Monday, 13 July 2015

Running. Water. Height. Modern life.

This morning I ran again, for the first time in about two weeks. Ever since we left Sanxenxo, in fact. 

At our friend Colin's in Poio, I did not run but walked down the hill to buy bread for breakfast and back up again, hoping against hope that the door to the garden remained open so that I did not have to take the longer route round by the road. On both occasions I was lucky. The gardener did tell me something about a code to open the gate but as I could see no kind of keypad into which to put a code I remained mystified. Perhaps he was making some kind of Spanish joke. 

Back in England for babysitting duties, somehow I did not organise myself for running. It might have involved running with the small dog. A run too far for me. And then I returned from England with a cold. I cannot actually blame England because my throat was already prickling when I stayed overnight in Porto a Spanish summer cold then! But running while coughing and sneezing is not to be recommended. 

Anyway, this morning I finally felt ready to run once more: down the road, up the hill, round the back, down to the breadshop, for a weather consultation, and home. Home, this time, to a cold shower. This was not from any crazy Spartan philosophy of good health. One result of the water pipes investigation at the end of last week was the discovery that our water heating boiler is faulty. The pressure is too high and, if left switched on, it wastes up to a litre of water per day. Water which we pay for. Looking at the water bills, this seems to be a very recent problem, fortunately. However, the immediate solution, while our landlady decides whether it is more economical to do a rather costly repair or replace the boiler, has been to switch it off and show us how to operate the switch mechanism. This involves clambering up and reaching behind the fridge-freezer, which is one of the things - along with reaching stuff from high cupboards, getting out and putting away stuff on the top shelf of the wardrobe - for which I am just a little too short. 

I have often thought that it would be useful to be an inch or two taller. It is not that I am excessively short but a little extra height could be useful. While I worked in Salford I was, unusually, regarded as very tall. I decided that everyone there must see the world differently from the rest of us. Possibly as a result of having a low average height! 

That, then, is how I came to have a Spartan cold shower this morning. I

It has nothing to do with austerity measures either. On the other hand the man I saw toting his shoe-shine kit around the port area the other day may well have been motivated by such things. At one time the "limpiabotas" was such a regular feature of the Spanish street scene that school text books for teaching the language in England did not fail to include one. Gentlemen standing at the bar would be approached by a chap with a wooden box containing the shoe cleaning kit and could have their shoes polished while they drank their coffee. Mostly those who offer the service have disappeared. Perhaps people clean their shoes less than they used to. Shoe shop assistants are certainly less assiduous in selling you polish than they used to be. But there he was the other day, the "limpiabotas" with the standard traditional box. Hard times lead to desperate measures. 

 And finally pedestrian crossings. You really need to catch the driver's eye to be sure it is safe to cross. This does not always work, however. Sometimes they look you straight in the eye, smile, give a cheerful wave and continue. The wave presumably to thank you for letting them go. Modern life!

No comments:

Post a Comment