Episode 48: Grantusthee Island

“I said to bring the folder didn’t I! But no, you know best, and now we’ve got to trail all the way home and stand in line again with half the cast of ‘Lost’. Do you know where Reuben’s birth certificate is? I hope reverend Elvis was kosher in Vegas or we’ll be buggered if that paper with your name change on isn’t legit!” Slamming the car door behind him, my eternally optimistic husband fires up the reluctant engine and off we roar back down the A7 to Fuengirola to collect the missing paperwork to hopefully complete our TIE application.
“Why didn’t you bring it then if you thought we needed it?” I mumble to the tense form grinding his teeth beside me but silence is his only reply so I stare out the window at the immobile cable cars above me swinging in the breeze.


A teenage voice from the rear drags me out of my reverie “We can still get breakfast right? I mean I don’t HAVE to go to school today. Dad…did you call the driving school about me taking my moped test when you take your bike one? I can do it this summer so I’m ready at 16 to get out on the road! I want gears though, not an old lady pizza moto like mums.

I shudder at the prospect of my teenage son being let loose on the roads in Spain. Visions of him manoeuvring through chaotic roundabouts alongside articulated lorries makes my heart lurch in fear for his split second decisions.

I close my eyes and try to blot out the visions that arrive uninvited into my overactive imagination. My own mother age 82 still reminds me to carry an inhaler in my handbag every time I leave my home, so I’m fully aware this fear for my own offsprings safety is mirrored across the globe when apron strings are finally severed.

Two hours later we are back at the police station clutching our added extras and trying to catch the eye of the young office worker who requested this small addition to our application.
“He’s there Marcus, behind the pot plant, wave at him,” I whisper pleadingly to my husband but he ignores my request and we end up standing in line behind the other immigrants and their assortment of life stories, and do what the Brits do best… queue.


Eventually it’s our turn, we hand over all the new paperwork and are called in one by one to place our fingers on a scanner and to recite our address to whoever resides behind the counter. Forms are stamped and photos verified. I’m handed a piece of paper and told to return in 45 days, and that’s it. All 3 of us are on the way to getting the ID card that will enable us to pass through passport control without being rugby tackled through duty free or having to carry our life stories in our hand luggage.

“Well that was easy!” Sighs my husband cheerily who, for some reason, always acts like he’s on MI5’s most wanted list whenever we approach a Spanish government building.
My son suddenly bellows unceremoniously into my ear “can we get some lunch now? I’m
starving! Also, can I have the day off school if I promise to do loads of revision when I get home?” I catch my husbands eye and nod my head. What the hell, life is for living and celebratory tapas are not to be rushed.

As we go to exit the station a very British voice can be overheard speaking in a ‘If I shout loudly and slowly enough in English, Johnny foreigner will understand me’ type of way and I crouch down to tie my shoelace so I can earwig the full conversation.
A pensioner has made the fatal mistake of asking the Spanish policeman on the door if he speaks English. The copper listens, nods, then smiles and calmly asks the silver haired chap how long he has lived in Andalucia
“20 years I’ve been here” proudly exclaims the elderly interloper. The officer stands back to let us pass and then in perfect English looks him directly in the eye and loudly states “then it’s about time you learnt the Spanish language isn’t it!”


Leaving the gawping crowd to eavesdrop the forthcoming lecture from the unimpressed officer we amble up the stone steps, happy in our pursuit of albondigas, chorizo and our new life in the sun.

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