In Plenary, Presentation on November 17, 2014 at 11:08 am
Like all drunks, we wake up laughing.
Then we lie there for a long time, not moving.
“I don’t want to move,” says K. “I’ll find out how drunk I still am.”
The day presents us with its first demand. It requires a decision of us – breakfast in or out. Out will mean more movement and negotiation of human affairs than can currently be imagined. In will involve twenty-four quid.
“It can’t possibly be twelve per person,” I say. “For bloody breakfast. Have you checked?”
We’re both looking at the ceiling. It isn’t interesting but it’s reassuringly plain and white and motionless. Anything else I look at has a tendency to slip and slide in an alarming way.
“Yes, I’ve checked,” says K. “It’s twelve per person.”
“Ridiculous. We’ll go out for a tostada.”
We don’t, of course. Preparing to haul myself out of bed, I lean over to kiss her but she turns away.
“It’s not you,” she says. “It’s my own stench. I can still taste the papas alioli.” More
In Presentation on September 27, 2013 at 8:05 am
The bus that I take from Tarifa to just outside Algeciras where I teach in an English academy is regular but infrequent – I’m left with over an hour to kill before I start work and I kill it in a roadside venta with a café con leche and a slow, bad-tempered netbook. Since my previous job was in the same area I’ve been a regular there now for three years and the coffee is often plonked in front of me before I’ve opened my mouth. I take it to the terrace and sit in the deafening noise of the port traffic – juggernauts and container trucks – trying to concentrate on whatever it is that day.
The neighbourhood is called Los Pastores and the one behind it, where I work, El Cobre. Neither of these places will ever feature heavily in Ideal Home or Town & Country and the latter in particular raises eyebrows when I tell people I work there; they often seem mildly surprised that I’ve lived to tell the tale. I’ve never experienced anything on my way to or from work but a few curious looks and a laid-back family feel to what is undeniably a down-at-heel barrio. I would concede though that a number of the inhabitants appear to be interesting.
I’ve written about the venta before and the tortuously slow process through which I eventually came to feel accepted and comfortable there. Nowadays it’s a fait accompli; I’m more or less treated like royalty. I’ve seen staff come and go and whenever a newbie arrives he or she is taught quick sharp that mine’s a coffee. I’ve had knowing conversations with the dueña about how the ideal olive is a cracked one with the stone in, More