My nice-but-noisy neighbour, Tony, brought me a bag of new potatoes last night and, in return, asked me to put a Windsor knot in his tie. He was due to attend the First Communion of his elder son, also called Tony of course. The extended family returned from the celebrations at 1.30 in the morning and then caroused until 3.30 as if there was no-one else on the planet, never mind on the other side of the wall. Roll on the next sea trip. Especially as Tony Junior appears to have caught the bawling habit. I wonder if this is what Tony Senior meant when he told me that, after the Communion ceremony, his son would be a man.
Still on local matters, there used to be a convention in our street that no-one parked in front of anyone else’s garage. This has been shattered by Tony’s [equally nice] wife, Amparo, who parks her car wherever she feels like it and at whatever distance and angle from the kerb that takes her fancy. So I wasn’t surprised last week, when I walked past the medical centre where she works as a doctor, to see she’d left her car across the car park exit, thus trapping about 15 other cars. A driver of one of these was sitting in his vehicle sounding his horn in the accepted way of summoning the perpetrator of parking offences. He got no response in the 5 minutes I waited, in vain, to crack a joke at Amparo’s expense.
One of the many ways in which Spain scores over the UK is that the streets are clean. There may be several factors at work here but one of them certainly is the rubbish bins at regular intervals, not to mention the large containers that are a feature of every Spanish street. This is despite the fact that the ETA terrorists have been bombing urban areas for more than 40 years. I guess no-one in Spain had the brilliant, something-must-be-done thought that, if all the rubbish bins were removed, the terrorists would throw up their hands and say ‘Oh dear. We can’t use the bins anymore so we’d better abandon our bombing campaign completely.’ Thank God for Spanish pragmatism. And an absence of litigious tendencies, I suspect.
I had a second Google hit today enquiring about ‘brothels in Wallasey’. Just what is going on in my childhood home? Maybe there’s a Spanish quarter there now.