Patch, His Pack, and Dear Old Reg

Patch, His Pack, and Dear Old Reg

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When a disenchanted English couple, searching for adventure in a foreign land, find themselves living in the qDust Bowlq of AndalucAsa, they realise that life is not quite what they expected! This is the story of how Jim, Chris, and their trusty canine Patch, move abroad on a shoestring, and find themselves residing in an unexpectedly magnificent marble-decked duplex overlooking one of the town's main squares. They encounter armies of Solar Soldiers that rub shoulders with members of the local Blu Klux Klan. They find themselves living amongst people whose word-swallowing gobbledegook is considered the official local language, and Smurfs can be seen at roundabouts, dancing gaily with buckets in their hands. They find a land where battalions of Top Gun swifts and house martins fly in protective formation over a monument dedicated ostensibly to a phallus, around which cardboard-touting geriatrics perform their unceasing daily rituals of Banter and Barter. This Land That Time Forgot, which is home to nearly 14, 000 lost souls, engages in a plethora of bizarre religious processions, and armies of chattering, curler-headed women armed with buckets and mops, passionately scrub the pavements daily. Our hapless couple encounter temperatures that soar to the high 40's, even in springtime, when the streets lined with orange and lemon trees exude a pungent, heady perfume that both ameliorates and intoxicates. They frequently pause to wonder in amazement at what lies behind the myriad closed doors and shuttered, grilled windows of this raucous, bustling town of contradictions. They are both astounded and discombobulated in equal measure! From the high viewpoint of their flat which overlooks the square, they are able to study in depth the local people and their rituals, both religious and otherwise. Over time they find that the town accommodates a number of colourful local characters, such as the friendly local drunk, who spends his evenings sitting on an upturned crate at the edge of the square, singing entrancing Arabic songs at the top of his voice, accompanied by a rhythmic drumming of his fingers on the crate. The story is told from a light-hearted, occasionally cynical but always irreverent, viewpoint, and covers the humongous lifestyle change that is gradually, but inexorably, forced upon the somewhat naive couple and their cherished pooch. Chris flies out to Seville, in order to commence her new job as primary school teacher at the local bilingual school, whilst Jim navigates the beautiful but arduous 2, 000 km drive from Portsmouth to Pilas in their trusty but geriatric rust-bucket of a car. The drive itself is never going to be easy, as, accompanying Jim in their aged qNoddyq car is their flatulent geriatric collie, Patch, who is to have great difficulty later acclimatising to both the intensely hot weather and the marble stairs and flooring in the flat. Rarely a week goes by without some form of late-night, ear-splitting procession taking place through the cobbled streets. Their mental state becomes increasingly confused due to a variety of factors, including a required change to a predominantly fish-based diet, and huge alterations to their daily routine, in order to fit in with the local schedule, which is based around the rapidly climbing temperatures of the day. Every day brings about its own challenges, and none are more frustrating and simply ludicrous than those of the Spanish bureaucratic process they encounter when applying for residency status and the ensuing NIE application that they hope will make them bona fide Spanish citizens! They learn, through mistake, not to walk outside along the cobbled streets in the rain, or even for half an hour after the precipitation abates, due to the strategically-placed rooftop water cannons that masquerade as sawn-off downpipes. They experience fantastic culinary delicacies that both look and taste heavenly, and rewrite the book on BBQ foods. Their two daughters, both inquisitive about their parents' choice of emigration location, make individual trips out to stay with them, and both reach the same conclusion: their qrentsq are simply bonkers! A fact which Jim and Chris take on board with aplomb! Scary encounters with slavering locals who believe that Patch, the ageing Border Collie, should be muzzled at all times when in the vicinity of any humans, don't, however, deter the determined couple. Neither do excruciating but ultimately rewarding visits to the local doctor and garage mechanic. Chris, the more experienced linguist of the two, manages to make herself generally understood in most situations, employing the use of multiple languages in single sentences, but her less well philologically-endowed husband finds himself in unbelievably comical, but potentially serious situations with an eclectic group of people, including pharmacists, cafe owners and qwide boyq second-hand car dealers. Various excursions into local towns and the countryside help to maintain an almost acceptable level of sanity for the couple, however, and on occasion they stumble into what can only be termed as qnear-heavenlyq experiences. The Donana National Park, the Plaza de Espana in Seville, the first taste of qchocolate y churrosq and qrealq gazpacho, and the Corpus Christi procession that takes place in Pilas are to be named amongst such moments. On recommendation the couple decide to explore El Rocio, a dusty town that could be described as qthe Dodge Cityq of Spain, where groups of men riding horses take beer and tapas at one of the local cafes, still seated upon their trusty steeds, and the roads are genuinely all sand/dust, where four-wheel drives are a must, and hitching posts are strategically placed at the front of each of the single-storey timbered houses. Jim and Chris find that driving throughout AndalucAsa is slower than expected, due to the vast expanse of land to be covered, and have to hastily adjust their expectations when travelling. This, coupled with the fact that available maps are consequentially drawn up to quite a large scale, means that travel without a SATNAV brings about some truly interesting situations, such as the day they get lost in the Donana National Park, and being without SATNAV, but with a rapidly-emptying fuel tank, chancing upon an unplanned route thankfully permits the weary travellers to leave the qback of beyondq and re-enter civilisation, where a much-needed fuel stop for both car an occupants elicits huge sighs of relief from the grateful travellers. Unsurprisingly, the trio soon find the stultifying effects of life in the hub of the town too much to bear, having previously been used to a more rural life in the UK, and so commence searching for a more appropriate residence. However, their goals become increasingly difficult to attain, and after a couple of months' searching to no avail, they realise that their qperfect placeq would be a single-storey dwelling located in a reasonably-sized plot of land, in the country, where access to the road network and shops would be only a few minutes away. They needed a summer house! The type of property that would be rented out in the summer months, and would most likely even have a small swimming pool! They finally find one, but unfortunately have to wait until the current tenants depart at the end of the summer period, and so an interminable wait ensues. Meanwhile, they continue to live their lives, consisting of an eclectic mix of the ridiculous, the extreme, the conflicting and even the downright bizarre, in that weird and wonderful AndalucAsan town, known as Pilas!BUYING A SECOND HAND CAR Ita#39;s time to find a sibling for our little RReg Corsa. ... sunroof and winding down eachof the windows (you see, it does have one, itjust involves a lot of manual work thatmakes you sweaty before you start) wasna#39;tanbsp;...

Title:Patch, His Pack, and Dear Old Reg
Author:Jim Tickner
Publisher:Jim Tickner - 2014-01-25


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