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.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I don't start work for a couple of hours so I thought I'd go to a local bar for a bit of a read and a coffee. I'm in La Unión, quite definitely a part of Spain, but the story is based in Pinoso.

Last weekend I was in Pinoso. I laughed to myself when I noticed a sign in a bread shop "I don't speak English but at least I try." It seemed strange that the shop owner felt the need to apologise for speaking Spanish in Spain.

I was in town to get the tyre fixed on my car so with that job done a reward seemed in order. I thought bacon sandwich. A bacon sandwich and a cup of tea. If tea were involved I needed somewhere British so I went to the charity shop and café bar run by the animal charity PAPAs.

Despite spending very little time in Culebrón I knew the two people who were serving the food and drinks in the bar. Whilst I was sitting there a couple of people passed through who said hello to me. The bacon sandwich involved close questioning about the crispiness of the meat and the colour of the bread. I gave confident answers. It was all together a pleasant and comfortable experience. And it was a good bacon sandwich - just as it should be.

Now I'm off for this coffee. I have three bars to choose from and all of them are good. I always get a courteous welcome and sometimes a friendly one. I won't have any linguistic or cultural problems and if I did I would be able to cope with them. The exchange will be a short one though - businesslike. Nobody will ask me when Maggie is due home, comment on my Facebook photos or ask if I still have the same car.

One of my students, a bloke who speaks cracking English full of idiom and colloquialisms, told me yesterday that when he lived in the UK people would ape his pronunciation and snigger.

Language, language always language to make it just a touch more or a touch  less comfortable.

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