Living in Spain, warts and all

Posts tagged ‘birthday’

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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