Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

Whingeing Poms

July 22, 2008

“POM”; derived from the word “Pommy”, first invented by the Australians. “Whingeing Pom” was then developed. I can finally understand what this means.


At 47 years old I emigrated to Costal del Sol 14 months ago. I knew no one, could not speak the language, came by myself (looking for adventure and some more challenges in my life and to get away from The Right Honourable Tony Blair) and settled on living in a Spanish village approximately 30 minutes from the coast. I have never got on with weak, wimpy types who have no guts nor sense of pride in themselves. People who have no “backbone” or who worry all the time and act like victims have never had any sympathy from me. All my friends in the UK are tough, positive minded people who are also down to earth animal lovers. In turn that creates a strong “work hard, play hard” attitude. They have all had to cope with death and tragedies and they have coped not crumbled. It is stiff upper lip and get on with life. My family is also strong and have been able to cope with everything that has been thrown at them so I have never really socialised with any other type of person until now.




I was fortunate because of getting work in Spain and playing tennis led me to immediately meeting new people and those initial people I met were British. It is interesting how relationships start and build in a foreign country where language barriers are a problem. They start with a common interest and that could be as broad as speaking the same language. If you can find another general interest also, you are in luck. With my tennis interests, of course I had an immediate bond with British people who played tennis. But after this initial introduction we all start to get to know each other a little better and this is where the problems can occur. I can honestly say I have NEVER met so many moaners and whingers in my life from the British contingency. I have also realised they enjoy it because suggestions and solutions are easily dismissed. They love being victims!


Ongoing whingers are my neighbours, Simon and Penny. Remember how a relationship is formed, we met each other casually, started to chat and had a few common interests. The friendship developed and then the moaning commenced. They sold their farm in the UK and came here with cash to buy a plot of land and have a villa built. That was 18 months ago. They are in their 50s. They are still waiting for planning permission and I admire their tenacity but they are bored. They do nothing. Penny will not drive a manual car (Simon has a manual). Penny wants to go back to the UK for a few days but will not go in case someone needs her to sign something. Penny loves dogs but will not go to any of the many dog charities to help because she has not got a manual car. Penny loves tennis but will not play because it is too hot. Penny loves tomato juice but will not buy any because it goes off too quickly. Penny loves the small tomatoes I buy but will not buy any because they are 5 cents more than the bruised ones she buys. Simon will not have Spanish lessons in case he does not stay in Spain but then complains that he cannot understand the Spanish. Through boredom they decided to go to Gibraltar for the day. Before they went they told me the traffic would be awful, the prices are no cheaper for electrical items and every time they had been before they had never had a good meal. I enquired politely why they were going?


To continue, I took them to tennis recently to help their boredom. Penny claimed the high bar stools were too uncomfortable. When I suggested she sit on the low, lounge stools she moaned that they were in the sun. My final solution to her was to move them into the shade. It really is not difficult is it?                                                

The heat seems to be a great one to whinge about. I met a lady in the restaurant at a golf club in May. She was the colour of a lobster so obviously on holiday. She immediately complained to me about the heat. Well why didn’t she book to go to Iceland instead? Surely May and Southern Spain means heat?


I was in a shop recently when an English lady came rushing in. She immediately launched into a major whinge about the heat and even threatened other customers with returning to the UK! I just politely asked why she didn’t do just that.


I met a man from England at tennis several weeks ago. He was playing tennis but started to complain to me about the heat and how awful it was. Once again, politely, I questioned him as to why he was playing tennis in the first place? Someone else complained that because of the heat they had a headache. I offered my solution; wear a cap. But you see they do not want solutions, they only want to whinge and get sympathy.


Actually tennis is a good place to find the whingers. I have just set up and now run a ladies tennis group. We have been going for several weeks and whilst I have a mix of nationalities, the Brits have started. Only whispers and sulks about how competitive it is and how high the standard is. So the solution, don’t play in the ladies tennis group. It is not difficult is it?


One of the people I met when I first moved out here was Angela. Our common interests were; we both spoke English and we were working for the same company. The similarities stopped there. She was happy to complain about anyone who did not have immaculate teeth but was also happy to wear low cut tops with no bra and “flash” at any opportunity. I was driving her into town 1 day and a Spanish taxi driver, who was parked as I was driving past suddenly pulled out in front of me whilst his indicator was flashing that he was still parking. Angela let loose with verbal abuse and stated how much she hated the Spanish drivers, how inconsiderate and dangerous they were. I asked if she had never made a driving error during her life but of course she had not. Ever since I have known Angela, she has permanently moaned.


I have met a very pleasant British couple out here who are really good fun. But they love to act like victims.


When, recently, I asked if they were going to buy a second hand car or a property they replied by saying, “No. All the Spanish are crooks, they rip people off, and they can not be trusted.” When I pushed them to establish the real problem; after 30 minutes it came down to they could not speak the language nor did they understand the system. Well that is not really the fault of the Spanish is it?


I read in a local paper in the letter’s section, of a British lawyer complaining about the nursery schools here. She stated that the ratio of children to teachers was not only poor but against some or other European policy and she was prepared to take legal action if necessary. Once again my request to her would be go back to the UK if she does not like things here. Don’t spoil it for the rest of us.


A lady I do some work for has whinged recently about:

a) The Spanish building too close to her

b) The Spanish building in front of what was a sea view when people bought their properties

c) The Spanish attitude to work

d) The Spanish music concerts

e) The Spanish tennis clubs and level of tennis

As she so intensely dislikes the Spanish perhaps she should also go back to the UK


An English girl was whingeing to me about how expensive powdered baby milk was. I enquired if many Spanish women bottle-feed and once the answer that came back was, “no” I told her then that was why. Supply and demand. Simple isn’t it? She also complained about how rude the Spanish were. Well the Spanish do not say “please” and “thank you” very often because the construction of their verbs and intonation include these words. Perhaps the British should make the effort to find this out and not think we are always right.


I think the best whinge I have heard recently is as follows. Jim wants the whole of Spanish TV programming changed and siestas cancelled because according to him:

 Research has shown that the Spanish work longer hours than many other European Countries but production is less. In his opinion this is due to siestas,


“How can anyone go back to work in the late afternoon and then they stay up late watching television so they are always lazy and tired.” Please, someone give me strength.


So I have made a decision. In future I am only going to mix and socialise with non British (even though I cannot communicate with them in their native language) and enjoy the positive attitude of foreigners.


Ironically, by writing this article I have been a whingeing pom complaining about the whingeing poms so have turned into a “whingeing Pom”.


Buster My Friend

July 22, 2008

AT the time I had no pets of my own. One steaming hot summer’s day I was sitting watching television. All the windows were wide open and I was wearing the shortest pair of shorts that I owned to try and keep cool.


I jumped out of my skin. My heart raced for minutes. Something soft and furry had brushed past my bare legs. When you are not expecting this, the shock is enormous.


I looked around the room and saw a small, very hairy, black and white kitten wandering quite contently around my lounge. He must have come in through the window.


He was very friendly and I stroked him for a while. I had no idea where he had come from. After about an hour he nonchalantly left and I did not see him again for days.


He certainly enjoyed scaring me. I was fast asleep in bed, the windows were wide open and suddenly I woke up, again jumping out of my skin. This furry ball of kitten was now rubbing himself against my cheek and purring very loudly. He had come in through my bedroom window. He happily settled down next to me on the bed and slept heavily for a few hours before leaving.




I had new neighbours who I had never met and occasionally I heard them call out, “Buster” so I presumed he belonged to them. I was worried though because both our cottages were on a busy, main road. That was the reason I had no pets. I thought the road was much too dangerous for dogs or cats.


Every few days Buster would come and visit. If I were gardening he would play around me and get up to all sorts of mischief. If I were in the house he would just come and lie on top of me, purring madly all the time. If he was not sleeping on top of me, his favourite game was to hide in the bottom tray of my vegetable rack and when I found him he would just roll over onto his back for a tummy rub.


I didn’t feed him. He just seemed comfortable with me. Whilst I am an animal lover, cats are not my favourite animals, but Buster was just a great, little character and I was beginning to grow quite fond of him.


Another cause for a major heart attack was when Buster landed on my bed at some ungodly hour one night with a friend! His friend was a tiny, tabby kitten who was very nervous and wary but it seemed that Buster had persuaded him that things were good at this house.




I didn’t feed them. They both visited when they wanted. Sometimes I would not see them for days on end but sometimes they were with me for hours every day. I could only assume that the both belonged to my neighbours.


One night they woke me, not coming in through the window and just sleeping on my bed with me but meowing loudly at the back door. I opened the door and they both rushed in, passing non-stop and looking at the fridge. This was strange as they had never done this before. I knew my neighbours were away as they were not making the usual racket that they normally did. I could not believe they had left these beautiful kittens without food or water. This was the only time I fed them.


After a few months, the tabby kitten stopped visiting. I never knew what happened to him. Buster continued to visit and spend more and more time with me. I really was becoming very fond of him. He must have enjoyed the company and attention more than anything because he had no other reason to come to me. In the evenings he would just lie with me on the sofa, snoring and at night he curled up against me on the bed, snoring!


He then stopped visiting. I would call him, look for him in his favourite hiding places but he was nowhere to be found.




After about a week I went out for a walk on the main road and there on the pavement was Buster’s tiny little corpse.


“Oh my god,” I realised, he had been run over! He was stiff with rigor mortis as I picked him up. I carried him carefully to my neighbours and said angrily, “I presume this belongs to you!”


They just looked at Buster and me and said, “Oh, ok thanks,” and took him from me. They didn’t seem to be upset at all. I was so upset and cross.


People like my neighbours do not deserve to have pets.


Even now, writing this story I get upset as I remember Buster but I would like to think, in his short life, he had a happy time with me. I know I had a wonderful time with him. He was a special, little kitten.