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The Iberian Horseshoe — A Journey

Part III. South East

Boro Wine

Steve Porter
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The visitors kept coming. Ellen and Gerry arrived from London. It was a hot week and classes were winding down at the school. So we hired a couple of apartments in the Old Quarter at Benidorm. Gerry has a very fair complexion and is not one for spending endless hours sunbathing. Doing nothing on the beach was something I quickly tired of too. So leaving the girls there, we went off to find a bar to watch the Scottish Cup Final. It was ninety nine years since Hibs had won the cup and that never looked like changing this time. Hibs were beaten 3–0. The bar was full of happy Celtic fans.

“Maybe they’re saving it for the centenary next year,” Gerry said, as Hibs’ players collected their losers’ medals. “At least Hibs have won the odd trophy over the years. Middlesbrough have never won any bloody thing of note.”

By evening, we were on the balcony preparing for a night out. Gerry and the girls were drinking wine.

“Have you seen this?” He held up the bottle, which had a label with a red lion emblem and ‘Boro’ written in red letters below.

“Where the hell did you get that?” I asked.

“I found it in an off licence down the road.”

“Can you believe it?” Ellen said. “You can’t get him to holiday during the football season, and then when you finally get away he drinks Middlesbrough wine.”

Out on the street we passed a bar covered in Ulster Loyalist slogans. Rousing flute music was coming from within. I had a peek through the window. Orange scarves and Union Jacks adorned the walls. Families in Glasgow Rangers shirts sat round tables, eating crisps and drinking pints of beer. Vacant stools had red hands painted on them.

Gerry came from an Irish Catholic family and had no desire to hang about. Downtown, Ellen and Gerry began to drink in earnest. Before long Gerry was doing Ian Paisley impressions. As the evening wore on the drunken Ian Paisley got louder. I began to look round anxiously in case there were any Rangers shirts in the bar. Soon Gerry was up dancing. He tossed an imaginary baton up in the air and caught it behind his back as it came down again.

The pubs and clubs on the Benidorm seafront filled up with the young, the old, lap dancers and even Spaniards. Mary and I returned to the apartment, leaving the visitors to party on.

In the morning, with a light breeze blowing in off the Med, we ordered a full British breakfast.

“Have you seen the graffiti on the wall round the corner there?” asked Gerry, biting into a pork sausage.

“No what does it say?” Ellen asked.

“It says BORO in big red letters.”

Ellen threw down her cutlery. “Why did you do that, Gerry? Why did you have to go and do that?”

He looked indignant. “What? You don’t think... oh now, come on...”

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Copyright ©Steve Porter, 2004
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Date of publicationApril 2007
Collection RSSGlobal Fiction
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