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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

The Cold Cut
Monday, January 24, 2022 @ 10:10 AM

I was in Pamplona last summer when I was suddenly taken short by an urge for a haircut. You know how it is – by this time of life, you are not too keen on being wrapped in a sheet and seated in front of a huge mirror for twenty minutes contemplating your fallen chin while a flunky clips away at your head, but, on the other hand, you’ve just broken (or mislaid) your comb.

The somewhat gabby hairdresser lady established that I was a tourist, had once ‘run the bulls’ (madness!), loved to eat fish cooked in a local sauce (al pil pil) and pointed out that there was nothing like a trip to the ‘pelu’, the hairdresser, to pass some time. She motioned to Brad Pitt on the wall behind her and we agreed that, yes, I’d like to look exactly like him.

I had a ‘Number Three’. An electric clipper thing with a bit extra on the top (in case a future barber or member of Brad Pitt’s family reads this).

There’s a hairdresser down where I live who seems OK. She looks like Lisa Minelli. She runs a shop just downstairs from the office. I sometimes belch, break wind, sneeze, hoot or yap as I pass her place on my way somewhere: the blessings of age. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that she's next door to a popular bar. On the other side of the bar, there's a lawyer, and everyone knows it's bad luck to cross a lawyer.

Thus, I always turn left after the morning libation. Sometimes I inadvertently surprise her as I groan from a cold beer or snort from some minor blockage caused by a shrimp. It has occurred to me to be embarrassed by these small yet regular dramas, but I reckon it’s her move first.

Ms Minelli had once cut my hair, in the days before I knew about choosing a number for my grooming pleasure – now that I come to think of it, a useful convenience similar to dining at the Chinese (Numbah Seventeen - and easy on the MSG).

Normally though, I go over the way to this gloomy fellow called Pedro. For a start, he doesn't have a mirror. The idea will come to me (must cut hair) as I pass his shop and, if it’s empty and Pedro is seated in his antique chair and conspicuously immersed in his newspaper, I’ll go in.

Número tres I told him today. Easy on the top.

Walking back to the office, surrounded by flies attracted, I suspect, by the hair-gel that Pedro has slapped onto my head, I was visited by a violent sneeze. The kind that shrieks. Yaaahhh!

Just at that moment, as a bullet of snot ricocheted across the empty walkway, I saw a startled looking Lisa Minelli having a smoke on the terrace. I’m not sure, but I don’t think that she was very impressed.

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