Saturday, 13 November 2021

Closing down. Reminiscence. Bread problems. Bread recipes.

Yesterday we took another step towards closing this bit of our adventure. Our landlady’s daughter came round to sort out our final arrangements for ending our tenancy on this flat in Vigo. She got quite emotional. It seems a long time since we tramped the streets of Vigo investigating places we might like to spend a part if our lives. Probably the strangest was a little flat at the top of a building on García Barbón street. The main bedroom was in a sort of dome. Had we not had the possibility of grandchildren visiting we might have considered it. But there were too many possible hazards. The prospect of a grandchild plunging over a balcony was too much. Besides it was in a noisy bit of town. We admired it and rejected it. 

And then, we also fancied something with a pool. This one fitted the bill. A quietish end of the city, almost in Teis, with a bit of a balcony - not really for sitting out on but okay for hanging the washing out and looking across the bay at Cangas or out onto the Atlantic to the Islas Cies. And there’s a decent pool in the garden area. So there we were, August 2020, signing a contract for a year, to be renewed semi-automatically unless we decided otherwise. 

All our dealings have been with the landlady’s daughter. They seem to be Galicians who emigrated to Venezuela and then came back with enough money to buy goodness knows how many flats around the city. I’m not sure we ever met the owner, but we have seen her daughter through her pregnancy and have seen and admired photos of her son Antön, now about 4 years old. It seems a long time since we stood in the garden, looking at the pool and deciding to take the flat. 

So she came yesterday morning to do a sort of “inspection” prior to our leaving. She gave me some money back as it seems I had miscalculated and had paid an extra month’s rent - that’s nice. She told me how she had only just realised how big a deposit we had paid - we had no bank account here and so were unable to get a bank guarantee. I think it was a bit of a shock to her to realise that she needed to repay the deposit - about 6 month’s rent! We’ve helped to organise transferring the money to our account as the prospect of carrying large amounts of Euros around is a little daunting. Fingers crossed that that all works. 

She also told me tales of woe: bajos (the ground floor sections of blocks of flats usually reserved for shops,and cafes and the like) that they can’t rent, tenants of bajos who refuse to pay the rent, a flat whose tenant they agreed could sublet one room to a friend and who then went on to sublet to maybe four “friends” and eventually changed the locks and refused to pay the owner any more rent, “occupas” (squatters) causing problems - goodness!  who would be a landlady?

Anyway, we got our bit sorted. We’ve been perfect tenants. No problems at all! And all the stuff we can’t carry away with us - a fan, kitchen equipment, towels, bedding - we can leave bagged up for her cleaning lady to deliver to her church to distribute to the needy! I had feared we would need to clear everything out!

Because she was coming I got up a little earlier than usual and went out to buy bread for breakfast. My usual bakery cum cafe was not yet open so reluctantly I went to one across the road. I’ve been disappointed there before. It’s a bit trendy and would-be upmarket. The first time I went the assistant condescendingly told me a “barra” was a “baguette”. What happened to the customer being always right? Altogether snooty!

On top of everything else their bread bags come with a “recipe”:-

5 cups of love

2 table spoons of happiness and good temper

1 ounce of patience

3 teaspoons of agreement

A pinch of tenderness

Mix with respect. 

Avoid the formation of lumps of arguments and bad temper

Knead the dough with trust and dedication

Bake it and fill it with hugs and kisses. 

All very well, but their bread is hard and dry instead of crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. And besides, a barra artesana costs €1,20 as opposed to just €1 at my normal bakery. 

Today is back to normal.

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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