Txoko — 21 Comments

  1. Pingback:Back To The Future | The Big Garden and Croft

  2. J & D > We refer readers (or rather those who might be interested enough to dig a bit deeper) to the Wikipedia entry (in English) for Txoko. However, we need to qualify the Wikipedia article by explaining that our Txoko is of the historical private/personal variety – a cosy sociable space in a Basque house (very often the basement/cellar used for making, preparing or storing of wine, cider, smoked hams and sausages, firewood and so on) where extended family and friends gather (especially on cold evenings) around the fire and eat, drink and talk. For reasons we’ll explain in a future post, we are confident that in this particular private txoko, in times past (and yes definitely including the Franco era), poltics would certainly have been included in the conversation : suffice for now to say that this was the home of a leading Navarrese-Basque politician.

    • J > Kerry, your confusion is quite understandable, as it is the inevitable result of us starting at the wrong end of the tale, and … oh, hang on a mo’, D has something important to say. D > What J meant to say was, it is the inevitable result of HIM starting the story with a house-warming party in a cellar, with no kind of context or … J > Yes, okay, okay. As Editor-in-Chief, I accept that the Book Stops Here. I will make good, I promise! But, in answer to your question, Kerry, not only will we be going back [to Uist], we already are. In fact, it’s only because we’re back that we can post at all, as I couldn’t get to WordPress to upload photos on the smartphone and mobile broadband.

  3. Sounds like you are having a marvelous time. Love the picture of the dog on the hillside. Is the wind blowing Tilly’s ears?

    • J & D > It is the wind, yes! It wasn’t all a marvelous time. Dealing with the legalities and bureacracy in Spain (and specifically Navarra – which has its own distinct laws for many things) for buying property, setting up bank accounts, having a legal identity, registering for utilities and taxes, these were fraught with difficulties of language and unfamiliarity, plus a measure of uncertainty : could this all fall through at the last moment? Fortunately it didn’t. Or perhaps it did. Or it’s all been nothing more than a dream.

  4. I was wondering if I’d missed something…. Maybe a post or two? But nope, it seems not. Everything sounds very exciting; looking forward to hearing more! 🙂

      • Becky > Thank you Sandra! Tilly loves her walks up on the hill : the roughness of the terrain doesn’t bother her at all, but the roughness of the weather is less to her liking – she keeps warm by dashing hither and thither, sniffing and woffling, and generally covering twice the distance that I do. It was wonderful of her to sit patiently while I composed this picture! [J > Becky is staying with us a few more days : she’s now free to go off on jaunts to far-flung parts of the island to take photos and come back in need of a warm fire and a change of clothes – our turn to look after her!]

    • J > Well, Sandra, that’s an understandable response, as there’s been another long gap in the posts, but that’s because I found that, no matter what tricks I tried, the WordPress app on the smartphone refused to upload photos. Now that we’re back home in Uist, no problem, but alas the inability to complete the posts I’d drafted rather undermined my spontaneity … Of course, now that we’re back home in Uist, there’s so many jobs to catch up … but there’s lots of interesting things to tell you about, both from Navarra and here in Uist.

      • News will reach us as and when you have the time and the inclination 🙂 Meanwhile, I’ll just enjoy that wonderful picture of Tilly. I can see that framed on a wall somewhere… it rather sums up your little kingdom for me. The Scottish one that is; of course now there’s a Spanish one too!

    • J & D > Like many things in a foreign culture, the more you learn, the more there is to learn. The Txoko is an iconic feature of Basque life, and as such there is more to it than just a basement/cellar that doubles up as a sort of pub!

    • J & D > We are indeed very fortunate to have the opportunity to buy such a really lovely house, in a wonderful area, and at a price we could afford. But there are two sides to every coin : there’s been many years of unremitting hard work, going without (certainly without holidays!), episodes of great uncertainty and sadness, that have contributed to us finding ourselves in the position where we could do this.

  5. I had to look up txoko. I still am not sure how to say it! I have one of my own right here in my house where it belongs. It is generally closed to the public, and I allow very few in other than myself and my cats. We have a very small membership.

    • D > Txoko is pronounced like the the Choco as in ‘Chocoholic’. The second o is short, like in the word ‘off’. Your Txoko, Sheila, seems to be very similar to ours. To be clear, our txoko is not one of the contemporary type, a glorified dining club : ours is for family and friends only. The ‘club’ type of txoko is a relatively modern phenomenon, and is more of an event than a place, occurring in places like restaurants, club-houses, mountain refuges and such like, depending on the interests of the membership. Ours is a rather well-appointed cellar, which works best for between half a dozen and dozen people – ie family and friends.

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