Skip to main content


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.


  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!

  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!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Looking for a flat

Finding a house to rent in Spain is usually a pretty straightforward process. When I say house I really mean flat because, although it's not impossible to find houses in the middle of a town or city, by far the most usual style of dwelling for urban Spaniards is the flat.
I need to qualify this a bit further. It's easy to find a place if you are willing to pay an estate agent. The other options involve walking around random streets looking for to rent signs with your mobile phone to hand. We've only ever done it a couple of times and it has not produced good results.
The internet has made it a slightly less fraught process to find an individual renter and the place that Maggie rented in Ciudad Rodrigo came that way. Even then it takes ages to sift through the various websites usually to find that nobody answers your email or phone call except for the estate agents.
The estate agent method is the most straightforward but also the most costly. The standard charging process…

La vuelta al curro

Certain Spanish soft news stories do the rounds each year. Spanish summer ends on 1 September and as people return to work the news always includes little filler pieces about how difficult it is to go back. In a couple of weeks time the story will be the cost of text books as the youngsters return to school. Back to school is la vuelta al cole, la vuelta al curro is what I've just done, back to work.

In fact we both started work today. We intended to leave Culebrón yesterday evening so we could unpack but the cat sensed something and scarpered so we had to put it off till this morning. Horrid, up at 5.30 - long before dawn. It was bad enough for Maggie after two months off but pity me - eighteen months since I last had a proper job. The strain! - polished shoes, shirt with collar, new people to meet, new routines to learn.

I'm working at the Wall Street Institute in Cartagena and everyone was welcoming and friendly. The centre has a good positive feel to it and the teaching me…

Where am I?

When I wrote the last post on this blog - Looking for a flat - I should really have written it on the Life in Culebrón blog because that's where I am at the moment.

In fact, apart from working in Cartagena it looks as though my links with the place are about to be cut. I am in the process of signing up for a flat in La Unión and the logic of naming the blogs must mean that the active ones are the places where I have a kettle. La Unión and El Culebrón.

There is a tab at the top of the page to navigate there or this is the link