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Monday, 5 September 2011


It's hard to fathom that this time last Saturday we were sitting peacefully in a garden on the edge of the New Forest and now I am off to see the latest Almodovar film, The Skin I Live In. Quite a lot has happened in the last month or so. One minute we are whizzing round the mountains and canyons of the Pyrenees, the next we are flying over the charred remains of the Sony factory in Enfield. The next few weeks I guess we will be asked by our Spanish pals as we ease ourselves back into the life here, 'what the hell happened man?' to which I will reply that when the Brits or in this case, the English do something, they like to do it well. Whether it's Royal weddings or producing the best comedy or teenage pregnancies and thieving, we leave no stone unturned in the pursuit for perfection. The first week in England seems like a bit of a bad dream, like it never happened as we watched agog at our fellow countrymen and women charging through the streets, bored out of their brains waiting for something to happen. 

Other things that I remember from our airing in the motherland are the propensity for religious or God fearing moments especially in the way some folk speak. You only need a storm on the horizon and people start to think it's Armageddon or that if it does rain heavily it will wash away all the obvious sins, or worse, that 'the Gods are angry'. I picked all this up as I went along, listening in on other people's conversations or gleaning info from my aunt, the one who says she likes to do 'her own survey' on the madness of the masses. There does seem to be a constant obsession with money, buying stuff to add to all the stuff you already have and the end of the world. For a nation that on the whole doesn't believe in much they do go on about what's right and wrong and when will there be a decent trial on all of this. Then there's the idea that the sort of everyday horrors that occur in Britain don't happen anywhere else, that the rest of the world or at least the countries people think about emigrating to are free and dancing around enjoying themselves with no crime rate and cheap booze. I was shocked at how cheap the drink is in England and amazed at the news that Torquay is the spiritual home of many a Scots man who gravitate there and nourish themselves on something called Buckfast fortified wine. It's also known as 'wreck the hoose juice' and is said to contain as much caffeine as ten cans of coca-cola. Sounds like the 'Calimocho' the youngsters like to drink here.

Other wonderful things spotted include the still growing amount of people in mobilty scooters puffing away on fags which you don't see here in Spain. Instead you just see dozens of folk in neck braces. People are still growing in the UK and I am as fascinated as the last time I saw them but trying not to stare at the souls stuck in obese bodies, struggling as they stuff their faces with pasties. I'm not surprised there are so many as I meandered through the queue at Marks and Spencer, passing sweets and chocolates of a variety I had never seen before but couldn't wait to get my chops round. Give me a month and I would be catching up with the rest of the nation. The trips to the supermarket lasted hours as I savoured all the wonderful things on offer, half of which didn't get eaten and are now rotting away in my elderly parents' fridge. Here's to the next trip to the 'immense lunatic asylum' that is my native sod.


Mike the Traditionalist said...

So nice to relive what I left and confirm I made the right decision to escape.

ANA said...

Yes, the countryside is beautiful and there are pockets of 'sanity' but consumerism seems to be a leisure activity, and with the riots, if you don't have any money you just loot stuff. On Sunday in Spain, where I live anyway, all the shops are closed like they were in England when I was a kid. Ten years ago I am sure there weren't so any shops open 24 hours in England either. I think I might write about this in my next blog.
Thanks for reading it!!

Mike the Traditionalist said...

Well Ana the shops here in A Coruña are closed on Sunday except the small corner shops where you can buy bread etc. but they close at 2pm. At age 73 I can remember when we had half day shopping on a Wednesday or Thursday depending where you lived. Everything was locked up tight on a Sunday except the cinema and paper shops. I was born in Colchester and on a Sunday you would be lucky to find a cafe open to buy a cup of tea. Go there now and the place is open 24 hours. So people have more money (or plastic) to spend compared to the old days when people did daily shopping and credit was unheard of. Buying things on the never, never was considered very bad housekeeping. People saved for ages to buy something out of the ordinary. Here in Spain people tell me they can hardly afford to smoke, use a mobile phone, run a car, have cable TV and the internet, have meals out, wear the latest fashion and spend thousands on clothes for a First Communion and a party.