We needed to get out of the house. Sure, we do stuff all the time but summer has roared back in the last week, and it’s been hot and humid out. Our landlord told me it’s call ‘St. Micheal’s Little Summer‘, since the end of September and the beginning of October is the time of St. Micheal. I’ll take his word for it. Either way – it’s been too hot to really be out mid-day.
So this weekend morning we got up early, walked down to El Espacia Creativo and hopped on the bikes for a ride down to the beach and up to Port Saplaya. It wasn’t too warm on the way up and we sat at an outdoor cafe, enjoying a coffee and water before heading back in the direct sun to stop at our favorite hamburger/biker bar for lunch. Asier’s is the best burger in Valencia (sin gluten options) and it’s located directly across from the La Marina tram stop by the beach. They know us there and are always lovely and accommodating.
But that’s not our local. Everyone has to have a local and our local dive bar is just down the street from our house. I’m not sure why, but the owner and his wife seem fascinated with all things UK and Irish and the bar, and often their apparel, reflects this. Again, they know us there. When we sit down the guy brings una cerveza for El Jefe and dos aguas for me – without asking. And they have good olives (a must when choosing a dive bar).
They also have electronic darts, and of an evening we are often found there battling it out for dart supremacy. Our dive bar is filled with hipsters too. It seems that most of the patrons are direct from Central Casting. They’re all ironically dressed, tattoo’d/pierced, and gorgeous. There is a part of me that feels like I need to check my hair before we make our way down there. We are not inked up enough for this crowd.
Everyone there has been accepting of us. They comment and laugh at my unique dart throwing technique. Less of Jeff’s precision and more of how my brother’s taught me to throw a baseball. I sometimes even hit the dart board. And one other thing that the patrons of this bar are all about is Ping-Pong. Yes, there are Ping-Pong tables at the small park across the street. Well, really it’s more like a large triangular median between the tram and several opposing streets, but in the middle are Ping-Pong tables.
Are we now the proud owners of our own Ping-Pong paddles and balls? If you know Jeff, he will always have his own gear, so yes, yes we are. And you can’t head down to the bar without lugging your own paddles and darts packed in their own cases. Is this strange? Not as much as you might think. Other’s have them too. So it seems Jeff has found his people.
And today after our bike ride we headed there and enjoyed a hearty game of Ping-Pong and some darts. Then we went up the Turia to see the new Downton Abbey movie. I love Downton Abbey. It’s probably ridiculous, but I do.
One year, back in the US, we gave up satellite TV for 18 months. Well, everything but Netflix. We wanted our kids to go outside. It mostly worked. But one the thing I forgot about was Downton Abbey. And when the next season came out I was bereft. What would I do? I was desperate.
After missing the season premiere, I took drastic action. We had a dive bar in Snoqualmie a few miles from our house. Finaughty’s is an Irish bar with authentically sticky floors owned by an ex rocker who, on occasion, had some pretty famous peeps come and play for the local crowd. Lots of signed memorabilia lined the walls. But on a Sunday night it was dead. Like NO ONE would be in there.
So we put on our parkas over our jammies – yes, it was snowing – and we piled into the SUV and headed to Finaughty’s. The bar tender knew us, but then Snoqualmie is a very small place so he knew everyone – including people who never went to Finaughty’s to play darts and enjoy a pint. So we walked in and ordered something and took it to the far end of the bar near a tv. Then I appealed to the bartender to give up one of the sports they were showing and turn it on to Downton Abbey. Huh? He looked at me like I was crazy but there was no one else in there to protest so he did it.
We sat there in our coats, nursing our drinks, first watching the previous week’s replay and then the current episode. We tipped him very well and left. Each week, we went back and each week he turned on Downton Abbey. But very slowly something changed. Soon, more tv’s were tuned in to the exploits of the Crawley family. More people came in and started watching it. Soon the bartender himself was engrossed in the action. Discussions around sports had turned to Lady Mary and Matthew and if Lord Grantham could save the Abbey from financial ruin. And Edith? Poor Edith. When Matthew died in the car crash the patrons shed real tears right along with us.
Did we go every week in our jammies and parkas? Yes, we did. Did anyone ever look at us askance for our entirely inappropriate attire? Not after the first few weeks. They were too engrossed in Downton Abbey.
So it was only fitting that after watching the movie today – with a deliciously predictable plot – that we stopped in at our local and enjoyed a cool beverage – one pint and two waters – a game of darts, and a good chin wag about the exploits of our old friends at Downton Abbey. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday evening on any continent.