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.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wrinkled skin

On the second day I lived here, that is the day after the MGB, Mary the cat and I arrived in Spain to join Maggie, I went to the Town Hall in Santa Pola to register on the padrón. The padrón is a local register of inhabitants. Town Hall's like to have people on their padrón because it increases their funding from national and regional sources. Without being on the padrón it's difficult to access some services.

There were some problems with the paperwork; some tiny little defects. The Town Hall needed the landlord's signature. She was in Switzerland. They needed Maggie's signature. She was at work. I went to the Estate Agent, who had rented us the flat, and asked for advice. She forged the absent landlady's signature. Back at the Town Hall I forged Maggie's signature. As I wrote it with a pen borrowed from the clerk it wasn't much of a forgery. "Ah, the landlady and your wife came back unexpectedly." said the clerk as he stamped our padrón and we became official residents.

Today I had to set off for work within the hour. Maggie had just finished her job for the day and was due to get her nails done. We decided a quick snack lunch in a bar would be just the job. It all went dreadfully wrong, The service was slow and Maggie left after a salad and some indifferent mushrooms. I waited for the double portions we'd ordered to eat together to come. There were some Britons sitting very close to our table. Abandoned by Maggie I started talking to them. They were pretty new to the area. In the few moments we talked I heard that the electricity supply wasn't in their name, that they did not have the deeds for the house, that their water pipes seemed to be leaking and that they weren't registered with anyone for anything.

I began to dole out my ten year old wisdom, most of which is certainly out of date. I mentioned local people to contact to sort this and that problem. More importantly I helped them with their pudding order. They wanted ice cream as well as the fruit salad.

As I drove away there were two thoughts uppermost in my mind. The first was just how confusing I had probably been. For someone who was having trouble with the translation of the word for hake, the fish, talk of various Spanish processes must have been first rate gobbledygook. Padrón this, escritura that  with Iberdrola and gestores up the ying yang. It had probably been confusing for me too all those years ago in Santa Pola. The second, much more rewarding, thought was that I'd had no trouble at all getting them ice cream and fruit salad.

Extrapolate as John D.W. Bottomley, my one time chemistry teacher, used to say.

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