The Spanish military are incredibly good at the call and response "viva". The instantaneous swell of voices that snaps out the one word is impressive but the children in the main square of Ciudad Rodrigo this evening would give all but the crackest of crack regiments a good run for their money.
Tonight is the night that, traditionally, The Three Kings deliver Christmas presents to the youth of Spain. We went to see our local Cabalgata, the parade of the Kings that takes part in all but the tiniest of Spanish towns. As I type I can hear the live broadcast of the rather larger Madrid version on the telly. Our parade was small, the three Kings had a float each but, other than that, it seemed to consist of men dressed as ducks riding decorated lawn mowers and a sullen looking little girl with a tiara in a motorised pram. Both the Guardia and the Firefighters turned on the sirens to try to stoke up the atmosphere a bit.
But you could feel the excitement of the children in the air. Palpable. These blokes in their dodgy fancy dress really were, for the children, Kings bearing gifts from the Orient. So when the people on the loud speaker shouted "viva" the youngsters riding their fathers shoulders, the youngsters with their noses up against the barriers to see what was going on and the youngsters rootling around on the ground for the sweets thrown from the passing procession all barked back, as one "viva." Lets hope they've all behaved themselves throughout the year and get the gifts they asked for rather than the sweet coal reserved for the baddies.