Sunday, 6 May 2007


-‘You don’t see them, nowadays….you ever seen one?’ Frank fires off this question.
Raised eyebrows and a shrug are my answer: I’m half-way down a bottle of San Mig.
- ‘I’m mean not usual, even here, are they?’ Another shot across my bows.
More dumb show from me, I’m still glugging.
- ‘I saw someone…yesterday…. With one of those, you know, the buckets hanging off the wood.’
I bang my bottle on the bar counter: a satisfying ring echoes off the copper. Andreas winks and waggles the empty at me.
- ‘What are you on about..? D’you mean a yoke?’
Frank nods, sagely. I’m still mystified. We’re in the Venta. First time for a month: the toilet block fell down. Even here that means closure: the kitchen fell down too; it’s next door. Or was.
Frank scratches his nose with the stumps of fingers index and two on his left hand.
-‘Yoke, yes! I haven’t seen one of those…Well, it’s been a long time.’
I’ve never seen one – films don’t count- but then Frank’s older than me.
-‘What are they for?’ He wants to know. ‘I mean there must be something more modern, eh?’
-‘I don’t know what,’ I say - since I’ve no idea what they’re for either - and I pick up my second bottle.
The wet cold in my hand is as good as that in my throat. There’s no A/C in the Venta. Only hot air from Frank.
‘I wouldn’t use a hand saw nowadays; not with power tools.’
Some beer comes out of my nose as I almost choke.
Frank has told me over other beers that he used to be a carpenter. He admits to being 65, but - like most Brits in Andalucia – he has taken the words ‘New Life’ a little too literally. I tell a few lies myself, I don’t like feeling left out.
© Ewan Lawrie 2007

Fishing For Compliments

- 'Well...' she began, eyes searching my face, 'What do you think?'
- 'I don't know what to say... no, really.' A safe-ish answer.
- ' Do you like them, though?' Pressing me for some sort of committed answer.
Truth was - I wasn't sure. I had liked the way they were before. I'm no great fan
of artifice. They seemed unreal, especially with her olive skin and dark,sheeny hair.
- ' I think they'll take some getting used to... they're certainly striking.'
She pouted a little.
- 'I did it for you, you know: I know it's what you northern Europeans like...'
Maybe some, not me. She was perfect in her natural state, as different from me as a
fish from a bird.
She was angry now.
'You bastard, you ungrateful English Bastard! They cost me a lot of money!'
I shrugged, it was a lot of fuss about tinted contact lenses.
© Ewan Lawrie 2007

How it is

Inland from the Costa Del Sol, in the cheaper towns - away from the timeshare pirates washed up on the beach - there are other predators. Builders who can't build, plumbers who plumb only the depths of incompetence. Claiming years of experience, they fail to mention in which particular field it has been gained. Sometimes I fantasise about returning to London and setting up as a Hedge Fund Manager; we've all done a bit of gardening here after all.