The blog below was just about finished and I was almost ready to publish it, when we heard the dreadful news from Manchester. We truly are lost for words but wanted to send our condolences to those who have lost loved ones or have been injured.
Again, it’s been longer than I’d have liked, before being able to write another blog but here we go, finally. I have to admit that I have been struggling for something to talk about, so this one may wander off here and there but it’s something different to be writing without a thread in my mind…..
We’re still in Spain and still wandering around the edge of the village of an evening. The times of going out have become a little later, as it’s too warm for us to be puffing and panting at 6pm. Our Spanish is improving little by little but there are still times when someone is chattering to us and Mrs S will be nodding and say to me, “Are you getting all of this?” and I’ll nod and attempt my best ventriloquist face, while saying “No”. So, there I am, with a rictus grin, struggling to keep up with, what to me, sometimes, is a barrage of words. Mrs S, on the other hand, is all calm on the outside, which seems to work, as an elderly lady, who had been telling us about the “Hermita” allowed her to help her up the steps. At the top, the lady again spoke to Mrs S, who reluctantly said “No comprendo” to which the lady said “No comprendo?” Mrs S said “No.” The lady paused for a split second, before talking to Mrs S again but this time, it seemed a liitle faster. She had a heavy accent, which I was struggling to catch, apart from a few words here and there but it was apparent she wanted to show us the inside of the hermita. Having never been in there before we followed her in and she began telling us all about the figures housed inside. Neither of us could get the whole conversation but we understood enough. It’s a simple building but the figures are exqusitely carved and dressed and she was clearly proud of the items and the building. We thanked her and made our way out, as other people were arriving for the evening service.
We carried on around the village and on the way back, we met another Spanish couple, who we’ve spoken with a few times, albeit pretty basic from us. She was sitting outside her house, making lace and of course, Mrs S, who is into knitting and crochet, remarked how beautiful her work was. Well, her husband, offered me some of his home made vino de terreno. I said, what I thought was “A little -un poco” but he had other ideas and so I was given a glass, filled almost up to the brim, while Mrs S was taken into the house by the lady. He spoke quite slowly in comparison to some people and so I could understand most of what he was saying and reply, in what I hoped was something understandable too. Mrs S returned with the lady and various examples of her lacemaking prowess, while I made my way through the remains of the vino. No sooner had I finished, than he asked if I’d like some more. Apparently “No” was the wrong answer, as another full glass was edged my way, which I took and began sipping. Mrs S was getting along fine and without the aid of vino, which she’d declined earlier and got away with! They told us about themselves and having got stuck on a couple of words, I said I’d go and get our dictionary. Mrs S looked at me and said “Don’t leave me” but it was only a quick sprint away but as I don’t sprint, it took just a short while longer. I got back and leafed through the dictionary and found out what we were missing. They asked what we did . Mrs S said that I’d been in the Air Force, which I then had to look up and translate, to which the lady said “controlador”, which I had to look up and was apparently an air traffic controller, which is one of the many things I wasn’t. I said “No controlodor” but she seemed set on that’s what I’d been and so we let the conversation move on. I say let it move on, it actually went on without us having any (air traffic) control over it. Anyway, by the time I’d finished my vino and was offered another one, the church bells had already passed 9pm and we hadn’t eaten. He seemed slightly miffed when I insisted that I didn’t want another one but Mrs S had progressed so much, that she had been invited around, a couple of days later for lacemaking tuition. She tells me that she’s not quite sure how that happened but a deal is a deal.
We got back to the house, had a bite to eat and chatted about the way the evening had turned out. We both agreed that it was good to have had the chats with people and although it was a far cry from being fluent, at least we understood some of the conversations and been able to be understood. Well, at least I think we were understood, I don’t recall how I managed to buy 16 goats at all! Joking aside, getting over the hurdle of actually speaking out loud can be difficult, especially as Mrs S is a shy one. When we’ve been back in England before , I’ve said we should try to speak to each other in Spanish for about 10 minutes every day. This usually started off with me saying “Hola Mrs S” who replied with “Hello” and so it stops right there. I’ve had a good listen to the Collins “Easy learning” beginners Spanish CD’s and used to play them, when going to and from work but mainstream Spanish is a bit different from Andalucian Spanish. Firstly, you don’t have someone speaking very clearly and then you don’t have a rewind and pause button to help you out either. Of course, we could always go for “Could you repeat that please? ” But it always slips my mind and I’d feel it was rude to be saying it every time someone spoke to us. So, staying in the village for more than just a two week holiday, I still haven’t yet had the need to recall the CD, to ask for a plan of the city, how much a case of wine is or where I can get felt. Okay, the third one isn’t on the CD but it really should have been. Needless to say, we are currently both saying we will try harder with the Spanish, when we get back to the UK.
Back to the lacemaking. Mrs S came home from her first lesson with some homework. A little set up with the beginnings of a lace band wrapped around it and in various colours. The idea was that she would carry on, from the end of her supervised tuition and then take it back the next day, to see how things were going. Things did not go well and Mrs S did not go back the next day, because at some point during the first evening, the wheels metaphorically came off and she had to unpick all of that evenings work, before deciding that she would leave it for the night and pick it up again after a good nights sleep. Fully refreshed and raring to go, it wasn’t too long before the remaining wheels came off and the unpicking started again. Mrs S didn’t really want to go round with nothing to show for her efforts and so tried looking it up on the internet, only to find one video with a woman who’s hands moved quicker than one of those dodgy street hustlers with the three cups and one ball. So, that was of no help and so, another nights sleep was in order before she went round to see the lady and an hour later, order has been restored and Mrs S has a good idea of how to progress.
All Images © 2008- TheSlowWalkers