I was convinced she was a witch!

By Adrian Cerroti, Australia

Frequent visits for summer holidays since my early childhood have left me with a myriad of memories and experiences. In the 70’s visits to the village were usually accompanied by my Grandfather who was born there.I can remember being very bored as he would chat for hours in a language that understood very little of, but picking up the odd word which sounded funny to my childish ears. I would spend hours swatting flies with the fly swat that every house seemed to have whilst the adults conversed endlessly. Castaneda was still a farming community then, and was quite rustic. Families kept cattle under their houses, and a great aunt cooked with a big black pot on an open wood fire. I was convinced she was a witch !!. Early morning walks filled me with smells from the stables, and women returning from the fields with freshly sceithed hay in wicked baskets that were taller than themselves.

Everybody seemed to know who we were, and there was a definite feeling of belonging to the community, despite being unable to communicate with them. As I got older, I became aware of some of the politics within the village and it seemed quite petty, though I could understand the collective opinion of the village that everyone from the other villages in the valley were fools.

In later years the character of the village changed, the old farm houses being converted to holiday homes for the folks “from the north”, who were viewed with suspicion by the dwindling number of locals. The young have moved away to a more exiting life found in the main valley, and nowadays you are more likely to find a Cerroti in the graveyard than at the Bakers or at church. There are many more stories but…..

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