Not in Competa, but funny all the same.  I was on the ferry from Santander to Plymouth one beautiful sunny September morning back in the nineties.  The ferry was pulling out of the port and I was taking photos of the wake and the receding scene of Santander.  Suddenly the batteries on my camera went flat.  I looked round to find one of the few empty deckchairs which had recently been vacated by a tattooed person from Essex, by the sound of his accent.   I sat down gratefully to balance my camera, bag and batteries, and to change the batteries.  I was in the middle of that delicate operation, when the tattooed vision reappeared and said “F..k off out of my seat”.  I looked at him in amazement.  How rude.  I sat there and looked at him, dark glasses hiding my blue eyes.  I had been in Spain for some time, so was well tanned. “Que” I said.  “No etiendo” ( What, I don’t understand).  The apparition looked at me in amazement and told me in no uncertain terms what he was going to do to me if I didn’t move my a..e out of his chair.  I explained in my best Spanish that he didn’t own the chair, and I wasn’t moving, smiling all the time.  I also told him he was a p…k.  He couldn’t figure out whether I was taking the mickey or I really didn’t understand.   I sat there defiantly.  I would have moved straight away if he hadn’t approached me in such a manner.  I certainly wasn’t going to move now. 

There was quite a gathering come to watch the altercation with this fifty-something woman of indeterminate origin and the young thug from Essex.  They watched with admiration.  He said he was going to throw me over the side of the boat. “Que?” I told him if he touched me HE would be the one going overboard, always smiling and charming. He didn’t understand a word I said.  I asked him where he had been, and why he hadn’t embraced the local culture and language.  He didn’t understand.  His long-suffering wife told me I should move as he would hit me. I just looked at her in an uncomprehending manner.  He stormed off muttering dire retribution.  I stood up.  I looked at the wife and said in my best plummy English accent “ Your husband is a disgrace to the English race.  Ignorant people like him should not be given passports and allowed to travel.”  This met with great applause from everyone, including the Spaniards.  I then proceeded to apologise in Spanish to the local people about the appalling behaviour of one of my countrymen.  They shook my hand and congratulated me on not allowing myself to be bullied, and on my excellent Spanish.  They were too kind.

Follow the Inkslingers… their Anthology will be out in May….with a view of Competa in the 1980s and 1990s which is my section! You can order now from me at

The sales price will be set at €15.00 for the paperback and $5.00 on Amazon Kindle Store for the digital issue.
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