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Sunday, 22 March 2009

PARADISE LOST AND REGAINED

So we decided to escape from it all and took the back roads up near the foothills where you feel like you have melted into a film with Matt Monro or Ennio Morricone in your head. We've done this route a million times but due to road works ended up in an unforgiving place called Arguis which is beautiful when it snows but uncovered just looks like you have landed on the moon. We persevered and Henderson asked me if I wanted to continue further into unknown territory, further along the roads marked 'dangerous curves' and although bleak it looked I wanted to know what may lie up around those bends. We travelled for a while wondering where we may end up and all we could see was a lunar landscape and dead things the sun obscured by a rockface not worth mentioning till we saw a ruin and wondered why the hell anyone would choose to live here at any moment but especially during a time without cars. It was apparent when we saw the first village and everything suddenly changed colour from grey to green. When we saw the Gallego river and passed over the railway line which weaves its way through the mountain twice a day we realised we were behind the hill that has Loarre castle on the other side. There is a village called Yeste which feels haunted and isolated and then another called Triste (or sad). Sometimes these villages feel as if they are harbouring some dark secret.The whole schlep did have a melancholic vibe about it and once we made it through we had to cross an old iron bridge which crosses one of many reservoirs and reservoirs are one of my bete noirs and avoid if I can. This road then leads up to another of my favourite places called Los Mallos de Riglos which is one of the most beautiful places in this region with giant phallic rocks which people always seem to be climbing. There must be a market for helicopter trips up there if only to have a barbacue and greet the hapless climbers as they finally reach the top. It's difficult to admire the beauty of these rocks if you are standing beneath them as they make you giddy just looking up at them. The best view is across the river where you can appreciate their size and beauty.

On a more surreal not I woke up after another weird and wonderful dream. Henderson is becoming increasingly worried ever since I told him of the dream about landing a plane and giving birth at the same time. He has heard enough about fights with see-through robots but last night's involved me effortlessly time travelling and meeting up with John Milton who demanded why I was in his house clothed in such a way and I just told him that I had time travelled and was visiting him from the future. I'm not a fan of Milton's and know little about him if anything. I have since found out William Blake wrote a poem called Milton and amongst other mad scenes it involves Milton entering Blake's foot as a comet. Blake then treats the ordinary world as perceived by the senses in the form of a sandal. Blake then finds himself in a garden and a skylark mutates into a girl who is looking for Milton. He then descends to meet her, there is an apocalyptic scene and Milton is united with his feminine. There is a vision of a final union of living and dead, male and female, internal and external reality, and a transformation of all human perception. This is the sort of mental phenomena I have to put up with every day and it is not my fault it could disable lesser minds. I wish I could wake up feeling refreshed.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

R FOR ASKEY

I realise I didn't even touch on the community meeting. It turns out it is not the 'punkies' who have torn all the letter boxes from the wall but the 'effing bleeder' who I thought it was in the beginning but was persuaded otherwise. Jesus said his son came home and saw the bleeder riding the boxes like he was on a motorcycle, which I guess can only be imagined once you get past our front door which is like entering some other dimension or labyrinth as anything is possible once you have achieved this. The new letterboxes took seven hours,two men and many euros to be installed and along with the 7 million it cost to erect a climbing frame for monkeys at some zoo in Scotland recently I wonder if I am in the right job. The letter boxes weren't put in properly so will have to be done again.The president proposed an installation of a communal de-scaler which hopefully will rid us of the limescale scourge but which prompted a half hour debate on the merits of vinegar. Someone else said they had heard a rumour that a 'botellon' was held in the garage. Henderson was screaming that he wanted a key to the room which would house the de-scaler as he didn't trust any of them to clean it out which will be required once it has been put in and considering it took four months for the president not to paint over 'Marcos we will kill you' on the front door it doesn't bode well. The next day we saw the new president painting over the grafitti and were left wondering what is it with some of them? As my friend Susana says, ' you know what I hate about the Spanish? That you can't ask even ask them 'what time is it?' for even that is wasting their wonderful time'. This is proved whenever we wait with the car for the garage door to open and a convoy scrapes its way past us tearing their wing mirrors and aerials off along the adjacent wall.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

I'll pay 20 Euros if someone can tell me how to install this tracker thing. How difficult can it be????????????/
I have tried to install a tracker to see if anyone is reading the thoughts of a mad woman. So here goes.

Monday, 16 March 2009

SOUL RIGHTS

So Henderson asked 'what would you do without me?' and the answer was 'sit in the dark and eat cake'. This was all at an unearthly hour along with 'Who is Lindsay Lohan?' My reply to that was she sounds like she works in airport security. I promised him I would look her up along with the origin of Yowza Yowza Yowza but that he would have to wait a while as I have more pressing investigations such as The Messianic Idea in Judaism and other Essays on Jewish Spirituality along with Walter Benjamin's 1936 essay: The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.

So, how many Spaniards does it take to change a lightbulb? Yes, I have survived the community meeting and it wasn't so bad. I surprised myself by understanding just about everything except the word medianil which is another word for parting as in walls and partitions I believe. It takes ages to suss out the community meeting. It is not like anything you have ever experienced and quite hard to know where to begin. Someone has seen a rat in the garage never mind that I have been saying this and seeing them for years. This led to aspersions that someone was keeping food in their 'trastero', their store cupboard. Who could it be? Someone who wasn't there which left nine culprits unable to defend their family name. I managed to raise my voice above the slurs to say that I'd like the bin next to my trastero removed as on the last butcher's it was full of nappies and half eaten burgers and maybe that is what attracts the rat. The administrator took notes and said this would be done but even as it was said I knew the wrong bin will be removed I have decided that at times the law needs to be implemented by my own hand and from now on I will just do certain things without consultations as a few more bollocks are needed and they just don't exist. If you don't believe me ask yourself how may times you have seen a Spaniard up a ladder. It all gives new meaning to my old adage that if you want anything done. While sitting there tonight I realised if I can do this I can do anything, I am invincible while on this planet.

Later, much later but inevitably like all, when entering the Pearly Gates I might have some difficulty explaining myself and can imagine the scenario when Saint Peter says to me ' Teacher? Friend? Sandwich Maker? Bin remover?' It will probably be accompanied by a sinking feeling not unlike many felt circa 1986 when I was told I wasn't on the guest list. He's going to have a harder time when he meets some of my Spanish friends and ex-presidents of 'la communidad' and he says ' What do you mean nothing?'

Saturday, 14 March 2009

YOUR A PINK TOOTHBRUSH...

I take it all back. Ehrmann, Bygraves and Miller. Ehrmann probably saved himself at the Pearly Gates when he added after revealing himself as an attorney, 'yes, but I did write Desiderata'. Byraves is still with us and along with Ken Dodd, Joyce Grenfell and Arthur Askey has kept me going through the war years at Santa Rosa. Miller for his suits and his joke concerning Beachy Head and tossing himself off. If I can think of anymore it will become an obssession.

SPRINGTIME FOR ..........

What is it with men called Max? Starting with Clifford, Mosley and that bloke on Eastenders. They all wear a look that says 'I was only following orders'. They are the people who try to make it socially acceptable to be a complete tosser or prick as my dad would say. I confused Hastings with Mosley earlier and then wondered who the hell he was until Henderson reminded me he used to be the editor of The Evening Standard. It is now going to be run by a Russian oligarch which seems to be the latest thing apart from dying on tele. Russian and oligarch, dumb and blond, complete and prick always seem to go together amongst many others. There may not be a place after death where we explain our ways but it acts as a bench mark I suppose and I wouldn't want to confess to any of the above. When and if it would be nice to say 'well I was a good mum' and/or 'I saved hundreds of lives extinguishing a burning oil rig' or maybe 'I landed a plane full of screaming passengers with only one wheel and a full set of teeth', or just, I was a Pom and a bastard and excelled myself.

Back in the so-called real world I woke after my siesta to a programme on The Reality Zone called something like "Terror on the Job'. I think I might send in a video of life with classes 3A and B when I compared my day with the hostage scenes and bank raids. I am not sure who their target audience is but the adverts which followed all seemed to be for women with thrush or those interested in the latest Julia Roberts film. Or maybe they were there to provide a refreshing antidote.

As a dog lover I am becoming perturbed by my sadistic thoughts directed at Piti upstairs. I am starting to resemble several characters all played by Michael Plain and lately I am turning into Ken in A Fish Called Wanda. I thought a good way to get rid of the beast would be defenestration if only because it sounds quite dramatic and probably successful if I lure him to the top of Loarre Castle. Also the Spanish are masters at tossing stuff out of windows. Women here are obsessed with keeping the house clean but are quite happy to hang out of a window with a broom and shake all the shit off it into the street and quite often my barnet. I had better not start on the national sport of being house proud by shoveling your scourings onto the fellow below. My mental inventory includes cigarette packets, plastic bottles, cat litter, cigarette butts, yoghurt pots and spit so I don't see why anyone will notice a poodle.

Friday, 13 March 2009

JORDAN BENNETT

You've got to hand it to the Spanish when it comes to being a chav or any negative aspect of British or Anglo Saxon culture come to think of it and to be even more offensive I would say that the Brits have more or less turned themselves into Spanish tele. With Jordan and Jade at the helm that cave in Morocco beckons. I can't be the only bemused Voltairean who wonders why the likes of Martin Amis need to comment on every bowel movement of the dynamic duo. Presumably he and Joan Bakewell were never on the receiving end of. or got their heads kicked in by such company. All the people who hated Jade Goody before now want to redeem themselves because they know they will die one day.

While on the subject of baring all I have a confession to make. I worked at the short film festival here a few times and the last time I was there I discovered to my horror that I had made a mistake which involved forwarding an e-mail to the then boss or rather I didn't forward it and on discovering this spent about two days wondering what I was going to do as it involved something relatively important, for him anyway as it was a 'you scratch my back' type of favour which is endemic amongst the short film folk. Well I decided not to tell him as I didn't think I could cope with another lambasting and roars of 'que incompetencia!' ( a bit rich I thought coming from a Spaniard, I mean if he had an hour to spare I could give him some even better examples). Another reason was a sort of perverse idea that he might find out anyway and being bored I thought it might be interesting to see his reaction. Well the festival ended and I got out with my life but he didn't and was dead six months later which saddened me because I really liked him and even understood his shouting as it was probably the only way to get things done. There isn't really any moral to this tale as I have a long list of other disgraces which only serve to emphasise how I have no idea what the hell is going on on this mad but beautiful planet of ours.

Which leads onto the community meeting set for Monday. I hope to God I can keep it together by reminding myself of Bill Hick's sketch 'Life is just a ride'.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

OLD BROTONIANS

We are back from our sojourn in the mountains. Poo, the little white Golf who brought us here and will soon be 25 years old passed her MOT and it was decided that we should get the hell out of here and seek solace there. I was hoping we would get snowed in and would have to stay for a few more days like the guests who are staying at the Balnearios de Panticosa. This is not the first time and they get to stay for free. The risk of avalanches is big and they have no choice but to stay in and enjoy the luxurious surroundings. I know what I will be planning this time next year.

While in the valley of Broto we spotted a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and watched him for ages. Such a beautiful bird and one of many things to be found in this valley which lift the spirits and make you want to weep while you know why. The overlapping sounds of the river Ara and a couple of glasses of vermouth add to the joy and later Basque Jon cooked us beans from Asturias just to guarantee we would see fewer arseholes with a full stomach.

During the night I could hear the road gritter passing through the village because Henderson insisted we had the window open as after our binge the night before he reckoned the best air in Europe would clear our heads. Everytime the gritter went through I got a blast of salt in my mouth and the next day the whole street including Poo was covered in the stuff. This and his cold arse almost put a stop to an otherwise beautiful relationship.

Now we are back and the first person I see is the effing bleeder, my other next door neighbour, who I can't believe I have never written about, poking the letter boxes which is his favourite pastime and the community think it may be him who smashed them all in a while ago. They have been fixed again but some haven't got keys so he was probably just checking. I had a nightmare that the community meeting was all about who had done what to who and because everyone was guilty of something it was all resolved with a warning. The date is for Monday the 16th and I am dreading it. Henderson reassured me that during the dream I was muttering the words 'White Horse' over and over but I can't remember if it was whisky or a pub I had sought refuge in.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

VIVA LAS VEGAS

It looks like the plan to build Gran Scala with all its casinos and hotels in the Monegros Desert, the only desert in Europe, will go ahead as planned. It's the usual story and opinions are mixed. If you have ever been there you will know there is nothing, just desert and any fauna and flora most people don't give a shit about anyway, they just pretend they do or there are about three who might protest. It was the same when they did up the small village of Panticosa and took away a delightful old casino and cafe and put a lovely new one but with less of the charm. Some friends complained and said the hotel was expensive and they could never stay there. I asked them how often they went before when it was cheap and the baths and spas were falling apart at the seams like most old buildings here and the answer was hardly ever but now it was for 'pijos' or rich people with no soul. The villagers in the area where Gran Scala will be built are chomping at the bit to sell their land or hiding away and refusing to comment. There is fear of the mafia although which one I am not sure. Drugs and prostitution are another worry but again, nobody seems concerned with the whorehouses that litter the motorways or the way prostitutes are treated here. Drugs are rife in this small town and every weekend for the past seven years I watch drug deals and drug taking along my street. My favourite was the boy who pissed over someone's car bonnet while his girlfriend snorted cocaine off the back of the car which was covered in pigeon shit. So bring it on in Aragon! Nobody will protest least of all me as even sitting down with a bag over my head I find myself muttering 'I've seen it all before'. Where to go though as it follows you?

Then I read there is going to be some other park built in Sabinanigo. I was asking myself the question that what with the crisis and all, 'what is Spain for?' It used to be cheap holidays and a place to escape to if you were a villain or fed up with your own country. Maybe like the Royal family it should be, the whole country, turned into one giant theme park.

I watch with dismay. I remember I felt I was the only person who thought Tony Blair was some kind of sociopath with everyone around me disagreeing and for quite a while Gordon Brown has struck me as a major manic depressive with probable bouts of genius, aggression, fantastic ideas and solutions. Great if you can get up just before twelve, scrape a living and have a few friends who will listen to these ideas but not so if you are either running the country or managing its finances. The man's a raving nutter and should retire to Spain.