Spanish Town Hall Mayhem

El Parador cafeI honestly believe that the Spanish Government has set up a department in the bowels of some Ministry in Madrid just to make my document life as difficult for me as possible. I can imagine a control room 100 metres underground filled with computers, a giant wall screen and dozens of bored operators twiddling their thumbs until I apply for some document. “Condition Red” screams the tannoy. Lights flash. Operators frantically tapping away on their computers. “Where?” “Cortes de la Frontera Ayuntamiento (town hall)!!!”. “Activate plan:- We’ll get him this Time. Team Alpha relocate to Cortes de la Frontera. Go!!” Team Alpha race away from Madrid with a 300 page Top Secret Command Instruction to give to the clerks in the town hall, which they MUST obey to the letter.

(The following was posted on a local forum. I now have a world wide audience, so bear with me if you have read it before)

So I moved from house #123 to #124 and like a good expat went to the townhall to change my Certificado De Empadronamiento Individual from house #123 to #124. The CDEI is a simple form containing my personal details and where I am living; for every form the town hall has had filled money comes in to the coffers. So up the mountain I went, clutching in my well manicured hands (thanks) all the government documents required to live officially in Spain. After a 6km round trip I returned home from the town hall with an application form for the owners of #124 to sign. Duly signed, I returned to the townhall where Senor Jobsworth the clerk gave me a hand written letter for the owners to sign stating that they had given permission for me to stay in #124. Back up the mountain with the signed letter I trudged. Two days later I proudly possess a
new CDEI for, wait for it !!! #123. Yes #123 not #124. A brand new copy of the original I had filled in 8 years ago !!! The wonders of Andalucia.!!!!

I have returned the crazy form to the town hall requesting that they do it properly. They INSIST I live at #123. I approached the local Councillor who has taken up my case and he has informed me that the Town Hall has lost my applications, details etc. and as it is August the clerk who deals with my form is on a month’s vacation. I just LOVE Andalucia !!! (finding somewhere to bang my head)

The Last Post

Sunrise TorremolinosI have really set a challenge to myself, to write a post, worthy of publishing every day. I have created a deadline, as well, of 3pm local (GMT+1). And that is hard to publish by that time. Looking back at my posts, I am happy with most of them, considering I am an amateur with absolutely no serious previous experience, as I think most of us bloggers are. Yesterday was the worst day I have had so far in writing a post. The temperature outside was in it’s low 40 degrees centigrade. It felt just as hot in the apartment. Stepping outside was like walking into an oven. And to cap it all the neighbours across the road shout, scream and talk nonstop from 10am through to midnight. Their primary residence is in another town but stay for five weeks over the Spanish August holiday. OMG three more weeks of them !!

It got so hot yesterday that I had to stop. I was happy with what I had written. In subsequent reading I would have liked to have deleted the dog food item and finished the post off properly. But it was so hot. I suppose like an artist, once a painting is sold, that’s it, no more tweaking, touch ups. The same with a post, it’s published and gone. Time to move on.

I really do like a comment. I feel most of you agree. A LIKE is meaningless, did they like what I had written,  did they like a small part or did they just leave their mark on the hope that I would visit their site. A comment is worthy of reply, especially as someone has put themselves out to write something pertinent about the post. And I make sure that I do respond to every one. I may not agree to what is said, but a thank you is important, then a debate may ensue.

Keep commenting. I love it !!

Snowy the Surfing Cat

Cats Snowy Sky DizzyIn 2003 I lived as a companion with Judith (1942-2012) at #8, Parque del Paraiso, Calahonda, opposite the Post Office. Ralph with catsWe had just been shopping at El Zoco Supersol and arrived back to our front door with 19 bags of shopping. Four contained essentials, like FOOD, the rest had “things” in them. Women buy “things” such as a Can of Spray to move a table, CoS to remove dust, CoS to add polish, CoS to polish polish, CoS to shine and Can of Spray to put table back to where it originated. The trouble is, the cans are in Spanish, so goodness knows what she had bought. Reminds me of when I was in a supermarket in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Twenty or so South Koreans were really excited over cans of dog food with pictures of Labradors, Pekinese and so on. I passed by as they were filling their trolleys with these cans. I was NOT going to tell them what was really in them.

Anyway, back to the front door. As usual, bags in my left hand, I felt in my right pocket for the front door key. Nothing there. Bags down. Key in LEFT pocket. Happens all the time with me !! Key in the lock and pushing the front door open it really jammed solid after moving a couple of inches. What the……I walked round to the back of the house, entered through the sliding doors. Looking towards the front door I could see our long, narrow “Persian” carpet screwed up in a big pile against the front door. How the hell did that get there, I thought.

Front pathA couple of days later I was sitting on the sofa reading the usual headline in the Daily Express, “Exclusive: Princess Diana killed by Martian photographer”, and in from the garden shot Snowy, a cat almost the size of a polar bear cub. At 90mph, he stopped dead on the “Persian” carpet by my feet. Then inertia (that’s a Science word)….then inertia took over. Cat and mat at 90mph slid along the white marble floor and ended up in a crumpled heap against the front door. Initially, no sign of Snowy. His head poked out of the wreckage, tail up, he walked proudly back out into the garden, curled up and started washing himself. Woah!!Rear of No 8

A few days later I was sitting on the sofa reading the Daily Express headline “Just in: Princess Diana killed by rampaging elephants”, and in walks Dizzy, a small, young, black and white cat. She jumped up beside me, lay down and the next thing I knew she was producing kittens and blood on the seat. My hazel eyes (thanks) wide open in astonishment as two kittens popped out. I thought…aaah! that’s nice, on one hand and what a mess on the other. Suddenly, in through the garden door sped Snowy, carpet and cat crashing against the front door.

I just LOVE Andalucia !!!

Two kittens survived and are living with me now.

Awards or Rewards

Couple on HorseIt’s  happened AGAIN !! I had it all planned, roughly in my head, of what I was going to write about today. Then BAMMM!! a comment this morning in On My Soapbox……….Hi, This is just to let you know that I have nominated you for the twin awards! Congratulations! If you choose to participate the rules are here: http://wp.me/p2v1s2-s5 Best of Luck Daniela…..what !! Thoughts flashed through me. I haven’t got a Tuxedo. Will they send a limo? Where is it being held…….the concert hall of WordPress dot com? I read all about the nomination on Daniela’s blog and the awards are from my peer. A fellow writer, someone who thinks my writing deserves recognition.

I thought about it, long and hard ( gave me a headache ) for half a second. With great regret Daniela I must decline your nomination for three reasons 1) I like to write 2) I love to write 3)I love you writing to me and have a laugh. An award is an honour, but I feel a reward is all I need: a comment “I liked that” or ” I’ve never read so much rubbish in all my born days !!!”. That is an award I will accept with thanks to my cats without whom I would not be here tonight……No!!.

William Shakespeare had writer’s block one day and (I would like you to put this on a PostIt, whatever) when he was writing The Play. And he thought “To write or not to write. THAT is the question !” So if you get writer’s block, look at this, and walk away, do something else for a while, then come back. Let’s play a  game using this format on any profession, experience etc. I’ll start in my post comment area. Make me laugh 🙂

On My Soapbox

damnI really REALLY promise to have a funny story for you tomorrow. Honest !! I have just arrived home from our usual Boys’ day out. My friend does not like being round his house on Thursdays when the cleaner and his wife go through the house like a tornado. So us guys disappear for the duration of such a traumatic experience for a man.

We were having our usual coffee in our usual Thursday Spanish bar and we were talking to the English bar keep. And I was really shocked. I am an average man, with an average pension, in an average apartment. I have no political etc beliefs. She said that her daughter had been on an apprenticeship course learning carpentry. Her wage is €75 per week. The only problem is that she has NOT been paid for months. The mother is feeding her at the bar, giving her food parcels and helping her daughter any way she can. 2012, EU country, food parcels?? And she is not the only one. Dozens of villagers of all ages have worked long hours in extremely hot temperatures, generally laborious work. And most have not seen a euro for their work. You’ll be paid by Christmas the Town Hall told them. Your teenage kids will be okay as they can go back and live with mum and dad. Hello…mum and dad are probably in a more worse situation than the kids.

I’ve got to say this. I don’t care who is reading this, the King of Spain or a farmer in a paddy field in central China. The ruling families, Mahdi, the banks, self perpetuating governments, etc. YOU ARE EVIL !! You don’t give a toss about anything except your own goal of taking over the world, controlling industry, health with your poisonous synthetic drugs etc. “Oh, we really care about the people” BS you only care about your power and control by FEAR. But, sunshine, I am NOT afraid of you and your evil ways and very soon you will be taken down and left to rot in the dregs of your lies, false hopes, casino stock exchanges etc. You don’t give a toss about one girl who is learning a skill and you can’t be bothered to pay her, but you fill your corrupt banks, which you OWN, while millions starve, worry and die. YOU ARE EVIL !!

Religious fanatics, you back. You bank rolled the Nazis during WW2. You will do anything to destroy anything wholesome. You create wars, you twist anything one way or the other. You are secretive…..why, because YOU ARE EVIL ….you live in darkness plotting your next move. You WILL be taken down sooner than you think. And you are scared because you know who is coming for you. Good, be scared !!

Stepping down from my soapbox…..I’ll go and feed the cats now.

I’m Checking Out !!

Gibraltar. Ape with stolen strawberriesLike most men I have a list, enter the supermarket store, grab a trolley, zip around the store. Trolley filled in ten minutes. Another ten minutes wait and checkout. Then back to the car and off down the road. Twenty minutes max. But not this day !!

Different store. Grabbed a trolley. Wow, no customers in the store. Fantastic. My trolley was filled in a matter of minutes until I came to a whole row of Cereals. There must have been a hundred varieties and I only wanted a box of normal cornflakes. I searched and searched; honey flavoured chocolate alphabet boxes to GM soya sunflower muesli bags but NO normal cornflakes !! I turned the corner at the end of the row and there they were. Piles of normal cornflakes. I had to make a decision, for the sign said, buy two get one free. I decided one packet was enough for me. I then bee lined for checkout. Woman coming in from the right. I moved faster and just got to the empty checkout before the lady. I noticed that she only had seven or so items in her basket. Being a gentleman (thanks) I waved her through. Her big blue eyes…..No !!

Big mistake !! The totally bored checkout girl, in a world of her own, carried on filing her bright red nails. Name tag said Day Dreamer I think. The store was filling up with customers and a second checkout was just about to open. Shall I go for that one, I thought. No, this woman won’t be long. How wrong could I be. She emptied her seven or so items on the conveyor belt. “Do you happen to have our store card, ma’m” squeaked Day. ” Just a minute” the woman replied, emptying her shoulder bag onto the conveyor belt. Filofax with sticky notes poking out, a thousand cosmetics, tissues, cuddly toy and her purse, from which she produced the Rip-u-off store card. “Oh dear….I forgot” and she ran off into the rows of products. The queue was building up behind me and the other checkout was moving customers through.

A few minutes later she returned panting (women do that) placing a tube of clown flouride is good for you toothpaste onto the belt. “So sorry” her blue eyes said. Day put her nail file back down and beeped three of the items through. “Excuse me,” rummaging through her bag, “I’ve got a coupon for that” the out of breath woman said. Rifling through 150+ coupons, she smiled, producing a coupon. ” Sorry miss we don’t take that coupon in our store.”. Beeping through the next two items, Day stopped. “May to checkout one. May to checkout one” squeaked Day into a microphone. The trolley loaded queue was really lengthening behind me. A couple of minutes later May Workoneday arrived at the checkout and disappeared back into the now bustling store. By now the ice cream I had bought was beginning to drip onto the floor.

May eventually returned and Day beeped through the final items. “Cash or credit card ?”. “Credit card”. Rummaging through her bag again the woman produced a stack of cards. “Oh. Where is it?” Ah!! Scanning the card, Day placed the metal keyboard box in front of the woman. “Pin number please ma’m”. Again the woman plunged into her bag producing her filofax the size of a church bible. Pin keyed in, bag loaded, the lady left the store. At last, I thought, here we go. ” Hello Day……” ” Sorry sir, this checkout is now closed”, smiled Day as she disappeared into the crowd of customers, who on hearing what she said, fought their way to the other checkout. I was left alone (all say ohhh!) looking at a queue of 15 trolleys filled to the brim at checkout two.

So, ladies, if I am standing behind you at checkout, my trolley full, you having seven items in your basket, please WAVE ME THROUGH !!!

Wash Day Blues

Last few metres in UK 30April2002I really do not mind using a washing machine and hanging out the clothes to dry. It’s only when the use of the washing machine can become a war of the wash. I had a washing machine who’s controls, buttons, dials were never touched for 8 years and worked perfectly, until we had visitors who used the machine. After they left, there was a metallic rattle. I looked inside with a torch and saw nothing unusual. Next two washes, quiet. Ah ! The problem has cleared itself. The following wash the machine sounded as if I lived in a shipyard. The screeching was awful. So, bravely, my head re-entered the drum. I had pretty much decided to get my tool box and open the back, when in the very top edge of the drum I saw a rusty tiny piece of metal. I pulled at it and out came a long curved metal heavy wire. Yes, ladies, the wire was used in a bra to stop you going south. So, if you are coming south to visit, please don’t use my washing machine.

I am now in an apartment with a machine with no instructions. I think I am reasonably intelligent (thanks) and know my way around washing machines, but this one almost beat me. Clothes in, powder drawer open. Pouring the powder into the middle container I was very careful as the box said “Razzle Dazzle Powder. Warning. Please wear sunglasses when removing your whites, colours and blacks from your washing machine because ALL your clothes will be so brilliantly white they will blind you”. Now for the ” Ocean on the mountain” blue conditioner into the right hand container. Controls !! No problem, number 9 at 30 degrees. After checking the clothes in the drum to ensure Sonic, my black cat was not curled up in there. Well, he’s black and I don’t want to find him in half an hour, blindingly white, now do I??. I pushed the ON button.

I sat down. Two seconds later the machine started spinning. Once stopped, I opened the powder drawer and the blue “Ocean on the mountain with crushed pine tree cones” had GONE !! But the powder was piled as I left it. Adding some more “Ocean on the mountain with crushed pine tree cones and flowers of the Scottish moors” blue conditioner, I pressed ON at number 6. Got it now, so I thought. Ten minutes later, SPIN CYCLE !! Oh no!! Same again ! So I emptied the remainder of “Ocean on the mountain with crushed pine tree cones and flowers of the Scottish moors bathed in sun drenched lemons”  blue conditioner into it’s tray. I’ll get it right this time and I did. Number 3 !!

So the moral of this tale is, if you HAVE washday blues, you’ll have to go out and buy some more !!

It’s a blog’s life

Dawn in SpainI have not been a blogger for long, just a few days. And over that time I have visited many blogs via Recent Posts. The emails I received in Outlook were few and interesting. I thought this to be rather funny as I knew I was following many of you and that I should be reading your chit-chat and new posts, but nothing. Late Saturday night I found Edit on Blogs I Like which I hadn’t noticed before. I opened Edit and found 71 blogs, all showing Never. So I spent the next half hour clicking Receive by Email /Instantly. Then I went to bed.

Big mistake !!!

Another beautiful sunny morning. A quiet Sunday. The cool breeze wafted in through open doors. The cats curled up, asleep in their baskets. A little housework done. Showered, dressed with a steaming cup of coffee, I sat down and opened my Outlook. Then all hell broke loose !!

My notifier went mad. chime big ben . My Inbox went crazy. 50….100….150 and finally stopped at 197. I sat there in shock. Mouth wide open, my wide hazel eyes (thanks) just stared at the screen for 5 minutes. The cats were staring at me as if to say,”For goodness sake, shut up, we are TRYING to get some sleep !!”

I follow 51 of you now. It’s not because I dislike your blogs, it is just that YOU TALK TOO MUCH !!

It is now a beautiful, quiet Monday morning in Spain. I will open Outlook now………..ooooohhh !!!

Women with shotguns

Ralph 01.01.1971 CyprusI always feel that men and women are pretty much the same, just the packaging is different. But sometimes I have to admit that when the Tomb Raider Laura Croft in women emerges, woe betide anyone who stands in her way. And, generally, that’s me !! For example:-

Recently I was at a party with about twenty guests. Nothing special. A get together of us foreigners living in the Spanish village. The women were at one end chatting and catching up with the latest gossip. And the men full of playful banter at the other end of the table. Then I met Laura Croft.

She came up to me. I had never seen her before, but her large blue eyes spoke to me, saying ” I have been watching you and I notice your hands are shaking”. I explained my situation and, as if talking to a cute kitten or puppy, I added, ” I have been watching you and I notice how blue your eyes are.” Her eyes closed to slits, teeth clenched she drew her pistols and fired “I resent that !” Slightly wounded, I was stunned. Now being a stupid male I didn’t let go and so I ventured, explored deeper into the jungle of her mind and cheerfully said, “Well, I think you are very pretty”. Wrong!! As if to pounce and strangle me she drew her shotgun and fired both barrels, ” I really DO resent that !!”. Shoot, what DID I say, I thought. I should have done something sensible like jumping off a cliff. But, no, with one more try I spluttered, ” You are gorgeous, you know”. Wrong again ! This is when she brought in the Pacific Fleet, the 7th Cavalry and the whole nuclear arsenal of the world. She declared World War Three upon me, ” You wouldn’t say that if I was a male !”. Totally perplexed, bewildered and confused, I resigned and weakly said, ” Okay, I surrender. What should I have said to you?”.

“That I am intelligent !!”

I am truly sorry

I am really truly sorry for writing that last post. It is not me and it is total garbage. Something attacked me last night in a spiritual sense and I had this urge to write that rubbish about cooking. It  is not my style of writing. I know what is funny and that wasn’t. It was disgusting. I am going to leave it posted for a while in case you want to comment.

I am going through a change in my life. I have reached a crossroads. Yesterday evening I was in contact with a very brave and ill lady and I went completely over the top, so far over the top that I believe any relationship we may have had is shattered by the chasm I created. I was advised to wait a while and see what happens. Then I came under attack. That attacker has now been destroyed. I only realised it a few minutes after that post was published.

Should I delete it or leave it. I decided to leave it as an example to myself of how not to write, of how not to be such an idiot in letting myself be attacked in such a way. So to myself and to you dear readers I apologise. I am truly sorry. And to the lady, what can I say, please enjoy your life and pray for me.

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