Archive for November, 2012

What Have I Been Up To?

Just what have I been up to?

Well, I have been enjoying the pleasure of making ‘virtual friends’.  I don’t mean through chat lines or Facebook but through coming together with a like-minded person via a common interest.

And it’s been fantastic!

We both had a job to do, we both knew the end result and, by working together via Email and text messaging, we hit the target.

I wouldn’t mind a few more friends like this one.

Friends by the normal method can be so problematic.

You start to expect things of each other and, when they don’t materialise, the friendship closeness sometimes becomes backstabbing hatred, each trying to score points against the other. When it’s gone too far, the hope of getting back to where you once were becomes almost unattainable … the damage has been done.  It has the likeness to an affair.  If it is repaired, will it ever be the same again? Still, some couples say that marriage after a repair is an improvement on the earlier relationship.

I think I’ll stick with virtual friends.

Seven Years into it, Look how Far we’ve Come … .

We’re almost seven years into our time in a non-tourist area of Spain and we have learnt many things.  What used to surprise us no longer does, so let’s say we’re starting to belong.  But what have we learnt?  Quite a lot, actually:-

  1. When asking for directions, don’t expect anyone to know the answer.  At first, we really couldn’t understand why locals couldn’t give directions but time proved that it was because there may be many villages with the same name and all within close proximity.  Also, as we live in a wine region, pubs are not there to use for directions, so explaining which way to go isn’t easy.  However, Spain does have a very interesting system which can be used for directions.  Travelling along motorways, you will often see a sign which will tell you how many miles you are from Spain’s capital so, if you’re travelling along the A1 or the A6, you can give directions by saying that you are between 546 (kilometres from Madrid) and 558 on the A6 and look for the yellow house.
  2. If you live in a stone house, it will be virtually impossible to keep mice or lizards off your roof, as they use the rough edges of the stone like a staircase to get up there.  Because a lot of old houses were built into the hills, don’t be surprised if there’s also a dog or cat up there.
  3. Seeing customers having a drink of lager while they wait for their turn in the ironmonger’s is not strange.  It’s being sociable.  And there won’t be a queue either, as no-one will be in a hurry.
  4. Cows can find their own way home and they know when it’s time to make the trip as well.  Dogs will look after the sheep, while the shepherdess sleeps.
  5. If you find yourself without water in the village in August, it’s not a big issue.  Most families (that doesn’t include us) will have a well in their garden and, failing that, there’ll be a public tap within a short drive, where you can fill up some empty flagons.
  6. If you haven’t received any post for a couple of weeks, it’s because the postman or woman is on holiday.  Think of how nice it will be when you get the build-up of envelopes.
  7. If your telephone isn’t working, someone will arrive within forty eight hours of your registering the problem, unless it’s any day in the month of August, when you are likely to wait until the first day of September.
  8. What is easy to buy in a health food shop in England may be impossible in Spain.  It will be easier to order online from England than try to get them here.
  9. A ‘club’ is not what you think it is.  I wouldn’t want to spend any time in there.
  10. Eighty year old women still work in the fields.
  11. Stamps can only be bought at the post office or a government-run estanco or tabac.  Posting a letter on a Sunday is therefore a no-no if you don’t already have your own stamps.
  12. Ants won’t cross talcum powder.
  13. When you’re waiting at traffic lights, pipping the car horn seems to be obligatory.
  14. You may depart this world if you touch a toad.
  15. Other than on pizza, chefs do not cook with cheese.
  16. Teabags still only come in boxes of forty.

And we’re loving it!


Well, except for number 16!