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Sunday, 21 September 2008


If you want to make a written complaint here in Spain don't expect an answer and if you are lucky enough to get one, expect a total denial on their part. Don't expect the letter to start 'We are sorry that you found or felt.... ' either. Short of saying 'Que no!', the favoured response to anything, you will often find the tables being turned and you will be left wishing you had never come here with your Anglo Saxon prejudices. I am referring to a comical letter sent to me in response to my complaint letter after suffering at the hands of a certain Nurse Ratchett at the local hospital. Said nurse was described in said letter as 'on the contrary' to my perception of her, and had and I quote, ' the most experience and prestige on the nursing team'. Do I write back in my Anglo Saxon sarcastic way and say 'yes, I quite agree, the most experience and prestige in being a complete bastard' or do I pour my energies into something else, as having the last word here could go on for ever. At least I managed to take advantage of the side effects of the general anaesthetic to slag off our mayor by telling everyone on the ward that he was 'an African chieftan or warlord, un caudillo Africano, and the only reason he has so many bodyguards is because he knows I want to shoot him'. The longer he reigns the more he thinks he is some kind of guru. More of him soon......................

On a lighter note I couldn't help being interested in an article in the Times called something like '50 Things a British Girl Should Have'. Perhaps it should have been those she doesn't need, like chlamydia, drink problem, boyfriend who carries a knife... You wouldn't know it but you'll never get anywhere unless you own such useful articles of clothing like a beret and trenchcoat. The obsession with 50 this and that was thankfully whittled down to 10 for the ten books Not to Read Before You Die. I was glad to see Ulysees was one of them and believe Finnegan's Wake should have been up there too. These two and anything by Beckett should be avoided unless you are pissed and desperate then they might make sense. It helps if you have a bit of Irish blood or an Irish parent. Have you ever heard an Irish man or woman talking in their sleep? Almost as absurd as the Dutchman waking himself up laughing and crying 'what's the difference between I am and I'm mad? ' and then telling me 'it's 35'.

I have started a list of programmes I would like seen on TV. I still only have two, Muslims do the Funniest Things and Guess What Song I have in My Head. I hope this doesn't start a fatwah just for having an imagination. These are some of the things that roll around one's head when you have to contend with 'El Tubo' the weekly binge drinking that goes on outside my door. Don't think it is confined to Britain. Stick yer head out of my kitchen window of a weekend and it's like Merthyr Tydfil with a suntan.

Finally. I came here to 'get away from it' and 'it" follows me in the form of 32 casinos, 70 hotels, 232 restaurants, a hippodrome, golf courses and half a million shops or maybe it was half a thousand but then they should have just said 500. I am talking about the plan to open up a casino complex in Bajo Aragon in the Monegros Desert not far from here. I think it goes by the name of Gran Scala and it will be interesting to see where they get the water from seeing as there 'aint any. The theme of the recent Expo was water and a good enough reason for not going. I can't think of anything more likely to make me want to drown myself in the bloody stuff than paying 35 euros to queue up to see exhibitions, one after another on the same theme. Water or lack of is a big problemo in the Iberian peninsular and I hope, as not having been there I can not say, that the Expo has lessened the quid pro quo attitude that seems to be prevalent here.

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