Sunday is Karaoke night in Villafranco. It happens all year round. In the summer the man with the microphone and the machine takes all his kit outside and the punters, performing al fresco, create a din that I can hear from the dirt tracks leading through the campo along which the dogs and I are walking, fully a kilometer away.

It is too cold for that now and so the whole operation has shifted indoors. The performers step up onto a small stage and are offered a microphone. They are well illuminated without being blinded and Christmas lights are flashing all around.

Attending a karaoke is like a visit to the dentist. The experience might turn out to be quite painless but there is no getting away from the thought that something awful could happen at any time. The karaoke equivalent of the dentist´s drill is to be forcefully summoned up to the stage by an expectant crowd that won´t take no for an answer. If you relent and find yourself thrust into the limelight there can be more indignities in store. You don´t recognise the song or you have forgotten your reading glasses. Or your voice is, let´s face it, absolutely crap. This then becomes the equivalent of root canal treatment without anaesthetic.

As it happens we had nothing to fear. The locals were keen to get up there and the whole operation ran smoothly and without any awkward gaps. Between one performance and the next there was a switch to “proper” music that, to the audience, was like surfacing to breathe again while swimming under ice.

The performers came in every shape and size and age. The youngest might have been 12 or so and the oldest in his seventies at least. There was one enormous man who made the chair under him disappear. When he finally settled and the music played I suspected that his might be the voice of angel trapped somehow in that cavernous body but it did not turn out that way. There were no angels in Villafranco on Sunday.

What there were though was a bunch of real people drawn in from the surrounding campo and local towns. There was food and booze. There were people dancing to music that would make you want to bury your head and there were people laughing, talking, taking selfies, popping outside for a fag, wandering off to the loo, sitting with their dog under the table and knocking back red wines like there was no tomorrow. And there were people who would randomly wander over to the open fire burning in the centre of the room and take down, from the rim of the hood above it, a four or five foot long metal tube and use this to blow into the base of the glowing logs so that the flames too could dance.

Our neighbour Pete drove grandad, Leo and me to the event and so we were free to sink a few pints and not have to worry about getting home. Our services were not required onstage and so the audience did not have a chance to discover that, with our tonsils sufficiently lubricated any one of us could have sung like Luciano Pavarotti.