Living in Spain, warts and all

The Twiglet Zone

If this is a commonly misappropriated term to apply to an area of bizarre occurrences, forgive me. Gill used it today when we met for refreshments and I almost snorted my coffee as it hit my funnybone. So my thanks to Gill for that, and if it’s duly acknowledged then it’s not plagiarism, right?

On the other hand, if it is a phrase that has been generated by the great advertising machine to further the sales of those disgusting crunchy gnarled sticks that are supposed to taste of Mymate, then I apologise in advance of complaints, my defence being that I never (ever) watch television and so am a total ignoramus where such matters are concerned.

The phrase was bandied this morning to label Bullas, la zona de coincidencias (see, you can speak Spanish!)

Gill and Daniel were telling me that they were in one of our favoured local bars recently – The River, so-called because the owner, Ginés, is an ardent Springsteen fan, and even answers to the name Bruce. Bruce’s wife, Marisa, was delighted, if a little surprised, in July to discover that she and Gill share the same birthday (a 1/365 event).

Now I am aware that the rules of probability allow us to apply an equation (which is the sum of probabilities of birthdays not colliding and looks like this: 365! / ((365-n)! * 365^n)  ) to establish that, in a group of twenty-three people, the chance of finding two people with the same birthday is more than fifty percent. So in a bar with a group of customers numbering greater than twenty-three, then this is not especially untoward.

However, when Gill recently told Marisa that Dan’s birthday is coming up on Monday, Marisa was astonished. Apparently it is also Bruce’s birthday on Monday.

Now the probability for both to match up (a 365^2 event) plummets to 1/133,225. Apparently the equation can then be adjusted accordingly for synchronicity and we can establish that it would need a group of four hundred and thirty-one people to have more than a half-chance for this to happen.

Unfortunately for Bruce, he doesn’t have people flocking to his bar in those numbers, despite the attraction of the ever-looping videos of The Boss playing in widescreen. So this is quite a coincidence.

Add it to the fact that Gillian and Carolyn, good friends here, hove from the same part of Scotland and know a good many people back there in common but had never heard of each other before they decided independently to live in this little backwater.

Also that Mike, who has been in Bullas for some eight years, and Nacho (that’s Nigel, misheard by a Spaniard, but the nickname has stuck) who has lived here for just a handful of months, have discovered that they worked in the same field and have a vast array of contacts in common.

And hey, presto! Bullas is the Twiglet zone.

So, I hear you ask (those of you that have managed to hang on in thus far, anyway), what was I doing lounging about drinking coffee at a bar in town this morning, when I have building work to do? Well, let me tell you – I managed to get a lie-in this morning until …  half-past seven! Andreas (the hyperactive whirling dervish on amphetamines) is working elsewhere today and so I didn’t have to drag myself up at some ungodly hour to open up the barn and get set up for another day of forced labour.

Regrettably, the parrots and dogs have become accustomed in the last four weeks to my appearance at around half-six, and so set up, at the expected hour this morning, a cacophony of food-begging noises that even two pillows could not eliminate. Perhaps I was doing it wrong? Perhaps the pillows should have been over their heads, not mine?

I was therefore out of bed earlier than I would otherwise have liked, on my day off.

Still, it is with a great deal of pleasure, and not a little relief, that I am enjoying a sloth-on-valium type of day, in polar contrast to an Andreas day. It’s way beyond welcome, I have to say. My back, always a bit of a weak and pathetic thing, has got to the point, with all this heavy grafting, whereby I can’t even stand up to don a pair of trousers without toppling over. I need to sit down, or perhaps to acquire one of those ‘helping hand’ spring-loaded extension arms for the less articulated.

And please don’t confuse that with ‘articulate’. My gob’s fine.


Comments on: "The Twiglet Zone" (19)

  1. An addendum. OK, now I’m spooked too. Having posted this, I went out to the parrot house to tuck them up for the night, and playing on their radio was ‘Born in the USA’.

    Doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo ….

  2. Shock, horror probe – I did not receive email notice of this new post! I just checked in to say “great interview on Expatcalidocious, insightful and very intelligent” and found it. ´Tis devilry to be sure. On a less satanical note, I wanted to wish you onwards and upwards now you have the permit you needed to build your Animal Kingdom.

    Will now read The Twiglet Zone.

    I apologise for all spelling mistakes here. Being “bilingual” means you can´t spell for toffee. (Toffe, tofeee, teufei). Funnily enough, Expatcalidocious came out fine!

    Defo the Devil!

    • Mo, thank you, hun. I’m sure you are my greatest champion. Which probably says little for your own state of mind and means that, as I myself expect, your beautiful offspring will probably have you committed sooner rather than later x

  3. ¡Ay cariño!, your gob is, as you say, fine!

    As a real Scot who kids on a lot you know what I´m going to ask, don´t you? Och aye, Hamish, from whit pert a Scotland cum yer freeinds Gill and Carolyn? (No, really, tell me please…..).

    I´m not sure if your maths is of the made-up kind, like mayonnaise, but whether it was or not I understood none of it. However, you clearly live in a Twiglet zone of barhopping, savouries-chomping nutters.

    So stick (pardon the pun) with the animals. Watch your back, in more ways than one and look after yourself!

    Mo xxx

    • South Lanarkshire. Gill’s from Lesmahagow – which sounds like a made-up South Park type name if ever I heard one!

      As for maths, I do enjoy my numbers but probability theory left me cold. Other people did the calcs, probably strange Gollum-like creatures with no friends sat in gloomy rooms before flickering computer screens.

      And if that doesn’t bring in the complaints, nothing will!

  4. Omigod, could that really happen? Three meals a day, a TV, somebody to comb my cuatro pelos and a nice pine box sitting in the corner for when it is required? Sounds like heaven to me.

    • Aye. I am more of the ‘sat in a rocking chair on the terrace being fed cuba libres with ice cream through a straw” persuasion – however, I regret that in reality it’s more likely to be the “lying in the río Mula with a rock on my chest” route.

  5. Well I couldn’t possibly challenge your formula. I was hopeless at this kind of thing way back in the seventies when my teachers tried and miserably failed to teach me my times tables. It’s just as well Liam does the books otherwise I’d be broke. Spooky co-incidences. The most we’ve managed is someone Liam went to school with.

  6. You see Deb, Saripondio mi hija and I (or me) (accusative?) are heart-broken at the demise of the Zion Wildlife Gardens, NZ. There´s a Lion Man there called Craig Busch whose felines are now all in danger of being sacrificed since the park has gone into receivership. You are now out Only Hope!

    Really, I´m not taking the piss. We do support your work (as long as you don´t ask us for money till we make some) and admire your love of animals and business plan to house them when their owners can´t. We´re small-scale animal lovers ourselves and we grasp what it takes to do what you´re doing. We just wish you great success and that the nasty neighbour be struck by lightening. See I can´t even spell lightning!

    I look forward to your next post, Mo xxx

    • Think what my neighbour would make of a pride of lions in the barn! Or, better still, what a pride of lions would make of my neighbour! Mincemeat, I would hope.

      I feel I must disabuse you a little, though. While I live in a house and immediate surrounds that are given over to the onward care of the otherwise rejected, the kennels are designed to be a temporary service for absent owners only, and I’m hoping I can eke a living out of parting them concurrently from their money on a permanent basis.

      This is because I would rot in a garret if I depended on royalties from the book for survival.

      So I don’t want you to think that I am full of lofty altruism on that score, much as I love to bathe in your admiration (if not in your donations).


  7. Lesmahagow is the Scottish version of Bullas. Just with less sun. A lot less sun…………..

  8. Gill n me got the extra toes removed at an early age

  9. . . . you pinched it from Steven Hawkins website – go on, admit it! As for parrots po-going to The Boss, well, that just beggers belief; whoever saw a parrot bobbing up and down like this, or that? In the best traditions of the ‘Eye’, I shall not be cancelling my subscription.

    • I shall go forthwith to said website to check your hurtful allegations!

      I have lots of footage of parrots getting on down to the beat – I’ll share some of it with you some time.

      I applaud your decision to perpetuate your venerable subscription. But (almost) in the words of the ‘Eye’, for the serious stuff you’ll just have to buy the book.

  10. It would be great to be able to feed the neighbour to a pride of lions, though his personal venom might make them throw up.

    You are, of course, right about the alcohol required during commital though mine would be Rueda white wine.

    As for Lesmahagow I´ve heard of it though I´m not sure if I´ve ever passed through. What with Scotland being such a huge country I just can´t be expected to get to all of it.

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