I sometimes think about Bridget Jones’ diary when writing my blog and, in honour of the inimitable chick-lit classic, I’ll start this entry in a similar style:
Vino comsumption: mucho on Wed night and a few random glasses since - not bad.
Food intake: higher than usual as the temperature has dropped – must keep in check.
Chocolate intake: more varieties than usual stashed in cupboard – bad.
No. pages of ‘Your Erroneous Zones’ self-help book read this week: 30 – could do better.
No. people avoiding me: at least 2-3 obvious ones – oh well, it’s their loss!
Is Autumn arriving early in the area?
Well, I’m convinced that compared to August 2007 and 2008, this August is practically autumnal. At the same time last year, I remember climbing into my shower at 11pm wearing all my clothes, because both I and the clothes needed washing and it was so hot that ‘killing two birds with one stone’ seemed the logical ‘solution’. In comparison, this year I have (a) spotted leaves turning russet – some from a Chestnut tree even landed on my van and (b) I’ve considered putting the duvet on my bed at least twice.
I suspect that most visitors to the area would not notice the cool nature of August 09, which has failed to turn into the predicted ‘mad month’ when expats lose their temper and the plot. This brings me neatly to the topic of the English neighbours opposite, who occupy their town house occasionally for a relaxing holiday.
Neighbourly relations take a tumble but why should we care anyway?
Neighbours... everybody needs good neighbours. Or do they? I once read Toby Young’s hilarious book, ‘How to Lose Friends and Alienate People’ (yes, the one that became a movie) and, throughout the last decade or so, this theme has often applied to my relationship to near neighbours. Perhaps I’d be suited to living in the middle of nowhere – i.e. where nobody else has to witness the noise and chaos emanating occasionally, and sometimes ‘accidentally’, from my household. It’s not as if I set out to offend neighbours: it just happens over time.
Take for example these civilised English people who appear for a quiet break. I’m convinced they think this side of the street is La Alpujarra’s answer to Moss Side – largely because they once witnessed a loud and rather hideous domestic row in my home. The cringe factor from this incident has never quite left me and I fear (and loathe!) worsening it with any other form of ‘wonky’ behaviour. Aha but you beget what you project and methinks I’m projecting “try to make a good impression but fail”.
As fate would have it, the other night, these calm individuals arrived from Malaga Airport when a friend and I had consumed a few vinos in my home (to put it mildly). I seem to remember my friend saying he was going to “spy” on them, while I was ranting that “I’d rather they weren’t here because I have to watch what I say and can’t walk around naked on my terrace until they leave”, which I wished they would do soon so that normal activities could be resumed. And this was before they’d even had a chance to spring the catches on their suitcases. I hope they didn’t overhear this delightful, welcoming conversation, which has led to a good, old-fashioned dose of Captain Paranoia on my part. It is worthy of a black demerit for yours truly on the community relations charter.
The field of Rational Emotive Therapy (RET), a current interest of mine, suggests that we mustn’t assume to know what other people are thinking, and why should we be bothered what they think about us anyway? This is a fair and reasonable point, although the concept of ‘fair’ is hauled over the coals in RET too: after all, who really decrees what is ‘fair’ in this life? So the fact that the neighbours disappear rapidly from their terrace every time I pop up on my terrace to do the laundry mustn’t lead me to presume that they are, in fact, trying to avoid an ongoing episode of ‘Shameless in the Sierra’. There could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for the ‘let’s scatter’ behaviour worthy of Frank Gallagher, ranging from ‘they value their privacy’ to ‘dinner is ready’ or ‘suddenly need the toilet downstairs’. The fact that this scenario has happened several times over is, in fact, just a bizarre coincidence. Or is it? At least I haven’t appeared naked to hang up the laundry. My leopard print bikini surely isn’t all that frightening and splashing around in the shell paddling pool from Toys R Us isn’t, as far as I’m aware, ASBO-worthy behaviour.
Think positive! There's no need to sign up for Nefarious Neighbours Anonymous yet. Let’s invite them to a barbeque. A non-alcohol barbeque with no other guests of my acquaintance would be fairly safe. And the Boy from Coviran won’t be on the invitation list either: I don’t fancy him or want to instil him in a personal episode of ‘Shameless’ so there was no need for him to blank me (again) when I was sitting quietly in a local bar yesterday evening. Perhaps he’s scared of English expats and he’d have reasonable cause: after all, we are usually mad as brushes in August. The fact that we’re not as mad this year is all down to global warming or dimming or whatever it’s called.
RET says you should live in the present, not the past or the future, but those russet leaves and the duvet-desire make me think it’s almost time to return to Blighty for winter to be bored half to death... argh!