Just over twelve hours after nearly being run off the road by a maniacal Galician driver I got pulled over by the Guardia Civil.
I’d decided last night that a lack of LPG, money and food meant that it would not be possible to postpone my trip to Ribadeo until Saturday morning as I had originally intended so I plugged the iPod into the Landys stereo and set off in the hope, rather than expectation, that nothing new would go wrong with my fragile chariot.
Business in Ribadeo included the aforementioned LPG (the automatic pump eventually agreeing to accept my Spanish charge card), a quick visit to my solicitors to collect any post (read bills), and a trip to the bank to see Jesus who kindly gave me two Ferrari baseball caps (can you guess our Spanish bank) and explained that the reason I couldn’t withdraw any cash was because I was pressing the wrong buttons on the ATM. In my defence they are a lot more complicated than our ATMs, and in Spanish.
Then I set off back to Casa Ramon for a spot of lunch before an afternoon at the house. Half way home I pass through Vegadeo, the first and last town between Ribadeo and Taramundi, and as I entered the town an officer of the law stepped out into the road and indicated for me to pull in.
I knew I’d not been drinking, but being pulled is never a nice thing. I thought about asking where he was last night when some maniac in a white van tried to kill me, but decided that it was way too long a sentence for me to compose on the fly, and that it might not go down too well. I decided to play my trump card. ‘Buenas dias, lo siento, no habla Español‘ (Good day, I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish) I said. He didn’t look impressed.
He asked me for my drivers license, I opened my rucksack and gave him my Landys V5, with a quizzical look. He took about a minute looking at the totally alien form and then said ‘For you, not the car’. I showed him my old style driving license, one of the ones without a photo. ‘No photo’ he said. ‘Passaporte‘ I volunteered and he nodded. I could tell he was losing the will to live and regretting pulling a British registered ancient Land Rover.
I handed him my passport and he opened it at the photograph, me with a couple of days stubble, rather that the muslim fundamentalist type beard I am currently sporting. ‘Sin barba‘ (without beard) I said, and laughed. He didn’t, but handed me my documents and ushered me on my way. He didn’t even get as far as asking me whether I was carrying my spare spectacles or fluorescent jacket (I was).
It’s a good job that it isn’t illegal in Spain to; leak brake fluid, drop a little oil, stink of leaking LPG, or drive a car that is ludicrously uneconomical.
I’d survived my first brush with the Spanish law with a smile and ignorance.