Well we’re nearly into the 2 month mark and the campo life has become home from home. We love it.
Old Spanish Rafael daily flying past the villa on his scooter, the lovely Rita and Dieter (German couple next door), Bryan and Margaret up the road and Mick and Caroline down the track, everyone has been so welcoming.
A few years back before we made the decision to move to Spain we thought about moving to the countryside in the UK but we have the best of both worlds here. Tranquillity, beautiful views, great walks for the dogs but with the added bonus of fab weather, our own almond and fruit trees and a pool. We feel privileged to be here.
The language barrier is something we are working at and it does pose its problems.
Yesterday we did our weekly trip to the local petrol station. One of my favourite Spanish locals William wasn’t about to fill the petrol up (over here the Spanish fill up the car for you) so I cracked on and filled it up myself.
Williams dad came out of the petrol station to help an old chap who not only parked his car on the opposite side of the pump, but some way away from the pump itself.
I’ve seen Williams dad many times in the local bar and I’ve interrupted the weekly knees up they have in the petrol station with the local amigos. Every so often you see the plastic cups on the counter filled with a local brandy as the old chaps are putting the world to right. I love the Spanish culture. They do what they want when they want. This works for me.
Fully distracted by the old man’s delusional parking, I disengaged my brain and literally drenched a whole leg of my new chino’s with diesel.
I was soaking and a gentle fart would of engulfed me into flames. To avoid further embarrasment I quickly urged my wife to nip inside and pay up.
As I waited a car wanted to drive into the slot so I obliged and in true British spirit moved to one side. Big mistake.
A few minutes later William’s father tapped on my car window.
I initially thought he was thinking I was doing a runner, but I soon realised that wasnt the case.
I got out of the car and for no reason I pointed at my soaked leg. He looked at me like I was a compete moron. Not only could I not complete a simple task like filling a car with diesel, I didn’t understand what he was saying, the language barrier was slowing him up and a queue was building which was adding further stress to the already hugely embarrassing situation.
I walked into the petrol station where my wife was waiting along with the rest of the queue for me to resolve the situation. The person who had nipped into my car slot had used the pump and Williams dad didn’t know how much I’d spent. I quickly guessed, “cincuenta cinco” (55 euros) I replied. I knew we hadn’t used that much but I wanted a quick resolution.
It worked and we we’re on our way. It was only when I got home that it dawned on me. Did Williams dad think I drenched myself with diesel or did he think i’d pissed myself? I don’t know what’s worse but the wife will be filling the car up for the next few weeks whilst I get over it!
On a positive, the ‘Classico’ (Barcelona vs Real Madrid) was on at the weekend and I had this romantic vision of being sat in a local typical Spanish bar watching the match.
This was an experience I shall never forget and definitely one ticked off the bucket list. Bar learning the language there’s not much left on the list now.
This maybe hard to understand for some but I wouldn’t of swapped this particular experience with attending the actual game itself. Being in a local bar with the old Spanish gents is something that I’d thought about for many years.
As I walked into the bar, each table was packed with old Spanish men smashing domino’s on the table with vigour, friends peering over shoulders observing the game.
There was a mixed smell of homemade tapas, and a Spanish version of Hai Karate.
It reminded me of the smell of my grandmothers kitchen when I was a kid along with a fond smell of my dad when he’d come home from the pub. I always loved the smell of pubs.
The old chaps all had shirts and jumpers dressed for the winter, the odd flat cap and there wasn’t a mobile phone to be seen in the whole pub. This felt good and I felt privileged to be there.
The banter was great (although I couldn’t understand a bloody word) and the bar lady was running the place like clockwork. Between pouring brandy, tapas and telling off the odd chap, she was clearly in charge of her audience.
I ordered a bottle of Estrella. I gave her 10 euros and recieved 9 euros and twenty cent back. Unbelievable – I was in heaven and the game was just a distraction. What a lovely experience.
On top of this we did a Xmas trip to a retail park in Elche with my daughter for her Xmas presents. For some unbeknown reason it reminded me of an annual Xmas shop I used to do with my Grandma to Manchester.
I’m finding this a lot over here. It’s like going back to a time that evokes special memories. I’d put those times down to just being old, wearing nostalgic rose tinted glasses and thinking that I just saw things differently now than I did back then.
I’ve come to realise since being here that the old times were real and dare I say it unadulterated. It feels really good to be in a place where those times are in the now and I’m old enough to appreciate them.
I’ve been getting the garden around the pool ready for next years summer, the Xmas decorations are up and we are looking forward to the Spanish Xmas. (Xmas day in Spain is on the 6th January – ‘The Three Kings’ ).
I’m sure there will be enough going on for a further update in the New year so watch this space.