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Because so many things have been happening lately, but none of them have warranted an entire chapter, I have been saving them and thought that today might be a good day to unleash them upon you. So….by the numbers…these are a few things that have been happening to my life on the island (in increasing numerical order)

0 – the number of usual parking spots available at Cris and Richard’s house tonight. I had been invited over for dinner along with some other friends and after finding a place to put Amelia, had a wonderful evening, even with the festival music blaring from the calita near their house.

1 – the number of times I have driven Miranda to Andratx and left her parked there unattended. I usually drive Amelia there, but this is just based on some whimpy mental model that Miranda would somehow be vandalised if she were parked on the street for several days.

1.3 – the number of miles I swam the other day. Earlier this year, I had decided to go to battle with the lingering stomach effects of the Thailand trip. I have told you all about this. The three big things I decided to do were, cut way back on my intake of Coke-Lite (only 2 cans in the past three weeks), cut out as much gluten as I can from my diet (a bit challenging sometimes but it is turned out to be doable), and crank-up the level of exercise I do. This last part was pretty easy, as I was starting from a pretty low value. The two main exercise things I have been doing are rowing Améliña (which means Little Amélie, the tender to the real Amélie), and swimming. At first, I was over the moon with the fact that I was able to swim from where Amélie is moored to shore and back. For a non-swimmer, being able to do 200 metres was pretty great, even if it was pretty tiring. I have kept at it and, as I already wrote about, swam from Sol y Mar to the island in front of my house, and recently did 8/10th of a mile (about 1200 kilometres) in Andratx. This week, I did a wonderfully satisfying 1.3 miles of non-stop swimming (about 48 billion kilometres, more or less). And then I rowed the boat a bit over two miles. I think the endorphins have taken over my body.

1.5 – the number of days it took the whiz-kids at Apple to replace my iPhone. My phone had for some unknown-to-me reason, decided to go a tad wonky. I looked on-line for remedies to the problem, but after resetting the entire phone to no avail, I phoned the Apple service-centre for Spain. They said it wouldn’t be a problem. They would send a UPS driver to my house with a empty package to put my phone in, and then it would be transported to their service-centre (someplace) where it would be checked. I was assured that either it would be repaired or replaced and I would have it back in 3 – 5 working days. (I assumed that would be if it were re-delivered to me by a flock of pigs flying overhead.) On a Tuesday at 1700 or so, a UPS driver appeared at my front door with a empty box (that was clearly labelled ‘iPhone’). He placed my phone in the box and gave me a receipt and was off. By Wednesday morning I had checked the online tracing link for UPS and found that the package (assuming with my phone) was in Holland. By shortly after 1400, I received a note from Apple that my phone was being replaced and was going to be sent back to me that afternoon. Thursday morning, a different UPS driver came to my door with a replacement phone (which has worked brilliantly). Apple….pretty high on the list of companies who really understand customer service I think.

2 – the number of gouges that were left on the driver’s side door and near wing from the %*&@$£ vandals who keyed Miranda on the one day she was parked in Andratx. Lesson learnt, guess which car I once again take to the boat?

230 – the amount in euros it cost me to fix the door locks on Amelia. For some time now, the clever little push-button-electronic-door-locker-ignition-key thing for Amelia hasn’t been working. It first went to sleep last autumn, so I went to the local SEAT dealer who kindly sold me a new battery for it. And just to be a nice guy, he even put the new battery in the key. This was probably either due to the fact that he wanted to demonstrate that Spain does offer sterling customer service, or he just didn’t want to answer the phone at his counter (that all the other technicians seemed to be avoiding as well). The new battery lasted a month or two, and I just resorted to locking and unlocking the car by putting the key into the door…the way we all used to lock and unlock cars. That was fine until one day when I almost couldn’t remove the key from the driver’s door, so, being cunning and resourceful, I simply started using the passenger door to lock or unlock the car. That clever system worked until last month when the passenger door decided it wanted to go on strike as well. But using my superior brain power (superior to the door), I pumped a couple of litres of WD-40 into both doors and for the next couple of weeks, one of them would work. I really didn’t get what was going on as one day the driver’s door would work, and the next day it was the passenger door. I wasn’t bothered and did carry on…until one day in Andratx. After coming to shore, I walked to the car with a load of things to take home. I tried to unlock the doors but neither of them seemed to want to cooperate. I looked through the driver’s window and saw the little pin-like thing sticking up in the air. I figured that either the car was happy to see me, or that the door actually was unlocked. Apparently the second option was the one that was most appropriate, as the door did open rather smartly. But equally smartly, the car alarm began blasting, causing all the German tourists to look over at the person breaking into the nice white SEAT. I quickly started the car (the alarm kept wailing) and slammed the shift lever into first, as I wheeled my way down the coast street. By the time I had made it to the corner, the alarm must have become exhausted from all that noise-making, and stopped. By then I was well on my way home, all the way wondering just where is the actual horn located on the car, and what wires should I cut to stop it if it goes off again. Which it did as soon as I reached my local market, by which time I must have wiped the nasty incident out of my mind. As soon as I turned off the car and opened the door, the flippin’ alarm went all postal again. I just walked away from the car with a look on my face like “whose car is that making all the noise?” Of course, when I came back from the market with a bag full of gluten-free things, the alarm went off again. My local garage did manage to fix it (but it did take them longer than it took Apple to do their thing)

250 – (I am actually guessing at this number but it did look right) the number of people who came out to watch the races at the Fiesta de Portals. Here is what this is all about. If you have been a long-time reader of these letters, you will recall me writing about the crazy party every year in Puigpunyent. You may also recall me writing about how the sound from the live bands would permeate even my metre-thick walls of La Antigua at night. Well, every year about this time, each village/town/whatever has their own party, and this weekend, it is the party for the village of Portals Nous (which is more or less next to Bendinat). There is evening entertainment (item “0” above) and this afternoon, there was the village version of the Mille Miglia. Actually, this was more like a soap-box derby, with kind-of-sort-of motor-less vehicles that careened down the streets of the village that led to the seafront at the calita. I say it was like the Mille Miglia because people were lined up along the streets, and in some cases, barely avoiding being hit by the driver of one of the ‘’cars’’ (and I use the term euphemistically) as they scorched their way to the sea. Judging by the way the vehicles went, I think there must have been three different classes of racers: a) throws caution to the wind; b) has more guts than sense; and, c) has no sense at all.

408 – the number of days since I had my last cigarette. Don’t worry, I still have not quit…I am just not smoking.

625 – the number you get when you multiply 25 by itself. I have no idea why that has always stuck in my mind, but it is great when someone asks you if you know the square root of 625.

1597 – the number of words in this chapter of Letters from the Village. Enough.

 

the first of several photos I love from Andratx ...

 

happy plants on the terrace at Sol y Mar

 

I suppose I could swim this next...well maybe not yet

 

me, on Facetime, feeling pretty chuffed about all this health

 

poor, scratched, and abused Miranda

 

the other evening, from the aft deck of Amélie

 

 

still yet another fab photo of what I get to see everynight

 

making Sir Sterling Moss envious

 

almost like the Mille Miglia

 

on the very edge of control

 

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011  James B. Rieley

jbrieley@rieley.com