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.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hey Mr Beaver

It was quite early, maybe around eight in the morning, but the newsagent in Chatteris was open. I was on my way to some absolutely essential meeting I'm sure. Chatteris is a town in the Cambridgeshire Fens, stories of incest, potato headedness and child swapping abound. Chatteris was not in the fast lane of the (then) 20th Century. A couple of older women were in front of me, they were buying but chatting. After waiting nearly five minutes I asked if I might just have a packet of Hamlet and be gone. I had the correct change, it would be a quick exchange. The woman behind the counter wasn't having any of it and didn't heistate to chide me for my hurry.

On Monday I was in the library cum youth centre in Sax. Six of us were gathered around a table parked at an edge of the big barn like room. We Brits outnumbered the Spaniards two to one. The idea is that it's a sort of group language exchange - I have no idea why we use a room large enough to stage a concert in. My fellow Brits were expounding on a failing of some Spanish system or another - maybe education, maybe good manners. I forget. We often complain about most things in our adopted home. Then one of the Brits said that she had been told, by a Spaniard, that it wasn't fair to judge Spain by what happens "around here."

I know exactly what she means. It wouldn't be fair to extrapolate an impression of the UK from Chatteris or its somewhat prettier rural cousins alone. If you did, and you worked in the film industry for instance, you may have a population that never took its wellies off or lived in half timbered, thatched roof cottages and shopped at family owned supermarkets all the time. Obviously there are no films like that.

I made a little coment on Facebook about Maggie stopping in the middle of the road to greet someone and used it as an example to prove that she was becoming Spanish. Marilo came back to say that she really was Spanish and she would never stop on a zebra crossing to chat with someone. Forgive us, we're country bumpkin Spaniards I replied - we do folk dances. I don't suppose they do a lot of folk dancing in the Palacio neighbourhood of Madrid either. Only the other day when I wrote the form and function blog entry I was thinking that there are some pretty trendy places in Spain, there are first class restaurants, people buy Audi A7s as well as white vans and Internet connections run at 100 Mb in the big cities. When I talk to telesales people there is often a lot of confusion about our address. Their expectation is a street name, building number and maybe flat details. They do not expect some description of a piece of muddy (winter) or dusty (summer) field.up a farm track.

Fortunately though the blog is called Life in Culebrón not Life in Spain

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