Monday, June 22, 2009

Illusions shattered

The new watch is not waterproof.

Yet again my innocent credulity has been cruelly abused and this disappointment makes it round about exactly 100% of the watches that I have bought from suspect gentlemen who prowl around moneyed (!) denizens of seaside which have not lived up to expectations.

Some might say that there is a lesson to be learned from such consistent experience, but I fear that its message may well pass me by. Entirely.

On another level of disappointment the cheeseparing attitude of the school in not giving me a permanent contract before the start of the next academic year has affected the status of my credit agreement with my store of choice, El Corte Ingles. They have now phoned up and told me that because of the time that I have spent with the school which is less than six months and because I do not have that fabled contract they cannot extend to me the credit that I have signed for. So now it is 50% down and the rest on 12 months interest free credit.

I can’t help thinking of Paul’s sister who would be horrified at any thought of ‘credit’ and would not sleep nights with worry about ‘money owed.’ Perhaps it is her Puritan spirit which has wafted its way across the miles and weak though it is has managed to give me this sign of 50% down in the hope that I will read the message correctly and pay the rest immediately. I don’t know whether to be more irritated with El Corte Ingles or with the school. On balance I think that the school is the major culprit and I can explain away the actions of El Corte Ingles as financial prudence. Probably.

This morning was the f** run (even my liberal sensibilities do not allow me to put those two words together in full) during which I was a Control. This meant that I was deposited half way up a very expensive hillside clinging to which were obscenely expensive schools, colleges and homes. I was positioned at a junction and my function was to point running or walking children down the hill and into the heavy traffic that was supposed to be stopped by the police.

The irritation of the well heeled inhabitants of the upper regions in which our kids were running had obviously not been informed that their movements were going to be restricted. The animosity which was directed my way was fairly futile as I had the resource of two armed policemen to help me on my crossing duty so anger was usually confined to hard looks rather than anything else.

The race finished early and there is some sort of a timetable for the rest of the day, but it is very unconvincing and I await the rolling chaos which will inevitably result from well-meaning out ill thought out plans.

Hey ho!

I have just discovered that we have an extra day holiday during or because of the festivities for San Juan. This is the summer holiday when the population of Spain goes mildly mad.

Last year the beach outside our flats was colonized by what seemed like thousands of people who stayed well into the night and lit illegal bonfires. To those of us standing on the balcony and looking out into the dark before the sea it looked as though some sort of medieval army was encamped around us. All that could be seen were innumerable small camp fires and shadowy figures moving from light to penumbra. Just in case you have some sort of picture which is a combination of Georges de la Tour and Joseph Wright of Derby I might add that the noise was intolerable.

The ‘penny banger’ is not illegal in Spain and the festival of San Juan is the time to let them off, together with things which cost a damn sight more than a few cents and make a bang which is equivalent to a sizable quantity of TNT – indeed, for all I know, it might actually be TNT. And the singing!

The Spanish are not known for their drunkenness and their sobriety is a constant source of annoyance to me as I take a second glass of wine (gasp!) However, on the night of San Juan or possibly San Juan Eve their behaviour would shame a Union Flag T Shirt wearing Brit!

Last year the morning after the night before was astonishing. Bodies everywhere on the beach, still drinking! I was appalled by it all and almost had a drink to calm me down!

The rubbish was strewn around in a disgusting manner and all of it had gone by the afternoon. A little group of ‘workies’ efficiently cleared everything up and by the early evening it was as if nothing had taken place the previous night. It was quite amazing to watch, as watch I did, and proved the truth of Jerome K Jerome´s dictum that “I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

Alas! Another episode for that continuing series ‘Fallen Idol.’

After a little consideration I judged that it would be logical to accede to the financial demands of El Corte Ingles and pay the €500 deposit that they suggested and have the rest on interest free credit.

I duly left school after a very odd talk with the head of English about the final assembly with the first and second forms about House Points. I will not go into details but the presentation was not done in the way that I would have thought most appropriate and I was content to sit on the sidelines and watch the way that form teachers did not deal with the truly awful behaviour of their classes. Thank all the gods that I am not going to be a form teacher next year!

I called into El Corte Ingles and made my way along the well worn path to the Customer Information point to pay my deposit. The girl on the desk knew nothing about my particular case (not unreasonable!) and she had to phone the finance office and then told me that I had to pay €720 immediately and I could have the rest on credit.

This sort of behaviour is not what I would expect from El Corte Ingles and I cancelled the whole order. Time to open a file! I am regally pissed off with such behaviour. I spoke to an English speaking person on the phone from El Corte Ingles and I repeated the amount that I was supposed to pay and she confirmed that it was €500. It is unreasonable to have a sudden 50% hike in the deposit. I am not a happy bunny.

The summer sales will soon be upon us and it might just work out in my favour if I delay purchases until then. I suppose it all hinges on how long we can manage without a fridge. It is perhaps slightly ironic that the only white good that we take with us (in the height of the summer!) is a tumble dryer!

Meanwhile I make my daily pilgrimage to the bank’s hole in the wall to extract the daily maximum to get up to the full amount of the deposit for Friday. Bloody absurd that the estate agent doesn’t have a card facility and my evil bank does not trust me with cheques!

What it is to be in a foreign country.
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