Tuesday, 2 April 2013

At last.

Well, finally it feels as though we’ve arrived properly. 

Supermarket shop done! Everyone and their grandmothers were there this morning, making up for not being able to shop yesterday. Prices seem to me to be creeping up to UK levels but there are still differences. You bag and weigh your own fruit and veg and stick a price label on. The meat and fish counters are more extensive here; people still like to choose their own lump of meat. Even the pre-packed stuff contains different cuts of meat so on. 

I did the supermarket shop before breakfast. I left the flat with the sun shining through the window. By the time I got to street level it was pouring with rain. Fortunately the supermarket is just next door so I didn’t have far to run. By the time I emerged the sun was out again. The cleaning lady in the entrance commented that it’s time the rain stopped properly now. “Parecemos peces”, she told me – we are like fish. Maybe she worked a charm on it as the rest of the day has been pleasantly warm. Long may it continue. 

We managed to do the other stuff on our list as well. First recharging the dongle so we have internet in the flat. As Patricia, our regular Vodafone shop assistant, was waiting for confirmation of our reload she remarked that we still had about €12 in our account. Now, the way this thing works is that you buy the dongle with a month’s worth of credit on it. Once you’ve used your gigabyte or the month has elapsed, you need to reload it. Usually we go for the one month/one gigabyte option, notionally priced at €19. Then they add IVA (VAT) which bumps the price up to €22.something and inform you that the system needs to round it up to €25. Now it appears that each time we have done this the system has been storing up €2.something worth of internet. If we just use it as it is, we will pay at a higher rate. However, if we remind Patricia of this the next time we charge the dongle she can fix it so that it goes towards our month’s supply. I understand NONE of this!!! 

Reloading the mobile phones with Telefónica was a piece of cake!!! 

At MediaMarkt we bought 2 gadgets only to discover that one, a cable to link something to the computer, has in fact the wrong kind of USB. Who knew? Not me. I thought there was only one kind. It just shows how much I know. And then, Phil-the-computer-genius discovered that if he disconnects my mobile phone charger (the English smartphone not the Spanish basic phone) from its plug, he can use that as the connector he needs. 

After all our busy shopping we ended up eating out once again, this time at a place we know half way between the port and the town centre that does a perfectly good menú del día for a reasonable price. 

An elderly lady was dining alone there, slowly working her way through “merluza a la romana”. We’ve seen her there several times before and the staff always make a fuss of her. At one point she had a coughing fit. All the staff rallied round to make her feel better. She probably lives just round the corner. It’s something that really works in this society and I think it’s great. If she failed to turn up, someone would worry and go and find out what had happened to her. 

If they do finally reduce the lunch hour for workers, as threatened, so that people no longer have time to patronise little restaurants like this one and end up eating a mournful sandwich at their desk, some/many of these places will close. A little bit of the caring community will probably get lost in the process. Collateral damage?

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