Friday, December 19, 2003

The Spanish are a very sociable and effusive people. And so much given to exhortations such as, ‘You must come and spend a day on our boat!’. These expressions are well intended but, bearing in mind that the Spanish live only for the moment, what they really mean is merely ‘We are getting on very well and I really like you. Right now, that is.’ Should you want to convert one of these pseudo-invitations into reality, the onus will be entirely on you to force the pace. And you may experience some delays or changes of date, etc. If this goes on for some time, it’s safe to assume that the invitation has lost even its pseudo status. I am often reminded of someone’s comment about Bill Clinton - or was it Tony Blair? – ‘Was he lying? Well, I think it is true to say that, at the time he said it, he really believed it.’ The Spanish always mean it. But perhaps not for very long.

At this time of year, these exhortations are along the lines of ‘Why don’t you join us for our big Christmas dinner on 24th December’. Last year, I amassed at least three of these in December but by December 23rd still had no idea which, if any, were bankable. So, that evening I accepted a 4th from an English neighbour. I may well have been wrong but I took the view that he really did mean it!

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