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Arguing about all sorts: the third year of our Spanish adventure

This account of our life in Spain is loosely based on true events although names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. I have tried to recreate events, locales and conversations from my memories and from my diaries of the time. I may have also changed identifying characteristics and details of individuals such as appearance, nationality or occupations and characters are often an amalgam of different people that I met.

A man with ambition.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 @ 6:06 PM

La Gloria didn't have anything like the number of expats as Adreimal, but there were a few dotted around in nearby villages. One woman I liked was an Essex girl called Tracy. She had a perm, lots of make-up, a bubbly way about her and a working class way of speaking. This meant that some British looked down on her, as though they were superior beings (the Spaniards didn't; they had no idea she sounded 'common'). She was in her 30s and her husband Barry was at least 50, but he seemed to have a lot of energy.  
The first time we'd come across him, it was the usual scenario. Pepe and Barry were trying to have a conversation in the bar without a common language. Pepe waved for Adrian to come over. 
'Oye! Adrian! Can you help? This man doesn't speak Spanish.'
Adrian had to forego his peaceful morning coffee and translate for the two of them for half an hour. It turned out that Barry and Tracy had bought a house in a nearby village and now didn't have a clue how to get an electricity contract, where to get bombonas, how to sort out a telephone...
As soon as Adrian had finished translating for them, Pepe rushed off to his next appointment, leaving Adrian with Barry. The conversation went like this:
'I'm Barry, by the way.'
'And I'm Adrian.'
'Are you Welsh? 
'Oh. I've been to the north. It's absolutely beautiful there but the people are bastards.' 
'Oh. I'm from the south actually.'
'Aw, the people are lovely down there, but the place is a fucking shithole.'
So Adrian enquired: 'And where do you come from?'
'Well, I've been there and that is a fucking shithole.'
A few days later, it was the same scenario, with Adrian being called over again to translate. I wasn't there but Adrian reported back on the conversation later.
'I said: "Right. This is the last time I'll be helping you Barry. You'd better learn Spanish. I know you English are crap at learning languages, but you'd better get on with it. It's not my job to do it for you."
And Barry said: 'Oh yes I fully intend to learn it.' 
The third time Adrian saw Barry trying to speak to Pepe, Barry turned to summon Adrian's assistance. Adrian held his hand up, and said, 'Keep on learning the Spanish, Barry,' and kept on walking. 'Because I don't bloody like the bloke,' he said to me later.
A few months afterwards Barry seemed to have sorted out his house issues and was now launching himself onto the Spanish employment market.
'I'm going to change the face of this place,' he declared. 'I'm going to bring loads of work here. They've kept it like a little backwater, but I've got some big plans. They're not going to know what's hit them.'
It was interesting to see someone with ambition. And he certainly had more vision than we ever saw in the local mayors, although both were to be equally ineffectual. Before he and Tracy split up (he'd been hitting her about) and he did a runner, apparently being chased by someone (it was all shrouded in mystery) - his impact on the area was so significant that I have no recollection of one thing he accomplished.
And the best the mayors did in all the time we were there was plant a few flowers, build a wall and re-surface some streets. This was despite thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands pouring into the area at one point, when expats were buying and developing properties and having money extorted out of them by the town architect, through whom all plans had to be approved (2000, 3,000 euro fees were common; if you didn't pay, your plans wouldn't be put before the Committee). 
At the same time the mayor managed to build and furnish five houses out of his mayoral salary and job as a part-time plumber and a few of the councillors seemed to be stretching their small salaries in a similar way, with fancy houses and fincas being added to their property portfolios. No-one even raised an eyebrow. It was the way things worked in Spain.

To see our current properties for rent take a look at. There is still one week available in the second property during the summer holidays (10th to 18th August):

And also another of our completed projects:


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fazeress said:
Saturday, August 2, 2014 @ 1:33 PM

I'm so glad I've finally had the time to catch up with your blog! I live. Reading it but somehow over the last few weeks have forgotten to catch up as we've been busy with 'stuff!' Just been sitting with a cup of tea and fag after lunch reading. Perfect! Can't wait for more. Are you a member of We Love Memoirs facebook page? It's for people who've written their memoir or enjoy reading them. I'm the latter as my life is way too boring to write about! They're a great bunch though from all over the world. Let me know if you're not and you'd like an add. 😊

eggcup said:
Saturday, August 2, 2014 @ 1:51 PM

Thanks Fazeress. I like the idea of you sitting there with your tea and fag (let's hope no Americans are reading).
I'll look up the site - I don't do Facebook, but maybe it'll be worth it if the page is the right thing for me. I'm off on holiday next week so my blog will go quiet for a week or two. All the best. Eggie.

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