‘Mum, why won’t my Xbox work’? Bellows a familiar voice from behind his bedroom door.
‘We don’t have any internet’ I sigh, and unpack yet another box. ‘WHAT???? How can I survive?? I can’t talk to anyone! Even the goat house had internet, what am I supposed to do???’
‘Get off your arse and go outside and chat to real people?’ I mumble to myself and place a family picture against the wall to be mounted when ‘Lighting Guy’ returns from flattering the luvvies in sepia. Our worldly possessions had finally arrived intact the day before, delivered by a very nice man with a very big van. Looking now at the mountain of boxes stacked against the walls I realise that I haven’t packed one kitchen utensil, not even a side plate or a fork. But we had, in our wisdom, brought along the 4 foot long fibreglass sharks head which is currently residing on the balcony underneath the washing line. Foolishly I had been under the assumption that every fleeing expat with a property to sell in Spain would leave their abode fully furnished, like a Wimpy show home from the 1980’s. But we purchased from locals, and locals take everything with them, including the shower head apparently.
To add insult to injury we also have no hot water. The ancient gas boiler didn’t even make an attempt to fire up. It just stood there, white and lacklustre, mocking my sweaty armpits with silent authority. I wander back through the kitchen, trying to avoid eye contact with the ramshackle lime green Formica units. I half expect Miss Jones to come wandering around the corner at any given moment asking where Rigsby is lurking. Standing forlornly with my head pressed against the dining room wall, I try to calm the panic that I can feel, once again, bubbling inside of me.
Standing up straight and brushing Brian’s dog hair off my leggings, I look at the clock. It’s barely 10am on a Saturday morning but without any wardrobes to place our clothes in, the outside world looks far more appealing than my current enclosure. Dragging the petulant one out of his bed, we amble over to Miramar shopping centre and stand in line at the Moviestar desk, waiting patiently to speak to the solitary staff member who speaks English, hoping he can enable our access back into the 21st century without the need of a Tardis.
Two hours later we claim possession of a ridiculously extortionate phone contract with the promise that fibre optic will be installed ‘directly’ into our flat forthwith.
The midday sun beats down around scantily clad tourists and we decide to take a pitstop to fill our growling bellies at a local café. My son orders enough food to feed a small army and I pick at his leftovers whilst clutching a chilled white wine, my personal buoyancy aid amid a sea of uncertainty.
Sitting at the table opposite me is a blonde woman of similar age who is talking rapidly into her mobile phone in French and flicking cigarette ash onto the pavement. She catches my eye and smiles, raising her eyebrows in a conspiratorial ‘are people actually this stupid’ motion and slams her phone onto the table and inhales another round of nicotine. Her brown eyes swivel in my direction and land directly on my rapidly evaporating glass of wine.
‘I think I’ll join you in one of those’ she says in perfect clipped English tones and waves the waiter over. ‘Would you like another?’ she enquires then orders two white wines before I have time to accept her generous offer.
Devoid of any real adult conversation since moving into our new home, I motion for her to join us at the table and my son, full of tapas and fresh Naranja, makes his excuses and ambles back towards the direction of the flat, no doubt to see if the god of fibre optic communication has miraculously embedded itself into our walls.
‘Soooo’ my new platinum friend enquires with a wave of her hand, wafting a plume of smoke in my direction ‘What do the people with children do here in the summer months? My 2 boys don’t start school for another 12 weeks, we’ve literally just moved over here from France and they need to find some form of activity apart from exercising their wrists on the Xbox….’
I smile and lean forward in my plastic chair, fuelled by lack of carbs and too much cheap wine. The person sitting accross from me is a complete stranger but I hear my voice engage before my brain has time to complain.
‘I’m also a New wife in the Sun, and I think I may have an idea….’
A New Wife in the Sun is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.