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Tuesday the thirteenth! PDF
Thursday, 15 September 2011 06:30
 

Many people in the western world are superstitious about Friday 13th, and anxious that it’s a day when things can go wrong. In Spain, however, it's Tuesday 13th that has that status, with Spaniards wary of what might happen. I’d agree about Tuesday 13th in Spain after our experiences the evening before last.

On that evening we decided to try out a new restaurant that had recently opened in nearby Arriate, so we got togged up and set off at about 8.30 pm. Almost immediately I got a call on my mobile. I pulled over and took the call. It was from guests of ours who were staying in our apartment in Ronda to say that they had no electricity. Oh, and when they had had power, they couldn’t get the TV to work.

Emergency

We turned round immediately and set off for Ronda. On arrival the place was in darkness. I checked out the fuse switches and tried everything I could think of but to no avail.

What to do? Call an electrician. I don’t know one. So I tried five neighbours with various queries such as “Do you know an electrician?” “Do you have a phone directory?” “Do you know the emergency number for Voltasur?” (the big electricity company round here).

Eventually 14-year-old Laura, the daughter of neighbours Victoriano and Silvia, googled their emergency number and I called the man. He would be there straightaway, he said. And he was, more or less. In the meantime we were invited to sit with our neighbours and partake of their hospitality - tapas and wine.

When Juan came, he quickly started taking apart the electrics in the apartment. He isolated the problem to the electricity supply to the washing machine, which our guests had been using. He fixed that, charged me a very reasonable 43 euros and was off.

Meanwhile I had a look at the TV. There was nothing wrong with it except that reception was now only black and white. The guests said that they had fiddled and twiddled without success. They must have inadvertently switched off the colour. I couldn’t rectify it, so they’ll have to put up with monochrome, until I can get that sorted out.

It was by now 10.30 pm, far too late to head for the restaurant in Arriate. So, instead we went to good old reliable Bodega San Francisco. I had chuletillas de cordero and Frau W chose solomillo de buey. Disappointing, compared to our usual experiences of eating there. Ah, well, it was martes trece!

Our misfortunes didn’t end there, however. On the way home we came across a bad accident on the main road to Sevilla, a short distance from our house. It looked like it had just happened. We stopped to see if we could help.

Accident

People seemed to be faffing about and doing nothing. There were two wrecked cars all over the road – dangerous in the dark for passing traffic. I arranged for warning triangles to be placed at both ends of the scene and checked that the emergency services had been called. Then we checked whether anyone was hurt and tried to restore order to the chaos.

One driver, a young lady, was hysterical. Her mother, who had been travelling as a passenger, had been taken - bleeding - off to hospital by a third car. The young lady was shrieking at and blaming the other driver, who was clearly intoxicated. By now several cars had stopped and people were trying to calm the situation down. Frau W, an ex-nurse, checked out the lady driver and tried to calm her. Apparent friends of the drunk driver turned up and there was a minor verbal altercation with the lady, who was defended by other blokes who had stopped. The insult ¡Gilipollas! (W**ker!) rang out clearly several times in the dark night, but it quickly calmed down.

But where were the police and ambulance? It seemed like an eternity, but then suddenly they were there en masse – policía nacional, guardia civil, protección civil and an ambulance. They quickly secured the scene and coned off lanes for passing traffic which they guided with their Star Wars light sabres.

We could do nothing more. We weren’t witnesses to the accident itself, so we left.

No, we didn’t – our car wouldn’t start! We’d left our lights and hazards on as a warning to oncoming traffic and they must have drained the battery.

Breakdown

No problem, with all those emergency services present somebody would have jump leads. Nope! I asked another driver. He didn’t but he went round asking all the other drivers who had stopped. No-one had jump leads. Grrr!

I asked if he could run Frau W home – two minutes away - to get our other car which has jump leads in. He couldn’t have been more obliging and did so without demur.

With the jump leads, we soon got started and finally got home by 1.30 am.

What an evening! Tuesday 13th! ¡Vaya!

Wednesday would have to be better, and it was, but that’s another story!

© Paul Whitelock

Tags: superstitious, Friday 13th, Tuesday 13th, martes trece, Ronda, electricity, fuse, electrician, Voltasur, Bodega San Francisco, chuletillas de cordero, solomillo de buey, accident, police, ambulance, policía nacional, guardia civil, protección civil, emergency services, paul whitelock, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , www.a1-solutions-spain.com

 

Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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