Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2011


Have you seen those adverts for expensive face creams on the telly? The ones where 84% of women agree that this product is more useful than the wheel. Sample size 78.

Well, I've done my research amongst Spanish people and 100% of a sample of five people agree with me.

Spaniards can be selfish or thoughtless.

An example would be making a turn signal in a roundabout. If the approaching car driver made a turn signal then I, and the five cars behind me, could move forward rather than continuing our futile wait. Or, in the supermarket, if the shopper parallel parked their trolley rather than leaving it at right angles to the shelves the way through would be clear. I wait, in finger drumming mode, as the fit and well people on the zebra dawdle across the road maybe stopping for a chat near the half way point. Shop doorways are another good place for stopping to read a text message or to engage their companion in conversation with the secondary function of blocking my way.

This isn'…

Rooting about

I was walking back to the car today and I saw a chap rooting around in one of the big bins by the side of the road. Nothing strange about that, "For you always have the poor with you" (John 12:8.) At the next bin there was someone else doing the same thing. And at a third. That was out of the ordinary.

Things aren't going well in Spain at the moment. The media is full of stories of finacial disater as disgraced rich gits plunder pension funds and flee. Spanish local government, having recently discovered fianacial cutbacks, is trying desperately to make up for lost time by slashing services left right and centre as they jack up local taxes. Spain is still far from being a poor country though and seeing so much bin rummaging in such a short time was a little disconcerting.

If I lived in the Arctic Circle and had to chew seal skins to be useful my teeth would be down to the stumps by now and I'd be out on the ice. Yesterday another one crumbled at the edges so I poppe…

So I said to him, "Van, why did you cut off your ear?" and he said "You what?"

I started work at 7.15 this morning and I finished about 15 hours later. I wouldn't like you to think I worked the whole day through but, when I got home around 10.30, a nice cup of tea and my comfy slippers beckoned. But no. Bright young things that we are we were off to Mr Witt, a local bar, to see a band called Deja Vu.

Deja Vu were perfectly good. Hardly likely to take the music business by storm but pleasant cover versions sung in a competent way. So why the Van Gogh joke? That's because lots of the audience had some sort of hearing loss and all the songs were accompanied by signed translations. The first time I've ever seen sign language used for something so everyday. Top marks to the bar and the band. Now I know how to applaud in sign.

Mr Witt by the way is a character from a novel by Ramón J Sender. Mr Witt was a fictional English naval engineer who worked in the naval Arsenal, just across the street from us. Through his Spanish wife he became involved in the Soc…


It's not as though there aren't curtains in Spain. We've got nets on most of the windows in this flat and it was the same in the last place. We even had proper, bought from Ikea, linen curtains at one of the windows there. Not everyone uses curtains though and it's pretty usual to have none at the windows.

Where there are curtains they do not serve the same purpose as in the UK, at least not around Alicante and Murcia regions. They are not to block out light, deter snoopers or insulate the house. Drawing them is not the way to signal that your day is over and that you have locked yourself, snug and warm, into your little house. In Spain I think they are there to make the casements look a bit neater from inside and maybe to ensure that the dash from bathroom to bedroom is just a shade less embarassing for any neighbours who happen to be watering their plants as you drip by your window.

Spanish houses and flats do have built in blinds or shutters though. Holidaymakers w…

Lock in

I drank quite regularly in the Postillion in Paston once upon a time, long before it became a Tesco. Only once was I included in the nightly lock in and only then because I was with a good looking young woman with long blonde hair.

Last night we were in a bar. As we paid to go one of the customers started to chat to us mainly about us being English but speaking some Spanish. The bar owner enticed us to stay with a free drink. The customer offered to buy us another drink. We  didn't really notice that the door shutter had been pulled down; we'd been locked in.

But it wasn't illicit drinking they were after, oh no. As soon as the shutters were down out came the ciggies. Smoking in public places is no longer allowed in Spain. Luckily I had my cigars with me. One wouldn't want to be seen as churlish.