Beaurocracy, Inefficiency and Downright Bloody Incompetence

I love Spain.  I really love Spain.  Spain is a fantastic place to live.  Most of the time that is.  It’s great until you want to do something that isn’t day-to-day stuff.

I am (hopefully) about to embark on yet another new business venture or call it a get-rich-quick scheme if you’re cynical like my lovely wife.  The poor girl’s glass is always half-empty.  She says it has to be to curb my over-enthusiastic bull-at-a-gate mentality.

I know if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.  Time will tell.

The new venture involved opening a new bank account.  I went into a bank in the village – I won’t name it but it’s located opposite Frankie & Louisa’s.  Everyone seems to sing the praises of this bank and I went in last Wednesday to make my initial enquiry.  There’s a lovely blonde girl who works in there who was extremely pleasant and helpful.  She told me it would take me ten minutes to open the new A/C.  She lied bless her.

I had one or two t’s to cross and i’s to dot before I committed to the new bank but went back later that day to do the deed.

I had to produce my passport and NIE paperwork (Spanish red tape) and Blondie realised my NIE had gone out of date last October.  Bugger.  She said that it didn’t matter but to renew it ASAP and take the renewed document in to the bank.  Fair enough.  I also ordered a piece of equipment, without which I cannot start the new “job”.  A couple of days she told me for the new IT stuff to be fitted to my home PC.

I know that a couple of days meant three or four so I waited four days before going back to the bank to pester.  Hello Steefen, I was greeted with.  Where’s my new piece of equipment,  I asked.

Spanish red tape now reared its ugly head – you can’t have it until you obtain your new NIE.  It’s very difficult to become angry with an attractive blonde girl but I managed it.  You’ve just wasted me four fucking days I ranted – managing to rattle the windows with my bellowing.  I then stormed around the bank, knocking things off desks, scattering leaflets, picking up chairs and smashing them against the wall.  what a mess I made – there were telephone, screens, files, folders and papers scattered everywhere.  People were cowering in corners.  The drinking water machine was slowly glugging its contents all over the floor.  Total bloody carnage.

Oh no.  Er…. hang on a minute…

That’s what I wanted to do – instead I just said I was really angry and disappointed.  I received the Spanish shrug as a response.  The Spanish shrug is not quite as good as the French one – I don’t think they’ve been doing it as long.

I now have to renew my Padron (more red tape) and then renew my NIE.  The first task is accomplished in the village bu the second means a trip to the huge metropolis of Murcia.  These trips into the region’s capital are fraught with danger and quite often end up with steam coming out of someone’s ears – mine normally.  The last time MLW and I went on a similar excursion to Murcia I was “spoken to” by one of the security guards (true).

As I said in my opening paragraph – Spain is a great place to live as long as you’re buying a tin of beans.

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Ingenuity

Today, whilst My Lovely Wife is watching Desperate bloody Housewives I thought I would tell you a couple of tales of ingenuity –  one quite old and one new.

Pitmen are very ingenious and their ability to improvise is phenomenal.  Most pitmen are not well-educated but as far as intelligence, talent and ability they’re second to none.

Many years ago, I think it was the late ’70s or early ’80s,  the National Coal Board along with many other firms (I think there might have been a law passed) stopped paying their employees wages in cash but instead, everyone was paid into their bank account.  Unbelievably, quite a few miners did not have a bank account and these people were helped by bank employees visiting the pits to give totally unbiased advice on which was the best bank.

This whole thing went seamlessly and was accepted by all parties – particularly the wages department even though some of them lost their jobs.  Mrs Thatcher’s Britain – the old bastard – may she die in severe pain.  Probably.

This new regime did however cause a few problems amongst the workforce.

One guy had always kept thirteen pounds from his wages and “tipped-up” the rest to his missis.  Now however, he had to write a cheque and go to the bank and cash it.  His problem?  He couldn’t spell “thirteen”.  His solution?  Write two cheques – one for ten and the other for three.  Seemples!

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Story 2…

MLW’s first husband had two boys with MLW (she was HLW then).  Two well-balanced, lovely lads they are too.  The ex re-married (his secretary/baby-sitter) and fathered two more children with his second wife – again two boys.  These boys appear to be little carbon copies of their elder step-brothers.  The elder (of the younger two) is quite studious and is destined for university any time now.  The younger one (of the younger two) is dyslexic.

When I was a lad at school the unsympathetic, cruel bastard, teachers would have called these poor little fuckers thick and wiped their hands of them.  Nowadays, as we all know,  kids seem to get their arses wiped for them.  Sorry Jake/Annie if you’re reading.

Right then – back to the youngest of the four brothers…

The school refectory at their posh (private) school, sold coca/pepsi-cola at some ridiculous price.  The young entrepreneur saw an opportunity and acted accordingly.  With the aid of his young mum he bought a load of rola-cola cheaply and distributed these cans amongst his pears.  He was very happy – making a few bob.  All his mates were happy – saving a few bob.

The losers were the school.

They eventually realised that the bottom had fallen out of their cola sales and their enquiry eventually revealed the culprit.  They immediately, as would all schools since time immemorial, stopped these shenanigans forthwith.  The short-sighted wankers.  Surely all budding Richard Bransons should be encouraged?

They did have a bit of a re-think and decided the cola scam could carry-on providing the youngster gave all the profits to the school.  He told them to fuck off.  Good for him.

 

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It’s been a while…

My lovely wife is in Ireland this week so I’m watching what I want on TV.  No Shameless, no Holby City, no Desperate Housewives…

I like to watch Pointless and Eggheads and then I mostly turn the TV off until ten o’clock when I can find normally something worth watching.  On the subject of TV – I don’t like the new format of Room 101.

I do miss MLW of course but that little bit of quiet is also nice.

It’s funny, but women seem to need to go “home” more often than men.  At the moment, MLW is away, as is Carol and Jean and Sylvie goes “home” today.  Men are from Sucina, women are from – er… another planet anyway.

To backtrack a bit to Room 101 – oh boy – could I fill Room 101.  For those who aren’t aware – it refers to an Orwellian place where things don’t come back from and the guests on the programme say what they would like to banish from the face of the earth.

One of my latest pet hates is the way loads and loads of people have started talking – you know when people raise their voice at the end of a sentence as though they’re asking a question?  There’s a posh name for it – AI something or other – which is Australian Inflection whatever – them fuckers have doing it for years.

To all you that do it – just fucking stop will you and talk proper English English.  We invented the language and this generation seem determined to fuck it up.

AI? doesn’t seem to have reached Sucina yet.  TF.

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To mention something else Orwellian – I downloaded a great tune a couple of weeks ago.  It’s call The Eye in the Sky by the Alan Parsons Project.  It was released in the early eighties and I love it.

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I would like to inform you that my little gang has a new playmate.  Mr Frank C joined us this week playing pool/ten-pin-bowling and I think we showed him a good time.  He says he’ll come with us next week – we’ll see.

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I walked the dogs last night around five o’clock and it was quite nippy.  There’s a hint that winter might me finally on its way.  Up ’til now it’s been sitting-out-warm so we can’t complain.

We bit the bullet last week and called in a professional to sort out our wood-burner.  This guy was here two and a half hours, made a few minor adjustments and charged us two hundred Euros.  He drives a big car.

In fairness he has cured the problem we were having so was it worth the money?  I suppose it was but I still feel a bit ripped-off.

Ah well – it’ll soon be spring!

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A Spanish Proverb

This just about sums Spaniards up…

How beautiful it is to do nothing and then rest afterwards.

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HNY

Well – this is my first blog of 2012.

Olympic year.  Leap year.  Happy new year.

The Olympics must be the biggest con-trick of all time.  Why on earth do countries fight to host it?  How long does it last?  Three weeks?  How much has it/will it cost the tax-payer?  It must cost a million pounds for every second it lasts.  Still – we all know that those wonderful people in Westminster know exactly what they’re doing with our money – and they never waste it.  Although I live in Spain I still pay taxes in the UK.

When the Olympics take place, it will be the first time a black man will have run like stink in Stratford without a woman’s handbag under his arm.  Do you get it?  He’s just mugged her!  Oh oh.  Racism.

A friend’s elderly mother made a comment recently which cracked everybody up.  Apparently some wanker of a footballer has made a racist remark to a fellow professional.  The old gal said “I don’t think it’s fair that they should call them darkies names.”  Enough said!

What a lovely term – darkie.  Absolutely 100% inoffensive.

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My little gardening job is still going well.  Last week I had to fell a pine-tree.  My boss had had enough of this tree for a few reasons.  It was blocking her view of the mountains.  They’re a fire-hazard.  They attract some weird caterpillars which are dangerous to the dogs.

Right then – I look at this tree and the tree looks back at me.  I’m thinking – what’s going to be the easiest way of doing this and the tree’s thinking – I don’t like the look of that chain-saw.

I worked with a lazy Barnsleyite at the pit for a short while and he had this theory that you should always send a lazy man to do a job because he would find the easiest way of doing it.

With those words echoing through my head I looked at the tree again.  I sawed one of the lower branches off and dragged it out of the way.  It weighed a bloody ton.  I stood back and looked at the tree again.  After staring each other out, I decided the big fucker was coming down in a oner (pronounced wunner).  Sod that climbing up a ladder with the chain-saw in one hand and my heart in my mouth.

The theory of tree-felling is simple.  Seemples.  Even beavers can do it.  Cut a vee-shaped wedge out of the side the tree is going to fall to and then cut round the opposite side and watch it fall neatly – exactly where it was supposed to.  Away from you.

I cut the vee.  Went round the back and cut there.  I’ll tell you what – when the tree starts cracking and then starts falling, there’s no time to shout “TIMBER!” – it’s every man for himself and hope you pick the right direction to run.  The tree landed perfectly safely.  It was only about 170 degrees in the wrong direction.  If you are thinking of cutting down a tree – best check on that vee thing.

I trimmed another big tree this week at another house.  Wonderful thing that “word-of-mouth”.  Well it wouldn’t be word of ear or nose would it?

This big bastard was over-shadowing a small shed.  One of the branches landed on a rotary-clothes-drier.  Another broke three ridge-tiles and one hit me on the head.  The latter was totally unavoidable and I knew it was going to hurt.  It stopped hurting a few hours later and there wasn’t a lot of blood.

This job is ongoing.  I will update.

I’m fed up.  I’m off for a shower.  Tara.

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They think it’s all over – it is now

They think it’s all over – it is now – thank goodness.

Regarding Xmas presents – I bought my lovely wife a Kindle and it’s been a total bloody nightmare.  I suppose 99.9% of people buy a Kindle and within five minutes they’re reading War & Peace or some other weighty tome.  Not us – we’re part of the 0.01% who can’t get fucking started.

Seeing as it is MLW’s present, I thought I would let her sort it out – the start-up process that is.  Not to be mean or anything – just so she would understand the finer points.  The 25th came and went with no Kindle reading.  Ditto the 26th.  Finally today I just had to step in and make things happen.  Many hours had been spent on the t’interweb and telephone – to little or no avail.

To cut a long story short, MLW finally spoke with an Irish Paki (can I say Paki?  Apparently not)… er sorry an Irish Asian sort of a guy who did splendidly well and between him and MLW, after about an hour,  they managed to download a couple of books.  Not books that MLW particularly wanted – just the first couple of freebies on the list.  The trouble seems to have been because the K was bought in the UK and then sent to Spain etcetera, blah b b b blah bloody blah.

All’s well that ends well.

MLW also received a few other presents including a watch from her lovely sister.  All in all a satisfactory present haul – apart from the little hiccup with the Kindle.

MLW reckons I’m impossible to buy for.  Utter tosh.  I could go round the Chinky shop (can I say Chinky?  Apparently not)… Chinese shop and spend 100 Euros on “stuff”.  e.g. I’d love a big chopper.  You know – like the ones they have on American farms when they go out a-choppin’ wood.  That’s just one for example – I could name twenty more.

Right then – what were my presents?  A jumper that didn’t fit and was the wrong colour.  A dozen Ferrero Rocher, a book by a Tory Author who I despise and a device for washing my feet.  The latter was supposedly a joke.  When I come home from my little gardening job, because I’ve been wearing trainers without socks, my feet do pong something rotten and the first thing I have to do when arriving home is clean up my act by washing them.  This task is usually accomplished with the aid of the bidet which MLW doesn’t like me doing – hence the gift.  A joke with a bit of a serious side to it.

The Foot Shower I think it’s called but it should be called a shower of shite because it’s rubbish.  I tried it out last night and ended up throwing across the bathroom.  MLW came running in to ask if I was OK.  Fine – the foot shower fell.  As I was leaving the B/R, I threw the fecking thing into the bath.  Have you finished throwing it about? MLW asked sadly?  Mmph, I snorted.

For the unenlightened I will describe this lump of crap.  It looks like a flip-flop.  Or a flip as there is only one.  There are bristles on the sole part and also under the bridge part that goes over the foot.  The ‘bridge’ is split into two parts so a piece of soap can be wedged in to aid with the cleansing process.  underneath the sole there are a couple of suckers to anchor it to the bottom of the bath – Ha!

It’s impossible to wedge a piece of soap into the gap in the bridge.  The suckers do not prevent the stupid thing from sliding back and forth – they only frustrate you when trying to lift it from the bath.  Best summed up as a load of shite.  Poor MLW went to a lot of trouble to obtain it too.  It’s a shame but she has bought me a few rubbish presents over the years.

Apart from one that is.  Years ago, she bought me a “Chambers Concise Crossword Dictionary which is wonderful.  (I wonder if Chambers will send me some money for endorsing their product – nah).  This tiny device – about 3″ X 2″ X 1/2” get used most week.  Say in a crossword there is a clue which you can’t solve and you have some of the letters – e.g. Male cows – B?LLS.  What you do is type into this thing “B?LLS” and it tells you the answer you seek.  Fair enough – you might have to go through BALLS, BELLS, BILLS and BOLLS before you stumble upon the right answer but you get there in the end.

The best thing I ever bought MLW (before the Kindle that is) was a back-scratcher.  When we were first together we would be sitting on the settee and up would go the cry – “Scratch me back – down a bit – left a bit – up a touch – oh there – yeah yeah yeah yeah!”  This is most disconcerting in the middle of a favourite programme so I invested about £2 in the back-scratcher.

Bah humbug.

 

 

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Blogging

Well – I’m sitting here “blogging” whatever blogging is.  I think it means – I write it – you read it and that makes me rich.  There are a couple of points here which I don’t think I’m getting the hang of.  I’m doing my bit but I have no control of the other two.  It’s certainly not making me rich and I don’t even know if anybody’s reading it.

If you are reading this then – welcome – feel free to leave a comment – even if it’s only “bollocks”.  Secondly – if you aren’t reading this – well feck off then.

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It’s very quiet here.  No music.  Nothing.  The only sounds are Ruby across the road barking at the night and a Xmas Card coming unstuck from its perch.  It’s the same card which keeps falling all the time.  It’s a nice card – it’s just a bit heavy for half an inch of sellotape.  This is about the third time it’s fallen.  Hang on a minute…

… that’s sorted the bastard – I’ve put about two feet of sticky tape across.  Escape now you fucker.

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I just noticed that the word count wasn’t working so I went off the page to try and fix it.  When I came back I’d lost approximately 300 words.  I am now very disheartened so I’m signing off.  It was good stuff too.

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