It was relentless. Tourist after sweaty tourist staggered off the plane and rushed to join the queue at passport control. There they queued grumpily, only to be waved through by a bored custom’s official looking for a victim to annoy him, enabling him to relieve his boredom by holding up the bad tempered sweaty queue.
Then they charged over to the baggage carousel knocking infants and old people to one side in their rush to jam themselves up against the very edge of the carousel minutely watching every suitcase, as it appeared straining to start its mindless journey around and around forlornly pleading for an owner.
Even when their bag appears, the pushing and shoving is so great that unless they lift it up immediately with a loud yell, like a professional weight lifter, their grip on their “Heavy” bag becomes locked in a deadly death grip with them unable to let go even if they wanted to.
They are then forced to join their wretched suitcase on its aimless journey around the carousel staggering along behind and demanding that their hapless wife abandon their screaming snotty, tired children and “Help for God’s sake”.
Once the ‘battle of the bags’ has been won they all charge towards the poor tired holiday reps standing, clipboards clutched to their chests like mediaeval shields, waiting like the victims of a firing squad, knowing what is coming but not really believing they are foolish enough to do it again everyday.
George lived this performance every day as hordes of tourists came off never ending flights at Malaga to madly rush about, hot, tired sweaty trailing their children and elderly tired parents behind them, as they decided that perhaps this Spanish holiday was not such good idea after all.
His ‘manager’ had told all the reps that they must look cool and fresh and in control at all times. Even if they were stunned at the state some of the tourists had got themselves into on the short flight. They should treat the havoc unfolding before them as normal. Above all they must not express any opinion on anything whether good or bad. Just nod tick the little box on the clipboard and prepare to run away and hide at the first opportunity.
After completing three weeks of this Hell on earth as an airport greeter, George’s manager took pity on him and allocated him to a small tour bus going up into the mountains around Granada and surrounding villages. He enjoyed this and very shortly after his manager asked if he would like to do a trip to Toledo accompanying a small group with an overnight stay in a remote Finca for a change.
He jumped at the chance not to be a ‘greeter’ at the airport and packed an overnight bag. The tour around the hotels first thing in the morning was very pleasant as the guests were either bright and cheerful or sleeping off a horrendous hangover.
The last stop after touring the mountains was in a Finca in a small village not far from Manzarares. It was in the middle of nowhere but, whilst primitive, the tourists liked it and they were a vital source of income to the owner and his pretty young wife. It was also not far from Toledo and gave them all a good early start the next morning.
They were all accommodated in 6 bedrooms within the farmhouse and the farmer and his wife slept in the kitchen in a small single bed. Usually George usually got a bedroom in the little chalet outside. A few weeks later on another tour, all the accommodation was taken and there was no bed for George. He stood in the kitchen sipping a glass of cool wine, watching the farmer’s pretty wife making Churros and Chocolate for the morning breakfast and the smell of cooking was driving him mad.
The smell was making his teeth wet. The farmer’s wife offered him a couple of Churros and a dip into the freshly made chocolate but George refused the very kind offer, tempting as it was. He knew that if he started nibbling at them he would not be able to stop at a couple. His mind was taken off the problem, when the farmer crashed into the kitchen with a sheepish smile on his face.
“I am sorry Senor. My neighbour has no beds available in his house either but all is not lost. You can sleep with my wife and myself in our little bed. I will sleep in the middle between you both to remove all temptation from you”. The farmer was a very jealous man.
Well!! George had no choice and agreed. Eventually they went to bed with the cold wind howling around the Finca as only it can in Spain. The light was put out and they all turned over. Shortly they were woken up with a loud banging outside as a stable door had blown open. The farmer duly got out of bed and lifting the baby out of its cot placed it between George and the wife.
Without a word he went outside and secured the door climbing back into bed a few minutes later after returning the baby to its cot on the other side of the kitchen. Within 10 minutes the cold must have got to the farmer, as he had to get up again to pay a call of nature. The baby was duly placed between George and the wife and before getting back into bed the farmer put the baby back into its cot as before.
Now the bed was very tight and narrow and the farmer’s wife was lying there all this time, wide-awake, watching all this commotion, but only smiled and winked at George.
A few minutes later a cow started to create an awful noise and the farmer got up to see to it to make sure it did not disturb his paying guests. This time in his hurry, he forgot to collect the baby to put it into the bed between George and his wife. The minute he went out the door the wife stroked George on the cheek and smiled. Looking deeply into his eyes she whispered:
“You can help yourself to anything you like now” and winked at him again.
George sighed, took a deep breath and admitted to himself that he could resist everything except temptation and rolling over reached out and helped himself to a Churros and chocolate sitting on the kitchen table.