You’re an expatriate. You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake European standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed with sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang around cafes.
― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
Funny how Hemingway summed up the dreams and aspirations of a group of young teenage boys who set forth on a European adventure. Perfectly.
We didn’t get that drunk, mostly sticking to orange, exotic, Fanta in deliciously heavy brown glass bottles. Oh, and ok, the occasional beer. We were young, I was only thirteen. And being thirteen in the Summer of 1975 was a world away from being so in 2016.
Sex? Well we dreamed of it a lot, fantasised about every girl we had met, and were yet to meet. But sex, as in real, messy, sex. No.
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
How could a weekly blog post about the life of an Englishman living in Spain not include a reference to those words spoken by Audrey Hepburn paying the part of Eliza Doolittle in the movie My Fair Lady which in turn was based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion?
Often misquoted as ‘the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain’, or is it just me that constantly misquotes it? Probably. So much for that expensive private education and my success in English Literature examinations which included, as it happens, studying Pygmalion. But, as I said in my opening essay, I like to think my education taught me to think, not to remember things. So there you are.
Anyway, I think it is a reasonably well established fact that English people, at home and abroad, like to talk about the weather. A lot.
For the last 52 weeks, each Thursday, I’ve been publishing a chapter in a serial story which I called dark | side | thursday. Each chapter comprised exactly 500 words (and yes, I’ve checked), usually accompanied by a photograph. Well, that story reached its climax today, although actually there was little climactic about it. At various times my story was referred to as Dickensian in scale and even, to my utter delight, a brief comparison was made to the frankly incomparable, in my view at least, Stephen King. I was also variously accused of going round in endless circles and irritating my readers with too much ambiguity, and a scantily clad plot.
The reality is that when I kicked off the project I doubted that it would last a month, never mind be completed and on time to boot. And yes, it was, both. Despite, well, despite a lot.