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Closing in on 30 years ago now I went to a Spanish class in Peterborough with a teacher called John Richardson. On the first night he asked us why we wanted to learn Spanish. I said that I wanted to be able to buy a beer. He lied to me and said that would be easy. I still have trouble getting a beer. Other people in the group said that they wanted to learn the language because they had just bought a house in Torrevieja and wanted to be able to talk to their neighbours. I distinctly remember John saying that it seemed that half of Peterborough had a house in Torrevieja.

So there have been Britons in Torrevieja for over 30 years and it shows. We went there to buy specs. We went to Specsavers because I had heard that they were cheap. From the initial phone call to the final fitting everything was transacted in English and the only Spaniard I encountered (to my knowledge) in the whole process was the optician.

Specsavers is in a shopping centre and the principal language throughout the complex seemed to be English. I'm sure that it isn't really but it was certainly the most prominent language on this side of the cash desks. Notices everywhere were bilingual Spanish/English and lots of products were directed at a British market. Quite reassuring in some ways to be able to go in to Yorkshire Linen and speak loudly and confidently in English but a little disconcerting too. Anyway, both Maggie and I knew that there was an Iceland supermarket in Torrevieja and she wanted to have a look. Whilst she bought Cadbury's Roses, caster sugar and chilli dips I went for a coffee. I wasn't sure, as I approached the bar, Spanish or English? As I hesitated "Hallo, what can I get you?" It was a friendly and efficient little coffee bar with a very British menu. It must be a decent business too as the Iceland/Overseas Supermarkets store was doing a brisk trade.

If those people from Peterborough still have their place in Torrevieja I bet they realise now that they didn't really need those Spanish classes.

Comments

  1. This is the old dichotomy - you speak Spanish they reply in English! I must have ordered coffee and with toast/jam 100s of times in Spanish bars - the other day up near Catral (all of 25 kms inland)the lady could not under my Spanish for jam - she was not being difficult just could not understand my Torrevieja accent!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Chris
    The class was nothing to do with people learning Spanish - it was all aboput getting the max money out of the LSC. Good old Graham (Dale) Winton!

    ReplyDelete

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