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Monday, 21 December 2009

GEZELLIG

I left the bar last night and could hear loud techno/dance music which seemed to be coming from a truck which had been parked or rather, as most things here are, wedged between a tapas bar and a chemist's. The music was quite pleasing in a sort of let's get drunk and dance the night away to music we wouldn't normally listen to. It was what I call a perfect moment as a small child went whizzing by on her scooter and an even smaller kid cocooned in pink started to dance to the music bellowing from the truck. One of those brief moments when everything in the universe seems to click into place and I am overwhelmed with love for my fellow man.



My love was limited when I heard what sounded like Mercedes dismantling her radiator at six o'clock this morning. Spanish people are made up of larks and night owls and she is the former which I guess I should be grateful for. Piti seems to spend more time with his owner and less time making my life a misery and it is comforting to know that all day the air upstairs was alive with the sounds of grandchildren being bathed, said dog barking in a a relatively normal way everytime someone knocked on the door.






Sunday, 20 December 2009

E FOR PERON

Not sure about the above title but it might have something to do with being asked why The British are often referred to as 'Perfida Albion' or Perfidious Albion and the only answer I have is that all fascist countries like to refer to us as this to make themselves feel good. Any other thoughts will be appreciated.

So I am delighted with my Christmas present and am writing this blog from a cafe where they don't seem to mind me using my lovely new 'portatil' or laptop. So I can do two of my many hobbies at once, drinking and writing. My main hobby is eating out and yesterday we found ourselves at The Tomate Jamon eating Migas with eggs followed by rabbit and terminating in a pudding which goes by the name 'Torrija' or Torreja'. I can never remember as I am always too content by the time pudding arrives.

So I guess I should thank the Uruguayan government for the laptop present as I convinced Henderson that I wouldn't have to pay for using it in a cafe or public building that had Wi-Fi as said government wouldn't have bought every school kid one and then expected them to have a bill with whatever bastards are over there instead of the ones here, namely Telefonica. I've just got back from Vodafone and they seem to be as expensive and as confusing as the main culprit. they both bamboozled me with offers and suggestions even when I asked for the cheapest and most basic way of getting Wi-Fi for my home. It's like signing a contract with the devil.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

QUE CRABONA ERES

I always look forward to going to my favourite village in the mountains but it can be a dangerous place with all the excess that goes on once I arrive. I don't need any encouragment but there is something wonderful about being in the womb of the valley and nurturing a few 'sharpeners' in a bar at the foot of a waterfall that has recently taken on Niagaran proportions. I must add that Henderson and I are not tourists or 'vacacionistas' as he calls them but are slowly becoming less the 'foreigners' and more part of the scenery in a village that has captured my heart with its river which lulls me to sleep and healthy dose of irascible locals to wake me up. I'm reluctant to let on too much about this place as I don't want too many people hurtling up there in search of something that only exists if the village adopts you.

While I was up there I learnt that the word for goat in Aragonese is craba as opposed to cabra in Spanish. Along with dogs and pigs I do have a certain admiration for this animal and saw quite a few loitering along my walk to the next village. My walking partner and friend Elena who lives and works in the valley knew everyone we passed as well as the names of the herbs and flowers. As a would-be ornithologist I delight at the amount of vultures, eagles and red kites I get to see as well as Gold and Greenfinches. We met a young man who is new to the valley and he works in the national park nearby. He has his own area to look after and for the first time in my life I knew what it was that I wanted to do but had never realised until now. I want to be a park ranger and spend the rest of my working days in nature and at one with it all. We all know this is never going to happen as I am not sure I can spend my cake years years studying for this and then my twilight ones going through my 'oposiciones'. I guess I will have to be a would-be everything for the time being.

Finally, Jeffrey Bernard was asked if he felt drinking interfered with his work and he replied that on the contrary work interfered with his drinking. I wouldn't go as far as this but I did manage to not drink for a day but then found myself at one minute past midnight trying to undo a bottle of Blandy's Madeira Wine which is not easy when you are sober.

Friday, 4 December 2009

PLANES, PAINS AND OTHER PILLS

There are two things I consider a public nuisance and dentit's ( I rather like this spelling mistake....I will keep it ) are one of them, the other being planes, not stationary ones but ones in the air and which I am not flying. In fact airports could be added to my two main bete noires and possibly dying too. There must be some connection as all result in a fear of. The dentist phobia is unsurprising and I can not be held accountable. Thanks to a certain Dr Gold who told me to shut up while I was being drilled into as a child was bad enough but when he stopped, leaned back, tools in hands and added 'for God's sake how do you think Denis Nilsen got his kicks?' I knew then that singing 'Genetic Engineering ' by X-Ray Spex in my head while under said drill would never save me. As I left my new, female dentist's the other day, storm tossed, on my last legs and waiting for the lift I heard her say 'Dios Mio' and breath a huge sigh of relief from behind the closed door to her assistant who I accused of hurting me with one of the numerous bits of metal she had in my mouth.

Today I found myself in the doctor's waiting room sandwiched between two old women both with that anarchistic spirit that often prevails in older people. There was a man much younger than all who kept asking if he could see the doc before us as he was 'in a hurry'. Nothing gets my hackles and shackles rising and breaking free as a Spaniard who is 'in a hurry'. There is always some chancer who wants to 'go first' as he or she, unlike us, has a life to lead or has the car parked somewhere. It seems I am not alone and I always thought it was the Irish you shouldn't give cause for revenge but these two old ladies stood their ground and gave him a mouthful everytime he got up and approached poor Doctor de Juan who by now was exasperated by this fool asking him if he could be next in line. It went on for an hour and I made sure I chipped in and waved my finger and ground my heels in which led another old woman to believe I was local and then she proceeded to tell me everything about herself including how bored she is with the town and how it is full of old people and how she likes to go down to Zaragoza to get away from all this boredom just to look at the shops and have a change of air otherwise what else is she to do all day apart from read the paper and pop out to the shops? When she went in she took ages and I heard another old woman remark to her husband 'what the hell is she doing in there? Telling him her life story?' The whole experience started to take on a Jewish angle and I felt as I often do here like I was in a Marx Brother's movie. My story took five minutes and I am sure Dr de Juan muttered 'sorry' as I went in and proceeded to talk to me about the bloke pushing in and added 'anyway, does he look ill to you?'

I have realised that the two bugbears above are my main worry but there are loads of niggly ones that I am rehearsing as I get older. The latest involves a chef whose name escapes me but he is French. Raymond Blanc perhaps? Anyway, I am shocked at how the people who appear on his 'show' and who want to be in his life are prepared to be spoken to in that way. 'What way?' you may ask and I find myself in a new position, one that I feel didn't exist years ago and my answer is that it is bad enough being spoken to as a grown up by another adult in a condescending way but it somehow opens an enmity gene when spoken to in this way by a Frenchman, one that I felt I had specially reserved for another of our European cousins and I don't mean The Spanish, who drive me mad but who I will always have more than a soft spot for.

I have to thank Michael Palin for this blog as he remarked the other day not to me but to thousands or perhaps millions of other viewers who found themselves with the unenviable task of sitting through a chat with Alan Titmarsh that he is glad he has kept a diary as he can have a laugh at how he used to be and how he has changed and also reading stuff you wrote years ago
is often precious as so much is forgotten with the advancing years.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

TIS A PITY HE IS A POODLE

Piti the poodle has been silenced. We think Mercedes, his owner has drugged him ( no RSPCA here folks). I'm trying to avoid all of them as last night I came home to find the Borracho de Mierda, AKA ' The Effing Bleeder' trying to get into his flat which involved me trying to get into my flat in a style that wouldn't go amiss in downtown Kabul. While trying to get the key into the door he kept muttering 'cabrona' under his breath because he realised his wife was in but wouldn't open the door for him.The lights in the hallway kept going off so I switched them on but he wasn't expecting this and he found himself facing the wrong way in his doorway wearing a stupified look wondering where the hell his house had gone. When he saw me he said 'vaya!' like they do in the advert for La Tienda en Casa and then fell over. I wish I didn't have this effect on men.

My interest in Big Fat Gitano hasn't stopped and I normally find him sandwiched in a doorway but today he managed to sandwich a sofa instead. With the rest of the clan there was another strange looking piece of furniture which they parked in the road and before long a traffic jam built up with lots of apoplectic Spaniards too scared to start having a go.

Talking of salvaged furniture, my friend's son Jorge is reading Adrian Mole and there are characters in this book who go to the dump or skip to get 'new' furniture and others, namely Adrian's mum and dad who have children with other partners. I asked Jorge if he knew anyone at school who was going through the same shit as Adrian and he told me he had never heard of anything so mental as having children with someone other than your wife or husband and as for furniture everyone bought theirs in shops. Such a sheltered life.

I tried to get the kids to do a minute silence and of course it was impossible and when I told them millions of people in Britain managed to do it yesterday they looked on in awe. They seem to pride themselves that they talk for the sake of it and were very impressed with my story but then they were equally impressed when I told them about Guido Fawkes and his attempts to blow up Parliament. On Bonfire Night Diane Abbott MP confessed that if Peter Mandelson became Prime Minister she would blow up the place. Probably as bad as my mum threatening a while back never to vote Labour again if 'that man (Gordon Brown) becomes Prime Minister'. Well he is and looks like she is left with little choice and I have become what I thought I would never admit to being, no not a Tory, but a floating voter. The words 'now you're *ucked ' mean everything and nothing to me anymore as I live here now and can't vote in this country. So I shall float on down the river on a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

TOUCHE PART ONE THE HARD VERSION

For all those friends who still think the Spanish are sophisticated drinkers who drink wine with meals and never on an empty stomach I am pleased to tell them again but this time with proof that our Latin cousins have beaten The Brits at their own game and now drink a great quantity and as fast as possible in a style that is referred to as 'Anglo Saxon'. Proyecto Hombre sees 1,700 people every day turning up at their centre in Madrid in an attempt to cure them of more than a hangover. It seems The Spanish also consume more drugs than us nowadays but can you blame them when you see the state of their TV?

Talking of drugs, Piti is back and back on the drugs after Mercedes received a lambasting from Henderson on his mental state not getting any better on account of her dog crying and howling for hours. I met her in the street and she had a go at me for said lambasting and then, poor woman, she got one from me. Well she shouldn't have picked a fight with someone from 'outside' renowned for their stubborness. I will beat them at their own game. She is lucky there is no RSPCA that I know of leaving the poor creature for hours on end. The situation will hopefully be resolved or an 'idea cojonante' might be needed.

It's not as if nothing happens here. Why I even went to see Paul Preston in concert a few weeks back. The learned sage from the LSE who is an expert on all things Franco etc. I overheard people say he spoke with a Catalan accent but I distinctly heard a Manchester or maybe it was Yorkshire twang. He didn't teach me anything and I felt a bit miffed that the locals had laid their coats and duvets on every available surface to stop others from sitting down. I trawled the the stalls for a pew and met with that typical Aragonese intransigence and ended up siding with a bloke who said 'only in Spain' or words to that effect. We ended up sitting outside the auditorium where a big screen had been placed and staff began putting out chairs and the same thing happened. More coats and more snorts of disgust. One woman put a piece of paper down and told everyone that the chair was 'occupied' till someone else tore it up. I was hoping a fight would break out but I had to wait till Mr Preston had gone down in my estimation for the usual repressed for sixty year's outburst from an elderly man who had obviously suffered at the hands of someone. My sympathies have now been put on hold as the longer I am here the less I feel obliged to care anymore. I will leave that to the likes of Paul Preston who seemed to not understand anything about the Aragonese spirit. He may be an expert on Franco but he knows nothing about the locals here.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

ENTERTAINING MR CRUMP

I like to think I have got a life and I'm too busy living it to write about it but today I have nothing better to do so here goes....

'OK Felipe, describe your bedroom...'

"I've got the usual, two bedrooms, a wardrobe, a lamp' , and on it goes till he told me he has a poof in his room.

'A poof?'

'Si, a poof'.

'Right, I feel I have to intervene, don't say poof'.

'Why not?'

'Just don't'

'Yes, but why'

'OK but promise me you won't tell your friends'.

'I promise'

'Right, so that means you will go and tell them tomorrow'

'Yes'

'OK, I think you mean a pouffe but you need to know a poof means a 'Maricon'. Are you happy now?'

Stage left Felipe collapses in a fit of laughter.

The Spanish are not the most politically correct bunch so I felt this was OK to tell a fifteen year old whose only interest in English is when stuff like this happens. Why they even have a word for a 'poofy handbag'. A 'Mariconada' and you are one if you don't drink beer for breakfast.

Talking of Poofs and Maricones, I felt the need to tidy up for the first time since leaving the hospital five years ago and was found to remark 'God, it's not as if the Queen is coming ' only to realise that well, she was and he did and has now gone with his 'Mariconada' but left his umbrella behind. Yes it's that time of year when Mr Crump calls and what fun we had. Including a trip to Canfranc on that poofy train The 'Canfranero'. Can't remember the last time the woods have received an old fruit having a vada resplendent in winkle pickers and a handbag.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

TELL THEM WE'RE NOT IN

Nunilo and Alodia have been keeping me busy and I'm still none the wiser for reading all the literature on them except it could be a conspiracy as I have said before to get people to hate Muslims. If the Hadron Collider had existed in that century it could have told the Spanish not to bother as everyday Muslims are in the news usually blowing themselves up so it all adds to the present climate of hate and suspicion that seems to have taken most people over. Which brings me onto Geert Wilders the far-right Dutch MP who turned up in Britain to do, well what exactly? Wind up a few Muslims who are convinced Islam will eventually rule the world? There is one obstacle in their way though and that is alcohol. If only we could all become teetotallers and Muslims some people think we can rid the world of all ills. Like most things, I have no idea what my views are on any of this apart from there seems to be an awful lot of dickheads around at the moment and none of them on my level. Can you blame people for drinking and taking drugs with all that is going on in the world? There was a documentary on the other night about pubs in Britain called the Red Lion and one of them was run by a pub landlord who drank about 17 pints a day and when asked if he drank too much he answered ' yes, but in moderation'. If the pubs in Britain really are closing down at a rate of six a day maybe the Muslims will rule the world and we'll all live happily ever after.

A woman came round the other day from the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica which needs no translation and asked me loads of stuff I was prepared to tell her like how much I drank and did I think there was too much noise in Spain and drug taking etc etc. I found the letter we had been sent a few days before telling us we had been 'selected' to participate in this 'poll'. A few lies were slipped in just to *uck them up and along with Facebook and all the other drivel I find myself writing I am sure the powers that be will be kept busy.

What else? A new school, San Viator and Classes 4 A and B are doing their best to give me a twitch but unbeknown to them I worked in Santa Rosa before and that prepares you for anything. The Taliban? Hah! I found myself in the unenviable positon of levitating and spewing a few words to get the message across to bunch of nine year olds who seem to think they know it all and then I realised Jesus had appeared at my left shoulder. That's not Our Father Who Art In Heaven but a man, probably a brother, of the same name, who had silently wafted in like a 'creeping Jesus' as my mother would say, to hand me a piece of paper telling me that yes, there is a meeting next week that will discuss amongst other things the bad behaviour of said classes. Can't wait.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

MUST TRY HARDER

So, how many lightbulbs does it take for a man to walk a week in a fortnight? This is the sort of stuff Vic and Bob get paid a lot of money for and Derek and I do out of boredom mainly, and a need to inhabit our own universe as opposed to the one currently on offer.

Universes aside I did learn that Madonna was leaving the UK so there's one of many reasons for me to return. Never a big fan of the so-called Madge I did cite her nine years ago as one of the many reasons I left the Motherland. That and AA Gill's depression, CCTV cameras and that general malaise felt when life seems to be passing you by in a youth obsessed society overun with chavs and feral children out to get you.

On a lighter note, I am still none the wiser on the authenticity of the Nunilo and Alodia story. Sometimes Nunilo is referred to as Nunila and even Nunilon. One source by Carlos Maria Lopez, is titled Historic Aragonese Problems of the Ninth Century which left me reeling when I read that all the details on the two sisters are 'incoherent' and that there is a 'labyrinth of dates and contradictory documents'. This sounds like most conversations I have here which leave me none the wiser and reaching for the phone to call Stephanie. There seems to be some discrepancy as to where the remains of the sisters are buried. If I understand it correctly, the Andaluscians have them but then again the Aragonese think they are up here somewhere and a bit of them in Navarra. The author is convinced however, that after all the studies carried out there is, as always, one thesis which is a 'great strength', The Aragonese one.

His words, not mine and I wouldn't want to argue with him especially if he is Aragonese. Well, October seems to be a busy month with more hospital appointments, a new job, friends over, and a lecture on our old mate Franco, from Paul Preston. I have only done a week at the new school, San Viator, and despite the usual nonsense at least the school has windows that let in lots of light and I can see people walking past in the corridoor. Not like that prison I was in before where you felt if anything happened no one would come to your aid as they were too busy elsewhere doing other stuff as opposed to teaching or supporting teachers.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

NUNILO Y SUS AMIGOS

Today I found a new walk. It's further than my usual and on it I met no one except a river, a dead frog, a red kite, the Milano Real version, a rock left over from the ice age I presume, some magpies, a centipide, snails, slugs and the general 'season of mists and fruitfulness'. It has been one of those fruitful days where you feel you've done everything. Walked, spent time with a good, kind friend, drank coffee, had a row, walked, stood alone and never felt more invincible as you stared at a castle, went back, cooked, cleaned, ate and drank well, took in some culture and education of your own making, did a weird promotional job while standing in the sun, answered the telephone to a friend not seen for a while, taught, learnt, visited someone new, got some more work that should be agreeable, enjoyed your mosquito bites, arranged to meet for more coffee with another old friend, listened, wept, thought, didn't think, wrote, answered, blew yourself away, helped out on a quiz night in another land, got a twinge of Stendhal Syndrome while staring at a photo, and still I haven't gone to bed.

Nunilo has had to wait as I wasn't able to get to the Instituto de Estudios Altoragoneses until today. Nunilo is that. Not Nunila, although the computer at the Institute only recognised Nunila the feminine. If you are lost at this point let me explain that Nunilo was originally a man I met in a bar dressed as a drunken ass. It was carnival and he was wearing a mask of a donkey and he had to keep removing it to have a swig of his beer. He was so nice to me everytime I met him and was always delighted to see me and thought being a teacher was an honourable thing to do. He would hand out strange calendars every year that he had made and they always bore his name and references to The Communist Party amongst other things. Nunilo wasn't his real name but that's what I called him. It wouldn't be difficult to find out as he was well known in these parts. He was famous for being one of the first people from the town to visit The Soviet Union which he did with great aplomb. He got kicked out of The Bolshoi Ballet for shouting hello in true Aragonese style at a fellow villager he had spotted during the show. As he was dragged away kicking and screaming by the security services he was heard crying 'Soy Communista tambien', 'I'm a Communist too'. He later buried a photo of Begonia, a girl he loved, in the snow in Siberia. Henderson in his usual callous way said that in years to come anthropologists will find the photo and remark, 'you see, Neanderthals did have cameras'.

Well, poor Nunilo died a few years ago in a car crash on a notorious part of the road here. Mariano, a good pal of Henderson's wept buckets at his funeral and many others cried 'no!' when they found out the solemn news. I didn't know until later that Nunilo was a twin who was martyred with her sister in appalling circumstances many centuries ago here in this province. There is a well in the old quarter that has an inscription dedicated to the sisters but I didn't know their story very well until recently. The women at the institute were so friendly and helpful this morning when I turned up on my quest to find out more about these two girls.

From what I understand so far it is more than a myth or legend to get us to hate muslims and that there is, if you investigate further, some anecdotal evidence that the two sisters were born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother and when their father died they took the Christian faith but under Sharia Law this was not permitted. This was during the 9th century when Spain was a Muslim country and to disobey the rules and regulations was a brave or stupid thing to do.
It seems the sisters were decapitated and their remains scattered far and wide ending up in Navarra but also bits came back to Huesca and Adahuesca where they were born. Their Saints' day is the 22 of October which will be an interesting day. Santa Agueda or Agatha whose breasts were cut off is celebrated here with puddings and bread in the shape of her breasts so I wonder what bits we will be served this autumn.

Perhaps I shouldn't get started on religious relics, so I am going to happily retire now with all the literature the Institute kindly lent me and report back later.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

DO YOU HEAR BELLS BABY?


Sometimes I find myself telling the kids 'there's no need to shout, I'm not deaf'. Then when I am asking them not to touch something or other I find myself shouting 'are you?' Nobody listens, everybody shouts, even those who can't speak. I was walking along to the dentist's when a man ahead was gesticulating wildly and I soon gathered he was mute and needed me to press the doorbells of a block of flats to let him in as he was keenly delivering leaflets advertising the local paper The Altoaragon. I did the old 'yeh, yeh no problem' bit when he thrust a piece of paper in my face that said 'soy sordo', 'I'm deaf' or 'I'm deaf and dumb' so to speak, boom boom. It was for an instant that I felt compelled to say this to the many people asking 'who the devil is it' after I had rung all the bells needed to get someone up from their siesta and open the door for the poor man. 'Hola, I'm dumb, I can't speak right now, can you open the door please?' Later Henderson told me that the man was the same fellow who rang our bell at three in the morning to let him in to deliver those damn leaflets and Henderson just told him to clear off leaving the poor man to swear as best he could finally giving the finger at Henderson's disgruntled face. I get the feeling the story doesn't end there.

As everything falls on deaf ears I attempted to thwart the advances of the above dentist by asing her if it was really necessary to remove what is left of a tooth I once had. She listened and said that it would be OK but eventually the tooth would start to annoy me and probably would need a yank but for now it would be fine. So I walked away fifty quid better off and a spring in my step. I have decided to keep the money and spend it on my next filling next month. Toothless old hag seems to be the future but one day I will be dead and as Kingsly Amis said 'almost nothing is worth giving up for the sake of a few more years in a nursing home in Bournemouth' and for me that also means teeth. I'm thinking of leaving my body to science like Jane Asher's brain with a list of things I tried to tell them were wrong while I was alive.

The big fat Gypsy is definitely and defiantly back and so is his chair. I wonder if it bears any relation to the old mattress I saw dumped on the side of the road today. When I worked in The Coach and Horses all those years ago, Norman, the landlord, had it in for the sex shop and it's workers next door and when they finally had to close down they left a dirty old mattress leaning up against the door of the pub as a fit of pique I suppose. I can't look at a mattress abandoned anywhere without remembering that sordid day.

Talking of pique, I tried to find out what the Spanish press had made of the recent scandal involving the Formula One driver of a similar name. You can rest assured that no mention of Jews has been found so far unlike some of the articles on the world recession.

Lastly, tomorrow I shall attempt many things. One being my second go at making mincemeat as opposed to making mincemeat out of someone, and the other one is to write about Nunilo and his friends.

Monday, 14 September 2009

UNTITLED


The deep depression has lifted and that's just the weather. Listening to the shipping forecast reflects how I feel at times but onwards and upwards. I see our mayor is being asked to explain himself by all the other parties for not coming clean on why so much dope was found in one of the council's warehouses. I saw him on the tele the other night and he looked stoned to the bone so maybe that's why he's keeping schtum.

Along with finding out that Zaragoza has the highest cinema attendance in the whole of Spain I learnt that a new complex has opened there and contains a cinema which will show films in their original version. Hurrah. Not too keen on seeing a Vietnamese film with Spanish subtitles but it's a start. There are sixteen screens and there are 'sesiones golfas', horarios madrugadas if you don't understand and late night movies if you don't understand that. The Scala in King's Cross circa 1986 is still a bit hazy but among the many things I like to do is go to the cinema in the wee small hours of. Along with the bowling alley up in Jaca and the kebab joints springing up around town I will be most contento. A Lidl and an internet connection too. Wonders will never cease. Maybe one day I will find bagels nestling along the varieties of bread that seem to be creeping in.

Not much else is happening apart from the usual. A book on all things underground in London is keeping me awake at night and I've still to get through all the Iain Sinclair books I have been regaled with.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

INHERENT CHIVALRY

Thanks to the above I have just made everyone a cup of tea. Or at least I wish I could if you were all here. Like 40 per cent of the rest of Aragon I am suffering from post holiday blues. I misread the article in the local papaer and thought the depression was Aragonese depression but I guess it stretches all over the place and not just here. There is a light at the end of. I got a call and am wanted in the local library to read to the kids so that gives me a boost. I just need to win the lottery or write a film script that would sell well and then I can ship in the folks and friends who are missed.

One thing I did like was the storm the other night. I hung onto the balcony in order to get closer to it and relished all the elements involved. Henderson got hit on the hand by a hailstone. I thought he'd been struck by lightning the way he cried out. My favourite tree took a lashing and most of it was last seen floating down the river that was once our street.

Not much is happening apart from the visual stuff which happens to be an obese gypsy who lives a few doors down and has taken up position on an old chair that he leaves in the street that leaves him looking like a sultan. His entourage seems to grow by the day and will need a sofa soon. The plan to pedestrianise this road has arrived sooner as he takes up most of the space. Long may he reign.

Things have been quiet on the neighbour front and I wonder how Piti is getting on with his 'operation' that he is supposed to be having, hopefully before he heads back here from Teruel in October.

Lastly, the fear and loathing that is the swine flu and all it entails is creeping in here. There does seem to be a big campaign to get the kids to wash their hands and no plans to close schools or vaccinate teachers. It all seems like common sense as opposed to the scaremongering I saw in the British press a while back. However, I did read in the local press that a man, a nurse at the hospital had a severe bout of it and was hospitalised only to find himself alone in a room and only his mum to change the bed linen. He claims the other staff just slid his tray of food through the door before running off. My hayfever has kicked in five months late and everytime I sneeze I get paranoid looks. Or maybe it's me.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD

The last days at the camp were best spent amongst other things, dancing around to the tunes of the hardest working man in showbusiness, the late great Mr James Brown. Adriana, seven, from Madrid asked me if I wouldn't mind sending her a copy for her birthday next January. I was so taken with this kid that I made her the copy that night and along with several copies of The Beano I delivered the next day. It made me wonder what things make children so happy. Why we as adults delight in their happy faces. Watching them perform on the stage brought a 'weep I know why' feeling and even Henderson had a proud father look about him. Good mates, love of animals, dancing and not dancing, sweet things, sleep, feeling safe, trying new things, not being bored. Not much different from us old ones then.

I tried an experiment and it worked. I wrote glib remarks, far glibber than the ones I write here, on someone else's blog to see if I could get some interest other than you Laurel, Marge, Gary or Justin if you are all still there/here. It worked but I still need a week to work out how to run this blog properly and not just have it as something to let's face it, entertain myself. If I were to write anything of worth or start to wind up the mayor, the locals, the various political parties etc I might gain a readership but I don't care. Like staring at a fat man in a check suit when you realise nothing matters.

Anyway, the blog has helped me to write other things off piste so that's the main thing. Only to be viewed when and if.

Being at the camp has left me feeling spaced out on my return to our humble little town. The council still hasn't started any of the proposed pedestrianisation. There is a plaza round the corner which has some buildings about to collapse so the council has decided to pull them down before the big fiesta of San Lorenzo. They have also decided to stop traffic through the centre of town on Saturdays or some Saturdays. It won't kick in till after San Lorenzo. It is a pilot to see how folk cope but it is more like an 'easing in' of change as some people don't like the idea of cars being prohibited in the centre of town. For selfish reasons I would like it to happen as my road is part of the big plan here and the Plaza Alfonso El Batallador one of my favourite squares and in desperate need of care and attention. This plan has been on the cards for at least ten years. It will be interesting to see how long it takes. Don't hold your breath.

Friday, 24 July 2009

UNTITLED

Due to unforseen circumstances we both held up the cake shop..............The story behind this is a long one but let's just say this household will be gorging itself on Pastel Vasco, Pan de San Lorenzo, Roscillas, Tarta Queso con regaliz, Merengue de Limon, Bizcocho Chocolate con Albariqoque among others for the next few days. It will also help out with the expense of the fish lunch that was thrown in the bin with tears but not on my part. Confused? Not as confused as I am for as well as cake scenes we have to deal with a family next door that insists on screaming every day around three and the effing bleeders coming home drunk and having their five thousand and thirty fifth argument. They average three a day so after seven years it must run into the thousands.

Anyway, The Irish have left with grey hair and one of them has probably gone bald due to the stress of the summer camp. I am sure some wagons have been leapt back on. I haven't had the time to write as I am too busy heading towards one of two favourite places, bed. The other one being a bar with a good view and no jukebox.The children in the other summer camp seem more chilled out and their level of English is higher so at least you can have a diverting time. I am convinced that the better their English gets the more eccentric they become. They start to display characteristics that are so un-chavlike if there is such a word. Like not shouting and having more patience than the rest. That old chestnut 'reserve' comes into the equation although I am now convinced it isn't reserve or being 'cold' it is respect for other people's space. They are usually the ones to give out to the others who hold the certificate to do exactly what they like when they like.

Friday, 17 July 2009

BRING ON THE OLD RAZZLE DAZZLE

I think I need what has become the word of the week, an Amanuensis or slave secretary. Having been entombed in a giant white pyramid that can probably be seen from space with 40 amateur actors and all the dress rehearsals that go with it I don't seem to have the chance to write or have a life even. Well, today all the histrionics and attempts to copy Laurel and Hardy were thrown aside and the pupils put their hearts and souls into putting on a lovely show which seemed to delight their parents and leave me thinking if I can do this I can do anything. This is after being snubbed by some parents of a surly pupil who left me feeling like the stage villain and being asked to get the kids to perform the Macarena with speaking parts when all I thought I would be doing is teaching and getting thm to perform the Hungry Caterpillar. I hate performing in front of people and got that awful stage fright mixed with the feeling that the floor was moving about two minutes before reading out the story. The only reassuring thing for me during moments like this is the fact we will all be dead in a hundred years time. It all reminds me of those heady days working in the West End theatres and having a theatre manager who would often be short staffed and that was just his state of mind. Like the summer camp I worked with many who were unable to string a sentence together in English but the show would still go on.

With all the drama I forgot to mention the recently christened and now very recently deceased Midge. A couple of weeks ago I found myself sitting up in the wee small, unable to, but with a cup of tea sitting on the sofa with the morning light and first blush of and all that creeping in when I suddenly saw a small object race across the floor. My initial thought was I had developed the DTs and shot off the sofa to check the small orb and my heart rate. We have a resident spider so I thought it must be him. A few nights later I thought I saw it again and put it down to campus fatigue. It wasn't till a few evenings later when Henderson screamed out that we had a mouse in the house, in the same way he did when a lizard entered and I was made to feel as though I had invited it in for tea, that I knew it wasn't my usual paranoia. It has taken a while and a lot of cheek and cheese, but sadly, last night he got it. Despite the mouse droppings and knowing we absolutely can't have him I felt a pang of sadness and loss that only an English person or Bhuddist would feel towards such a small thing.

There is a woman called Arlene Phillips who has been a judge on some dancing programme and she has been dumped for someone younger to represent the show. She is the sort of person that probably went to the Lionel Blair School of Thought. You know, Tap Dance Your Way Through Life or something like that. She was on the TV during my breakfast and was heard to say something like 'if only people would dance at least 30 minutes every morning they would have such a better day and all that'. Well I can and I do and then I feel exhausted so don't listen to her. I hope I never hear Heads and Shoulders Knees and Toes ever again.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

CAMP AS A ROW OF.

Class started on time but then the cleaner asked if the kids could take the sheets and pillowcases off their beds so that was another twenty minutes gone.I'm trying to do The Very Hungry Caterpillar the stage version and of course no one listens. Kids are falling off the stage, they are touching equipment the electricians have left lying around. The builders are drilling next door and upstairs and it smells as if something is burning. We went back to the classroom and the builders had taken the door off its hinges so the kids decided to hide behind it, then poor Enrique who is nine and on medication knocked a glass over and then sat in a corner picking some of the sixty insect bites he has received in the last week. The dust from the building work started to leave a thick film of dirt and dust on every surface so the kids had to clean the tables and I swept the floor but it was a waste of time as later the dust was back. Then there was a punch up between Macarena and Javier. That was after Luis had scratched Javier and Javier booted Luis. There was an argument about a certain bird of prey called a Quebrantahuesos ('bone breaker') or Bearded Vulture which lives in the Pyreness and whether it drops its prey from a great height or only the bones. That went on till I told them to put a sock in it and for that I am a Fascist and a 'Bruja' a witch or just a plain old cow. The Irish teachers are all in shock and worried they are going grey. There is also a conference going on at the camp with 300 Chinese Christians and the kids are running around making 'slitty eyes' and telling me it's 'horrible' this 'invasion' from China and how the Chinese have probably brought Bird Flu with them and one boy was convinced he had it and kept showing me his hands as they had little bumps on them. Meanwhile a girl had developed a strange rash on her chest and another was asking me how to pronounce words she had written down and another was screaming in my ear. All this in one morning and this is how it is every morning with slight variations. I keep trying to reassure the Irish that this is 'normal' and nothing compared to some of the camps I've done here with some real horror stories but they just tell me they feel like zombies and want to go back to Ireland as soon as poss.

To lighten the mood I reminded them that being in the camp meant they didn't get news from home so they had been spared the story of the Irish man who chopped down a tree and saw Mary Mother of God in what was left of the stump. At a push it looked like the outline of a nun but still people came from miles to touch and kiss it.

It has been so hot about 35 degrees or more depending where and when you are standing and a couple of times I got that sensation of falling or fainting and had to catch myself quickly. Roll on next week.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

HOLY COW BATMAN

A man was gored to death yesterday by a bull in Pamplona or perhaps it should be the bull gorged itself on the man. Either way it is certainly a way to go. Died in his sleep is for neurotics like me. The thing that always amazes me is that the Spanish tele will play the scenario over and over again, even reversing the footage back and forth making it look like a programme by Harry Hill or Benny Hill for that matter. One of the presenters was chuckling away at the incident although I can't see what's so funny about it all. Later I read some of the comments from people who had written into the various British newspapers who wrote about the death and it was full of glib remarks like 'serves him right bloody idiot', 'one for the bulls' , 'wish more had been taken' and 'Spain should never have been allowed to join the EU'. There were also some comments about the loss of life in Afghanistan and today I heard eight more soldiers have died in the last twenty four hours. It's amazing and interesting what people will risk their lives for and even more 'halucinante' what is considered brave or stupid.


Talking of stupid I watched the Jonathon Ross Show last night. I'm not a fan but even he seemed frozen to the spot when one of his guests, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood who is also famous for never watching the tele, invited herself on the show as she felt it was absolutely imperative she warned us all of something. It turns out that she has recently discovered via James Lovelock that the earth is heating up, that we can reverse it and if not, in the future there will be about a billion of us left to survive and all the rest of the horror that goes with it. I think the message here is that if Vivienne had watched the tele she might have known what we all already know and think about each and every day as we keep switching lights off, recycling, changing our lifestyles etc. For God's sake tell us what to do and we will do it! I guess the other message is if you are thinking of becoming a fashion designer be warned. I've met loads of them and they are as thick as some of the locals here and dress as bad too.

The following guest was James May from the Top Gear Programme. A man who thanks to technology has flown 70,000 feet in the air and 'seen' space. He also saw the curve of the earth and wept and knew why when he got what he called a 'hippy moment' as he gazed down from up there with all the emotion you would expect if you had the chance to see it. I hate flying but I would love to be able to do this and whether you like it or not, the message here is we need people like James May and his colleagues as they make the best and most imformative programmes on what hopefully will see the demise of the petrol run car. You will thank him.


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

YOU WANTED TO PLAY SILLY BUGGERS PART ONE

Today Henderson said he wanted to watch the Spanish tele and this can only mean one thing, San Fermin has started. This has become a yearly pilgrimage where he roars with laughter at the 'pocas luces' who think it's a good idea to run with not the brightest of animals but one of the heaviest while I have to leave the room or cover my eyes as the advancing years permit me to see it all too clearly without opening them. That the world is full of people who are determined to win The Darwin Award. When I was given the all clear I couldn't help notice some young men quickly drag away a supine figure lying in the middle of the bull ring. He looked as if someone had left him there the night before and probably had. Either that or he was dead, nobody seemed to notice. While making the coffee Henderson thought I needed to know that the man on the tele had said ' and here's Fulanita counting up the casualties (pause) ... she's still counting' or words to that effect.

Despite having a lot on my mind I still find room for some things that seem to be unexplainable. Like what happened to the girls who were supposed to have blown up a house in Willesden with a homemade bomb last year? A man was killed and it was all to do with some love rival. Why can't I find anything on the Internet?

Meanwhile the summer camps continue. I'm now at both and I am not imagining what I have said before about the miniature 'Fatos' that seem to prevail at one of them. I also had my powers of observation confirmed. A talent or a curse I have inherited from my other who was trained by The Mossad. There is a guy working at one of the camps and I told Henderson that I thought there was 'something' about him. We often wonder about some of the other people who work at these camps and often they are young women from England or Ireland travelling around Europe or practising their Spanish but occasionally we get male misfits like the guy last year who was dreadful with the kids and got the sack after playing a 'game' where they had to look into his dirty laundry bag complete with his smalls amongst other anti-social pervy acts. This time my perception was that this new guy was ex-military. I was convinced. Nothing wrong with that. Just a thought. Then Henderson asked me to guess what this guy did before and that it wasn't the army. 'Not a policeman?' I was heard to cry. Yes, an ex-copper. The plot thickens..........................


Monday, 6 July 2009

UNTITLED

You get accustomed to your surroundings and the way of life here and this is a good thing I suppose, until you do a summer camp and the other teachers who are new to this game start pointing things out that you now accept as 'normal'. This happened yesterday when we greeted the new pupils at the summer camp being held at a school called 'Piramide', Pyramid, on account of its spectacular architecture, and a Mauritian girl started to ask me if I had seen the state of the floor at the entrance. I hadn't as most floors look like this most of the time. In fact most pavements too where I live. She had had to bring in some rugs from her house where she now lives here in Huesca to cover up the lump of concrete pretending to be a floor. Then she asked if I had seen the ceiling. Most of it wasn't there and it wasn't until Henderson pointed out that he was surprised we had walls that I began to question how native I have become. Outside I noticed that most of the paving stones and other parts of the school looked as though they had been deliberately dug up in a bid to create work. It must be part of Zapatero's Plan E as this town has received most of the financial assistance from the government to what is it? Kick start the economy? Save jobs? Create jobs? I still don't have what I call a pavement on the street where I live. About three inches of concrete where people in wheelchairs and mums with pushchairs hang on the side everytime a car screams by. I remember when I first came here about eight years ago being worried when a kid ran into a glass door and knocked part of it out and when I told the teacher I was assisting he just gave it a quick kick and pushed it back into place for the next accident.

The same was with the way we greeted the parents and pupils. Again, it wasn't till a Welshman asked me why we had to have three different tables to deal with the formalities that I realised this was another example of job creation civil servant style. The parents and their kids were greeted by several monitors and the director of the camp. Then they went to one of the tables, depending if the pupil was a boy or girl. Here they had to hand over their mobiles, any money and to get their name badge. This was explained by me and another teacher on the other desk but sometimes it was explained by about five different people all appearing out of nowhere and putting the badges on the kids or writing their names on the envelopes, or sticking labels on the mobiles, something one person could do easily. A hindrance in other words and and a wonderful example of how not to do things. Then I had to tell them to walk over to another desk where they had to give their medical card and any medicines to another person. It is all reminiscent of any trip to do any paperwork here in Spain where you are sent from one department to another before you finally get the thing you want.

Having said all this, the Spanish are masters at getting it done albeit at the last minute, or the last hour as people say here. I remember a story about the mayoress of Valencia at midnight ordering some workmen to carry on planting some flowers or stick something together and the next day everything looked fine and wonderful. It does leave you worried about the walls though.........................

Sunday, 5 July 2009

IN LA GRANJA WITH THE GHOST OF ORWELL

I still can't look at an orange without feeling perturbed. The dread felt when you are expected to do something against your will and then the relief when the day ends and you escape, hinged and intact. Despite my reluctance to look at citrus fruits I was advised to drink some lemon drink when half the summer camp fell ill and the boss Carmen found herself rushing off to 'urgencias' with her small car loaded with me and green faced nine year olds. When it was my turn to see the doc and explain how I felt I wanted to just say, 'look, there's nothing you can do is there? This is just a reaction to the heat we are living in'. She listened to my chest and back with the stethascope which Henderson says is the biggest con as unless you have the lungs of a miner nothing can be gathered. She also looked into my eyes with a bright light, asked me the usual and sent me on my way with a bottle of the dreaded lemon drink and advised a lie down. A room in the summer camp was provided and instead of classes I lay listening to the sounds of so many birds and the chatter of the kids as they recovered quickly and set off for more fun and games. I could hear them from my darkened room practising their English as they sauntered by. The shutters were open slightly in the room and so a small chink of light played with their shadows as they walked by the window. It was an eerie moment as it looked like their souls were dancing along the walls. Or maybe it was just my heat exhaustion coupled with a permanent, vivid imagination.

On the subject of vivid imaginings, I had a dream that I had gone to the baker's here and asked for plasters. This is not such a strange request as in this town there are numerous shops which sell their wares and a line in products that have no bearing on the shop name. There is a shop here that only sells bleach and eggs, and I have seen another that sells bread of a certain shape but I have never seen anyone buy the stuff. It might be because, as Henderson once pointed out, the proprietor sits there with his hands tucked under his armpits all day. Anyway, in the dream I asked for the plasters and the owner gave me a knowing look and handed me a brown envelope. As I left the shop I looked inside the envelope and saw a fake passport and several cheques for huge amounts. It all reminds me of a record shop in Soho years ago where you could ask for a certain Charlie Mingus LP and get some hash. There was another record shop that sold dance records of the day and had an old woman sitting behind the counter who knew what you were looking for if you could hum it.

Leaving La Granja behind for two weeks we are now going to be stationed in another school where we will be teaching kids from this province. No oranges I hope and not too many lessons in politeness.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

IS JEREMY PAXMAN A FATO?

I often say I can't speak for the rest of Spain when it comes to the goings on and going ons here. However, I do have enough experience teaching kids from outside this province to be convinced that we may be living in the most backward, ignorant and brutish part of Spain. Many would get the hump over this and argue the merits of the joint and I would agree, up to a point. Until you have seen the startling difference in attitudes directed towards one's fellow human beings you will presume the whole of Spain is littered with boorish oiks and gobby, tunnel visioned smarty pants. The word Fato I have mentioned before and it needs to be reminded to all that down the road in Zaragoza they call the locals here in Huesca this name. Fatuous and full of self importance. Mix this with a narrow minded view of the world and you get the picture. It's a similar feeling that must have been aroused when the Conservatice MP Michael Gove accused Jeremy Paxman of being obtuse on Newsnight recently.

While some folk here might get their jotas in a twist my friend Jon from Bilbao often reminds me that there are plenty of others who are proud of being a burro, or pigheaded to be precise. Another friend, Angeles assures me that there is evidence of this throughout Spain but it seems to excel here. She told me the other day that here if you ask someone not to do something you think is wrong, like throw stuff out the window, bellow in someone's face, snatch something out of another's hands, run people over etc you will often be hit with the response ' Y tu?, and you? Henderson who has lived all over the planet tells me that he has never come up against the old two wrongs don't make a right school of thought as much as he has here. I must confess I do find it all quite draining and am making an effort not to justify, explain or deny my actions to incompetents. We have oiks back home, in fact we call them chavs and we probably possess more than the Spanish so we should be proud but it doesn't mean I can't have an opinion just because I am not from this town.There is an advert around town which roughly translated is all about being respectful to others and the town, not to paint grafitti, wear a crash helmet, you know normal civil behaviour. The ad implies that the other person does all these normal cringeworthy things and leaves the ignoramus thinking 'and me? what do I do?' I doubt if anyone has read it except those who don't need to be told.

When I mention my blog and some of the stuff I write some people here get all worried and say 'oh, you shouldn't write that' and give me an even more perturbed look as if I might get my head kicked in. I find it very empowering and hysterical, the idea that one of these Fatos could believe for a minute that someone whose ancestors fought Nazis amongst other derring does might be lying in bed at night shitting themselves in case said oaf might beat me up one day. Besides, you don't have to be a foreigner and have a point of view to stir up old hatreds and bitterness here. Bring it on.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

UNTITLED

Thanks to the heat and flies the decorum classes were put off for a rainy day. Instead we played, danced and had fun. I have done many summer camps in Spain and seem to be a dab hand so I don't like it when interference is felt in the form of being told what to do, especially if it means I have to teach kids manners and how to peel fruit. It is a bit rich inviting kids from Asturias, Madrid and Valladolid to of all places, Aragon, famous for its obstinacy and brutish ways, and then tell them 'we are going to teach you the right way to behave in polite society' when living here sometimes feels as though I have stepped into a time machine and gone back to the Stone Age. It is also a shock to be around kids who don't snatch the register out of your hands, address you as 'oye' or 'chica' or 'joder' or the dreaded 'queeee' which is emitted here 'eehhh?' I wonder if there is room for classes in 'why it's a good idea not to run people over while they are on the zebra crossing'.

So all is great and we are in an agricultural institute opposite 'La Granja' which is where George Orwell spent many an hour trying to figure the Spanish out. This place is mentioned in Homage To Catalunya and there is a palpable atmosphere here with an abundance of birds. As we drove over the little bridge behind La granja a Golden Oriole flew in front and landed in atree where we could see its beauty. Meanwhile about fifty storks looked as though they were grazing in one of the fields nearby. Many of them no longer migrate to Africa and have changed their habits and decided to stay here.

Friday, 26 June 2009

BLAME IT ON THE BOOGIE

I thought I woke up to the strains of Piti this morning but it turned out to be the wails of Michael Jackson's mourners. None of them knew him of course but being a fan and young does strange things to you. I remember being about 14 and finding out I wasn't the only weirdo who fancied Rowan Atkinson. Never has my gusto for something or someone been massacred as much as the discovery that day that there were others.

Getting back to the dog upstairs, I did see a programme about the RSPCA who were having words with a man back in Britain who looked like an extra in Little Britain and his mute wife who sat around all day in her dressing gown and curlers. Common practice here too I note. Anyway, this bloke had two dogs and one bullied the other so he kept it outside in a shit hole basically. Even when he was told to clean it up he kept repeating 'what do you mean?' as if it was a lovely place for man's best friend to hang out in all day. To skip most of the horrid story, it wasn't a dog's life. The woman from the RSPCA said she would take the dog from him if he didn't sort it out. Compared to the life of Piti I think he had it OK. I found myself shouting at the tele again and telling the RSPCA woman to come over here and have a butcher's.

Later I had to go to the offices of my new employment which involves working in a summer camp. Without giving too much away in one go it looks as though Monday is six hours of 'good manners', etiquette, or, as it is known here, protocol. They want me to teach the kids table manners, how to peel an orange (?!) and the rest. I suggested as a joke that maybe I could do a finishing school and put books on their heads etc and both bosses agreed this was 'genial'. I have decided that I might just go the whole hog and put on a garden party where I get to dress up as the Queen Mother or Princess Margaret and end up under a tree with a gin, a packet of Marlboro and a box of Ritz crackers. I'm a dab hand at these 'campo veranos' and might even put in a few stories this way in the next few days of past soujourns of sitting in corridors trying to wield power at four in the morning while keeping a watchful eye on any Lotharios who thought it might be a good idea to nip into the girl's dorm for the night. Or the time I nearly throttled the 'director' of the concentration camp which masqueraded as a summer one a few years back. Thinking about the 'how to peel an orange' class, the only time I have ever come up against this was when a friend was admitted into a mental hospital circa 1990, on account of her not being able to among many things, peel a plastic orange, say the year backwards or say who the Prime Minister was. Perhaps I should just use this version in my 'decorum classes'.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

UNTITLED

When you learn a language it is interesting the order in which you pick up vocabulary and verbs. You start off with the obvious, necessary verbs and words you will need to ask or explain something and it grows from then on. When you work with children you find you learn words like octopus, cloud and wave and verbs to do with someone else ruining their life. It gets difficult when you realise you don't know how to say the verbs to miss or to deserve or take advantage. So it was with Alejandro the other day when I read a line from PG Wodehouse's Summer Lightning and the sentence 'when they saw young Parsloe coming, strong men winced and hid their valuables'. The good thing about a verb like wince is you can act it out which I did and then the pair of us continued in this vein everytime we mentioned undesirables.

Wince I did when I caught sight of the increasingly worrying spectacle known as Mr Harley Davidson AKA Mr Personality. A sight that was at the same time toe curling and wince inducing. I didn't know whether to curl up and moan like a dying animal or pretend I hadn't seen anything. It's the sort of feeling you get when you see a grown man dressed as Darth Vadar or Varder/Vada if you're going all Parlare. So, there he was vardering on across the roundabout at Plaza Santa Clara dressed to the nines, looking like he could do with a wash and wearing one of my bete noirs, those leather fingerless gloves that always remind me of my music teacher who wore the woollen version. As we drove round said roundabout his back pocket revealed a hanky dangling out a la Al Pacino Cruising style. I don't think this is the desired effect and I think someone should tell him before he finds himself on one of his concentraciones further afield. Henderson told me later that Mr Harley has been seen walking into the Bar Rugaca with his Nazi helmet under his arm but his bike parked in the garage back home. This didn't go unnoticed as half the bar felt compelled to tell him what a tosser he had turned into.

To end, my siesta as usual was accompanied by the weatherman back in Britain. As I drifted off I heard the words ' Jug of Pimms' which had Henderson sitting bolt upright. The last time he did this he was fast asleep snoring like a good 'un on a flight back from Bangkok. The stewardess was meandering her way up the aisle asking each passenger if they would like a drink. I vadered with expectant glee as he snored on and the hostess got closer. As each passenger wanted something soft the snores got louder until a man three seats back uttered the words Gin and Tonic and I've never seen anyone wake up so quickly and say 'me too'.



Tuesday, 23 June 2009

MERCEDES HAS LEFT THE BULDING

To be able to walk away from all the racket and be in nature with just the birds tweeting in your ears and a weasel trotting ahead is one of the simple pleasures enjoyed here, but it was soon marred by the sounds of the dreaded Jota emanating from a Peugot 107, one of the smallest cars in the world and inhabited by a huge old man equipped with songsheet bellowing away without a shred of guilt. His misconduct didn't go unnoticed but he only looked up briefly and plugged away.

Meanwhile, Piti and his owner have fled but not without making a song and dance of it. Leading up to their departure there was a lot of commotion as dear old Mercedes had to go to the hospital in Zaragoza to have if I have understood correctly, nerves removed from her face. Her absence caused the beast to have moments of sang froid and restless foot tapping all leading to the inevitable. Her return resulted in him having an apoplectic fit while I was still recovering from mine. People ask 'do you miss him now that he has gone?'

Anyway, been meaning to mention the wonderful day out at one of my favourite places not far from here called The Rio Alcanadre where there is a waterfall and lots of leafy glades and no unhinged dogs. While lying beneath the trees and at one with all I spied a vulture a stone's throw away sitting atop the rocks that make up this part of The Sierra Guara. Dozens of Beeaters, swifts and a woodpecker at it. Kids jumping into the river from a great height.People siesting in hammocks. Two men playing chess. Kids in dinghies and others leaping off the waterfall. A picnic and love for your fellow man. Wonders will never cease.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

HUESCA'S GOT TALENT

The War of Attrition continues between me and Mr Personality AKA Senor Harley Davidson and his girlfriend Gerald, Piti the Priapic Poodle, The Ecuadorian Folk Ensemble and Mr DIY himself two doors down. The latter thought it would be a good thing to start hammering at ten o'clock last night and pick up where he left off this morning with a drill my dentist could do with, seeing as she has been unable to extract my molar of late and said I should come back in September for the third time. If I need reinforcments I thought I might recruit some small children seen last night in the park and dressed against their will in traditional Aragonese costume singing the dreaded Jota. Anyone unfamiliar with the Jota should be aware that as far as tunes are concerned this one could be best described as the sound of a castrated goat about to have its throat cut before being tossed off a church tower and landing in a vat of boiling oil. Hold that thought for a moment and mix it with the sound an Iman makes at the call of prayer from a minaret but this time he's got half his body stuck down an industrial mincer without an anaesthetic. I was wondering how much it would cost to hire The Drums of Calanda which I am sure I have mentioned before as the perfect solution for noisy neighbours. Hire them to play those drums till their hands bleed when the neighbours need their beauty sleep.

Those children seen last night on stage dancing and singing folk songs in the local park while the wine fair went on a few yards away reminded me of some far off time when some of my school teachers thought it would be good idea to teach us something 'traditional' and got us to come back after hours to school and practice 'country dancing'. 'Which country?' does spring to mind but I do remember the words 'heel toe, heel toe, off we go, off we go' which sounds like some sort of drunken, hunting song you might sing on a winter's morn with a flask of whiskey and a Jack Russell in toe as you chase Mr Fox through the Dorset countryside. Suffice to say those extra curriculum classes lasted about two weeks.

Finally, the weather descriptions from the weather man or woman back in Blighty get better by the day. I should make a list. My favourite is 'much of the same' but today i heard 'some rain for all'. This contrasts nicely with the doom and gloom of the news. In the Spanish press my favourite was the true story of a man who run or rather drove amok knocking down it seems, several policemen in the spate of 24 hours before one of them shot him. It seemed there was no stopping him at one point as he carried on aiming his vehicle at any Guardia Civil looming before him. When the village folk found out they were heard to cry the Spanish equivalent of ' he was an accident waiting to happen'.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW ME DO YOU?

No wonder this blog never gets written with all the Vermouth, Pimms, white wine and brandy in coffee that I seem to be putting away. Somehow things do get done like battling with a parasol that needs to be wedged in with old photocopies of English idioms on account of Henderson not buying a base to support the beast. I spied the phrase 'do you always stick to your guns if you think you are right, or are you willing to compromise?' on one of the papers.This reminded me of just about every conversation I have ever had here. Last night I was told by Spanish friends to change my photo on Facebook which is of a bull that has had enough and is leaping into el publico and shows a bunch of suited and booted geezers shitting themselves. For some Spanish friends this photo is awful and I should change it at once. The Spanish and especially the Aragonese are known for their stubborness but few have come up against the tenacity of someone from The Atlantic Isles. To show how difficult or impossible it is to be understood here the bull is a good point of reference. Even though I thought the photo was stating the bleeding obvious others see it as disgusting, but not for reasons you would imagine. When pressed, I realised that as the photo shows the bull leaping into the audience from behind it shows it's arse which was also dirty and this was the complaint, that it was 'dirty', 'disgusting' and was showing the animal's arsehole ( Facebook/Arsebook goes amiss...). As a Taurean and well known for leaping on people if they stick the knife in I thought it was rather novel, and reminded me of my fellow fire horse Eric Cantona when he leapt into the pit and kicked a hooligan. It never ocurred to me that people would think this big arsed beast would be perceived as something horrible to the eye. Which sums it up really. OK to dress up like a nonconformist, which, let's face it, is another name for a poof, flare the old nostrils and slaughter a poor animal in the name of entertainment than show it for what it really is, morally repugnant. The' it is culture' argument doesn't wash as so-called female circumcision is cultural for some. Henderson has the idea of hijacking a bullfight wearing nothing but a pair of wooden clogs, and, armed with a rifle he says he would shoot the bull, turn round and holler, 'there, that's how it should be done'. One can only wait.

Talking of hollering, I thought of a cure for the loudness that is de rigueur throughout the land here. Import some sergeant major from the Irish Guards and get them to sneak up on an overbearing native and let rip into his ear. There, that's the way to do it. I'm not sure what cure is needed to solve the insatiable inability to say what needs to be said in five mintes instead of five hours. I don't mind if food is the subject but if it meanders off into how someone got from A to B with not much in between I class this as unreasonable behaviour and hackles and rise are words I start to harvest, not to mention thoughts of manslaughter.

If all this sounds like someone who shouldn't be living here if she/he doesn't like it don't get me started on my comrades back in Old Blighty as they deserve a good bashing too and the longer I am here the more I am prepared to put up with that extra loud comportment if it means staving off a typical Brit, although the cruelty to animals does depress.

Monday, 15 June 2009

WE'RE ONLY HERE FOR THE BEER

While many thoughts end up here I did wonder why anyone would want to give Carol Thatcher the time of day especially Clive Anderson. It was unbearable listening to Loose Ends yesterday and along with Nick Griffin, Piers Morgan et al I think the least said and all that. There are very few intelligent people in the public eye these days and are often found with the public ear. One warms to the narrator of The BBC's South Pacific, the anthropoligist Dr Alice Roberts searching for our ancestors and of course, the only two with any credibilty, Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.

Governments are often wondering why the gen. pub drink too much but with all that is going on I am not surprised. On the 19th and until the 21st of this month there will be a wine fair in the local park here so you can count me in. About thirty bodegas will be represented by their wines I hope.It's a bad translation but a good one too when something reads 'it will be the scene of a complete party'.

We went to the cherry fair in Bolea and along with the usual boxload of cherries we came home with ropes of garlic and stag sausage. As usual, the gypsies sought out Henderson and he told me as a child his family would never cease to be amazed at the way they would gravitate towards him especially when they went to markets. He's not alone, a friend from Montenegro who would often go missing as a child had a mother who could guarantee she would find him up to his eyeballs in mud playing with the local gypsy kids.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

UNTITLED

It's the Queen's birthday today or one of them. If she can have two then so can I. Rather than sit and watch The Irish and Coldstream Guards and listen to When Irish Eyes are Smiling I treated myself to a bottle or two of some unknown beverage that has taken my fancy ever since I spied someone drinking it on the terrace the other day. Apart from wine, red drinks don't often appeal but this one hits the spot. A lot of wining and dining has been going on in the last few weeks and coffee mornings might be on the agenda now that I have the time. This kind of behaviour doesn't go unnoticed by the locals most of whom think if you teach, you now have three months off with pay. They have no idea of my Cassandra instinct for the gee-gees or that you can place bets on the internet. Long may they remain in ignorance.

To give an idea of the time warp I live in I saw a dog on a string the other day. Homeopathy, now regarded as a pseudo science in Britain has just arrived and is on sale at the 'with my money' chemist's. The man with the special flute and knife sharpening skills who wheels his bike up and down the street is a refreshing change and reminds me of my childhood when gypsies were the norm and all sorts of characters could be seen around the London streets. The little gypsy girl who asked me about the dead bird seems to have taken an interest in or a shine to me and always says hello and has a chat. Whilst out with Henderson who is proud of his Romany ancestry a fellow gypsy greeted him as if they knew each other from time.

A complete change from all this happened yesterday when I found myself in a barrio which made me feel as though I were in a David Hockney painting. The painting in question is called A Bigger Splash and I had been invited to a private swimming pool where the houses seemed Californian and the sky vast and blue. When I left this place I felt I had been on a retreat even though I didn't actually leave the town.

Briefly, while Tehran gives birth to angry young men, the editor of Vogue gets angry over size zero models, a new word appears in English every 98 seconds, Canada used to border with Zimbabwe, Huesca has a 'dispute' over who can come up with the best beef sarnie. So much so that ten bars will compete to see who can come up with the tastiest. Watch this space.

Monday, 8 June 2009

COLLECTIVE NIGHTMARE

I am now convinced that Gordo is being slowly tortured by Mandelson as I am sure Mrs Brown is begging him to step down as it becomes obvious over half the country have no faith left in him, The Labour Party or the Conservatives even, as we watch The BNP and UKIP on the rise. I have been reading about the threat of the Labour voting working classes moving towards the BNP for about four years now. They were warned. Now The BNP has its foot in the door in Brussels and an estimated four million squids to get them started. Not to mention the 80,000 a year wages.The right wing fascist parties in Spain don't seem to be as prominent or believable for the moment anyway but where Britain leads.....

I've never been one to step from the fringes of society and make that leap into the known. The known has always perplexed me and I try to understand what all the fuss is about. My latest endeavour is with a programme I have mentioned before called The Apprentice with soon to be Master of Hounds Sir Alan Sugar. I remember working for a film company where everyone called each other 'genius'. It was, for me, nothing more than a fashionable alternative to success.It was also run by a despot who would scream and chase us with brooms and chairs whenever it suited him. It might have been something I had been smoking at the time but I was never fazed by any of his bellicose behaviour and would often be the last one standing. Even when I opened the fridge door to be confronted by a bloody and thankfully dead stag's head. I find myself feeling the same kind of indifference whenever I watch this programme but then what would I know about business. I do know the people involved in it especially the people who do the interviews with the hapless bunch of future tyrants and homicidal maniacs have got to be the most perverted miscreants going. So, if you're thinking of going into business or politics be warned. It seems nothing has changed for some people and I wonder who is leaving who behind.

On a completely different note the whereabouts of Piti and his owner Mercedes continued to mystify until this afternoon when he thought it would be a good idea to let rip during my siesta. Other unmentionables seem to be lying low but we still have to endure Mr Personality AKA Mr Harley Davidson, man about town or he'd have them think. Nobody equates this damned motorbike with being gay but it is only a matter of time. Mr Personality hates Americans and is not ashamed to tell you but is quite happy to dress as though he is Peter Fonda in Easy Rider. The whole block shakes everytime he goes on one of his concentraciones with the rest of his girlfriends. It's one of those scenarios your friends think you are making up when you tell them that on taking his sunglasses off he reveals himself as boss-eyed. The Desert Racer Steve McQueen rode in The Great Escape trying to escape the Nazis wanes when compared to this mob parked up outside the drinks machine called 25 Hours.









Saturday, 6 June 2009

MY DARLING IN AND BALLS OUT

The calamity continues back in The Mother Country with The Tories winning up and down the land. Tomorrow sees the European elections here and so we continue. I think I'd rather elect eels. Meanwhile Gordon Brown was booed in Normandy by a number of disgruntled ex-servicemen and I even witnessed him talking about the obviously mentally ill woman Susan Boyle. Who is really running this show? Mandelson?

Most politicians only seem to be in it for the tasty snacks or their desire to let everyone know how morally repugnant they are. Meanwhile back in the real world a flock of sheep up sticks and down tools to start the journey from Belchite in The Bajo Aragon and start schlepping it up to the Valle de Tena. It means passing through our town and heading up towards Apies. There are only 7,000 of this breed, Churras Tensinas. I love a sheep story especially if they are not getting murdered by birds of prey.

Away from all of this the film festival presides as if nothing else exists outside of this town. I did find myself attending the inaugaration of an exhibition on a film called Los Furtivos, The Poachers and attended by the director Borau. This is one of those films I stayed up late to watch probably in the seventies and called The Continental Movie. I guess it is a metaphorical film as it involves forests, incest and general furtive behaviour with a chieftain thrown in for good measure. Franco described Spain as a 'peaceful forest' and this phrase always reminds me of a desperate attempt on my mother's part to avoid the Valle de los Caidos, The Valley of the Fallen, a mausoleum where Franco is buried. We ended up in a forest with said parent bewailing that something awful had happened there and we must leave immediately lest it contaminate our souls. Apart from a heist or an art robbery I wouldn't mind stealing the old dictator's bones and dumping them out in the sea. It could be staged the day before a small band of Franco lovers turn up on his birthday or maybe his deathday and do the Nazi slaute and have a picnic. I might have dreamt it but I think a pink Rolls Royce might be involved.

Friday, 5 June 2009

I CAN'T BE BOTHERED

It's getting to the point that I can't bear to watch the news and the so called 'car crash' that is Gordon Brown. The latest minister to resign is Flint by name and nature Caroline. She says that the Prime Minister used her as some kind of female 'window dressing'. With all his faults I don't believe a word of this and with the European elections coming up this Sunday, Flint, rats, leaving, sink and ships spring to mind.

There is another thing I can't bear to watch and it's a programme called The Apprentice about a group of young people so desperate to get a job with Alan Sugar, a successful businessman and friend and advisor of our Gordon. I just can't admire people who want to be in this world of selling stuff and being 'passionate' about it all and have all this drive. The programme shows them getting up at the crack of. and even watching this makes me want to roll over and die. I even thought about a Spanish version which doesn't get past the second programme as we witness one person trying to wake up the other housemates and them all snoring away. This type of programme could never be a success here.

Living opposite The Society of Saint Vincent of Paul one finds it difficult to get through the day without a pang of noblesse oblige . When I went in there the other day to see if they needed any donations of clobber one of the priests gave me a look that I would interpret as condescending but was probably something else. When I turned up the next day with three bags full he couldn't have been more civil and loving and so he should be as a man of the cloth. Henderson is not too happy with the gangs of gypsies and their kids turning up and in appropriate manner screamed at them to move their van load so as to enter the house. He was shortly joined by a stick waving Mercedes and Piti in tow threatening them with the police.

Alejandro, the bookworm who so far has been delighted with my choice of reading material has at the age of fourteen been introduced to PG Wodehouse. I had to explain skeletons in cupboards today and tried to think of something that would go down well with a fourteen year old. The best I could think of was Henderon's true story which involved him finding out via his parents that goats in general will eat anything. He went out of his way to feed theirs with plastic bags to which the goat consumed with relish. When it was found dead the next day Henderson remembers the family aghast around the dinner table all wondering how it could have happened. He was three at the time and so it was a first of many.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

NOTHING MATTERS

My week has been littered with nuns and gynaecologists, socialists and cigarette lighters, gypsies and dead swallows and now Hazel Blears looms everywhere.I look and I wonder who she will be partnered with shortly. Perhaps that should read Hazel blears......

The nuns, all three of them sat next to me while I was waiting to see a neurologist on the advice of the gynaecological department ( don't ask ) and Henderson was fascinated with them and kept making glib comments on why they might be here. The neurologist couldn't find anything wrong with me which makes a change as everytime I see a doctor they find something else on a growing list of ailments that I could do without.

The elections are blearing and one of the local councillors came running up to us in the park the other day asking us if we smoked and offered us lighters. This seemed to be the way to open up a debate on local politics and I think he was delighted to have a sensible conversation for once. He seemed impressed that I knew the name of the Secretary of State for Infrastructure but then why wouldn't I? I forgot to ask why the council had promised the pedestrianisation of my barrio but it has probably got ot a lot to with all the other lies politicians tell when an election blears......

A dead swallow lay in our street the other day and dead birds especially baby ones have a morbid effect on me as my father bred birds and when I first saw a dead chick it left me feeling probably the same way Luis Bunuel did when he first saw a dead animal although his was a donkey I believe so I guess it was a more traumatic experience for him. A gypsy kid asked me what I was looking at and when I told her it was a dead pajaro she didn't seem to understand me so the inevitable conversation of 'pajaro?', 'si, un pajaro' went on for minutes. A friend later told me it has something to do with the pronunciation of this word but not on my part apparently. Despite the noise, I must confess that out street does lend itself to the more interesting aspects of Spanish Life and I often feel I have slipped back in time. There is a gypsy who walks up and down playing an instrument that has a whistling sound. I found out he sharpens knives for a living and wondered if he could be transported to London and stand outside the Houses of Parliament.

Tomorrow is the film festival and my source seems to have gone underground but I shall seek him/her out shortly and find out the goings on in the world of short film makers. Boom boom.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

C FOR MILES

So the plan to pedestrianise our barrio seems to have been put aside once more even though I am sure work was supposed to start soon. This can mean so many things so I won't hold my breath. As I have mentioned before, I only have to look at the various caudillos that stretch from here to London and back again to know that really, nothing matters. It does have a calming effect once you get into it. Henderson just walked in and announced that Newsnight announced to him moments earlier that MEPs will get a pay rise of 45 per cent after the elections. So much for the economic crisis and MPs' expenses and they have the cheek to say the public are on the verge of mob rule. I can't wait.

So I have survived the clutches of 3A and B. 2A and B wanted me to come to their shindig tomorrow afternoon but I think I am getting a little old for all this and so have declined the invitation. A desire to crack open a bottle of champagne as they all ran off into their bright futures is a sure sign that maybe I will start looking for another job.

Meanwhile Piti is still at it and now Mercedes has got the other set of keys, the ones we need to let ourselves in when he is really going for it as she managed to lock herself out again. Mr Ceresuela our other neighbour has started to bark too when he gets home. Woof woof is wow wow here and at first I didn't realise what he was up to but this has been going on for a few days now so we can presume he has finally lost it. With a wife who nags him all day and every day in her vain attempts to get him into his grave and therefore get at his money I guess he has finally flipped. We have been here a while and I calculated in one of those moments of disbelief when they were at it again, that they have had over 5,000 arguments. Surely there is a prize or certificate for this. He threw a bottle at her from the balcony the other day and was heard shouting 'leave my investments alone you thief!' This is from the man who apparently embezzled The Banco Santander and got away with it.

Finally, I learnt why I saw so many butterflies when I was last up in the mountains. There seemed to be thousands of them. On the BBC today I heard that they are now flying over Britain and heading for a holiday in Scotland. It is the largest migration of a butterfly known as the Painted Lady and they have flown from The Atlas Mountains in Morocco. The Butterfly Conservation wants people to track them as they head home in Autumn or rather their offspring. They say that no one has seen the migration back so this will give me something to do as a lover of this mysterious creature. There is also no collective noun for butterflies although there are many suggestions. I like the suggestion bordello. I will try to provide a link to the project as this will be a first.

Toodles. x







Tuesday, 26 May 2009

WHO IS WATCHING THE WATCHMAN?

Since I have lived here folk have talked about the pedestrianisation of our road and the roads around it. The latest news was work would begin in the next few days ( this was in April this year) and the shopkeepers in the Plaza Bolinga were delighted after campaigning for years for the council to do the decent thing. It is now late May and I see no sign of work and am not holding my breath for another seven years. They can do what they like really with our money and keep proving themselves to be as big a bunch of chavs as the British government and all their associates.

In the last few weeks I have seen disturbing documentaries on the BBC involving the motherland and the latest trend for young men to get a big dog to replace the lack of penis. I guess if you can't afford a car a dog will do but the cruelty involved and the horrific stories portrayed gave me nightmares. My feelings toward Piti change when I see the amount of damage inflicted on some of the dogs in London alone. Last night there was another programme about the amount of security cameras around Britain which we all know about but the latest is every car journey is recorded and kept for two years and most of the companies or people running these cameras including the Home Secretary don't realise or at least think or question why no one is monitoring them. When I watch programmes like this I realise I have been away too long or perhaps not long enough. I try to imagine a Spain that tells its citizens off everytime they drop litter and the images of them giving the camera the finger and a mouthful seems refreshing considering the alternative which is living in Middlesborough and duly picking the rubbish up so as your photo doesn't appear in the Gazette on Monday morning with the finger of shame pointing at you and an eighty pound fine in the post. Never mind that you are filmed with your knickers round your neck and no bell on your bike Sunday morning and no photos are published but the security guard watching probably knocks off a crafty one.

Meanwhile here in the time machine that is Huesca people are still getting arrested for being drunk and in possession of a cow and dare I say it, Psychic TV are playing at the village hall tomorrow. We had Gong and Lydia Lunch whose age totals prehistoric. Now with Genesis P. Orrige et al the chapter surely must close. It was all shit the first time around. Why are they trying to torment me now? What next? Kajagoogoo? Cliff Richard?

My pupil Alejandro, who has enjoyed the works of Roald Dahl, The Beano, and everything from My Family and Other Animals to Tom's Midnight Garden has won an English competition and is first in Aragon and twenty first in Spain. The Cabernet Sauvignon and the Somontano his parents gave me were delicious but he is the star here and may it continue. Hic Hic Hooray!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

YOU'RE COMING TO HUESCA

Waking up exhausted from my dreams which include working in a factory where dead, famous people leave their shoes behind. Serge Gainsbourg's grubby shoes featured and I tried them and zut alors they fitted perfectly. Inspired by all this I rang my mum and asked her how much acid she took in the 60's 'cos this has got to stop. The other night it was mathematics and reincarnation and it all made sense at the time but the next day I just had a headache and fleeting glimpses of the truth.I just need a good night's sleep and too feel refreshed again.

Manwhile ( I like this mistake, will add it to my Polari ) the latest has beens are heading this way. We've had Gong and Lidia Lunch so I guess it's time for Psychic TV. They are here next Wednesday and reinforce the idea that this is the town to go to if you need the money and the accolades.

Clowns to the left of me jokers to the right and Piti upstairs, stuck in the middle of the bleeding lot of them. Piti and the rest of the brood are supposed to be leaving in four days and I think with the last day of school a celebration of some sort is needed here. Painting the town red is translated as something like 'let's go and burn this village' so watch out.

Mulling over the saga of the British politicians and their chavtastic lifestyles I thought a good way of getting rid of them is defenestration (a word I have mentioned before and am fascinated with ) or better still depontification. Throw them off Westminster Bridge. I'll leave it to your imaginations. One can dream.

On the subject of culture, the short film festival looms once more. I can write a book about this place and have even asked one of its workers to fill me in this year so I can post it here but she/he is now paranoid that she/he will be found out. How mad is this? When I worked there it was 'halucinante', the goings on. The latest was the people who work there are not alllowed to have a coffee with another member of staff. Now the coffee machine has been removed altogether to deter staff from having a break. This all seems very un-Spanish and bewildering but not surprising really if you have ever worked there. I need to investigate more or just add what weird experiences I had there. A pity really as it could be quite a brilliant film festival but lacks so much due to the same mentality which seems to pervade so much of our lives here in Europe right now.

Friday, 22 May 2009

DECODE DIS CODE DOWN THE DISCO IF YOU COULD YA CU....

There has been an unusual silence of late and I found out that Piti is on medication. It worked for a bit but his octogenarian owner who insists on doing stuff all day which involves opening and closing her door and starting him off again seems to have forgotten to administer the dope and so everyone is treated to the sounds of a beast who howls at the sun and anything else in existence. The animal is now, like his owner, me, and possibly half the street a nervous wreck, shot to pieces and in need of some solace. I hear there is a very good Buddhist sanctuary close to the Opus Dei headquarters so I might be heading there soon.

Meanwhile,the antics of Classes 3A and 3B have calmed down but 2A and B have picked up where they left off and so this morning I was greeted by the bellows of their other teacher who screamed so loud I thought her voice had flown out of her mouth and smashed against the back wall at one point. One more week to go and I find myself on the verge and singing my own rendition of Piti The Phallic Poodle knowing that along with the pupils he will leave a much needed gap in my life.

On a more relaxing note I seem to have found a kind of esoteric peace everytime details of MPs' or Major Ponces' expenses are announced. Up to now my favourite was the moat that had to be cleaned but now it is the duck house. It all reminds me of a moment in a PG Wodehouse novel when Bertie hits upon the idea that staring at a rich, fat man in a loud check suit is rather soothing but also reinforces the view that nothing matters. Part of me still feels it has been some kind of taster for a military coup or revenge for the powers that be having the power that be to listen in on our phone calls etc and now the words boot and foot spring to mind. Everytime I'm on the blower I get pissed and start talking in my own polari just to spite them. That and deliberately not eating five pieces of fruit a day is about as far as it goes these days but I have other plans.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

OINK OINK

For someone who is easily perturbed and can spend hours fretting over many a What If? scenario I have not been troubled by the latest flu scare stories even though I am and have been for two weeks suffering from it. I think what has kept me going is the so called scandal involving MP's expenses. MP standing for Major Ponce it seems. Ever since Lord Irving and his flock wallpaper and Cherie Blair frothing at the mouth when told she could take a few gifts from an Australian department store and ended up with over sixty items in her trolley I have been convinced that all MPs suffer from that syndrome where you can't bring yourself to put your hand in your pocket and cough up for anything anymore as for so long it's all been a freebie. I last saw it in action, albeit in infancy, at The Drury Lane Theatre's Christmas party a few years back when Dave the fireman spluttered a vol au vent over me as he tried to balance an overloaded plate of party food and tell me 'it's all free, go and grab some'.

Meanwhile, here in the Merthyr Tidfil of Spain a huge binge has been going on round the corner much to the annoyance of the locals who if they did manage to get some sleep woke up to the many body fluids to be expected on streets throughout Europe over the weekend. Henderson asked me what the strange noise was the following day and I told him it was the vomit cleaner, the man who drives a little cleaning machine that does a good job of getting rid of DNA.

The trend of daylight robbery never seems to end here with one story involving some dude described as dark, corpulent and wearing overalls, welding goggles, hard hat and brandishing a knife trying to rob old ladies who run cake shops and haberdasheries. With the construction industry the worst hit during this recession it seems fitting that he chose this disguise although on his second robbery he ran off and left it all including the knife and money in the park.

To end it all for today I couldn't help overhearing people introducing themselves and their details on that dreadful programme with that awful woman Ann Robinson called The Missing Link and felt compelled to enter the room and announce to the tele " Hi, I'm Ana, I'm 43 and I'm sick to death of the lot of you'.

Goodnight. x