The right rain

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ONE of life’s great mysteries is that no matter how old you are you are never too old to be told off by your mum. After my dear mum had read my article online last week about the UK Govt. giving a big cheque to Ireland she being of Irish blood quickly reminded me of all the deprivations caused by the British to the Irish in centuries past. I am now wearing a metaphorical hair shirt.

The rain came thick and fast the last weekend of November but luckily to use good old British Rail speak it was the right type of rain. Showers and light rain softened the ground the first day so when it later came down in buckets the rain soaked into the ground without causing flooding. The ramblas stayed dry and soon we will all be able to appreciate the parched brown hills turning green again. The reason many of us move to Spain is for the sunnier weather and this autumn has been wonderful with almost no rain falling from mid September until recently.

Funny it’s not just me that marvels at our host nations general driving skills. Clients with me recently asked why the Spanish all tailgate each other. Driving past the scene of an accident it’s not unusual to see three or more cars all nursing damaged bonnets and rear ends. Someone once said it’s because Spanish drivers all aspire to be Fernando Alonso; now that makes sense.

There is a really simple cure should anyone be unfortunate enough to have someone hard on their tail. Gently and repeatedly touch the brake pedal so the brake light flashes without slowing the car down. If that doesn’t work, brake sharply and then speed off. Obviously a good eye needs to be kept on the rear view mirror to see the look of shock on the offending drivers face whilst they also use their mobile phone, smoke a fag and gesticulate wildly to their passenger whilst adjusting the car radio.

Spain has the highest unemployment rate in Europe at 20 per cent. This has meant people who previously left the countryside to seek fame and fortune in the big city have started to return. Fields left fallow for years have been replanted with fruit, vegetables and of course almonds. Luckily the price for almonds this year was nearly three times higher than last and still now almonds are being collected.

A very resourceful lot the Spanish and I was humbled the other day in a bar when asked by a group of locals just how many olive trees I possessed? Blushing I had to reply ‘none’ and they looked at me with such pity. The countryside which normally seems to be treated as a vast waste dump is being revitalised as people collect any scrap metal to be found.

polar_beer_webYears ago when in South America, Venezuela in fact, I made friends with a local character who drove everywhere with a large cool box full of the local brew Polar Beer. We sat on the huge bench seat in his 1970s American car and drank beer after beer (drink driving not being an offence then) and I was instructed to throw the empty cans onto the verge. Disgusted I was being an armchair eco warrior. That is until he pointed out to me all the disadvantaged people busily scurrying along the roadsides picking up all the valuable scrap aluminium. So not only were the roads kept clean but livelihoods were made.

Many times have I been bribed, cajoled, coaxed and pleaded with to take in a stray dog. Snowy the lovely white stray that lived with the lovely people at Costa Coches Antas in his own little kennel has I hear been re-homed in Holland. His little black ball of fluff friend Freddy now lives….. Yes with us.

 

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