As part of the RT of L the man who was supposed to be coming to repair the wayward toilet arrived in his little white van and immediately departed without doing anything - without even knocking! I meanwhile went to the bank to get some money to pay him and found that my bankbook didn’t work.
In Spain you have a bankbook for your current account in the same way that you sometimes were issued with a book for a deposit in a building society in the UK. This book you feed into the Hole in the Wall and eventually you get your money with the transaction printed in your book.
As it didn’t work I had to go into the branch and wait in line. The people in front of me invariably seem to be settling the monetary affairs of a small country and take up an inordinate time – of course any time spent in an activity as mundane as getting money is intolerable. However I bided my time in simmering resentment and then found out that the incompetent cretin who had issued my new book had failed to input the account information onto the magnetic strip.
That done, I could go outside and wait in another queue for the Hole in the Wall to become available. To those who ask why I didn’t get the money from the clerk behind the desk I would reply it is better to wait and see that the thing works than assume (as I did previously) that everything would be fine.
As was inevitable the person in front of me looked not only as though he had never used one of these machines before, but also that he had only recently learned how to read. He did what I hate in particular: he took his book out of the machine and then re-inserted it. Having done that he adopted a meditative pose whenever the screen changed as if philosophically considering each of the excitingly different opportunities offered before making his choice.
When he finally emerged (to a look of frozen hatred from me) he sensibly avoided eye contact and the next person in line scuttled in.
As this person laboriously got down to business, the young manager who let me in after hours to purchase bonds in the bank, looked as though he wanted to push in with a lady client. There was not a single hope in hell of that happening but I engaged in the usual talk about the weather that passes for conversation in these parts. As it is overcast today there was much talk of the lack of sun and I was treated to an extended monthly analysis of climatic conditions in Catalonia. Luckily the last person vacated the Hole in the Wall booth and I managed to escape and complete my business in a matter of seconds and make my escape.
The “ten minutes” that the plumber gave as his ETA is now 70 minutes awry and counting! Ah, the delights of living in Spain. Though, to be fair, I seem to remember much the same happening in the UK. There should be a reprint of the I-spy book of Waiting for Workmen (price 6d) to give us something to do in those periods of quiescence when nothing is happening – and aggressively so!
The plumber now seems unable to come at all after spinning an unconvincing story about why he did not call in or let us know that he would be late. I really and truly do not know what the estate agents do for their money because they certainly do nothing for their clients!
Our disgust with our agents took us to the parade of shops where we used to live and a lively and competent young man assured us that we would have a plumber on Monday. He had honest looking eyes (surely rare amongst plumbers!) and we were prepared to believe him on the rebound as it were from the inefficiency of the agent.
As we were in the area and as it was almost lunchtime (when isn’t it) Toni wanted to sample one of the tapas from the Ruta de las tapas in Castelldefels that I tried last night. It was as good the second time around and the glass of Cava which accompanied it for me was surely a sign of sophistication and maturity.
Lunch today, however was in the restaurant in which Irene and I ended up last night. I liked the food and the ambience and wanted to see what a full meal was like.
My selection of risotto with mushrooms topped by a pungent cheese, followed by cod with garlic mousse and potatoes and ending up with a cheesecake was an excellent meal. The wine was also surprisingly good but the price at €14 was a little steep.
As we were eating I noticed that one of the restaurants on the other side of the road had changed owners and had a name that was vaguely familiar. Consulting my Ruta de las tapas map I saw that this was another venue yet to be ticked off so when we had finished the meal we went over to investigate.
As we approached the menu we were greeted by the owner who was someone we knew from a Basque restaurant in town which had closed down. We were delighted to see that he was still in business and he invited us to have a cup of coffee and look at the menu properly. This is a place to patronize in the future, as the menu is reasonably priced and reasonably extensive.
On a much more melancholy note I have started the winnowing of the books. I have reasoned that all the Cole notes and York notes and assorted critical texts will not be needed and can be the first casualties in the Grand Reckoning.
I can say no more. The pathetic piles of rejected books are monolithic monuments of reproach.
I have not actually got rid of them yet.
The Pathetic Fallacy has swung into operation today, Saturday, as if in sympathy with the criminal attitude to books that the lonesome piles indicate the rain is falling. The heavens themselves are crying over the desecration of reading matter that is being planned.
Who am I to fight against the clear indication of sorrow at the intended action of book destruction!
The weather is performing flip-flops: after an afternoon of brilliant sunshine we have now had thunder and lightning and torrential rain. And The Visitors are immanent!
I am steadily adding tapas to my total in the Ruta de las Tapas, with one which is now second from bottom of my list of likes and another which is near the top – and I still haven’t reached double figures. It is rapidly becoming addictive!