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Sunday, 25 July 2010

Well I have been extremely lazy and have adopted The Idler approach to everything but with a nagging doubt that I ought to be 'doing something' and a fear of an obituary that reads, 'she leaves five unwritten books, several unmade beds and unwashed windows'. The latter is something I enjoy not doing if only to watch the faces of my Spanish guests who think such a thing is immoral but are quite happy to let their dogs shit in the lift.

Things done include a recent trip to Zaragoza, a difficult city to understand which often seems an extension of what goes on here despite protests that they have nowt in common. Nevertheless, it is a city which boasts a heroine from The Peninsular War or The Spanish War of Independence called Agustina who on seeing the Spanish men dead or abandoning their posts, loaded a cannon, lit the fuse and wiped out a load of Napolean's soldiers. The Siege of Zaragoza is considered one of the most brutal of this war and left thousands of Zaragozans dead despite vicious street fighting which I would expect if the alternative is to end up speaking French. There is a Jota sung which includes the words 'the Virgin of Pilar says she doesn't want to be French, that she wants to be captain of the Aragonese troops'. It sounds better in Spanish unless of course you are not a fan of the Jota. Lord Byron included Agustina in his poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage where she is called The Maid of Saragosa. She is also immortalised in Goya's Disasters of War and served as an inspiration during the American Civil War.

On the subject of wars, my recent run in with Telefonica might have paid off as I received a letter with the word 'devolucion' in it which means they should be reimbursing me pronto with the 37 euros they claimed I had run up in a day. The day when according to them I had put the wrong 'nodo' in my computer and therefor didn't have the 19 euros a month deal that I had asked for. Friends have told me that most people don't bother to check these things or can't be bothered to complain and so just pay but I find this hard to believe. I'm just glad I opened a seperate account just for the thieving bastards as I knew something like this would happen. I think the bust up in one of Telefonica's shops with a queue of bemused witnesses behind me might have helped despite the shop assistant's pleas that 'this is a shop, you have to ring the customer service line and they will help you'. In the end I got her to ring said helpline to query the absurd accusation and subsequent siphoning of my funds and was told after half an hour of bullshit that I would be hearing from them within ten days which it appears I have.

Lastly, I forgot to say that on my return from Zaragoza I noticed as I got off the bus that there were deep puddles and piles of debris littering the streets in Huesca. Henderson told me that while I was away the heavens opened for three minutes and a year's rain fell sideways and winds brought down trees and advert hoardings. He said he hadn't seen a storm like it before. The last time this happened I was trapped in a cake shop on the high street with the owner battling against the flood with a plank of wood and me noticing wires and cables lying nonchalantly on the floor and sticking out of the skirting boards.

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