Day 8, 11th Jan – “Oh, you’re from Brexit…”

A golden hue back-lit the castle above the lake, and as sunshine started to warm our day, the frost melted off the inside of the windscreen.  A pair of Spanish sparrows bounced in the bush beside the camper window, with collared doves coo-ing from the tree next to that.  

Slowly, slowly, the sun’s warmth softened the night air’s icy bite.  We pottered around, preparing to move on again.  Back to the coast where there’s a little more warmth in the January skies.  Onto pastures new, toward Valencia and then Granada over the next few weeks.

M has our next longer push planned for Peniscola, some 80 miles or so from here. But I can’t face another long drive again just yet, so instead we find Torredembarra which has a launderette outside the main supermarket.   We shop whilst the washing whirs.  

The supermarket staff look tired, there’s three of them dealing with a number of irritable looking OAPs.  The lady serving on ‘my’ till simultaneously scans shopping items, gently answers the queries of an old duck who’s very confused about something on her receipt and keeps coming back for more questions, and deals with a more imperious couple who have an issue with their bill.  

My patchy Spanish picks up the THREE EURO discrepancy.  I’m partly able to capture this because the gentleman repeats the phrase a number of times.  Our cashier gestures to the growing line of waiting customers behind us and continues serving the bloke in front of me.  She’s undaunted by the gentleman’s wife who makes unwavering eye contact with the back of this worker’s head.  If I can feel her glare boring into this determined employee, she cannot be impervious to it, but she resolutely scans through the items and chats to her customers.  I hope she’s getting a reasonable wage for this amount of trouble at 9am in the morning.

Then we wander onto Altofulla which has a tiny boating club and posh club house at the end of the beach.  There’s a flat dolomite parking area and no-one seems to mind us being there.  We take Stan and head away from the conurbation towards another castle along the beach.  It seems you’re not a bonafide village in these parts unless you’ve got your own set of turrets, they’re at each place we pass or spy in the distance.  Coming back to the van we encounter our latest European who wants to talk about Brexit. The conversation normally goes:

“Where are you from?”  

“We’re from England…”

“Oh, you’re from Brexit…”

And then there are questions about whether it will happen or statements about how sad it is.  Today the fellow dog-owner starts such a line of questioning, and then sees our anxious faces.  She stops mid sentence and then simply declares:

 “But you are here now, in Europe for your vacation, so who cares?!”  

We do care, but we’re glad that she dismisses the subject.  We can no more influence it in England than we can from a winter’s beach in sunny Spain.

So, it seems that Brexit is becoming the Brits’ new identity.  The Europeans laugh at us; they are confused.  Some are sad, others incredulous.  M and I are improving our command of the local language so that perhaps, we can ask questions of their lives and steer conversation elsewhere.

Supper was in a tiny tavern, eight tables and not a jot of English spoken, so tonight no-one asked about Britain’s political status… we munched delicious food, M had the very good local beer and I a glass of local vino.  If we didn’t look Spanish, at least we didn’t look “Brexit” for the evening…

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