keep the house supplied for years thanks to our beloved Platera. She was a good, very strong animal, and on occasions even carried electrical appliances and other very heavy items on her back. It was not unusual for some ladies from Barcelona, who were coming to the village for the first time and wore dresses and high heels, to come up on Platera's back too.

- Our father was deeply religious, and he liked going to mass and visiting churches and the like. His children took a while to begin to share his love of art. It was years before we too learned to love and appreciate, as he did, the beauty of many places: buildings, museums, cathedrals and so on. Father also had his habits and one of them was to walk up to Núria every 29th June, his saint's day. He liked joining the festivities, dancing sardanes and eating farinetes (a kind of cornmeal porridge).

- What we, the children, have carried on is the tradition of passing round a little capelleta or shrine with figures of the Holy Family, with other households. We receive it from the Riu family and then pass it on to the Ruira family.

- As we were very good friends with the family that lived at the station, sometimes if a guest was late for the rack train, Father called the station and asked the station master to please make the train wait until our guests arrived.

- We children went with Father to take the cows up to the mountain, a whole day's outing.

- One day a week, in the village, a girl set up a hairdresser's in a room in the school for the women in the village. When Mother went down into Queralbs, whether to go shopping, to church or to the hairdresser, fixed herself up very well. As the path was very rough and stony, she went down in rope sandals, but at the entrance to the village she hid them in a bag and put on high-heeled shoes to look smart.

- Father loved opera and this was a passion he did manage to pass on to some of his children. While he milked the cows he sang songs, fragments of opera, or talked to them while stroking them and scratching their heads.

-At Christmas the three kings always brought us books. Books with Walt Disney stories, tales by Andersen, books by the Catalan author Folch i Torres or Don Quixote. When we were little, it has to be said, they weren't the most eagerly-awaited or well-received presents, but the fact is that we've always had books around us, we learned to love them and they became travelling companions for the whole family.

- Father often went to the Liceu theatre - he never wanted to miss a première. He had a passion for opera, a passion Mother did not share at all, above all because she had to stay behind with the cows and she hated running around after those big animals that messed up her clothes and gave her even more work to do.

- Father was a great reader. He read many books, especially poetry, and we remember him from when we were very small reading the newspaper, too, the Correo Catalán. He had a subscription and it was delivered every day on the 12 o'clock midday rack train. He spent hours and hours reading the paper from cover to cover.

- Father was very sociable, sensitive, lively and liked to learn from everybody... He was always asking questions, because he really wanted to know. He was very cheerful and was always telling guests stories, especially while he was serving at the tables. Mother was a warm-hearted person, sensitive, intelligent, smart and with lots of patience. She got on well with others and knew how to deal with people. The kitchen was often the place for meeting guests, chatting to them and answering their questions. She knew how to listen, advise and help, and always had a friendly word for everyone. People loved her very much.


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