This is quite an embarrassing story, but sod it, I’m going to tell it anyway. If you live in Spain then you’ll probably be familiar with the old-fashioned way of getting gas (and I’m not talking about eating lentils).
Unfortunately, we still use the traditional method of the butano. Which means we have to call up the local gas company and get a bloke to bring round a new orange, or sometimes silver, gas canister.
We probably should have changed to natural gas by now, where they come round and install a new boiler and fit in gas tubes somehow, but we haven’t got round to it. After this little episode, I think it might be time.
Anyway, the problem with my local town is that the company who deliver the gas canisters only come to where we live on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Since no one has worked out a way of putting some sort of indicator on the gas canister to tell how much gas is left, the only way you know when it’s running out is when the boiler makes an extra loud bang when it ignites, as if it’s sucking out the gas a little bit harder.
So, last weekend, confident of having a shower as I hadn’t heard much banging with the boiler recently, I jumped in before nipping off to work, on a Saturday, and found that the gas had indeed run out. As it was the weekend, I had to pop up the road and get a new canister.
Easy, for anyone with a car, but we don’t, and the petrol station is about a ten minute walk away. The canisters weigh about 15kgs, so the only way I can get an emergency one is by using an old double pram we have lying about in the patio. It’s one of those huge ones which can carry two babies. It’s perfect for propping a gas canister on. So, off I went, not the first time on a Saturday, with my orange gas canister in the pram.
I was about halfway on my journey, when I heard someone shouting behind.
“Killo,” he said, in the Andalucian way. (Mate, in English).
I turned round and nodded as a skinny guy whizzed past on his bike.
“Esta no llorar.”
“Como?” I said, confused about what he’d said.
“Llorar killo, no llorar,” he added, laughing to himself. Then it clicked. “Mate, that one doesn’t cry, does it?” he’d said.
I laughed, it was about time someone made a comment about me travelling with a gas canister propped up in a pram. It didn’t stop there though.
As I got to the petrol station, and it must have been the 5th or 6th time in recent months, one of the younger guys working there greeted me.
“Killo,” he said, nodding to the pram. “Where are you taking the baby?”
“Just getting some air.”
He laughed and shook my hand. I left the buggy outside the shop and walked in. Inside I stood in the queue, waiting for more comments to come. As I got to the till, I greeted an older guy I’d spoken to on several occasions. We both looked out the window and saw the younger guy pushing my pram, with the canister, over to replace it with a new one. The older guy winked at me and picked up his walkie-talkie.
“Killo,” he said to his mate outside. “Be careful with the baby.”
The younger guy looked over, laughed, and waved. I spoke with the older guy about the rise in the price of the gas canister, as usual, and watched my new baby appear outside.
Outside, I shook the younger guy’s hand.
“My house is over there if you fancy dropping it off?”
“Nah, you’re all right,” he replied. “Take care of that one, she’s quiet at the moment, don’t wake her up,” he added.
As I walked home with the new canister, I started to wonder if maybe it was time to get a car, or just sort out the boiler to get natural gas, like we used to have when we lived in the centre. But I think I’d miss those walks with the pram and chatting to the petrol station blokes. At least it gets me out of the house at the weekend, away from the real screaming babies.
Do you use gas canisters where you live? What do you do if it runs out at the weekend?