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Sunday, 14 March 2010


Between visits to the mountains, and dinners in restaurants, meetings have occurred and so one must take the rough with the smooth and deal with the annual community meeting. Once more the neighbours stored up their rancour for one another and spilled the beans and their feelings mainly over Mercedes and her dog and the mess it leaves behind in the lift and the noise etc. No solution was found once again on account of her being older than all of us. One neighbour started turning purple as not only does the dog fill her with rage but the mice that have taken up residence in Mercedes' 'trastero', the cupboard every Spaniard has, usually in the garage, where he or she stores their shit. Apparently Mercedes stores food and the mice have been tucking in. The question was asked if anyone else had seen the mice the purple faced neighbour was going on about and I dared to say that I had but it was probably to do with the bins and the shit the neighbours leave in them from nappies to half eaten baguettes as well as Mercedes and her food hoarding. Ahh, but these neighbours don't live in our block, they rent the car space so are foreigners and therefore out of range and nothing can be done about them. A debate went on for five or ten minutes over who had or hadn't seen mice. I said I had, 'so have I' said another. 'Well I haven't, I have never seen mice' said an adamant neighbour who I have nicknamed 'takes all sorts' on account of him trying to justify every anti-social bastard that lives there. It has struck me that I live in a sort of mad house as the neighbours then went on to slag off another neighbour and an ongoing dispute with next door and their actions namely knocking down part of our wall and the thousand euro bill we've run up with the architect. It's a confusing saga and the neighbour who is mainly involved didn't turn up so everyone said we would go ahead with Plan C without her consent when she suddenly turned up and everyone went silent. This problem is still hanging in the air and I can't work out what it is exactly. The hate turned back to Mercedes and her beloved Piti and why she didn't just get rid of him and get a budgie which if they knew her better they would know that she does have a budgie who goes by the name of Richie and I have looked after him on several occasions with great delight but probably no more seeing as we hardly speak now. She was saved from someone who decided to lay into the cross eyed neighbour who rides around on a Harley and gives everyone a heart attack everytime he enters or leaves the garage with his 'purrupatupatup'. Then everyone wanted to know what was up with the 'effing bleeder' these days as the police had been round at five in the morning owing to him going mental and smashing the flat up. He was given another court order and didn't turn up and the police had been round five times since. But, and I know I shouldn't start a sentence with this word but it is a big BUT. The main bug bear of the evening was the water or lack of it. Everyone erupted about this theme as it affects us all. Since we had the 'filtro' fitted which is a piece of plastic with a plastic tube that is supposed to get rid of the limescale and which we paid a thousand euros for this time last year, we have had problems with the water. Henderson, who was absent at this meeting, told me it was imperative we got hold of the key to the door of the room where this new fangled Heath Robinson contraption lived as he knew what was going on. It hasn't been getting cleaned out enough and the reverse has happened and now we have a ton of limescale and no water. I proposed this at this year's meeting that we would be the ones responsible to clean it out if only for the old adage 'if you want anything done....' The gestor, the administrator and the neighbours all seemed happy with this proposal and it was done in such a way that I never got a straight answer. Did the previous president clean the 'filtro' out regularly? I was given an answer that included 'yes, no, the plumber showed me how to do it, the plumber didn't show me how to do it, yes I cleaned it out regularly, no I didn't' etc. 'Who was responsible to clean it out, you or the plumber? ' I asked. I still wasn't given a straight answer but I noticed we had water that evening as the penny dropped. Our fates were sealed when it was announced that Mercedes, who was absent, would be next in line to the throne amid gasps from most. The woman upstairs said she didn't care if Mercedes was the president or not as it meant it kept the responsibility away from her for an extra year. I added that Mercedes wouldn't be here for half of the year as she usually did a runner around May to Teruel where she torments the locals there. This was pooh poohed in a way that can only be understood with arm and hand gestures and so the evening ended with me wondering if Piti would be vice-president or treasurer. The gestor told me that the plumber would ring me the next day to make an appointment to show Henderson or me how the 'filtro' needed cleaning.

Three days later the plumber rang and he left me to create the words needed in the conversation over the mobile. I don't know if he had foreigner shock or was just thick or both. He didn't say who he was and left me asking him who he was and he asked me who I was and I said the usual 'you rang me' and this went on and when we finally established who we were he then went on about how he was outside my house and where was I. I told him we weren't in and he kept asking me 'what? you are not in?' over and over again. Later I rang him from home to say we were in but he then told me who couldn't do it as it was impossible now and he would have to call another day. An hour later I was still at home but he didn't know that and he turned up on the doorstep. He showed me how to change the filter which is unbelievable and needs a photo taken of it to prove how shocking it looks as it doesn't look like it is worth a thousand euros. Cleaning it involves turning the cap on the top and running the water into a bucket for ten seconds which somehow clears the limescale and lets us have water and pressure. If all goes to plan and the problem is with this gadget then we shall have water for ever more and the neighbours can thank us kindly. This not getting a straight answer lark is bamboozling me still. It happens a lot and you need to dig your heels in more than any Aragonese hoof until you get some semblance of normality. Something to do with an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal.

1 comment:

mike the trike said...

Una reuniĆ³n de la comunidad!!! Well your experience is like every meeting we have in our building where they argue and insult each other. We had one meeting where one of the lady residents broke into tears and ran out of the meeting. It's all a bit too much for me because I have yet to learn how to talk to someone who is talking to me at the same time. It seems to be some kind of Spanish gift and they can be talking about different subjects at the same time.