I've now been home for a fortnight and with little news to share about the house I have been reticent to blog. I've also been trying to come to terms with my return to Yorkshire and rationalise my feelings about being 'home' after two months in Galicia/Asturias. When I try and analyse how I'm feeling, I can only come to the conclusion that I must be a little depressed.
I love my country (and county) of birth, and Amanda and I are not looking to move to Spain out of a dislike 0f UK society, more out of a desire for a different, slower and ultimately healthier life.
We've both worked hard for over twenty years and had a good living from UK society, embracing consumerism and all the trappings of being DINKies (double income no kids). We are both coming to the conclusion that material things are decreasingly important to us and that life is about more than amassing 'stuff'. After two months living in the slow lane of the Iberian backwaters, there are a few observations and contrasts that I can make about British/English life.
- The first few days back home were...'bewildering'. Everything in the UK is done at pace; driving, eating, talking, shopping, drinking alcohol and making decisions. It has taken me a fortnight, and a big scrape down the bumper of my car (requiring a trip to the body shop), for me to get back up to anything like speed.
- There seems to be an awful lot of unplanned and unnecessary death in the UK. Over Christmas there seemed to be a conveyor belt of horrific murders, each one picked apart by a hungry and ghoulish British press and TV media. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of death in Spain, but it is usually down to people driving too fast, or on the wrong side of the road. It's not over a pair of trainers, or because your skin is a different colour!
- I can't believe the price of fruit and vegetables here. I nearly passed out on my first visit to our regular supermarket. One kilo of apples for £1.85, I was buying a kilo for 70 cents (60p) in Spain...and they tasted like apples there. The same applies to cauliflowers, peppers and mushrooms. It can't all be down to transport costs and I suspect that it is supermarkets exploiting the consumer as we all strive to follow the governments five-a-day campaign.
- When it rains here you can write off the whole day. In Galicia the rain is usually quickly followed by sunshine giving you the potential for all of the seasons in one day. In winter it never really seems to get light here, no wonder people get SAD.
- The coffee here is awful, insipid, weak and tasteless. To be honest it is close to undrinkable and I'm back on tea, which I never drank in Spain.
We're back to Spain early in the New Year for various meetings, and I'm staying on for a couple of extra days to hopefully enable me to repatriate the Landrover. I'm already starting to stress about its chances of making the boat in Santander. Perhaps I'm just looking for an excuse to further extend my trip.
Home is where the heart lies, and mine is increasingly lying in Galicia.