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Wednesday, 19 November 2008


The Aragonese are as I have pointed out before, famous throughout Spain for their intractability and here is an example of a conversation I couldn't imagine having anywhere else. Note my ability to integrate and be intransigent.

Me on the subject of the never ending acts of 'gamberrismo' around town: It's a pity there's so much vandalism and graffiti here because it could be such a nice little town.

Student: It's a city.

Me: What is?

Student:It's a city.

Me thinking the town has grown by 2,000 in the last few weeks: Oh, it's not a town anymore?

Student: Ana, it's a city.

Me: So there are 50,ooo people living here now?

Student exasperated: It's a city.

Me: I wouldn't call it a city.

Student: Yes, it's a city.

Me: OK, it's a city with a village mentality.

Student: It's a city.

Me: Perhaps we should just leave it as a village.

Student: OK, you think what you like.

I'd like to point out that the student is very nice, we get on unless it involves the town in question and its position in the grand scheme of things and normally displays a wider vocabulary.

Talking of the town it seems that the whole place is just a chain gang of hole makers be it holes in the ground or those that involve paper punches and the never ending world of Spanish bureaucracy. Whilst dealing with another piece of paper today I was also spoilt for choice regarding noise. The pervading sound of the neighbour's cow bell not, as you might imagine, attached to a cow seeing as we live in the lovely Pyrenees, but the Ecuadorian equivalent of the triangle perhaps was all I could hear until I opened the window and could listen to the rest of the band. Earlier some workmen came round to put up scaffolding and when I returned three hours later they were taking it down. Wrong house perhaps? Outside I had to dodge various men up ladders, up machines used for fixing guttering and lorries on the go moving earth to make a huge hole next to the other new blocks of flats. There is always a man or sometimes men not connected but out for a stroll, standing staring at the hole regardless of its size with their hands behind their backs and mouths open.

A lot of women find as they get older the dreadful realisation that they are repeating sentences their mothers say and they vowed never to. I don't have this problem as I find myself repeating stuff my dad says like 'is it me or am I getting old? ' which he has been saying for about 40 years. I caught myself muttering 'artful as a wagon load of monkeys' as I chased two of the 'punkies' the other night after they decided to illustrate their thoughts on our communal front door with the threats of 'Marcos I will kill you' and 'Pijos del punk'. It didn't occur to me at the time when I confronted them that they might, as Henderson pointed out, have hit me or worse but I wasn't in the least bit scared and let's not forget they run away from me, a small, middle aged,rather elegant woman ( as I like to imagine that night ) waving her handbag shouting 'cobardes' or cowards. Chasing them as far as my eyes could see I wheezed back home to find two neighbours both male and in a state of excitement after seeing my valiant, admirable or stupid behaviour and both said 'if we had been here a few minutes earlier..........' What? that we could all have enjoyed stringing the 'punkies' from a lamppost? The most we could do was call the police who asked for my name and identification and went off to look for the scallywags. Nothing will come of it and the town has become such an eyesore that no one even notices the graffiti anymore. It will be a nice town once the council get round to cleaning it up and the holes get filled in.

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