A word to the wise, chic@s … if you can avoid Spain in August – do so.
The heat is unbearable, the place is packed with sunburnt, whinging Brits, the drains stink and the service – well, it’s truly awful, even by Spanish standards.
And if you have to drive anywhere on the Iberian peninsula, remember that Pedro – particularly at this time of year – regards cars with either British plates or hire car stickers as a Great White shark would regard a shoal of Sea Lions, placing a fag paper’s width between your boot and his front bumper.
I’ve never understood why the Spanish are so aggressive when they get behind the wheel. I mean, it’s not as if they have anything pressing to do when they actually arrive at their destination, apart from sleep if it happens to be the middle of the day.
Anyway, the future Mrs Maverick and I will be on the road soon and should be close to Valencia by this time next week, on the first leg of our three thousand kilometre trek back to Poland. Back to sensible temperatures, decent service and reasonably priced beer that actually tastes of something.
Last night we ate in – the future Mrs Maverick (TFMM) her daughter and I.
After a delightful dinner, the ladies turned to their phones in the way that ladies turned to embroidery in the olden days. Except, as embroidery wasn’t capable of communication, I would imagine some conversation would have taken place along with the needlework.
Of course, in the age of the smartarse phone, conversation has become a thing of the past.
So I suggested that we play a game.
‘Imagine,’ I said, ‘you’re planning a dinner party. Think of three guests you would like to invite and why. It isn’t necessary for them to have a connection but that would make it even better. And they can be either alive or dead.’
Now I’ve used this game on many occasions teaching English. Admittedly this has been with adult students, as those under the age of twenty-five are as unlikely to understand what social function a dinner party serves as a Spaniard comprehends the function of an indicator on a roundabout.
So if you’re reading this and you’re under twenty-five, let me explain: a dinner party exists for the sole purpose of getting to know the other people seated at the same table, and talking, instead of texting accommodates this social accomplishment.
The girls were a bit nonplussed by my game, so I went first, and here are the three guests I chose and how I predicted the evening might progress.
But before I introduce them, I’ll tell you about the guests I didn’t choose: these would have been Adolf Hitler, Attila the Hun and Margaret Thatcher.
Why, you might ask – or there again you might not – would I want such a despotic gathering of martinets around my dinner table? The main thing these four have in common was the ability to work a crowd. We have to speculate a little about Khan and Attila, because the enemies who survived them wrote their histories, but there is both cinematic and anecdotal evidence of the magnetism of Hitler and Thatcher, and for that alone they come close to being offered a seat at my table.
A friend of mine recently spent a day interviewing Dame Mary Peters, and from what he told me, she wouldn’t be far off my guest list either.
But the three who will receive invitations are … drumroll … George Best, Jesus Christ and Geoffrey Boycott. Let me tell you a little about how this evening will go.
The inclusion of Best would, under normal circumstances, necessitate several trips to Bargain Booze to slate the thirst of the greatest footballer who ever lived, but for this there will be on need, as Jesus will turn the water into wine.
Boycott would teach Jesus the value of a good forward defensive, and tell him that his mother could have batted better than the England top order last week at Edgbaston ‘with a stick of rhubarb for a bat.’
After dinner entertainment will take the form of George regaling us with some of his more amusing anecdotes – such as the time on the BBC’s Question of Sport when he was asked to speculate from a video clip as to what happened next. ‘There’s no point in asking me,’ he replied. ‘I can’t remember what happened last night.’
We would finish the evening with a ‘walking on water’ competition to see which of my three guests could progress the steadiest down the ‘corridor of uncertainty.’
So that would be my dinner party.
Unfortunately, TFMM and her daughter were not enthusiastic about playing and the only contribution I was offered was Donald Tusk.
That’s it for now amigos, it’s back to slaving over Saving Dave before hitting the beach and braving that mad August heat.