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Things I do in Spain that I never did (and probably never will) in the UK

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 11th Mar 2011

1.) Shop in LIDL - Why does shopping at the likes of Aldi, LIDL or Netto have such a social stigma attached to it in the UK ? People seem ashamed to admit that they shop there. To be fair, in the UK there are other Supermarket chains that I would shop in way ahead of any of those 3, but over here they deffinately have their place and are an important part of the weekly shop.

2.) Keep my Toddler up until Midnight - Bedtime at 7pm sharp, regardless of whether its Summer or Winter, weekend or a weeknight - got to stick to that routine! - No harm at all in an early night, but (especially in the summer months) its nice to be able to stay up late when it is cooler and have a glass of wine in the park at midnight, or go out for a late meal - and better still, everybody does it, so you don't feel like a bad parent that is being stared at. I wouldn't try it in my local park or Berni Inn back in the UK though...

3.) Grow my Own vegetables - I have a 2000 sq mt Garden with Olives, Figs, Almonds, Pomegranets, Oranges and Lemons already - mights aswell plant a few tomatoes and onions to go with it - everything else seems to do well with little by the way of input from me.

4.) Get involved in the community - I suppose Having Kids at the local school makes it difficult not to get involved in some way with all the Fiestas etc...

5.) Drink wine at lunchtime - The old 'no drink before 5pm' rule in the UK seems pointless. I've had a brandy with my breakfast coffee on an odd occassion - It didn't kill me.

6.) DIY & Gardening - Not quite sure if this came about from curiosity, necessity or desire. Either way, we do more bits and peices around our house in Spain than we ever did in the UK. It still hasn't fallen down.

7.) Let Strangers hug /talk to / give sweets to my child - Partly because it's embedded in the culture here in Spain. I can't take my daughter into a family run shop without them wanting to give her something, or take her from my arms whilst I shop in peace.

8.) Park anywhere - after years of living here I have finally realised that the black and white stripy thing going across the middle of a road is an emergency parking zone, and not for helping pedestrians to cross the road as I once thought.

9.) Say hello to random strangers - It's not unusual to say 'Hola' or 'Buenas' to anyone as you pass them by in the streets. I forgot myself once on my last trip back to the UK and said 'Hello' to someone. I think they thought that I was going to try and sell them a Big Issue.

10.) Kiss aquaintances - It's just the done thing over here - when in Rome and all that. Try it in the UK and at least one person will get all 'personal-space-ish' on you. So I just don't bother.

11.) Buy food from the boot of a car - It is by no means unusual to see a group of old men sat by their car boots selling whatever they have picked from their allotments that day in a kind of Impromptu market. A bit of spending money for them while they sit and play cards with their mates.

12.) Ignore my Indicators - Let's be honest actually USING your indicators here in Spain is likely to cause more confusion than by NOT using them. As is giving right of way to another car when you don't have to. They just stare at you like you are mad.

13.) Drink Chupitos - I usually make it a personal rule never to drink anything luminous or looks like it would double up as a good toilet bleach. But you can't avoid the countless free chupitos - Shots of alcohol - given to you after a meal or round of drinks, and you can't offend your host by refusing them.

...Any more ?...

Comment on this Blog

Expect everything to go pear-shaped when dealing with any public authority ... ?
Robster - Sat, 15th Sep 2012
I read far more than I ever did when I lived in the UK, quite possibly due to having fewer distractions here in Spain.
Sally Gordon - Fri, 15th Jun 2012
Use the word 'Conyo' in conversation without thinking it inappropriate, or blushing.
Andy Capp - Fri, 20th May 2011
The more I catch up with your blog archives the more I think i need to make the "proper" move!!
Sam - Thu, 19th May 2011
14.) Swear like a trooper. But that's because I live in Bilbao and it is a feature of the local vernacular to defecate on various personages and allege lascivious professions and cuckolded states of one's closest friends and even inlaws. 15.) Help my food onto the fork with a chunk of bread instead of a knife When I lapse into this in Britain (usually not possible as good bread is so hard to come by and rarely served with meals) I am stared at as if I'd grown another head. 16.) Throw rubbish on the floor with abandon. Admittedly I don't do this in the street, but the floor of a bar is always fair game - the muckier the flor, the better the food, so they say! - and there aren't any ashtrays any more! 17.) Wipe my mouth at regular intervals - and especially before drinking from a glass - with the obligatory serviette. It's not that I don't do this in Britain - it's that napkins are not common in people's homes these days! 18.) Say sofa instead of settee and serviette instead of napkin.
Alan - Thu, 24th Mar 2011
Many thanks Sheila, please feel free to have a wander across my blogs. drop me a comment if you disagree with anything I rant about.
Mr Grumpy - Sun, 13th Mar 2011
I came across your blog today for the first time by accident - and oh how I laughed. Apart from the daughter bit, I could have written the couple Ive read myself (but maybe not as amusingly as you have). Am looking forward to reading the rest at my leisure.
Sheila J Macmillan - Sun, 13th Mar 2011
Forage for your food : Picking wild Blackberries, Asparagus or Almonds etc,,, when on a walk. I draw the line at snails, unlike most Spanish.
Jo Green - Sat, 12th Mar 2011

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