Living in Spain, warts and all

Posts tagged ‘backache’

The Bitch is Back

Forenote: I did actually write this four days ago. I posted it to my WordPress account (which has mutated somewhat since I last used it), lulled into a false sense of security by the invitation on the front page to make a new post. I typed it, edited it, tweaked and polished it, added a diagram, hit ‘publish now’ and was met with an error message and the complete deletion of all my work.
So I have sulked until now. Sorry.


My excuses for my lamentable lack of productivity of the verbose kind in the last six or so months  are manifold. I shall, for anyone interested, regale you with them now.

1) I have a rather incapacitating herniated L5-S1 disc (lower back) that precludes me sitting in one position for too long;

2) Point (1) has resulted in a plethora of medical appointments and the incalculable amount of time involved in actually trying to procure these appointments.

3) The luxury boarding kennels esPerro, which opened after years of battling with building materials (hence the back) and bureaucracy (hence the attitude), are now fully up and running. This summer I have, therefore, undergone a time-consuming baptism by fire – not only due to the sustained and unnecessarily high temperatures endured in Spain this year, but also as a result of the clamber up the steep learning curve of dog boarding that has resulted in the need for many tweaks in design and the concurrent invention of new swearwords;

4) We have had no rain here for several decades (please note: this changed dramatically on Friday, following my penmanship on Thursday!!) and so I have been obliged to coax and wheedle and point a hose at our garden and crops for inordinate amounts of time that could more profitably be spent elsewhere;

5) Ryanair’s spat(s) with the Spanish aviation authority, together with the usual school holiday price mugging and exacerbated by the UK’s hosting of the Olympics, have conspired to render air fares at such dizzy heights that one is required to sell one’s first-born to afford them. The upshot of which is that John has been here in Spain to assist me practically never.

6) It’s entirely possible that I am a lazy bugger.

All in all, I find myself constantly juggling – my physical bits (to carry out the simplest of tasks, like drive, walk, bend to place dog food at one end of a dog and collect the output at the other, etc) without sending hot daggers of pain shooting through my back and various attached parts, and my time (to take account of feeding and cleaning schedules and medical appointments in far-flung places, all within the framework of the usual crap with which we are all beset). Oh, and the construction of two new websites, the groundwork of a new business initiative, the ongoing beading classes, the promotion of the new edition of Bitten by Spain (the book) plus a new anthology called Forced to Fly 2 (due out in October), of which I am a contributor (the rest of it is very good, though!), the redecoration of much of the house following the earthquake last year and so on and so on….


So writing has been relegated to the bottom of a rather large pile. That’s not to say that I don’t continue to write stuff in my head, as it occurs – that has continued apace. But it hasn’t got any further than that for some considerable time. And, on reflection, it’s probably as well, since a Venn diagram of my mind recently would probably look something like this:

Probably best not released


But as I was lying on the magnetic resonance bed in the Hospital de la Real Piedad in Cehegín at  09:00h this morning (as I have done for the last five days and have yet to do for the next nine) for my rehab (-ilitación – but telling people that I’m in rehab gives me a small amount of twisted  satisfaction), it occurred to me thus:

In common with the other walking wounded in this place, I am a captive audience. I am staring vacantly around at the cool and reassuring duck-egg blue walls, washed by the aseptic glare of harsh white lights which glint off various instruments of torture physiotherapy. I am listening to mind-numbingly tedious radio emanating from a tinny silver globe, punctuated by the occasional squeak from the equipment interspersed with the odd involuntary fart (which hurts my back terribly, in that I am prone and inactive and the fart is not mine, and for some reason other people’s farts are hilarious and I am therefore heavily suppressing the mirth that desperately wants to burst forth at each apologetic little ‘blaaaat’).

Apart from that, I am terminally bored.

But then I realised that I have a notebook and pen in my bag.

Time to write. Tough luck, guys!


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.

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