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Thursday, 23 June 2011

IF I HAD A HAMMER

In response to the above conditional I would probably join in with the rest of the DIY enthusiasts the fine weather seems to bring with it. As soon as summer arrives and windows are left open, Spanish men turn up in their hordes with a tool box.This morning I was woken up by a man making repetitive noises with said tool above. He made it sound both productive and non-productive at the same time. I think the Spanish flag should be changed and a hammer could nestle in the corner somewhere as a symbol of what the place is really like. Across the road I have been fascinated with the latest use for cement too. I watched agog at some men who decided it was time to drill into a concrete floor to see if there was anything underneath. This started at the un-Christian hour of eight o'clock in the morning when it is legal to start making noise but everyone is either still in bed or working in an office somewhere out of earshot. Nevertheless it brought the usual gaggle of old geezers with hands behind their backs waiting expectantly for God knows what to appear. I was expecting a Fred West scenario but it turned out to be some type of tank, maybe water but I couldn't help thinking it might be gas and we would have a disaster on our hands as the men scratched their heads and ordered a cement truck. This truck also held me in a trance with its white and red stripes revolving around beneath my balcony. I thought it was an earthquake as it rolled up and parked right in front of the garage. Men then started behaving as you do on building sites, this one being the road, and drove up and down sloshing cement everywhere and quite a nice job they did of it and I guess it will be fine for another six months when they will have to dig it up again. I'm sure they know what they are doing. My favourite hammer story still stands, with H investigating an unearthly noise throughout the block we were then living in and finding a man making indentations in some wet cement up a wall. Later our Ecuatorian neighbours decided to put on that dreaded music of theirs which sounds like a hammer hitting a cowbell.

I realise why most Spanish people like to say that foreigners who speak Spanish speak it terribly. It's because they, the Spanish, are still at that level you find in places in England where white British folk still think it's funny to laugh at accents. They are at what I call the Benny Hill stage of immigration and you can see the look of annoyance that you seem to be deliberately and violently killing their language by misusing the feminine and masculine or are unable to roll your R's. This brings me to the Muslim woman H saw shouting at a Spanish woman the other day after the Spanish woman had muttered some insult or other as she passed the other who was struggling on the pavement to put some things in her shopping trolley. The Muslim woman shouted after the other in perfect Spanish but alas like the rest of us with an 'accent' and H heard her shout 'forty years of fascism and you still haven't learnt anything!!' as the other woman hurried on up the road. All the old ladies from the house a few doors down which masquerades as a hairdresser's came rushing out and did that thing that Spanish people often do when they realise they have offended you big time and tried to smother the Muslim woman with 'sorries' and 'calm down dearies'. H said the Muslim woman reacted just like me under such circumstances and duress and basically told them all to 'que te den'. Language is supposed to be a tool to make you feel 'at home' anywhere but it takes more than that to survive here. Nerves of steel, a tool box and a lot of cement.

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