Friday, July 12, 2013

Do you win sometimes?

 What would you think if you decided to embrace technology and make an appointment with the local office of one of the arms of the Spanish government and were given a time and a ticket number for a particular day?  The time was 10.56 am and the ticket number was B28.  What would you think?

The unwary would consider the time and not note that it was just a little too precise; and doesn’t the B28 sound like a 1960s American bomber rather than a workaday number like those you get at the deli counter in a supermarket?

The office, when we got to it was packed with an unmoving queue of UN composition waiting to get on to the system so that they could be ignored.  People with appointments and numbers looked around with a superior sneering pity at the queue unless, like us, you were experienced in such things and knew that appointment time and ticket number were just concepts not entitlements.

I waited in the queue and eventually got another ticket number (A29) which allowed me to sit down and watch other people gradually realize that the letters and numbers which they clutched unto themselves (sometimes, quaintly, on a computer printout) had no currency in the hard world of governmental bureaucracy.  Their weary head shaking resignation on finding out the truth was no more than acceptance of their allotted fate as a citizens of Spain.  Fooled again!

After a period when every letter in the alphabet and every number combination except mine was flashed up on the electronic display board and enunciated in the dulcet tones of an exclusively Catalan lady my number was at last voiced.

I was dealt with by a man who gave no impression whatsoever of actually knowing what he was doing.  Which probably accounts for his sitting next to a finger restricted gentleman to whom all others came to ask the sort of arcane questions that paper pushing encourages.  A few pointed indications and within a long time I was on my way with every promise of the Spanish State actually considering paying me back some of the lavish gifts that I have given to the black hole of government grasping! 

I should mention that all of my payments during the time that I have worked in this country connected with pensions have been on a strictly non-beneficial basis, as you have to work for fifteen years before anyone considers that you have made a significant enough contribution to get any return.

Next month will show if things have worked out when I check through my bank account and see an amount not preceded by a minus sign!

On the strength of putative success we went out for a celebratory meal in our newly discovered tapas restaurant hidden away in a residential area and it neither disappointed in terms of taste or value for money.  A real find!

My swimming is still being enlivened by my waterproof cheekbone transmitting music thingies.  I am ashamed to admit that the very first track that accompanied by inaugural swim was “The Green Berets” – hardly very flattering to my musical pretentions, but that’s life.  Just when you purchase a whole series of operas for the next season in the Liceu, some musical lapse comes up on you unexpectedly and brings you down to earth!

The noise from our neighbours today has been almost unbearable and the only way to escape is to go to the beach and put up with a different sort of noise and there is the extra delight of swimming in a sea which does not attempt to kill you with its icy clutch.

The OU situation is now becoming critical and I have to address the issues that have arisen with some dispatch.  On the other hand I have had more encouraging news about my Grown Up Camera which has now been released from customs in Great retain and is now somewhere between the UK and Barcelona.  I am supposed to be sent an email when the thing is about to be delivered and I am waiting with barely concealed impatience.

Bring on the toys!
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