Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a very British view of life in a small village in Alicante province, my experience of Spain, of Spaniards and sometimes of the other Britons who live nearby. The tabs beneath the header photo link to other blogs written whilst I was living in other parts of Spain, to my articles written for the now defunct TIM magazine and to my most recent photo albums.

Monday, October 17, 2016

October and nothing to say

Nothing much to write. It's October, you may well have noticed, and the weather is a bit changeable. The usual weather pattern here is blue skies and sunny days all year round with a few days rain particularly in winter and spring. In summer the difference is that it just gets hotter and stays hotter longer. At the moment the maximum temperatures are only getting up to around 26/27ºC and overnight we get down to somewhere below 10ºC. Difficult weather to deal with. You put on a sweater and you swelter. You wear a T shirt and, in the shade, it's a bit nippy. At night it's cool. Only the Northern Europeans are still in shorts. Inside, in front of the telly, our house is distinctly chilly. We've had the gas fires on but not yet wound up the mighty roaring pellet burner. We've had some rain too. The sort of British rain that makes the soil claggy and leaves muddy footprints on the kitchen floor.

There's still a fair bit going on round and about in the fiesta line - hence the photo - but we haven't ventured very far recently. Bit short of cash to be honest. I haven't had any work or any pay for four months. The Brexit vote has destroyed the value of the pound against the euro and, with it, my pension income. If you consider that, as a very broad generalisation, over the last couple of years it has cost about £770 to buy 1,000€ one now needs £910 to do the same. I'm sure you can guess what that means to someone living here and paid their UK pension in sterling.

I'm back at work now though and counting the days to the pay check. Things are a bit different. I'm still with the bunch based in Murcia who sell my work to a state assisted school in Cieza. This year though I'm just working two longish days with them. In the morning I work in the school, with full classes of youngsters doing their compulsory secondary school education and, in the afternoon, I do classes with any age group willing to pay for English classes. My bit, with the school, is to try to make sure the teenagers hear some real English and actually get to speak a bit. It's fair enough. The youngsters are noisy but generally they are nice enough and they don't give me too much grief. They don't like to speak English though. In the afternoon I do the classes for the language school in the same building, in the same rooms but with a mixture of age groups. Fortunately this year I have more adults and fewer children.

A biggish change is that I also have some work with another business, Academia10, based here in Pinoso. I do three adult two hour classes with them. It's nice to be working close to home and with people who are keen to learn. You'd have to ask the learners, rather than me, but I think the classes have been going OK.

Spanish wise, the language side, things go along. I still do a class, in fact I do it at the place I teach myself now. I also go to a language exchange that happens in a local bar. My Spanish isn't bad at some levels but it still drives me to distraction and is the major fly in the ointment of my existence here. I make stacks of mistakes but I can generally maintain a conversation. Then again I sometimes can't speak at all. In one bar last week they brought me a coca cola when I asked for a coffee. Twelve years and I can't get a coffee!

Last night I was surprised when, as I drove up our track, a car followed me right to our gate. It turned out to be some friends who had spotted a couple of sheep wandering on the minor road to their house. They wondered if I knew who the owner might be. I didn't but I said I would call the police on their behalf. I was shocked when the local police number was answered by the emergency 112 call centre. I stumbled and stuttered confusing verb tenses, mispronouncing words etc. I had the usual excuses - poor mobile phone coverage, not being quite sure what the answers were to lots of the questions. If it had been in English though it would have been much easier. The sheep are now safe and sound though.

Just in case you're interested the political stalemate is still completely unresolved. In fact a couple of weekends ago a palace coup saw the leader of the Socialist party unseated. You may remember that the PP, the conservative bunch, won more parliamentary seats than anyone else but they cannot find a partner or partners to give them the majority to form a government. The unseating of the socialist leader was because he has refused, point blank, to support the conservatives. With him out of the way the socialists could now abstain in a parliamentary vote in which case the conservatives get to form a government, albeit a minority one. As you might expect this is causing furore amongst socialist ranks. Three hundred days without a government today. If they don't cobble together something the third general election will be in December.

I'm going to stop there. This is boring even me but it's written, so it's going to get published. I'll be back when I have something interesting to say so, Oates like, that may be some time.

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