Christmas is Coming….

christmas tree hopital de ninosAnd San Jose abounds in fibre glass reindeer and inflatable santas to add to the perils of the streets.
The lights have been switched on at the tree outside the Hopital de Ninos and the municipality has declared war on unauthorised street vendors.

It seems to have worried the municipality that the street vendors have encroached on the muni’s prerogative by hiring out sites to each other, the contract assured by a few heavies, as opposed to the muni’s system of licensing street sellers and sending the police to chase the others who just nip round the corner and come back when the police have given up.

My money is not on the muni.

Christmas music has taken over in the supermarkets….and the decorations are going up in the three valleys.
And very nice they are too though they cannot – could not – rival those of the area where I used to live in France; I reckon that it could have been seen from space over the Christmas period though unknown to the world and to GPS at all other times.

One item catches my eye each time I pass.
A Santa Claus, all white beard and whisker on the red oval background.
I know things about that santa which cannot be revealed to its proud owner.

Some time back I was visiting my mother before Christmas as part of those ‘let’s see if the house in France has been taken over by squatters’ trips.
She was sorting out her Christmas card and present list and held out to me in some annoyance the item which now adorns a door in the three valleys.

Hilda won it in a raffle for the blind and passed it on to me! What does she think I’m going to do with it!

Well if you don’t want it….

I certainly don’t!

Then it will come in handy for wrapping up this bottle of port I’m taking back.

And so it did.
The port emerged from the suitcase unscathed – as I had not passed through U.S.A. airports with their Fagin trained baggage handlers – and I laid the wrapper aside for disposal.

The next day the woman who mucks us out each week came for her regular session which has The Men heading for the hills and the dogs lying low under the balcony while mops are flourished and dusters deployed.
She saw the wrapper and asked if she could have it.
Of course she could.

After all, what was I going to do with a festive loo seat cover?

But I still feel vaguely guilty as I pass the house…..

Needless to say, The Neighbour (some of whose history is available on the page just under the header) has decided to contribute to the Christmas spirit.
He has let it be known that in his view we are responsible for the ruination of local solidarity – that is, his reign of terror – and that he expects every Costa Rican to do their duty and ostracise us until we move out.

And if any Costa Rican does not then he will take measures to encourage them: he will kill off their cattle, poison their dogs and take a machete to anyone he encounters when there are no witnesses.

Clearly a conviction politician.

We don’t know everyone on our road….though we know a lot of people after the mess made of the water distribution by the people behind The Neighbour….

We are not universally liked by those we do know….the ‘soy pobre’s (I’m poor) who think we should give them plantains rather than sell them.
As I’ve said to a number of them…they have plenty of land to plant their own plantains, to sow beans and maize….and if they can’t be bothered, that’s their problem.
I’m not a charity for the idle.

The Neighbour is, I think, at his last throw of the dice.
Thanks to new laws and the courts his power as a sort of witchdoctor is in sad decline….people have seen that he can be taken on.

So now he goes for the race card…..and he will have some success.

But I think I can live with being ostracised by idiots….I’ve had that all my life.


47 thoughts on “Christmas is Coming….”

  1. “But I think I can live with being ostracised by idiots….I’ve had that all my life.”

    De ce fait, j’ai peu de doute, chère dame, mais encore, il est tellement plus agréable lorsque nous plaire à nous-mêmes en tirant sur les ailes des imbéciles parmi nous.

      1. Madame, je ne peux penser à quelque chose de très proche de plumer qu’ils devraient aller faire, que le monsieur en moi me dit pas.

  2. People do have quaint tastes don’t they? I’m not a fan of toilet seat covers at the best of times, but a festive one sounds even worse than the normal sort of candlewick bedspread affairs.

    The Neighbour sounds quite The Monster. He doesn’t sound all there. Has he got some manic disorder or just a power complex?

    As for the pobres, jealousy exists the world over. We get it endlessly, and we aren’t remotely rich. But at least it sounds like you have some sensible neighbours who have been prepared to take him on.

    As for the idiots, I am so glaringly anti-social and so out of patients that I rarely mix with any for them to be able to ostracise me.

      1. The Neighbour has so many screws loose that I believe it is only the hat which keeps his head together….going downhill financially, losing his power to terrorise people – thanks to changes in the law which allowed them to get him into court – he is a man loooking for something to blame for his plight.
        And we’re handy.

        That loo seat cover must be like some of the horrors I used to see on the village vide grenier year after year….people anxious to get rid of it…

        The soy pobre brigade….too idle to walk last.
        Danilo’s brother used to have a travelling fruit and veg business and according to him if they bought an orange they would ask for it to be peeled for them…

    1. Most people here are avoiders of conflict….unlike certain elements of la chasse in France…..
      There is always a risk with The Neighour, especially when tanked up….he attacked an unarmed man with a machete a few months ago – and came off worst.

      But underlying violence is part and parcel of rural life anywhere.

  3. Thank you for reminding me to get on with my Christmas card list…

    Great story about the loo cover, I trust it was never actually used! 🙂

    Your neighbour must be getting desperate, he obviously has way too much time on his hands if he can keep hatching all his evil plots.

    1. I have visions of that loo seat cover going from raffle to raffle until finally exiled to Costa Rica….

      The Neighbour is somewhat in a bind at the moment….he’s borrowed money again and has already sold off the wherewithal to pay it back….and it has to be somebody’s fault, doesn’t it….

  4. One certainly doesn’t want to be embraced by idiots, but it’s a shame that your idiotic neighbour is so vindictive.

    “When one is dead, one doesn’t know one is dead. It’s only difficult for the others. It’s the same when one is stupid.”

    Still, in the spirit of the season, let’s wish him a Merry Christmas and a gentle tumble down a bottomless ravine. 😉

  5. Being ostracized by idiots should be the goal of every intelligent person. 🙂

    Loved you toilet seat cover story! I was also very sorry to hear inflatable Santas have made their way to your corner of the world. Every time I walk by one I have an almost irresistible urge to stick a pin in it.

    1. So far the effect has been so many visits that I’ve had to make more cake!

      Yes….I’m tempted too to use a pin! The pavements aren’t very wide at the best of times in San Jose and between the santas and the reindeer and the men selling mobile telephones of dubious origin you might as well walk in the road.

  6. I remember a Christmas present once given to me by my great aunt, a knitted toilet seat cover with matching cover for toilet roll. I’m sure your festive one would have been preferable.

    1. Now, even allowing for the Edinburgh connection, I cannot allow any man with your interest in archives of disused railway tunnels and with the kindness to supply me with videos of steam locomotives in action to describe himself as an idiot.

  7. Ah yes, the good old holiday spirit. Being ostracized by idiots is doing you a favor. Put up sign by your plantains that the price is upped for all who complain they should be free. Nice link to the France post-good on your for not lighting your house and helping to save on half the European energy usage. Have a nice weekend.

    1. I didn’t grow up making a big fuss about Christmas…and I dislike the commercialism…and on top of that given the nature of the house it would have cost a fortune to have put up even strings of fairy lights….which would have been dwarfed by the bulk of the place, like pimples on a round of beef.

      We sell the plantains at under the price in the shops as we can deliver as we go into town – or exchange them for straight from the cow milk….so I’m blowed if I’ll give them away to a bunch of idlers.
      They’re trying post colonial guilt on the wrong girl….

  8. Even though Christmas time is the most difficult time for me being that I have no family (and my father’s birthday was on December 19th and my mother’s was on December 24th), I still love this time of year. I enjoy the music, the decorations and the fellowship. Love that photo, Helen!

  9. I like the things that people do spontaneously….the photograph is the tree that is put up outside the Childrens’ Hospital: there is a little orchestra playing – many of whose members were treated in that very hospital.
    Round here people still meet for prayers in the house during the Advent period…make tamales together…and go to town to enjoy the lights.

  10. I truly enjoy your amusing and always nicely acid-y posts. I read back over the doings of Neighbour. There must be something original and deeply embarrassing (for him) you can think of doing? Come on, Helen, do your worst; this chap cannot be reached via the courts alone.

    Whatever you do, be it ever so malevolent or witchy, I shall stand here applauding and cheering you on.

    1. He is, basically, a nutter.
      He managed to terrify an area for years until new laws made it possible to curb his activities…but you are quite right, courts alone cannot get to him.

      The problem is that anything that will get through to him is decidedly illegal – you cannot shame him.

      A neighbour has a ‘cunning plan’ involving the local demi monde….

  11. Well we don’t have any festive loos seats here but we do have an abundance of suicidal santas suddenly climbing the walls in the village.
    Just take care with the nutter please.We don’t want to hear that you or yours have been diced and sliced.

    1. I remember those clambering santas all too well!
      A friend tells me someone has a santa dangling by its neck on the wall of the PS office in the nearby town….no name on it though….

  12. I won’t add to the negative energy this guy is impelled to provide. What a dark soul. But I will pray for relief from the middle of the targetness that is impinging on you. LOVE the loo cover on the door! When I read it I thought to myself ‘What a marvelous idea!!”

  13. Not the Neighbour again! Shame he can’t be hung halfway up a wall like the Santas until the festive season is well and truly over. As for the soy pobre’s – anyone lucky enough to own land that will grow food can never be truly poor. Stick to your guns with the idle so-and-so’s. You should be flattered to be ostracised by them.

    As for the festive loo seat cover – ROFL. 🙂

    1. He has been relatively quiet lately, but financial reverses have roused his old spirit of getting his retaliation in first….preferably not against those who have the firepower to hit back.
      Can’t say I’ve noticed any change in daily life….except for lots of visits…and the soy pobres can take a running jump.

      It was Back to Bodrum’s suggestion that really curled my liver….imagine meeting the lady out shopping wearing it…!

  14. I love reading your blog but I have to say, it’s a joy and a giggle to read all the comments and your replies too! Neighbours are either good or bad on the whole though yours sounds to have a greater deviant from the mean than most…
    As for festive loo covers – I too had a liver-curling moment when I read B2B’s comment! So comical – it should be on the tele!

    1. It’s the comments which make a blog I often think!
      And that hat suggestion has been haunting me…when she comes to work this week I know I shall be visualising it on her head.

      The Neighbour is, it has to be said , special – but not a Christmas one.

  15. There’s an empty store front down the street. In front is a very large sign proclaiming the property “FOR LEASE:. I knew the holidays were upon us when some graffiti artist with a sense of humor scratched out the Realtor’s phone number beneath those words and spray painted “Navidad”

    So, to you and yours, For Lease Navidad.

  16. I was laughing out loud imagining that loo seat on the door! Your neighbour sounds like a small-minded, self-opinionated plank. Ideal candidate for French politics… Be careful, and balance a bucket of jelly over the door for his next visit.

  17. A festive loo seat cover, now I think I have heard it all……

    Always love your posts but I am not always good at commenting :-(( Have a great Christmas, and we wish both of you a fantastic and healthy 2014. Diane

  18. I couldn’t believe my eyes either when my mother passed it over to me…who on earth could think of that!

    Have a great time over the christmas period…and I bet you’ll be glad to be back to France afterwards.

  19. ha ha, anything goes as long as it is wrapped
    I often wonder how many times things get rewrapped and passed from one recipient to the next
    wonderful initiative the tree in front of the hospital, it makes an intriguing photograph too

    1. The loo seat cover would have been ideal for a game of pass the parcel.

      What is nice is that all the children who are up and about can come down to stand around the tree for the lighting ceremony and the bedbound have their beds pushed to the balconies overlooking the site, while there are a number of ex patients in the little orchestra that is playing.

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