Here’s the thing.
I swore that this weekend I was going to put aside all the irritations that have dogged me throughout the course of the creation of esPerro, our residencia canina de lujo, whose job it is to change our lives this year and bring John to live here permanently so that I no longer have to be a Part-Time Wife.
I planned to write a fluffy little post about new-born lambs, spring blossoms, the industry of bees and the next fiesta.
Then I went to the oficina técnica this morning.
The reason for the trip is that, although I went in on the second of March and submitted the large sheaf of papers required to request the inspection of works so that we can perhaps sidle a little closer to the issuing of the licencia de apertura, I have heard nothing more from them in the intervening two weeks.
I turned up at reception at just shy of nine o’clock of the morning, my reasoning being that at that time surely no-one would yet be at their almuerzo (mid-morning breakfast, usually a half-hour time slot somewhere between ten and half-eleven, and always chosen to coincide with my need to speak to the breakfaster). No-one was in sight, even though the receptionist’s coat and bag were slung over the back of her chair.
So I made myself comfortable in the waiting area … and waited.
Around half an hour later the receptionist emerged from a room half-way down one of the corridors off the reception area. She flopped into her chair, dropping a thick sheaf of papers onto her desk and sighed. Then she drew her mobile phone from a pocket in her cardigan and began to compose a text message, oblivious to my presence.
I cleared my throat loudly and she nearly went through the roof. Registering that it was me, she grabbed her desk phone and punched a number. “Deborah is here,” she pronounced, as though my visit was anticipated and, furthermore, with dread.
“Please wait just a moment,” she then passed the message to me.
A further thirty minutes later, I was beckoned into an office to face an official gazing at me across his desk over steepled fingers. “Yes?” he asked, in the tone of a man who had spent the last half hour in a meeting at which a tiresome task was allocated by the pulling of straws.
I told him I wanted a progress update – that I am now about to complete my third month of paying my social security contribution without yet being able to earn a penny.
He sighed loudly, as if I was trying his patience. “Deborah, you need to submit your fin de obras (end of works) certificate before we can inspect and consider issuing your licence.”
“Señor,” I replied scathingly, “That was submitted two weeks ago. Here is my copy of the solicitud, captured at the ayuntamiento desk on second March at 09:15 hours.” (You smug bastard).
He sat up then. “Show me!” he exclaimed. “But I haven’t seen this!” He started rifling ineffectively through the stacks of files on his desk. “No,” he proclaimed. “It is certainly not here!”
Then he jumped up and hurried from the room with my proof, muttering about taking a copy.
When he returned, he told me graciously that he would try to arrange a final inspection within a week, hopefully to coincide with the report regarding the sound tests.
I asked why the licence could not be issued now, in line with the new government initiative being piloted in the Murcia region this month that allows the opening of a business to be expedited, with paperwork to follow. I was informed loftily that it wasn’t applicable to Bullas. An autonomous region within an autonomous region, huh? More likely that they haven’t found the piece of paper informing them of this initiative amongst the piles of pending files on their desk, since they appear unable to find their arse with both hands.
By the way, my proof of submission, along with all other communication from the town hall, comes with a big banner headline that says Iltmo. Ayuntamiento de Bullas
Iltmo. is apparently an abbreviation of ilustrísimo (illustrious). I regret that the word that sprang to my mind, and, I feel, probably always will, was iligítimo.
OK, I’ll try to be fluffy next time …