A Happy Thing

One of the things I’m most pleased about in my fifty-something years on the planet is my CD buying frenzy that lasted twenty years from 1984 to 2004. This more or less coincides with my 23 years in the Air Force. So, yes, it was because I was well paid and could afford it. When I moved to Spain I sold around 400 vinyl discs mostly in a Garage sale (well, my wife did. We never did spend much time together whilst we served in HM’s forces). I did take around 100 records to a record dealer who bought about half of them individually then gave me 50 pence per unit for the rest. It was a painful experience. However, every single CD came with me.

I play CDs in the car, mostly, nowadays. MP3 is convenient, so is streaming, so I just don’t play CDs in the house as often as I used to. However, if you go for the former, you can only buy what they sell (come on, Vinegar Joe? In your dreams on ITunes!) and if you prefer the latter, it’s pretty much the same. Anyway, today I put a CD on that I haven’t played in a couple of years. In 1989, a band called Del Amitri, who I was sure were going to be the biggest thing ever, released an album – their second, as it happens – called “Waking Hours”.

I got the goosebumps all the way to the other side of town, and I drove round the block once when I got there to listen to “just one more track”. So what happened? A good looking group, tight harmonies, good songs. Was it line-up changes. ‘E’s, rave, Madchester? I don’t know.

Still it was so great to listen to Move Away, Jimmy Blue.
Great tune, great lyrics

Yeah, you’re right, I went round the block to listen to it again…

And wipe the tears away.

A Sad Thing

No, not the handsome fellow in the picture: although he is connected to the sad thing, it’s not his fault. It’s mine. Yesterday, my wife and I were sauntering down the slight incline towards the local venta. At the crossroads of my ‘street’ and the track which is known locally as ‘The Old Camino to Coin’, a man was leading his donkey. As you can see, the donkey was well turned out. Better than I was, to tell the truth. The man had a long beard with the curly hair reaching the collar favoured by the Gitanos. He was dressed in a white collarless shirt, with faded trousers above the ankle, and sandals. The shirt was very clean and Persil-white.

My wife had her mobile out and was walking faster to catch them up. ‘Perdon! ¿Puedo tomar foto?’

This is the sad thing: I was sure the man would prove to be a pick-pocket Or that he would demand a ridiculous fee for allowing us to photograph his lovely animal.

But he didn’t. He explained he was trying to get his burro accustomed to traffic. He was just a man schooling his donkey…

And I was a bitter, cynical old fool.

Oasis Song Title

I went to buy the papers this morning. Usually my wife picks up two English broadsheets on a Saturday and I do the same on a Sunday. She had things to do, so I went to Coin and did some shopping in Lidl, doubling avian mortality with one stone.

Naturally, it was the one Saturday in months that the plane from Madrid to Malaga arrived late. That is, if that’s how they arrive at the wholesaler’s from the printer’s in the capital. Maybe they let the train take the strain, who knows? I do know that a white van delivers papers to filling stations, estancos and other sundry places all along the Guadalhorce.

Anyhow, it meant a coffee in a cafe and sitting and waiting and watching the world go by. I could have sat in Hermanos Maza right across from the filling station and kept an eye out for the delivery van. However, I saw that the old buffer who had asked for the Daily Mail was heading there. So I opted for a seat on Chani’s terrace where I could see the delivery van’s approach and also the Buffer’s fruitless trips back and forth to the filling station. He made four.

Regarding newspapers, most places you can buy them will stock one Times, a couple of Telegraphs and ten Daily Mails. The rest of the English newspaper bundles will be made up with the Express and the red-tops. There are no Guardians. This probably tells you something that you intuitively know already.

On Chani’s Terrace I had a coffee and read the local Spanish newspaper. Chani brought me my milky drink and tried to remember who I was. I’m not too sure he did, although I was quite a regular customer once upon a time. (If anyone under 30 is reading this, that quaint phrase means “back in the day”, which we used to pronounce “back in my day”, to save people asking which particular day we meant).

As you can see from the photo, Chani’s coffee comes with a sachet of sugar with a philosophical quotation gratis. The words of wisdom in the photo read (more or less)

“Don’t look back in anger, or forward in fear. Look around you and pay attention.”

The newspaper delivery van never did turn up.

The Wanderer Returns

Home now. Back since Saturday. However, unlike previous years the weather seems late to turn. Usually the mercury has begun to fall by the time Malaga Feria is over and September has arrived. That is not the case this year. It remains hot, humid and windy by turns. We had a brief downpour although what fell was more mud than cool, limpid rain.

Still, I’m looking forward to keeping my TEFL hand in by teaching a couple of students from the surrounding area. In contrast to previous years, I do intend to have more time on my hands for writing.

The image is an ancient lithograph, I’d love to know exactly where the view was supposed to be from; for sure Alhaurin El Grande looks somewhat different now. It looks like an illustration from an old edition of Cervantes’ masterpiece, although the Ingenious Don didn’t travel much through these parts, as I remember. 

No news on the novel front. No news is good news, they say, I hope that’s true. The next step should/could/might be proofs, but who knows? Patience, I say to myself, but I don’t listen.

Well, until next time. Lang may yer lum reek!