Sometime ago I wrote about local nicknames, apodos, such as the unfortunate “follachinos” (chino, here, being the ancient word for swine, not the nationality) or “seis pesetas”. See (Garrucha celebrates the people of its past).
I´ve been quietly accumulating at the back of my mind more of these local gems. Hopefully, none of the owners of these apodos read this website…
Some of them are rather crude, more suitable to an agrarian society and I certainly have no intention of giving the literal English translation of follapalomas, a local gent who was so beloved of his pigeons that it was the only thing he didn’t do to them. Ah hem. Sort of the opposite of the above mentioned lover of pigs.
Of course, sometimes people can change their apodos, by popular acclaim. Take the case of el gallina, a local Turre man who in the late 80’s, after a strong philosophical debate in the bar decided the only way to prove that man could fly was to go home, cut out two huge wings from ply-board and jump off his roof. When he woke up, the whole town had forgotten his previous name and decided he would henceforth be known as the Hen, after his flying abilities.
I have a close connection to a family whose Patriarch has been known for the last three generations as Tallarin, a proud motto handed down from Father to Son – it came about because the first holder of the title was the smallest, yet most ferocious, fisherman of the town. Tallarines being a small, vicious fish.
Or the postman from the 40’s, known as Pedro el peaton, as he had to walk to Los Gallardos every day to collect the post. Or El Junza, whose family is now known as los junzas, after the herb he used to reek of as he salted his fish.
We have el esmayao, (it means starving), from a gentleman who was well known amongst the other farm hands for turning up with massive loaves of bread for lunch… Alfonso will never ser esmayao and so he was known until the day of his death.
Sometimes, nicknames get passed on to places, or viceversa. Juan de la cueva sucia, a man of clean habits who sells animal feed, simply inherited the Finca de la cueva sucia, a finca out in the sticks with a cave where they used to keep the goats. Simple, eh?
Or, the other way around, take the Puente Vaquero, the large bridge over the Rio Aguas between Turre and Los Gallardos. Nothing to do with cowboys, although some people say that it’s called that because they filmed a cowboy film there. No, it’s called that because a chap called Vaquero died there when they were building it, and the locals called it after him in his honour.