(or what I did on my holidays)
I’ve been quiet for a couple of weeks due to being busy at work, and then going off to Spain last week, a trip that ended with flying into Gatwick at 3am and getting into work for a meeting at 8am the next morning.
In Spain we stayed in two places – Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca and Lorca in Murcia province.
In Torrevieja we stayed in a house owned by my partner’s aunt on an estate almost exclusivley inhabited by German, Irish, and British people. A few minutes walk away in any direction were an Irish pub, a Geordie bar, a fish n chip shop and Indian and Chinese restaurants. We heard and spoke to more Irish and British people than any other nationality, and finding a Spanish restauant was difficult.
This was exactly the sort of place that a fair few people on “the left” would be quite sneery about, and it’s true that many residents even long term and semi permanant ones do not speak much Spanish, they read rightwing newspapers, and probably don’t think of themselves as migrants.
However there was an impressive sense of community, neighbours and random strangers in the pub shared advice, skills, and knowledge, we friendly and welcoming to new people from different backgrounds, and loaned or offered to lend equipment and materials to each other. Friendships were formed by people which they took back to their home countries.
Sitting on the terrace one night outside the main Irish pub talking to a bloke about the referendum that had just that day been lost in Ireland I was struck again by how the basic values of community and common interest manifest themselves everywhere.