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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

A Day in the Life of Lenox Lenoxovitch
Wednesday, July 7, 2021 @ 6:29 PM

Zzzz. I slowly discover that my dream has once again taken me to a strange bathroom. I wake up with the pressure on my bladder and stumble slowly and carefully – there’s a large dog asleep on the floor somewhere – to our en-suite to siphon the python. My wife wakes up as I fall over Ginger on the way back and she switches on the light.
‘What time is it?’ She asks.
I have a rule. If it’s four o’clock I try and get back to sleep. If it’s six, I’ll get up and make a coffee. I used to have a very good internal clock which could tell me the time to the minute, which is why I’ve never had to wear a watch. These days, it just clanks gently on the hour somewhere in my brain like an old but well-wound railway clock.
Unfortunately, it’s five.
Since it will be six long before it’ll be four again, I decide to make an early start to the day. Coffee, a slice of toast and some orange juice squeezed from the in-law’s fruit.

Well, at least we have water this morning. The other day, fresh – or not so fresh, come to think of it – from our drive home from the Madrid airport, we found that the water had been cut. So, the following morning I drove down to the water company’s headquarters in Vera – across a track and following a road-works gang, and in to sort the thing out.
My first remark, there was an audience of Spaniards waiting their turn behind me, went down well. ‘Lady’, I said, ‘I’ve come to take a shower. Where do I change?’

The water had been cut, it turned out, because they had found an old bill from 2016 and (apparently anxious to cash it before the statute of limitations ran out) had gone to my bank only to discover that I had failed to budget for this eventuality and, despite being a regular customer who wasn’t particularly going anywhere – apart from a well-earned holiday following an alarming brush fire earlier this year – decided to cut the precious life-giving fluid to my finca. The result – whatever hadn’t died in the farm the first time round was shriveled up and dry by the time I was sat in the water company’s office coughing up not just the 230 odd euros they wanted, but another fifty reconnection charge.
Bastards! I got my own back though. I think my audience were appreciative as I noisily filled out my first ever ‘complaining sheet’.

But today, no water problem, no bucket by the loo. All friends again. Instead, a quick and violent shower, followed by me mopping the floor where I’d made a poorly judged squirt.

I went to the shop this morning to get in some food and drinks. The choice was between my usual supermarket, which has taken to playing a grotesque collection of muzak and the other, larger one where the shop assistants interrupt one’s shopping experience by periodically bellowing instructions over the in-house tannoy system like something out of a Butlins holiday-camp. Normally, I’ll shop with an iPod stuffed into each ear.
I had made my way to the queue at the front (I’m in the bellowing-shop-girls supermarket) and was waved past this fellow. ‘You go ahead’, he said in Spanish. ‘Why, thank you’, I answered politely. ‘I’ve just been having a drink with Jacky Mankewitz’, I added, under the impression that I knew this fellow, who looked faintly like the postman, ‘and, do you know, at his age, he’s still playing tennis’.
No, on closer inspection and noting his bemused expression, I decide it's definitely not the postman.
Now I have to queue for another five minutes as the lady in front of me pays for her trolley in patiently counted out pennies, all the while aware that the Spanish bloke behind me is convinced that I’m barking mad. I’m not really; it’s just that, in a tourist town, everyone starts to look alike.

I drive home with my shopping, including a rather suspicious English fish pie which I am already regretting having purchased. Some chap in Pieland has spent millions making this thing, doing the packaging, the design, the flakes of – one hopes – fish wrapped in monosodium glutamate and so on and, lo! There’s a box of it in a supermarket in Spain. The picture looks like Captain Nemo wrestling with a deep-Atlantic squid. I nuked it in the microwave and it was, indeed, horrible. Again I remind myself to eat Spanish stuff in Spain.

Thanks in part to our water-company-induced drought that followed the earlier conflagration, we have lots of firewood. Blackened, sooty and dead. It just needs scooping up, cutting, breaking or uprooting and the chimney is stuffed to bursting for the evening. Our house is a country-house, nice in the summer, cold and drafty in the winter. A good fire in the bedroom to keep everything toasty, but not much use in July. I decide that I shall once again put off for another day any thoughts of sawing, piling and sorting the lumber so kindly donated by a passing pyromaniac. 

Inside, there’s a message on the phone. Our phone number is, unfortunately, very similar to a popular local restaurant. I discover that we are having a party of six at 8.30.

The fan refreshes us as it slowly gets late, and the book falls to the floor. We lie in bed; a stray hair from the cat tickles my nose. The dog growls at some dream-figure and a gecko stirs and stretches quietly behind a painting.

Like 5


abopst said:
Saturday, July 10, 2021 @ 9:06 AM

Great dialogue xxx

Doncolin said:
Saturday, July 10, 2021 @ 9:15 AM

"If it’s four o’clock I try and get back to sleep. If it’s six, I’ll get up and make a coffee. I. . . Unfortunately, it’s five. Since it will be six long before it’ll be four again,I decide to make an early start to the day."
I have exactly the same problem. . . . Annoying, though I enjoy getting up with the dawn and the birdsong, hours before the daily/endless barking and yapping of Spanish 'guard' dogs.

lesleyfb said:
Friday, July 16, 2021 @ 1:40 PM

Ha Ha. I know how you feel. Our telephone number is one digit different from a pub in a nearby town. At first I contemplated taking the orders and reserving tables but my husband talked me out of it.

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