I have been waiting for good news on the house: pink champagne won in the bottle tombola of the Fairwarp fete ominously taking up room in the fridge waiting for a bank to decide that our 65,000euro request is a safe bet. But nothing, so rather than wallow, I’m going to count my blessings. My mind’s default setting is negative-I am always looking on the dark side of life, I was brought up like that, but my lovely husband was not- he always sees the positive. So this is for him:
Reasons why it’s worth it-
The other day an 18 year old boy walked down the street and stood back in mock shock and awe gasping, ‘spiderman de verdad’ (‘ the real spiderman’) as my 4 year old leapt past in his favourite outfit.
Vermouth- drunk with an olive, plenty of ice and a big wedge of lemon served in a shady café in the square.
That local premiership footballers take their kids to our school and park, and that ‘abuela’ our friend’s mother walked right up to one of them and asked if a controversial foul given in his favour in the previous match was down to his acting skills.
The chance to dream: buying an old country house in a beautiful village, popular year round with walkers for less than 150,000 euros and being in a position to renovate it. Although the re-payments will be difficult, it’s not a project we could even consider in England. In England this kind of dream is the preserve of burnt out city types who downshift their million pound London pads to buy sprawling Cornish farmhouses for a song, before totally gutting them and refitting them with whatever locally sourced organic shiny stuff happens to be on that months in-crowd must have list.
That people take an interest in our lives (well, the children’s), elderly characters now people my boys’ lives like Betty Lollipop, John The Bike Mender and Agnes Shuffle-bottom did mine back in Whalley Range in the 70s and 80s. They stop to talk to us and to marvel at the boys’ progress; the boys at first squirmed at the idea of engaging with gnarly fingered Spanish strangers, but now they will answer their questions, wave and not whizz past them at eye watering speed on their scooters. I have a soft spot for the older generation, there is something both heart-warming and breaking about the way their eyes light up when they see children, as if rejuvenated briefly by their absolute potential. That we are part of some sort of community makes me happy.
That fruit is seasonal: at the moment the first small nectarines are in the shops and in a couple of weeks they’ll be big and juicy and by the end of July they’ll be gone, that cherries are in crazy abundance for no more than 2 weeks, and that the fleeting strawberry heralds the beginning of summer.
That we live in a kind of cultural bubble, that there is no expectation or pressure to be part of the shitty X factor generation, I don’t just mean X factor, I’m more than happy to watch people who can’t sing willingly humiliate themselves on national TV, but there is no escape from endless derivations of the same inane, ego driven nonsense. There are intelligent people who think that Cheryl whats her face’s hair is a suitable conversation topic or that it’s ok to laugh at Gypsies now because they’re doing it in an ironic way. There is no-one here telling me what’s cool, so I make up my own mind feeling slightly uneasy about some of my choices wondering if they would be panned as cheesy by friends in the know.