The following day, Dutch Piet (Pim) and Notorious (Mwenya) arrived at 10am. They took one look at all my furniture still in the cobbled courtyard entrance and, despite the fact that the Dutch are a phlegmatic people, it’s fair to say they were not impressed. Various sofas, beds, desks and so forth. They had assumed all this would have been done, especially when I told them how much I had had to pay, considerably more than what they had agreed with me.
Without any fuss, they phoned a couple of Dutch mates to come and help, and set about bringing everything up. The Spanish guys had claimed it would be impossible to get my sofas around the first narrow corner of the internal staircase. Dutch Piet took a look at it, coolly appraising it, then went to the longest of the sofa-beds and measured it with his outstretched arms. He returned to el rincón and applied his yardstick to the distance from the highest step to the ceiling. “Ach,” he said. “Fucking amateurs. This goes for sure if we up-end it.”
Which is what they did. Once all the furniture was up, he pulled out his toolbox and busied himself with reassembling my furniture, while Notorious tackled my daughter Evie’s rather expensive cast-iron bed. When he’d finished, he came to find me and said, “Huge, I am going to arrange your daughter’s bedroom for her, OK?” and rebuilt her desk, chest of drawers and worked out where he felt everything should go. Such self-starters, great workers and fabulous guys to boot. Proud to call them my friends.
And Jorge came round to check up on progress. He is a delightful young man, and he and his boyfriend live in Mont Olivet, about ten minutes further from the city centre where Inma has her office, a ten-minute walk from mine, so I am really at the halfway point if he takes a slight detour. I have given him keys to my flat so that when I will be overseas, for instance, he can keep an eye on the place.
I took Jorge out for a bite to eat. On Calle de Cádiz, there is a great casa de montaditos. One thing about Jorge is he is very camp and rather histrionic. He likes to exclaim “Oh. My. Jod!” a lot and secretly wants to be a drag queen. When I pointed out that he would need to lose his beard (literally, not like a lavender wedding), that proved to be a deal-breaker. In any case, he simply loved the name of the place – Porque Lo Digo Yo, Because I Say So – and flounced upon down the street saying it muy histriónicamente before I managed to drag (lo siento, Jorge, cariño) him in.
100 Monditos whose USP is that everything costs €1. I am indebted to them for the following:
A Montadito is a staple of the culinary arts from Spain. It is a unique tapa-sized rolls of bread similar to a baguette but wider and with a twist. Each montadito is filled with the best ingredients available, too bad we can’t tell you exactly which ones because it’s a secret. The montadito is a tradition that predates even the sandwich all the way back to the fifteenth century. It’s a time-tested formula distilled to perfection.
100 Montaditos have 20 – count ’em – outlets within the city of Valencia alone. I love them. It is partly why I am enamorado de España. A bunch of friends can get together, go "out, out" for dinner and if they don’t want to drink wine, can have a full evening for €4 or €5. That wouldn’t cover the bread and butter in London…
In any case, the point is, three or four are plenty and as far as I can recall, glasses of wine were 80 centimas, about 70p.
Fuck. Me. Dead. I have found my spiritual Valhalla…