I’M not one of those types who bang on about the ‘Good Old Days’ in Spain – happy villagers treading grapes underfoot or selling olives at market, and that kind of thing. At one magazine I worked for, we were forever receiving articles about the ‘golden past’, to the point that we came up with a new and effective editorial policy.
Any article that mentioned ‘Paco and his donkey’ or some such ‘antiquity’ went straight into the bin.
The one thing that I do really miss, however, are the old-style licence plates. Back before we had standard euro plates, you were able to tell where a car was from. MA was Malaga while M was Madrid, and normally meant that you would steer clear of them, as they were more than likely holidaymakers who had the disconcerting habit of suddenly slamming the brakes on in front of you. Cars with the CE prefix were from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta – to be avoided at all costs.
Now, however, cars have EU plates, which means that you can only spot different nationalities. Call me a ‘road racist’ but I treat any vehicle with Moroccan plates with the utmost respect, as they tend to pull off some ‘interesting’ manoeuvres when you least expect them. And I have also learnt, from painful experience, that it isn’t a wise move to vent your road rage at any 4×4 with Russian plates!
MY place never fails to surprise me. I was sitting by the fireplace on a night in last week when there was a tremendous flapping as a bat fell down the chimney. Having an enthusiastic feline predator as a house pet, I have been used to having all sorts of creatures dragged in through the cat flap, including rabbits, partridge and a few other unfortunate animals that I haven’t been able to identify.
The bat flapped up to the high-beamed ceiling and settled in for the night, and I haven’t seen it since. A friend commented that he hoped Mr Bat had flitted out, as bat pee has quite a stench. At which I replied that, as a single guy living in a converted ruin with no running water (still), it isn’t exactly fragrant to begin with…