Writing a few weeks ago in this column about people who use fridges for just one item, I was reminded of a young Belgian who some years ago went to work for the Osborne bodega in El Puerto de Santa María. He found lodging with two sisters, and was surprised by the fact that they both went out every morning of the week except Sunday to do the shopping. Hoping to save them the trouble, he kindly bought them a small refrigerator, explaining that by keeping food in this it would not be necessary for them to go to the market every day. A nice gesture but it turned out to be a clash of cultures.
Obviously as a northern European he considered it a waste of time for these ladies to have to shop every day, and they could be like housewives in his own country who did only one or two shops each week. Since in one of the most authentic towns of all Andalucia they still have not adopted the European timetable – nor even know what it is – it is only God who could stop these two sisters going to the market square each day to meet their friends and catch up with the local gossip. There you have it: in northern Europe ladies go out to do their shopping only when they have to while in the south they go out because they enjoy doing so.
The fridge had been standing proudly in a corner of the kitchen for a couple of weeks when my new Belgian friend commented to me, ‘I really don’t understand. They still go out shopping every day and when I open the fridge it is always full of tinned food.’
Same as Stewart Granger’s fridge. This Hollywood idol from England liked to breakfast on bullshots, his recipe being very simple: a can of Campbell’s Consommé from the one-use fridge, salt, pepper, a slice of lemon, ice, and lots of vodka. A very decent man who always maintained he had never made a good film. He also confessed to being rather innocent.
When he bought some land near Estepona on which to build a large villa, he needed other plots to achieve the area he required. He found a corredor (real estate intermediary) whom he believed he could trust and gave him authority to get on with the job.
All went well and the house got built, until Granger started to notice that when the wind was in the south there was a terrible smell coming up the hill. He could see nothing untoward, so called in his corredor to explain. Apparently of the twelve fincas that had to be bought to complete the estate, one owner had refused to sell at the market price and had insisted on a figure four or five times higher. And it just so happened that he was a pig farmer.
Granger listed in silence as we both sipped our bullshots, and then he slowly put down his drink, and muttering under his breath what sounded like ‘blackmailer’, went into the house and came back with a signed cheque for the figure the pig farmer had requested. He handed it to the smiling corredor, and as the man turned to take his leave, Granger delivered a tremendous kick to his backside that sent him flying. Pure cinema – but real. I laughed so much I nearly dropped my breakfast.
Originally published in Spanish in Diario Sur 28 Julio 2012