QUEUES. The British have a reputation – left over from WW2, I believe – for orderly queuing, but the way they manage a queue in Tenerife is with numbered tickets. In the butchers’, the chemist or the Post Office you take a ticket when you go in and wait your turn. If there’s a long wait you can have a coffee across the road, nipping back every so often in case the numbers have shot by unexpectedly quickly. It beats the old system of arguments and pushing.
Even so, there are always people who consider their time is more precious than yours. One woman actually asked me in the Post Office if I would say we were together. I was so flabbergasted that I didn’t say "No" strongly enough, and when my turn came she tagged along. “I’m with her,” she said to the clerk, and pushed her enormous parcel across the counter in front of me. “No you’re not,” the clerk responded, raising her eyebrows at me, “Get a ticket,” and she shoved the parcel back. The woman went off in a huff – I think she might have tried claiming she was my daughter, but she was black and I’m not.
When we need a blood test we go to El Fraile which has a bigger medical centre than ours. Before they built the new Centre we used to queue in the gardens, trying to hear our names called over the sound of a dozen full-volume conversations and shrieking children. It was a struggle - the Spanish come up with many variations on our names – Young is not an easy word for them to pronounce, and they use either of my two Christian names, so it can be confusing. Also the OH is extremely deaf.
In the new Centre there’s a Security guard who keeps the noise level within limits and stops queue-jumping. Besides, we’re old hands now, and if shove comes to push, we’re not backward in coming forward.
Here's a picture of my eldest, learning to queue at an early age.
QUESO – LO QUIERO = cheese – I love it! A simple sandwich of tasty Cheddar and home-made chutney. Macaroni cheese with crispy bacon bits on top. Fresh French chȇvres rolled in charcoal. Brie so runny you need a spoon. Saint Agur on crusty bread. Freshly-grated Parmesan on pasta. That cheese with the black rind that costs a fortune from the deli. The goats’ milk and sheeps’ milk cheese in Tenerife. I’d rather give up meat than cheese!
QUALITY STREET. And while we’re on the subject of edible heaven, how about QS? Those purple ovals that everyone dives for, the gold-wrapped discs of toffee, strawberry creams, little baby milk choc bars – what a pity I’m diabetic.
QUITTING I smoked my last cigarette on my birthday - March 24th. Three and a half weeks gone – a lifetime to come.