Despite the car being a bit of a jalopy nowadays we're still members of an old car club. The SEAT 600 Club of Orihuela in fact. Theyd asked me if I could organise a little excursion and I said yes.
It was very simple to organise. I asked Roberto , the man who owns and runs the wine bodega and oil mill in Culebrón if he could do a guided tour. "No problem" he said "We do it all the time". I asked Eduardo a the local restaurant if he could do a meal for thirty to forty people. "No problem" he said "We do it all the time".
As the day got closer the numbers went up. I spoke to Roberto "I can deal with ay number". I spoke to Eduardo, he said his restaurant could hold lots of people but he was dithering a bit about the menu. I contacted the Spanish secretary of the car club and asked him to speak to Eduardo just to make sure everything was sorted. That conversation took place.
The cars were due in Pinoso at about 11 this morning. We got there at about 11 and the cars were waiting. We were late. Not such a good start. There were nearly 40 cars and about 90 people. More than expected.
We drove to the bodega. The Spaniards milled around. Roberto led them to the big shed that is the modern bodega. He gave away a few samples. He never spoke to the assembled crowd; no mention of the process, the history of the bodega, no visit to the old, oak panelled, vaulted ceiling bodega. Absolutely no mention of the olive oil they produce there. People bought stuff from his shop.
The President of the club and I went to speak to Eduardo in his restaurant two hours before kick off. No way I can deal with 80 people he said (the number who wanted to eat). He changed the menu, for the worse. I wondered if he had been drinking.
People disappeared because there was too long a gap between the bodega visit and the meal but at 2pm everyone was back to eat. The meal was very ordinary and the servings scanty. It was served in spurts of activity with long periods of waiting in between. I consoled myself with quite a lot of wine.
I had a bad day Spanish wise too. Generally my Spanish has been a lot more certain over the last couple of weeks so it was a bad day to find myself alternately tongue tied and babbling. If I'd been able to speak better I wouldn't have sounded so stupid when I spoke to the local TV cameras. I would have asked Roberto to speak to the masses. If I'd been able to speak to Eduardo I'd have played hell and told him to get his finger out. Well, more probably, I'd have asked "our" Spaniards to do it on my behalf. But as it was I just stood there, did nothing and watched it fall apart. Very disappointing especially as today was the day for the Neighbourhood Association meal. We missed that to go to this fiasco.