Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Spanish experience early this morning, with MoviStar (Telefónica as was):-

Hello. My name is Débeez. We spoke last week about an internet contract.
An internet contract? I don't remember that. What's your name again?
Oh, yes. I remember now.
You told me the router would be delivered within 3 days and it's now 7. And I'm leaving the country soon.
Yeah. The problem is that your ID number doesn't coincide with the number MoviStar has for you as a client. Can you tell me what the number is on your bills?
[Thinking "So, why didn't you call me?" but not wanting to waste my time asking]
I'll call you back.

Hello. The number on the bill is xxxxxxxxxxxx.
No, that's not the number they've got.
Well, maybe they have my NIF, which I got in 2000.
What is it?
OK. I'll talk to them and call you back.
Well, perhaps you could try to do that today as, otherwise, I'm going to cancel the order.
OK. I'll try.

Overview: This is taking far more time than it should because I am an existing customer of Movistar. Not promising, is it?

Another Spanish experience mid morning:-

I tried to book a ferry passage with Brittany Ferries. The page is entirely in Spanish and doesn't offer any other language, as far as I can tell.

I get to the end of the process and have to pay. I use my Spanish credit card and get the message, in Spanish:-

The system does not accept this type of card.

So I try with my equally Spanish debit card and get the message:-

The system does not accept this type of card.

Utterly bemused and beginning to worry, I use my UK debit card. Which is accepted.

So what the hell does this mean? That, if I were Spanish in Spain, I wouldn't be able to buy a ticket? Or that BF know - from previous journeys - that I have a UK card and want to fleece me on the exchange rate? Who the hell knows.

Anyway, here's an article on Europe's Dance Macabre. Or Dance of Death.

And here's one which justifies the claim that Europeans are being hoodwinked into relinquishing their cherished democracy to a rogue band of financial pirates.

And now for something completely different . . . . . .

Some readers may have noticed that this blog didn't appear for longish periods over the last 15 months or so. A few may have wondered why not. Well, it's time to 'fess up.

During this period I've struggled with a depression which was, at times, very severe. And this is British understatement. I believe I'm out of it now. But I felt the same twice last year - most obviously through the summer - and then suffered a relapse on both occasions. No one can predict the future, of course, but, if only for the sake of my two daughters, I hope to God that this isn't going to happen again.

Against the possibility that it might, my daughters have encouraged me - another British understatement - to stay in the UK until the probabilities are favourable. Though I'll be returning to Spain from time to time. Hence my sojourn in Leeds.

So, if there've been times when you've felt this blog has been far from its best, now you know why. This will have been at times when the only positive thing happening in my mind was the posting of a blog, no matter how much below par it was.

Why am writing this? The 'negative' reason is that confession is not going to affect my material future in any way. I won't ever be looking for a job. And the 'positive' reason is that it may help others who are struggling not only to see a light at the end of a tunnel but the bloody tunnel itself.

And it may just help those who are fortunate enough never to face depression but who have to help someone who is struggling with it. If you're one of these, a word of advice - Never, ever tell a depressive to just pull his/her socks up. This is never possible, whereas taking exercise, for example, really is. My daughters, I should stress, were very much of the latter party.

One last thing - I've been trying for the last three months to think of a humorous angle on depression and haven't come up with one. Anyone with any ideas might like to post a comment. Or write to me at



Alfred B. Mittington said...

My dear Colin,

The last thing you ought to worry about is the quality of your blog. No matter how unhappy you may have been with it, it was never 'below par' as far as I could see. Always amusing and informative, if not in ten lines, at least in one. And remember: not every line of Shakespeare is writ in gold either!

Your friend, Al

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, Al. You're a sport. I take back all the bad things I've said about you to our mutual Dutch friend. None of which I hope he's passed on to you.

Joanna P. said...


Just to add to what Alfred said: I hope you know that, during the months when you weren't feeling up to writing anything on your blog, a lot of us continued to check every single day, and it's been lovely to see you come back in fighting form.

Please come and visit us sometime. You can even bring my dad with you ;-)


Colin Davies said...

Thanks you, Joanna. That's a lovely message and it meant a lot to me. Your dad and I had a great lunch yesterday. I just wish I could make my life as simple as his! I will certainly come up and sea you when back in Spanish harness. Probably with your dad. Besos. C.

sp said...

I'd not noticed a drop in quality, but I did miss the blog when it didn't appear - so thanks for keeping it going when it would have been easier not to.

kraal said...


Although relatively new to your blog I do look forward to reading it and hope you continue to write for a long time to come. I think Alfred says it all. K.

Colin Davies said...

Very many, thanks. K.

Colin Davies said...

@ Alfie. Who's this Shakespeare?

Colin Davies said...

@ sp. Very many thanks for your kind comments. And for your understanding of how difficult it was at times.

Perry said...


I sympathise with your predicament.Something similar happened to me 21 years ago. Out of the blue, I went from having a positive outlook on life to being unable to empathise with people. It was a disaster. Even simple arithmetic became difficult. My GP suggested I had depression, to which I replied was impossible. However difficult certain episodes in my life had been, I was only unhappy, not helpless.

My predominant thought was that the illness was totally counter productive. I needed to earn my living, but I couldn't face going to work, which increased my stress and made me almost suicidal.

After about 18 months, I returned to some semblance of normality, but I never regained my self assurance that whatever life throw at me, I would always cope. That certainity has gone and with it, the joy of feeling refreshed each morning and being able to look forward to the day. I am not unhappy, but being carefree is long gone. Self motivation once was so easy. Now I just sits 'n' thinks. Bugger!

I wish you well and that there are no further episodes. Ask for B12 injections.

All the best,


Colin Davies said...

Hi, Perry.

Many thanks for your kindness in writing and for your sharing your own situation. It reminded me that, not long before I was hit by the falling anvil, I had congratulated myself on being a very lucky man.

I fell sure that your confidence will return, eventually. And I certainly hope it does. CBT may be one avenue to explore for help with this, if you haven't already done so.

And thanks for the B12 link. I fancy one of my daughters has already talked to me about this.

All the best.


paideleo said...

Xame extrañaba a min que non escribises tanto !.
Espero que todo vaia ben e sigas contando cousas. Gústame ler o que dis sobre Galicia e a xente porque dás outro enfoque distinto do meu.

Colin Davies said...

Muitas grazas.