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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Each day a further step . . .


Well, it’s good to know that I can emulate my father’s father in one respect.

In spite of the continuous bombardment which is a characteristic of the Catalan celebration of St John I slept serenely, as indeed is only appropriate for a grandson whose grandfather went through not one, but both Battles of the Somme!

The number of armaments used for this celebration gives the lie to any idea that there may be any sort financial crisis lurking in or around the area.  The amount of money that must have gone up in smoke would have stabilized a reasonable sized bank – but of course they don’t need any extra money, as they have been gifted billions already.  The air of financial unreality continues.

The day started with a “good” lie-in as a way of getting me used to the new way of waking which will see me never having to get up at six-thirty in the morning ever again, unless I want to.  Having and wanting are very different concepts!

The “extra” week that we have to work comprises mornings only – as long as you count working until two in the afternoon as morning.  

I am assuming that there is going to be less traffic so I can leave the house substantially later than usual.  Nothing is going to kick-off until nine o’clock so there is every inducement to leave leaving the bare minimum of time to get there.  And if I am held up by traffic then, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.  In very much the same way as Management showed last Friday!  The resentment eats on!

Today has been a gloriously hot day and the parking has reached the very height of holiday inconsideration.  If (and that is a very big “if”) we had active traffic police and traffic wardens who actually came anywhere near the beach where the real horror parking takes place then the financial deficit of Castelldefels could be resolved in a single hot weekend!

As The Family descended we had a barbecue with Carmen’s potato salad and cod salad – both of which are delicious and refreshing.

Which is more than can be said for the England-Italy game which is dragging its weary length along.

Since I wrote that I went to bed rather than watch England fail to progress and fail to win a penalty shoot out – again.

The news this morning (it’s now Monday) let me know what I already knew – and I have found out that the incompetent wasters are actually paid money for their performance!  Incredible!

The atmosphere in school is, amazingly, one of barely concealed panic as the computer system which deals with the results of our myriad examinations does what it does which is not necessarily what we want it to do – result: misery!

And yet, there is for me an escape clause (apart from the complete lack of interest in keeping going a system bent on failure) because I am not going to be here next year and therefore can softly and silently vanish away for the Snark was a Boojum you see.

I shall attempt this silent vanishing in about thirty-five minutes time when, for the next three, solid hours, the hapless staff are to be given a talk on “Motivation and Responsibility”.

I did not go to the meeting.

Tuesday was notable for an early exit from school, a quick swim and a meal with Julie at lunchtime.  Alas, Toni was not well so there were just the three of us but a pleasant time was had by those not in bed!

Wednesday had meetings like other organizations have people playing patience on computers.  

I avoided one but was caught by the second.  This was one chaired by Suzanne so things started on time and finished when they were supposed to.  It also had teachers talking to each other about something practical – it’s amazing how productive teachers can be when they are given something real to do!

The real and serious business of today was not to do with education, but with my visit to the Tax People.

Toni made an appointment for me for 1.30 pm some time ago to try and sort out my tax affairs as the Internet seems decidedly uncooperative in sending me information about what the Tax People want to take from me.

I left an hour to get to the office near the Cornella branch of El Corte Ingles and I used my GPS to get me there.  It didn’t.  I remembered from my last visit (squalid and unsatisfactory) where the building should have been and, after a desultory piece of aimless driving chose a car park which I considered to be in the vicinity of where I wanted to be and, amazingly, found a space.  This was too good to ignore and I parked and prepared to find the office.  My hour had been reduced somewhat and it no longer seemed like a generous amount of time to spend.

I asked the first person I met, who was giving directions to somebody else at the time and so was obviously the right sort of person to ask.  He told me that the office I wanted was “straight ahead” and would take me ten, no five minutes to walk.

Such advice I take with considerable bags of salt but, it was remarkably accurate and I was soon walking through the unpretentious door of the massively pretentious building into the air-conditioned cool of taxpayers’ money being squandered!

I explained to the security person that I had an appointment and, in spite of the fact that I was carrying a brief case she ushered me through without passing through the metal detector – perhaps it was because I was carrying a brief case!

I reported to the front desk and noticed, to my horror, serried ranks of chairs filled with glum looking people.  I again said that I had an appointment and my identity number was fed into a ticket machine and a ticket was duly spewed forth.  I was told to wait until my number was called.

I walked despondently towards the Chairs of Tantulus and, before I could sit down my number was called!

Shock propelled me towards the stairs down into the heart of the building and to table number 33.  Which was unstaffed.

I sat down and almost immediately some teenager sat down and, after unconvincingly saying that he spoke some English, we continued in Spanish.

Let me cut to the chase.  I had a rebate!

I think.

If this is so it is the first time that I have joined the great majority of regular tax payers who seem to get something back at the end of the year!  I was the only person (just about) in the staff room last year who actually paid in to the tax man at the end of the year.  I feel that I have now joined a sort of national club – it is another stage in my assimilation to Spain!

Tomorrow there will be but two days left in school for me – though of course I am technically employed until the end of August – and I get to meet my replacement.  Probably.

I really need to get my head round the fact that I am going to France on Saturday (three days time) and I have done nothing to get packed or get organized for this jaunt!

I must now (Now!) get the details printed out so that Irene and I can at least tell people when we are going and more importantly getting back.
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