« Hamburger Heaven, Palm Beach | Main | The Depression Years »

Spanish Secrets: Red Wine And Tapas

"The roads were filthy, buildings were grubby and the countryside dirty. The air was filled with the constant drone of traffic. Peace and quiet was a rapidly fading memory. Like a Lowry painting, people shuffled along the pavement, shoulders hunched and heads lowered...''

Craig Briggs and his wife Melanie pay a brief return visit to England following a family bereavment - and Craig is not the least bit impressed by the crowded island of his birth.

With the plane at a standstill and the seatbelt signs switched off, we wearily hauled ourselves from the discomfort of our low-cost, low-comfort seats and retrieved our hand-luggage from the overhead locker. Clumsily we stumbled along the narrow aisle and headed for the forward exit. Our 3 am start had left us feeling tired and numb.

Our spirits were instantly lifted as we stepped through the curved doorway. Like the comforting embrace of a doting mother, the warm air of a bright Spanish morning greeted our arrival. It was a huge relief to be returning home after a very emotional and stressful visit to England.

A fortnight earlier we received the telephone call we’d been expecting for some time. Melanie’s dad, Geoff Kidd, had entered the final stage of his ten month battle with cancer. Without delay we booked our flight to England. On Wednesday, October 25th, 2006, the day before our arrival in England, Geoff passed away peacefully at home.

Our brief time in England provided a stark contrast to our quiet, peaceful and fulfilling lives in Spain. We flew from Santiago (Saint James) airport to Liverpool’s recently renamed John Lennon airport. A larger-than-life, bronze statue depicts this modern-day icon striding out purposefully. The weather was cold, dull and grey but at least it was dry.

Having left the airport we collected our hire-car from a nearby office. The staff were efficiently courteous, disguising the fact that they’d much rather be elsewhere. Our journey from Liverpool took us along the M62 motorway. In the space of one hour we encountered more vehicles than we had in the previous 12 months. Before reaching Huddersfield, a distance of 60 miles, I’d cleaned the windscreen three times.

The roads were filthy, buildings were grubby and the countryside dirty. The air was filled with the constant drone of traffic. Peace and quiet was a rapidly fading memory. Like a Lowry painting, people shuffled along the pavement, shoulders hunched and heads lowered.

News broadcasts warned of proposed tax rises to save the environment. If this is the environment the government is intent on saving, opposition seems inevitable.

On a cold, dark winter night fiendish ghouls roamed the streets. A greedy knock at the door was followed by a chorus of high pitched, “trick-or treat!” The influence of the United States now extends to indoctrinating the youngest in British society.

Lapdog Britain has political leaders eager to impress their transatlantic masters. These same political leaders now seem intent on bringing an end to bonfire night. I find it ironic that this November tradition celebrates the defeat of extremism and a victory for democracy.

Our life in Spain is influenced more by nature than man. At this time of year the landscape changes on a daily basis. Rustic shades of autumn glow like precious metals in bright sunlight. Our peace and quiet is interrupted by the sound of dry, crispy leaves tumbling through trees. As the leafy canopy thins, a golden carpet covers the countryside.

Fields and pastures are painted with lush vibrant shades of green. Streams and rivers are rejuvenated with sparklingly-fresh rain water and major roads and narrow lanes are quiet and free flowing.

Thankfully, life in his remote corner of Spain wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Personally I prefer a glass of red wine and tapas.

email address
craigandmel@msn.com

Copyright © 2006 Craig Briggs


Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.