Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Two sheds Jackson and landscapes

I was thinking, as I drove between La Unión and Culebrón, about what I could see out of the car. I decided it was family and friends. You get what you're given. Blood's thicker than water and all that. History and culture from hand to hand and gene to gene over the generations. Alfred and the cakes, 1066, Glorious Goodwood, Cornish cream teas, feet and inches, Ant and Dec. Your friends on the other hand you get to choose. No blood ties, no original shared history. Something you manufacture between yourselves. I watched the dusty, brown grey, scrubby lunar landscape, the almond groves and the vineyards pass by. I looked at the bright blue sky and I thought how lovely it all looked. In the beginning, when I first got to Alicante and Murcia I thought it looked desolate. The sort of place that John Wayne ate beans.

Maggie and I had a great time in my old MGB car driving around the Cotswolds. I thought the Cotswolds were amazing. When we saw Calendar Girls, when it was new and first at the cinema here dubbed into Spanish, I looked at those North Yorkshire landscapes and thought how stunning it all looked

I was reading a piece that turned up on the English language feed to my mobile phone so it was either El País in English or more likely the Spanish pages of the Guardian. The author was a Brit writing from Spain. He said that some survey had shown that expats living in sunny climes were less happy than people living in the British climate. He suggested that British refugees to Spain were likely to be a bit curmudgeonly anyway because most were dissatisfied and were looking for something better. His main thesis though was that what was great as a break for a couple of weeks didn't really match up in the long term. He likened it to some chap who celebrates Christmas every day. I didn't agree with him.

On Sunday evening at about 9.30 I went to get some cash from the bank machine in the main part of town. La Unión is not a pretty town. The chewing gum plastered onto the flagstones looked particularly disgusting and I worried that one of the several footballs being kicked around by small groups of young lads would get me in the head. I turned left into the High Street, I was in shirt sleeves, the town was lively with people. A churros and chocolate van was doing good trade.The comparison with Huntingdon High Street crossed my mind. I often enjoyed a swift pint in the George before the weekend was over during the Huntingdon years. I was rather pleased with myself for being in La Unión.

It's not a comparison. It's a bonus. I got lucky with my family. Some of my friends I've known for over 40 years.

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