Friday, 22 November 2013

Aging Siamese

 This is Yang, a few years ago.   He is still sleek and athletic and during the summer he prefers the outdoors.   But, come the drop in temperature he stays in and picks the choicest spots to snooze - our chairs and our bed.   He's never been a lap cat but he does like to be close to us. 

 Yin is a different matter.   She does the talking for both of them, hardly ever goes out and has turned into a butterball.  If we could put her in a baby sling and carry her around with us, she'd be in 7th heaven because she won't stop nagging until we sit  or lie down and she can snuggle up.   She even harrasses us at night to close down the PCs and go to bed.    What a tyrant. 

Well, poor love can't get out from the study window now - it's too deep a drop -  so el jefe has made her a ladder.

It's a crude affair from oddments of wood, but she loves it and didn't even need showing how to use it.  

Thursday, 21 November 2013

A bit of a moan

Usually, if I want a bit of a moan I go to a private file in my PC and let it all hang out.  But today whoever passes by  can read about the downside of living in Spain, in particular this forgotten s.w. corner of Spain.   We are between a town and a popular beach resort - an area known as the "campo".   As such, we are seen as rural and most of the houses are not quite legal.   This does not deter the local council from charging us the full urban rates, even though we have no mains water or sewerage, no proper roads unless we all club together and get them asphalted, and no street lights.   We draw water from a well with an electrical pump, filter it and boil it.   The supermarkets do a roaring trade with 5 litre bottles of drinking water. 

The infrastructure here is the pits.....electrical equipment in our area is ancient and unstable;  the telephone service - Telefonica (a world wide organisation making huge profits) is also unreliable and they won't spend the money on improving the equipment to give the majority in the campo an internet connection of more than 3 mB.  

In the last three months we have had failures of equipment, necessitating replacements - our gas boiler (all gummed up with calcium), fridge freezer, the new one of  which we now discover is not auto defrost, the t.v. (5 years old) gave up the ghost.  These were all major purchases.  

We've had two major power outages so when there's no electricity there's no water, of course,  as the pumps don't work.   We are lucky:  we have a legal electricity connection while so many do not and they have no hope of getting one as the council has clamped down on the power company's providing it.     And to cap it all, it seems a part of our router has failed and we get no wi-fi.   It's been 2 weeks since we ordered another from Telefonica....and still waiting.  Nearly all expats here watch British t.v. via satellite and the UK is moving to a new satellite whose beam will not reach the Continent, only Britain.    Alternative systems are being touted, all involving wi-fi.   There are going to be a lot of sad faces around.

Individually, these things are no big deal but put together, the frustration builds because the energy it takes to deal with Spanish bureaucracy is phenomenal.   I've been learning Spanish for over 10 years and while I get by in most situations, I'm sure I only understand half of what's said:  the local accent is almost indecipherable.   Think of a southern English person trying to fathom out a broad Glaswegian or Geordie!

Well, that's some of my moans out of my system and I feel a bit foolish in view of the catastrophes  some peoples of the world are suffering - bush fires, floods, hurricanes, typhoons and earthquakes and  many have lost their homes and possessions.    That certainly puts things in perspective, eh.