Springtime. My first Axarquía spring. A year since I came house-hunting in Colmenar. This week my white-van-man brought my final three boxes, some lamps, and the comfy leather chair from mum’s bungalow.
Having got through my first winter I understand more about why Spanish people organise things differently in the cold season and move into a smaller part of their houses. So I’m slowly turning the downstairs bedroom into a study / winter room. I’ve got rid of the twin beds and have put in a lovely metal day-bed, comfortable as a sofa for me to lounge on for reading or writing, and a handy spare bed when needed. The sun streams in all year round, and it’s a room that’s easy to keep warm all day in winter. It’s not finished yet but, as in all things, poco a poco, little by little. That room is my project. The leather chair is perfect in there, and the day-bed is really pretty.
Buying the day-bed didn’t go entirely smoothly. I’d picked one in a Segunda Mano (second-hand shop) and paid for it, arranging delivery for a few days later. Then an hour later I saw a prettier one that I fell in love with in another shop – aaargh! I phoned the owner of the first shop, grovelled and apologised and asked if I could change my mind. He was pleasant, and said I could go straight back that morning and have my money back. Phew! But by the time I got there he too had changed his mind and would only offer me a credit note. By then of course I’d paid for the second day-bed. I argued (it’s by far the best way of improving your language skills!), but got nowhere and left unhappily with the credit note.
A few days later I met up with my Spanish inter-cambio friend (we meet once or twice a week to help each other improve our language skills). He suggested I use the libro de reclamaciones (complaints book) and checked my draft for accuracy. I plucked up my courage and went back to the shop and submitted my first ever hoja de reclamación (complaint form). It’s unlikely to work, because obviously the shop owner is now saying he never offered me the cash refund. Still, as always I turned the experience into an opportunity to practice the language, learning and using different vocabulary in different settings.
Springtime. My first Axarquía spring. The weather is very changeable. The morning walk to the bakery alternates between a sprint in a mackintosh and a glorious languorous stroll bathed in warm sunshine. Slowly unpacking books, putting up hooks and shelves, hanging my print of Zara McQueen’s painting of Castle Hill in Shaftesbury ….. home-making. Thinking about getting the top terrace right. Morning coffee in a bar, reading the Spanish newspaper. Some good beach days. Getting to know the wonderful city of Málaga. Meals in and out with friends. Language practice. Lunch at a chiringuito (beach cafe). An opportunity to think about how retirement might look and feel. Beginning to realise this might be what it looks like.
© Tamara Essex 2013