Living in Spain, warts and all

Posts tagged ‘expats’

‘Perking the Pansies’ by Jack Scott

‘Just imagine the absurdity of two openly gay, recently married, middle-aged, middle class men escaping the liberal sanctuary of anonymous London to relocate to a Muslim country’.

Thus opens Jack’s book and blog, both of the same name and both of which tell of the ecstasies and the agonies of his expatriation with hubby Liam.

The relocation, purely and simply a total kick-back against the chafing demands of predictable office life (and, in Liam’s case, against the personification of furry handcuffs in the form of his boss), was, after some consideration, to Türkiye.

The choice was heavily influenced by Budget, who accompanied them at the negotiating table whenever and wherever. It was Budget who insisted that Turkey would allow Jack and Liam a better chance of fiscal survival than, say, Spain – even though Spain would probably have been the more sensible choice over a Muslim country, albeit a moderate one, for gay men with a propensity to shout, “I am what I am!”

Actually, many of Jack’s challenges did not, in the end, come from Turkish attitudes, although a homophobic murder and the snatching of a small child are of course immensely challenging. No – his biggest source of problems were to be found amongst the expat community. Here, Jack has excelled – he has compiled a whole new lexicon of terms for the various shades of expat. I won’t spoil the fun by naming them, but Jack’s somewhat scary caricatures of expat types are both undeniably spot-on and hilarious.

In fact, most of Jack’s writing is very funny, apart from the few areas of pathos. He observes people pithily, taking no prisoners. But he also writes descriptive passages with mastery, painting landscapes and creating moods excellently.

I thoroughly enjoyed Perking the Pansies – it is one of those books that I was sorry to have finished, and I look forward with immense anticipation to the follow-up.

Nice one, Jack!

 

So much to do, so little brain power

I have reached that age at which I am sprouting.

Not a luxuriant moustache. Not a navel carpet. Not even hairy legs.
No. My eruptions are one layer removed from my body, in that they are occurring in my pockets.

Pieces of paper work their way from every niche in my clothing and float to the floor wherever I am. I have been taken over by listmania.

If it ain’t written down, it’s not getting done.

As an aside, I will also confess to you this: I realised recently that I am also beginning to suffer with that terrible affliction of advancing years – namus forgettimus. This manifested itself suddenly and without warning when I went to summon my poor hubby for coffee recently and he was bewildered to find himself addressed as “Cookie .. Marcos .. Ben .. Jack … JOHN!”

So – the lists.

In my defence, I really do have a plethora of things to do on a daily basis – some of them are quick (or should be, were we not in Spain), others are a little more lengthy and require a hefty time slot of attention.

Yesterday I went forth with a list of seventeen items. These ranged in difficulty from calling at the post office, paying bills and talking to suppliers for the kennels, trying to communicate with the mayor and local television to arm-wrestle them into having a presence at our up-coming open day on 22 April, and going to hospital to book an MRI appointment for my poor mangled thumb, to answering in-depth interview questions for a new book by Debs Jenkins, to be called Secrets of Successful Expats.

Talking of books (and expats), I have also been promising for a while to read and review a few books in the expat genre, since it is transparently close to my heart. Obviously, this sort of undertaking consumes a lot more time than, say, going to the bank sending an internet order for dog bowls; and the task of writing reviews has been a permanent fixture on my brought-forward lists for a few weeks now.

Silly, really – I love to read and do not get a fraction of the opportunity that I would like. Then why have I been dancing round a pile of four scrummy-looking books, studiously looking the other way?

The problem is that when I get into a good book, I cannot piece-read – I devour it until it is all gone, like a giant slab of chocolate. Which means that I generally spend a few days after finishing an absorbing literary offering looking like a pugilistic panda, having read until la madrugada alba (daybreak). It also means that all the piddly little things on my manifold lists get ignored totally, which has not been an option lately, with the multitudinous demands made of me by my revered friends in Town Planning.

Anyhow – the lists (again).

Yesterday my halo was shining brighter than the north star.

I managed to tick off thirteen items from my to-do sheet, including the interview and the entire reading list. Today I feel five kilos lighter.
Now all I have to do is write the reviews …

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