We received a Christmas card the other day and the sender had enclosed a sort of summary of their year and I thought it was such a good idea that I thought I’d have a go…
Trouble is that I have a rotten memory but I’ll try to remember some of the things that have happened.
My lovely wife has been working steadily at a cafe in the village. This fortunes of the cafe have varied. It was taken over by a mad couple who lasted about two weeks during which time MLW lost her job. This couple had a punch-up – she left, nursing her bruises and Marian was asked to go back by the certifiable lunatic. He only lasted another few weeks and then the “old management” took over again. The loony left owing MLW money which caused a lot of friction. Enough said.
I also had a little job thrust into my lap. I couldn’t really refuse and I am now head-gardener at a huge mansion in a little village up the road. When I say “head-gardener” what I mean is that I may have exaggerated a bit as there’s only me. It’s not really a mansion either but it does have a bloody big garden. The little income has made a huge difference and I’ve even bought Marian a Christmas present this year. Whoo hoo.
Another thing that has happened this year is that I made some new playmates. My little chums and I go out most week playing pool and ten-pin bowling to a bar about twenty minutes drive away. This has now become one of the highlights of my week. We also played a little golf earlier this year – not real golf – just bashed a few balls on the driving range and then had a few pints. The size of the gang varies from two upwards – it depends who’s on holiday.
There are some great guys amongst them. One’s in the Masons and about two steps down from God. He went to the Vatican recently and was standing on the balcony with the pope and a guy in the crowd said “Who’s the guy up there with Hubert?” Another was the Mechanical Engineer at a pit. Yet another was a big boss at a power station whose wife is a millionairess funeral director. The reason I mix with all these high-flyers is because they’re the only type of people who can afford a holiday home in Spain!
Another high-spot of the week is quizzing. We go on a Monday night to an English bar in the village. This bar has been closed for some refurbishment so we moved the quiz to a little Spanish bar just across the village square. This Spanish bar (La Plaza) has some advantages over Em’s – one being the price of drinks. I made myself Quiz Master for a month so my drinks were free anyway. The newly extended English bar re-opens next week so we’re back over there. It’s supposed to be a free Xmas night but we think the old Quiz Master has run away with our “savings”. He’s only run to the nearest village so the posse should be able to run him to ground.
None of our regular team members want to go back to the English bar as the management show no appreciation for the business we put their way. We get the occasional saucer filled with crisps or nuts but neither the owner or her hanger-on partner ever come round the tables and ask if all is well, kiss my arse or anything. On the money side of things – we all put 20 Euros into the “kitty” every week. Unless we manage to win any money, we have to add a few Euros when the bill comes. In La Plaza, we seem to have more money when we’ve finished than when we started. A Brandy is 1.6 Euros and it’s a bucket-full.
Our latest major financial outlay was a wood-burning stove. The winters here do get cold and some form of heating is necessary. We used a portable gas fire last winter and whilst it was fairly effective it caused horrendous condensation. This new contraption has been a right royal pain in the arse but the teething problems are now sorted out. It started off with just the flue pipe outside but we’ve built a concrete-block stack round the pipe and it seems to have solved the problem. TF. Marian was ready to take a sledge-hammer to the poor little bugger.
Our Xmas will be a quiet affair this year. We are having two friends round to dinner so not really Marian’s idea of Xmas – she likes lots of noise, dancing, drinking and general jack-arsing around. I’m a 100% Scrooge and I’m glad when it’s all over.
Most of you know that Spain is a warm country but this autumn the weather has been superb. I’m still wearing shorts and flip-flops. There are still one or two flies about and, amazingly, I saw a butterfly when I was out walking the dog the other day. It does cool down considerably when the sun goes down, but compared with the English winter we can’t complain. All the locals are wearing jumpers, fleeces, scarves and stuff – God knows what they’d be like if it was proper cold. They must have chip-shop vinegar running through their veins.
My lovely wife has written all the Xmas cards again this year and sent them off so I suppose this is my little Xmas effort. I dislike Xmas with a vengeance. Folks getting into debt to buy ungrateful kids more and more expensive presents. Whip the little bastards soundly and send them to bed I say. All except jake and Annie that is (they’re my grandkids).
A Little Xmas Tale
A few years ago my lovely wife worked for Croda Chemicals at their HQ in between the two great metropolisses East & West Cowick. At Xmas and other times of year, the staff were allowed to buy Estee Lauder bags (men’s and women’s) for £25.
It was pretty much pot-luck what was in these bags but they were fantastic VFM and contained lots of expensive perfumes, aftershaves and whatever. After Xmas, my lovely wife would get all dressed up and take one of the tems back to a shop like Fenwick’s in York an explain that it was an unwanted Xmas gift. Would modom like to exchange for something helse or would modom like a refund? Oh, I can have a refund can I? Of course modom can. MLW would walk out with at least £25 and often more. As I said the Estee Lauder bags were great VFM. The little scam never failed.
In the words of the great Noddy Holder – Merry Xmas Everybody.
Best wishes for Xmas and the New Year. BTW – the use of the word “Xmas” was deliberate. To reiterate, I hate Christmas. Bah bloody humbug.