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Fun with Mr Pugh

You're going to have to be old and, probably, British to get that reference. Charlie Drake was an unemployed worker and Henry McGee was the official at the local Labour Exchange who, week after week, tried to find him work.

As I only work part time Maggie thought I should go and register as a jobseeker. It seemed like a sensible move - after all there may be more part time work going locally or there may be a better full time job. Chances are slim but there was nothing to lose.

The conversation in the office was a bit surreal. I started with my pat phrase about having difficulty with the language - the woman screwed her face up in an effort to understand me. This was not a good start. I went on to explain my part time teaching job. Her computer showed me as being out of work from my dole registration in Alicante. Not good. She found a way around that, ably assisted by three colleagues who leaned gently, with their hands supporting their body weight, on the back of her chair. She, then they, explained to me that any qualifications I had were almost certainly useless to register as a teacher as they would not be "co-validated" here. Did I want to register as an Administrador (my job title in Alicante)? I explained, as best I could, that was just a device to find a title to put on my last contract and that I'd be useless in a Spanish speaking office. She knew that from our conversation so far. I asked why I couldn't register as being willing and able to work at anything that I was willing and able to do. Whoaa up there sonny, this is Spain, you can't be this today and that tomorrow. "Can I register as a translator then?" "You can but you won't find any work." Not good.

I registered as a translator anyway - "Do you want to be an interpreter too?" - well why the hell not. It took three of them to tick the appropriate box on the computerised registration about my language skills but still the system wasn't having it. "Do you think it needs you to say that the translation is between English and Spanish?" I asked. Smartypants said the looks that came back.

It took a while but I got registered. They were obviously completely nonplussed by me but they were perfectly pleasant, helpful even. It was a very Spanish experience though, an outdated way of doing things and institutionalised assumptions about the people they would be dealing with. As I walked away I glanced at my registration slip - my name today is Christopher John Tgompson. Maybe they had me down as Icelandic?

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Combining my blogs

This blog is now dormant. It records our time in the beautiful city of Ciudad Rodrigo but it's a while since we've lived there. We now spend part of our time in Cartagena, Murcia and a part in Culebrón, Alicante.

If you would like to gave a look at what we're up to now just click on one of the tabs at the top of the page.

That's it

Done. Finished. I'm just about to disconnect the computer and that will be it. We managed to get everything in the cars, tomorrow morning we'll dope up Edu and then all we have to do is to drive across Spain. The Culebrón link below will be in use for the next few weeks before we move on to Cartagena in September. Click on the links below.
So this blog is dead. Ciudad Rodrigo is history. Culebrón for the summer and then Cartagena.
The story continues .......

Missed something else

This morning, as I cleaned my teeth, I heard hooves in the street. I didn't bother to rush out. I took my time, I put on my boots and strolled out to buy fags and a paper. There were signs of horses or mules or donkeys having passed down the street. When I came out of the fag shop I noticed a fair sized crowd by the Fat Tree but the fun was over, the crowd was drifting away and I didn't have my camera anyway.
I've just checked the town web site and it says that The Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Peña de Francia, having been blessed by a local chaplain, set out on a Romeria (a sort of pilgrimage) from the town today heading for one of the highest peaks in the area - the Peña de Francia. They won't get there till Sunday as it's some 50km from here.