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Getting shirty in Spain

  Sun 11th February 2024

I apologise for being late in replying to some of the comments in the last post. I should have told you I was off cavorting in the Canaries.


I've lost the cutting now, but in some un-internetted magazine, someone who, like me, once fancied himself as an academic, but unlike me finished his PhD, wrote a piece about how he felt himself drifting away from his schoolfriends, who, eschewing further education, ended up in well-paid manual trades, "with attractive wives and girlfriends, paying in cash." He snatched at a temporary lecturing job at a distant university. He struggled on with a couple more of those, before ending up in admin work.

At least I've avoided office work; but it reminded me of an episode on the train one late afternoon, when these two couples, working class and very well-dressed, stood round my buffet for a couple of hours. Lager for the gents, Prosecco for the ladies. "I might sell that place in Tenerife. If you're not there quite often, it goes downhill."

The unofficial head man noticed that everyone's drinks were getting low. He looked at me and nodded his head upwards, before making a circular motion with his finger above the glasses. He opened his wallet to pay. It was swollen by twenties. I fetched them another round, recognising something of the failure that the unsuccessful journeyman lecturer described. I'd like never to have to ask Mel if she could help out with a hotel, restaurant or bar bill.


Lacking a fat wallet to flash, but with a sick note magnetted to the fridge, I took my woman to Tenerife at the beginning of the month for a week, for a house music event over four days and three nights -- a sunny hotel terrace in the afternoon, then into a club in the night. It was joyous: chatty, dancey, dressy, friendly.

The median age was something around forty or fifty, so everyone had got passed the stage where you're afraid to introduce yourself. At the terrace bar one afternoon, the woman next to me was wearing a similarly-patterened shirt to mine.

"Hey," she opened. "Rocking the blue shirts. Are you a librarian?" "Yes I am," I said, "have you read any good books lately?" "I got her off this prossie site," her husband said. "But not a very good one."

I was making notes about people I was meeting in order to remember them next day. I scribbled down "Gary and Deb, funny, [neither of whom were] librarians, Black Country".

Back at our flat the next morning, Mel saw my notes on the table. "'Susie - nice tits'," she tutted. "And 'black cunts'! Who are the black cunts?"


We took a bus excursion up to Mount Teide, Spain's tallest mountain, a theoretically active volcano that's over 13,000 ft. Our guide told us that in the Middle Ages, there was an eruption that went on for several decades.* I wish we'd had longer up there, to get away from the car park and intensify the silence.

* Following Exile on Pain Street's scepticism about this, I had a look at a page about Teide's eruptive activity from the Smithsonian Institute. For the eruptions of which we know the durations, there's none that have gone on for longer than a bit over three months. It should also be noted that these eruptions are of both the central Teide and its sister volcanos in the same complex.

3 comments

Comment from: exile on pain street [Visitor]

How can an eruption go on for several decades?! Sounds preposterous. Check yer facts.

My oldest daughter is going to Rome to visit her boyfriend. My wife and other daughter are going to Dublin. I’m not going anywhere but I would like to. Travel is liberating, innit?

Sat 17th February 2024 @ 21:53 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

I’ve corrected that, and made a note not to believe everything you hear on a tour bus.

Shame you’re being left behind Exile. Hope you enjoy the time by yourself though. I quite liked it when the family disappeared for a while.

Wed 21st February 2024 @ 22:07 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

A post/comment combo reply… look at me multitasking or whatever they call it these days… i’d like nothing more than to jet off to some exotic locale for a Madchester event where i could indulge in copious amounts of psychedelic substances while dancing to the wee hours… you lucky bastard!! (yes i know it was a house music event which would be fine as well but i’m dreaming here ;)

and why couldn’t a volcano erupt for decades? yes this one did not but here in Merica we love myths not facts dammit! and if the family jetted off to vacation/travel without me i’m with you my friend… it would be like a vacation in intself… me and the cats and fat bag of shrooms, the stereo blasting dub while i ripped dabs… in home entertainment ;) i mean what’s not to like, lol!

Fri 23rd February 2024 @ 13:25 Reply to this comment


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