Thursday, 30 December 2010

White Van Man

Those of us who live in southern Spain can almost set our watches by the various horns of the white van men who ply their trades in the small inland villages. The sleepy narrow streets come alive throughout the day to the sound of men offering bread, vegetables, fresh fish, frozen food, gas bottles, and even knife sharpening services. To the uninitiated, all the horns sound the same but to those with a trained ear each horn has its unique timbre, pitch and resonance. In my case, I rely upon our faithful Border Collie who barks when he hears my favourite baker in the distance.
Alfonso is a jolly little soul who bakes his bread in a neighbouring village before setting off across the valley to distribute his fresh baguettes. The strong alcoholic fumes emanating from his van suggest that each of his deliveries to the local hostelries is accompanied by a complimentary tipple.
When he discovered that I was from the UK, he insisted that I teach him some English. To date, almost three years later, he has mastered precisely 4 words – bread, roll, white, and van. Whether this is down to my lack of pedagogical skills or his permanent state of inebriation, I know not.
What I do know is that he has now been struggling with word number 5 (wholemeal) for the last 12 months and I am fearful that total command of the English language may elude him. In fact, his recent greeting of ‘Salam Alaykum’ suggests that his head has been turned by the seductive charms of the Moroccan lady who lives around the corner.
As retribution, I may be forced to move my custom to his arch rival, the implausibly named John of God.

1 comment:

  1. Aaaah, the white vans of Andalucia. Am very nostalgic reading this. I do, however, remain unswervingly loyal to John of God........