Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lancing the cat's boils

Every now and again I write an email to someone. This is like writing a letter in the olden days. Personal communication. Facebook messages, the private ones are as postcards to the email letters.

As those emails and messages go back and forth the fact that I live in Spain is vaguely recognised but largely ignored by most of my chums. A couple of my correspondents, however, never fail to slip in a comment which makes it very clear that they think my decision to abandon the UK was barmy. Ten years on I wouldn't have thought that was much of a talking point.

I called the blog Life in Culebrón. I write the entries partly because I live in Culebrón, in Spain, but moreso because the Internet gave me a method to write in public without effort. I've written a diary every day of my life since I was fourteen. Blogging isn't that different except that nobody gets to read my diaries till I'm dead and even then only if they can read my terrible handwriting.

Because I write the blogs I have to think of a hook. Finding something to write can be difficult because most things I do are so commonplace. Maggie often ridicules the way I stretch and twist the most trivial of incidents into a post. Take the other day. It was a Bank Holiday on the 6th and we went looking for lunch. We hadn't booked of course. We tried Amador's place down in Mañar first - the restaurant was full but as he recognises us and we reckon we know him he turned us away in a flurry of handshakes and kisses. They turned us down at Paco Gandia and Pere i Pepa too but we finally got fed, very well, at el Timón.

Now the point of the story could be eating times, booking things up, the end of the Christmas holidays, the different emphasis of the holidays here, an essay on the fame of the rabbit and snail rice at Paco's, the quality or value of the local food or it could just be to preen because I know the name of at least one Spanish person.

In fact I want to use it to emphasise how ordinary life is for us. Alright I feel a bit uncomfortable with Spanish still and at times it's something much, much stronger than that. Asking about table reservations had me looking vaguely bemused and moving from foot to foot as waiters and waitresses rushed past us with crockery. I'm like that though, I'd be exactly the same in the UK except for needing to speak Spanish. Nonetheless the routine of restaurants, the ordering, the food and how things are presented is all dead ordinary to us. Absolutely normal. More ordinary to me than doing the same thing a couple of weeks ago in the UK. It wasn't a problem in the UK either but it had more novelty value there because I do it less frequently. Just as Tesco's or Boot's is more exotic to me now than Eroski or Mercadona.

So there are seveal reasons why I complain as I blog. One is because everyone complains. I complained when I lived in the UK and I complain now. I've complained wherever I've lived and I will probably complain till the day I die. Another is that I have the right to complain - I can complain about politicians because they spend my taxes and because I voted, I can complain about services because I think they are not working as they should. Yet another reason is that I have the tools, I can type something here and a few people read it. And, of course, I am a miserable sod and complaining suits me. Oh, and there always exists the vaguest possibility that whatever it is I'm bleating on about actually needs exposing, complaining about or changing.

So, if I complain, compare the UK to Spain or just blether on think of it as no more than "O" level essay writing with maybe a little observation of the world about me thrown in. Nothing more. And I promise not to read anything deeply dissident into you complaining about the price of petrol, flip flops being referred to as thongs or trains being late.

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