21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Good Times Are Just Around the Corner

Goodbye Gloom & Doom
James Skinner in Vigo

Our 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In their construction shopping list they included refurbishing our airport, a new 1800 bed hospital, an upgrade of our outdated port facilities, a super concert hall and half a dozen new parking lots to cope with the ever increasing number of cars invading the center of town.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 box’s 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. It’s 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. I’m no longer a representative of HMG, so I don’t 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 year’s annual review (The Taj Mahal), yet another set of reasons for being complacent.

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 I’ve 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? I’ve 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.

I’m looking out of the window as I write this trash. I’m 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. That’s my contribution to the ‘cook-out’ other than setting the small table on the porch. That’s 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. I’m switching off to scoff my fish. Back in a tick!

I’m back to my Toshiba laptop. By the way, it’s 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! It’s coffee time.

You all know me by now; or so I hope. Out comes the brandy and cigar. It’s 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 Sam’s 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.

More Comment


© Hackwriters 1999-2009 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility - no liability accepted by or affiliates.