Back in the UK once again! Last Wednesday, after the Last Vigo Post, the mist came down in the evening and deprived us if our last spectacular Vigo sunset. Our landlady, who was going to visit us during the evening to finalise accounts, got stuck on a train outside O(u)rense, unable to get any further because a forest fire was preventing trains from getting any further. The poor thing had been travelling from Bilbao since about 9 in the morning and the last we heard was that she expected to reach Vigo at about midnight!!! Quite a journey!! Why, I wonder, did she not fly?
Anyway, we ended up doing our final reckonings and saying our goodbyes by mobile phone. Because we had been waiting to receive a possible late email from our landlady we put off making our last phone call to hat colourful mobile phone company regarding the mobile internet connection until too late. When I finally got through to the relevant department, that office had just closed for the night. Ring again tomorrow after 8 o’ clock. The helpful person who told me to do that assured me that it would be a straightforward matter so I decided to call when we got to the bus station on Thursday morning.
Is anything ever really straightforward? The supposedly direct number I had been given on Wednesday evening was not recognised so once again I went through the rigmarole of typing in our number, confirming, pressing certain numbers, getting new options, pressing more numbers and eventually getting a human being on the end of the line.
Well, I really wish I hadn’t bothered. First she went on about the number of points we had accumulated in our almost 2 years’ use of the mobile broadband. Did we not want to cash them in? We would love to but it meant signing up for a new contract and we were leaving Spain that day, not knowing when we would return. Why didn’t we arrange not to pay anything for 6 months and then start up again? Because we were leaving Spain that day, not knowing when we would return. Did we not want to take up yet another of their wonderful offers? No, because we were leaving Spain that day, not knowing when we would return. Finally she said that there were bits of paperwork to be completed which would take 48 hours. Well, I exploded down the phone. When I tried to cancel in advance I was told it was not possible, I told her, and now she was producing this nonsense about 48 hours!!! There was steam coming out of my ears – and probably out of hers when the words reached her at the other end. Which bit of WE ARE LEAVING TODAY did she not understand? All I wanted was to be disconnected. And eventually she told me that we had been in fact disconnected. Hooray!
It’s a wonder we caught our bus to Oporto airport!! So much for a fond farewell to Vigo! After that, even getting stuck on the M62 near Manchester because of a traffic accident somewhere ahead seemed relatively stress-free. All right, I exaggerate but you know what I mean.
And so we made it back to Greater Manchester, through thunderstorms and torrential rain, even though it had been quite sunny when we arrived in Liverpool. By Friday morning we were seriously missing the blue sky and sunshine of this summer’s Galicia. But the weekend brought some sunshine and Saddleworth, our bit of Greater Manchester, looked rather fine.
Uppermill, the main village, now officially classified as a town was busy when I walked in on Saturday. (How do they decide that somewhere is a town? Is there a population qualification? Or is it the fact that the place has a Big Issue seller outside the local Co-op store?) There were World War II American army jeeps whizzing around, “chaps” in World War II army uniform, ladies in 1940s pinafores with headscarves covering their curlers and others very smartly dressed but in the style of a previous age. A café offered beef and spitfire ale stew on its menu.
What was going on? Now there is a possibility that this was a regular yearly celebration of the end of the war in Japan some 65 years ago. However, there is also a theory that it’s all to do with commemorating the filming of part of the movie “Yanks” in one of the local village centres about 30 years ago.