Yesterday, as planned, I arrived at the local post office at 9:30a.m. well within the tiny window of opportunity they provide me with – 8·00am – 10.00am, or wait until the next day. Only once I was standing outside of the post office, forlornly peeping through the still closed grille, and hoping for a sign of life within, did I remember that it was a national holiday….
With only the bars open, I called by my favorite one in the plaza and ordered a café con leche and toast. The girl who served me confirmed that it was indeed a fiesta day in all of Spain. I replied that I had thought the holiday was Friday, not Thursday. Oh no, she said. Friday is the “puente”, and only the schools are shut. For those of you who are not familiar with the spanish “puente” it is an extra day that schools, shops and anyone else who feels like it, remain closed on Friday if there has been a holiday on Thursday. The word means a bridge. Why return to work for just one day when the weekend is so close? Make a bridge over the inconvenient day of work between the fiesta and saturday and enjoy a nice long break. The same system is used if a national holiday falls on a Tuesday; bridge the Monday and make a mini holiday out of it. One of Spain´s best traditions, in my opinion.
So, off I set this morning, early again, in my quest to retrieve my item, before it was sent back. Frankly, I was expecting a final demand for something or other. I do have a reputation for being quite forgetful. The item turned out to be a nice rounded brown -bag- and-stickytape affair, so I knew right away it was going to be more fun than a bill, and I was right.
Some time ago I had ordered a rather lovely bag from a tiny fair trade organisation which do wonderful work with the Hmong hill tribes of Thailand. It was several weeks ago, and as is normal for me, I had forgotten all about it. So it was an absolute pleasure to open the parcel and see my new bag. It´s beautifully made, lined and with extra zipped pockets inside, with a cute little purse to go inside. The company included a little note to express their gratitude, and an offer of 5% off my next purchase. Unfortunately, they only thing they forgot to include was the name of their organisation…….I will look for my original email from them and let you know who they are. They are well worth a visit.
It’s always lovely to buy from these small-scale fair trade organisations;I really do feel that we should be doing all we can to support small businesses. Sometimes they are connected to a charitable work, sometimes they are run by stay-at -home moms, supporting their family. Often they are groups of women who have come together to enable themselves to become financially independent. And of course, many men too are busy producing wonderful goods of all kinds, often with great skill, and always in a more ethical manner than any big business I know of.
Next time you´re thinking a buying something, almost anything, take a wander around your local small shops, or find them on the internet – they really are such a more direct and honest way of doing business. Lets show them some support!
Enjoy your day,