Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Green eyes

Jealousy. I'm eminently qualified to write about this.

Like many women, I've been envious of the "prettier" women, the ones with more boyfriends, better exam grades, better job, affluent lifestyle, more money....I'm sure you know the list.

But I've got a bit better over the years and don't suffer any more. Well, not often.

Mainly because I've realised I'm doing what I want and that other people's lives aren't for me.

Still I always forget that people might be jealous of us.

It's easy to forget when you are tall and slim that other people might want to be too.

Or that they think you are clever. Or that you have a trendy job, or a good career.

Or that you are living the high life (I wish) on the shores of the Mediterranean in your 40s.

When a long-term friend came out to see me she looked at my graduation photo and said:"Oh, what a beautiful photo of you. Mine were rubbish."

I was a bit surprised, and then realised she meant it. She always seemed to consider herself a particularly adorable piece of work.

When we came here we wanted the olive grove dream, so it always surprises us that people are jealous of our small stone semi + very large corral in the village. With only a large terrace, and a small patio. And it is a five or ten minute walk to the beach.

But when Cycling Partner went to town yesterday, he was surprised to find he has a new nickname. Baron Rothschild. Does this guy fiddling with his bikes rescued from the skip look like he has anything?

He learnt this when he stopped for a drink. One of the other customers (the bar owners refused to tell him who) has decided they are both wealthy men. The bar owner apparently is Howard Hughes.

"I think I would rather be Rothschild," said Newly Ennobled Partner. "I thought Hughes was a bit off the wall."

I wish that he was Rothschild too. If only for the wine.

Neither of them felt aggrieved. They both thought it was funny. None of us are remotely rich. I think the correct word is careful.

But after laughing about it, they did talk seriously about people's perceptions. Since we bought here in Spain some years ago the price of property has gone up. It usually does. The prices have increased hugely in our village which suddenly seems to be desirable.

Lots of people in the area have sold up, and moved on. To cheaper places. Other parts of Spain, and other countries. And according to the bar owners, many of them spent a lot of money, in just a few years, all the time - leading a holiday life that just doesn't add up. Bars, restaurants, clothes, holidays....When you should be trying to make your money last out.

What people don't see is our cheap life-style. We buy our food from the travelling van or some of the local Spanish shops - rather than the help-yourself-supermarkets. If you are intimidated by going into small shops full of Spaniards, who rarely speak any English - supermarkets are for you. They are not for our food shopping, apart from the odd luxury like watercress.

We do not regularly go to the bar, maybe two drinks in a week, when we're on the bike. For some weeks/months, we don't go at all. Howard Hughes (sic) - the bar owner - would not be living out of us. We do not eat out. We do not smoke. We do not drink spirits. We probably should do these last two as they are both cheap here. They just don't suit us.

I no longer buy Cerrutti, (probably my very favourite designer). I rarely even buy from Zara. For half the year it is so warm that clothes are superfluous. For the other half I still have warm clothes from the UK.

We have no heating - apart from one fire - which we didn't light last year. We collect our timber. We have no air conditioning in summer.

Now we have no TV, after Ennobled Partner chucked it out when it stopped working. We never paid for satellite anyway. We didn't come here to watch British TV.

We don't go out in the Land Rover Santana every day. We cycle or walk. Sometimes we take the bus.

If this is the Rothschild lifestyle - fine. I doubt it.

Yeah, we have a small house in a nice place. But who would live the same life as us?

Almost forgot - my eyes are naturally green.


Blue said...

Very interesting Baroness Rothschild. Only joking! It doesn't sound like the high life but an enviable one to me.
Your right about people perceptions. I know people view me as either a money bags or a state benefit scrounger. because @ present I don't work. In truth I'm neither..
And, I've Blue eyes.

Kerrio said...

Sounds like heaven to me.