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Form and function

We stopped in at Candelario today. It's an impressive looking place lined with "Mediaeval" style houses. Because the village attracts a lot of tourists there are notices dotted here and there to explain key buildings and features.

Maggie had noticed some "half doors" in front of the main doors of several of the houses. We thought they may be to stop flood water but the notices explained that they were to allow the main door of each house to be left open to allow a breeze into the house whilst keeping animals from straying inside. They also acted as crushes to constrain pigs at slaughter time - pop one between the main door and this half door and it was easy enough to drive a dagger into the pig's head.

The next notice explained that the houses were typically built on three levels and without chimmneys. The pigs lived on the ground floor, the family on the first floor and the upper floor was used to hang the sausages and hams to cure - the smoke from the house fires vented through this attic to help cure the meat.

Notice three explained that the running water that rushes and gurgles in channels through nearly all the streets was used to wash away the blood and to clean the skins of the thousands of pigs that were slaughtered each year between November and February. From June till Autumn the water was used to irrigate the fields.

So, basically, this village was built around the needs of pig slaughtering - the style of the houses, the entrances and even the running water in the streets. There were plenty of ham and sausage shops too.


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