Here will be donkeys

Oh such a lovely day!  The first of five days away from school, and I have decided to spend all my five days in Elca Seriu. Just appreciating it.  Being here.  Reflecting on how I got here.  And giving thanks.   My main effort at the moment is going into preparing the little plot of land for the donkeys, and today I cleared the space where their shed will go: the Donkey house.

Why the contrasting photos?  Last week, I had to go to the Hacienda, the government office for taxes.  I cycled back to school past the beach afterwards.  I have only occasionally been to the Benidrome since arriving here.

It is a strange world of northern Europeans tasting the Mediterranean, but needing their own “culture” around them: British pubs with karaoke, Norwegian bars with Norwegian tapas… (No, don’t even think about it.  Herrings probably.) And everything under the watchful business eye of the Russian mafia.

The beach in the Benidrome was empty.  All the tourists have gone.  I sat on a bench admiring the strange spectacle of a place which was once a fishing village. When I came through here in 1975 on a tandem with the girlfriend who would later be my wife, there were just two or three tower blocks.  We stopped at one of the two English pubs, and we had a pint of Watneys Red Barrel.  It was a diversion from a cycle tour of Spain (the real Spain)  and we laughed at the strange English enclave of the Benidrome.  We finished our pint of Watneys wand we cycled out.

As we pushed on the pedals, going uphill out of the Benidrome, some wag shouted: “Can you ride tandem?” (It was a catch-phrase in a PG Tips advert of that period.)  I could never have imagined I would return more than thirty years later, to live here; but the total contrast between my little rented farm, Elca Seriu – with its misplaced spacing of the ceramic name tiles – and the Benidrome a short cycle ride away, Blackpool-by-the-Mediterranean , is impressive.

There is one advantage of being so close to that holiday horror resort: I can buy PG Tips quite easily.  And sausages, bacon, Marmite, and anything you might find in an English supermarket…  Then hurry back to the peace of Elca Seriu where I am preparing a little home to make two donkeys very happy.



About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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3 Responses to Here will be donkeys

  1. damagedjock says:

    marmite?…..yuk!!…poor donkeys.

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Poor donkeys? I have been planting seedling carrots: dozens of them! All for donkeys when they arrive in three months time. My back aches. I’m sure you could train donkeys to pull up their own carrots; but they would be pretty useless at planting the seedlings.

  3. I came in at the bit of the contrasting photos when you went to hacienda last week. I’m also old enough to remember the tea advert including the ‘do you ride tandem’. An a bit literature out attempting to exolain Pinter’s birthday to some friende last night. The ws a whole bottle of Rioja job that one was. Well, that’s my excuse anyway!
    Cheers, Steve.

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