International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Good Times Are Just Around
Gloom & Doom
Skinner in Vigo
regional government announced yesterday with great pomp and circumstance
that our city will be connected with Madrid by high-speed train
no later than the year 2015. In their construction shopping list
they included refurbishing our airport, a new 1800 bed hospital,
an upgrade of our outdated port facilities, a super concert hall
and half a dozen new parking lots to cope with the ever increasing
number of cars invading the center of town.
In the meantime
our city had just presented their CV to host the 2012 University Olympics
and although they lost was given the green light to prepare for the
same event in 2015. I had just returned from my annual prostate and
general medical check up; once again the doctor gave me another twelve
months breather whilst I was watching the pompous display of goodies
on the goggle boxs midday local news with a double smile on my
face. How about that for good news, I thought. I forgot
about the increase in petrol prices, the drop in economic growth, the
fishing fleet locked up in the cupboard and thousands of housewives
complaining about the cost of lemons. Its also summertime and
I have retreated to my small flat by the sea.
The school term has ended and the kids are out on their bikes or skateboards,
playing football and driving their grandparents wild as they shelve
their books till next term. The beaches are crowded, the restaurants
have opened their terraces, the tapas bars are flush with
seafood, the beer and wine is flowing, the nightclubs are in full swing
and even the unemployed are smiling. Im no longer a representative
of HMG, so I dont have to cater for my fellow countrymen if they
fall off a bus and break a leg. My weekly column in the local rag is
in full swing and has just celebrated its 5th year. To cap it all, my
publisher in India has included another one of my essays for this years
annual review (The Taj Mahal), yet another set of reasons for being
On the international front Spain lost the Eurovision contest, George
Bush has gone. Obama is in, Berlusconi has a (alleged) new girlfriend,
Hugo Chavez is dishing out free oil to all the underdog nations of the
world and Qatar airlines now offer double beds on their intercontinental
flights. Britain has fallen for Euro, France and Germany have got married,
power windmills are all over the planet, Al Gore has been given an honorary
knighthood and Ive got Bruce Springsteen on my home patch, live
to 5000 fans waiting to mob him. The world weather watchers predict
a slowdown. What does that mean? Can we expect less rainfall, or rainfall
in the right places and at the right time? Hello Camelot! I cross my
fingers thinking of the coral reefs. Why? Ive actually seen them
when they were alive! Parrot fish, groupers, lobsters and moray eels
are still fresh in my mind. So are rum punch and coconut juice and a
cool breeze from the aftermath of a hurricane. Will they all come back
again once the planet slows down?
Am I living in a dream? Am I making all this up? Are all those happy
people around me faking it or just postponing the agony for a few months?
No I say, No! I will not let the Ides of August
break me down! The world is not in such a bad shape as everyone says.
The financial meltdown is a myth.
Im looking out of the window as I write this trash. Im opposite
the park. I see a couple of pigeons making love in a tree as a brown
squirrel hops in front of them with a pinecone stuck to its teeth. The
sea is a few metres away. Its 30 degrees and the powerboats are at full
throttle weaving their way between the catamarans. My portable radio
is crowing with a small unknown chorus piece. My feel for pop music
died 20 years ago. My wife has just reminded me its lunch time. Open
the wine, she utters from the kitchen. Thats my contribution
to the cook-out other than setting the small table on the
porch. Thats the beauty of living in a wine producing country.
Plonk is exported whilst a reasonable three-year-old is at 3 Euros a
bottle. No kidding! Half a dozen fresh grilled sardines appear before
me. A mixed Mediterranean style salad is placed beside them. Olive oil
and wine vinegar plus a dash of salt are all you need to savour the
greens. My wife smiles as if she has just accomplished a
culinary milestone. Im switching off to scoff my fish. Back in
Im back to my Toshiba laptop. By the way, its 10 years old!
Had the hard disk changed as it packed up about 6 months ago! The IT
mechanics managed to install Windows 2000 as well as Office. No Internet
or Outlook Express though; this is a true virgin computer isolated from
undesired viruses! Its coffee time.
You all know me by now; or so I hope. Out comes the brandy and cigar.
Its now four thirty in the afternoon. A quick nap and back to
beach. Three hours later and its beer time. Switch on the telly. Crap!
Switch it off.
Pull out Sams latest book.
Wife places a bowl of fruit and a glass of wine before me. Alas it is
evening and time for super. Switch on the telly and, yes you guessed,
switch if off again.
Time for bed.
Goodnight all! See you again next month I hope!
© James G. Skinner. August, 2009.
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