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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

DON'T CALL US.

'Just think, we'll have WI-FI and you'll be able to write your blog on the balcony' said Henderson in an attempt to to boost my negative attitude towards Telefonica. That was over two weeks ago when we ordered it and since then we have opened an account especially for said cartel. Last Saturday they assured me that despite the other assurance that we would have the 'router' in four days we would have it by last Thursday. Yesterday I got a text from them saying it would be delivered and installed ( despite telling them I would install it as I don't want to pay someone else 90 euros to do it ) on the 15th of June. I went into one of their other shops today and asked them about the Broadband/WI-FI offer in the window and how long does one normally wait for it to be delivered and the girl eagerly told me that it wouldn't be more than four days. The words 'really?' and 'sort it out' were then uttered from me and she has since assured me that I will be sitting on my balcon, laptop and Campari writing away pronto.

Afterwards I went to renew my subscription at the Aragonese Institute and to take out a book entitled Orwell en las Tierras de Aragon by Manuel Benito. I know one of the girls who works there, Elba, and she lent me her pen to sign the required form and I started to put the pen in my bag when I'd finished. 'That's my pen' she said. 'Oh, sorry, well, we are in a recession I suppose'. This seemed to make all the staff within earshot laugh and I realised another glib, unfunny remark is taken as 'el Humor Ingles'. As we left I remarked to Henderson that whenever I am in the Institute, which is about four or five times a year I never see anyone else using the facilities. It is housed in a lovely old building next to the park and I wonder how it is going to continue with the state of the economy as it is.


Later, with class 4B on the verge I played a pub quiz with them but minus the beer which I needed once the class was over. This is the last week as next week it will be too hot for children to go to school in the afternoons here. As they leave the classroom I often hear other teachers telling them 'Don't run!' and I feel a maniacal urge to shout the opposite adding, '..for your lives children!!' what with all the pederasts popping up in all corners of the Catholic world.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

YOU'RE GOING STRAIGHT TO HULL.

I think I may have the best translation for the word 'pijo' into English. It means a lot of things which could be loosely described as 'posh' or 'stuck up' but the best one would probably be 'poncey'. I realised this whilst giving an English class the other day when my pupil Raul didn't know what a kettle was. I described it and he said 'oh, you mean a tetera?' which is a teapot but could be translated as a baby's bottle, and when I said 'no, it is before the teapot, it is the thing to boil the water to make the tea', he replied 'que pijos sois', or 'what a bunch of ponces you English are'. I was quite flattered.

Later the same day I found myself in one of those bars that seems to be forever the rage in Spain, the dreaded 'retro' bar. This one was modelling itself on a sort of Irish-cum-Spanish bar with mock sepia photos of 'quite a while ago' but calls itself 'Friends International' or something like that, don't want to give them too much free publicity, not that they need it as it is always packed to the Sallies. It is a smoking bar like most in Spain and serves 'tostadas' which may or may not be 'tostados' as I am forever forgetting to memorise words by associating them into something feminine or masculine. I do this a lot with words such as cenicero which I called cenicera for a while until I made it a macho object by remembering it with an image of the Marlboro man. I have doubts whether this method works especially when most Spanish women smoke like bastards. While I was there I found out a friend is off to Hull to do a summer camp or assist on one of these trips the Spanish kids like to do by spending a fortuna and ending up with the family from the infierno. I didn't understand where she was going as she pronounced Hull as in Hooool to which I said 'never 'eard of it'. when I realised what she was saying I said 'ahh, Hull, Prescottlandia! Sorry, I am a ponce from the south'. Yet thinking about it later, even those from Hull wouldn't pronounce it Hooool.

Talking of Prescott, I wouldn't mind naming a doggie after him once I can afford to get one, a dog that is, not the pugnacious politician of the same name. The other names on my list being Hastings or Nelson. I am also impressed with just about every Formula One driver's name. Mr Kobayashi, Mr De La Rosa, Mr Sutil et al sound great names for a book or film.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

VELVET UNDERGROUND STATION

I've just been watching Cameron and Clegg standing in the garden of Downing Street and wondering if they had plotted this marriage not on the playing fields of Eton or Westminster if they have them,but perhaps in a field somewhere in Norwich in the late eighties after taking some ecstacy. It all seems quite surreal at the moment and I wonder if people will get used to it. It all sounded too good to be true and I can't wait to see this week's Have I Got News For You.


Meanwhile back here it seems Obama has been on the blower to Zapatero to pull his finger out and start cutting and he has proposed to cut the salaries of civil servants including his own. The queues opposite where I live grow by the day as people come to get food and clothing from the charity run there. Most of the people are women and Muslim and quite a few disgruntled gypsies.


Last Saturday we tried to enter the 21st century by upgrading to Broadband or ASDL as it is probably known here. There is a good offer from Telefonica but neither Henderson or I trust them or any other telephone company and were flabbergasted that we would have to give them our bank details from now on instead of turning up at a bank and paying in cash. I feel I am turning into either one of my parents as I didn't understand the new mobile I bought either and ended up paying three euros a day just because I had clicked on a couple of applications to see what they were. The nice young man helped me three days later when I realised what had happened and hopefully has blocked them as it seems jolly expensive trying to keep up with what's going on in the world. The long and the short of it is that we ended opening up a seperate account just for Telefonica so hopefully this weekend I will get or at least start the process of getting WI-FI etc installed.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

I'M NOT A TOURIST

One thing that people don't understand if they have never lived abroad is that once you have integrated, learnt the language at least to a level were you can have a word perfect slanging match and not hear a single xenaphobic remark from your opponent, I think you can safely say you have more than enough rights to complain about your mayor if you are not happy with him or demonstrate you are not pleased with the latest graffitti or the hoodlums driving up and down at five in the morning or where your council tax is going. Brits who have never lived abroad and some who do, seem to think we or they are guests in the country they have chosen to live in and therefor don't have the right to say anything if they see something that is out of order. When people say 'well, you chose to live there', or 'well, the locals voted him in' when they hear my views on the mayor for example don't seem to realise that their views would sound very BNP if they said that to a foreigner back in Britain who didn't agree with Boris Johnson. I also think my neighbours wouldn't be very happy if I truned up ( keep this version..) at the meetings and sat there telling them 'well, I am just a guest here and have no right to spout my opinion, don't expect me to get involved with the latest saga on the dog or the water...''. I think once you have had a slanging match with Mercedes or gone down the council to ask what is going on with the pivot cum post that has been knocked down twenty times this year you know you are welcome. A lot of Brits don't realise I can vote in the Municipal elections and that one day I could run for mayor. We have friends in the mountains who told us that a tiny village nearby has a mayor who is also a part-time DJ and coke dealer so anything is possible here. Which leads onto the water situation here and how everyone seems to be turning to me to sort it out and I am thinking of putting something in it to calm them all down. Watch this space....

On a lighter note we did go up into them there hills to visit a lovely village called Ainsa were we ate in a fab restaurant called Callizos in a style I am beginning to get accustomed to but for a third of the price. It gave Heston Blumenthal a run for his money and with Enate wine came to about 33 Euros a head. The chef is called 'Magoo' according to my pal Elena who works at the nearby Casa Frauca and he came out from the kitchen at the ned (Ha!) of the meal to chat and tell us a big party of Norwegians couldn't make it on account of the volcanic ash. Our friend Jon said this was the worst excuse he had ever heard and would have believed them if they had said all their mothers had died, but then he feels the same everytime he hears the words 'Houston, we have a problem'. He says 'we all have problems my friend, my wife left me, I can't make ends meet....'

Later we found ourselves as usual in El Silencio de los Corderos, an old slaughterhouse I have mentioned before in the smashing villlage of. I woke up to a hung parliament and a hangover and none of the cures I have developed for either seem to work anymore.

Talking of this situation, the hung parliament I mean, I begin to wonder about my fellow Brits and our taking of the moral high ground in the court of Facebook/Twitter and blog opinion. On Facebook I notice people seem to make remarks about politicians and political groups in a desperate attempt to distance themselves. It's a similar thing here were you have to say which group you are with so the other person doesn't think you are an evil fascist or something. So many friends were battling to the end with Gordon that I realised that either I remain on the fringes or I have finally grown up. Finally Grown Up isn't synonymous with 'I vote Tory now' but come off it, how he was allowed to become Prime Minister in the first place, Gordon brown I mean not Cameron. I can say this as a Labour voter and supporter. It left me, like so many others in depsair ( as well as despair..) and floating. Thank God I didn't vote as I live here now and I am not one of those folk who live down on the Costa del Sol who may never go back but feel the pull and loyalty that demands they vote. It wouldn't feel right in the same way it doesn't feel right that as a tax payer I can only vote in the local elections here but not for the government.