The Secret of the Crazy Lady. 1981 Miami Playa, Tarragona

In 1981 my husband, small son and I were living in Urbanización El Casalot, Miami Playa, Tarragona. This was brand new development and construction was still taking place. Across the road from our house workmen yelled and babbled among themselves, in between peeing on the street, spitting and blowing their nose on the ground. Their transistor radio would be blaring forth with loud advertisements forGalerías Preciados, condensed milk and Camel cigarettes - 'El sabor de la Aventura!'. Occasionally the workmen would burst into song, imitating Julio Iglesias singing "De Niña a Mujer" and "Hey". They were actually pretty good singers, not that I'm an expert, but Julio Iglesias himself would have been happy, I'm sure, to be listening to this open-air concert.

There was something else the workmen got up to besides hammer and bang and make lots of noise. They would play with a puppy. He looked like an Alsation or a German Shepherd pup, based on his colouring as he frolicked about and had lots of fun playing with the workmen. That is, until they stopped work for the day and went home. Guess what they did with the pup?

They hid him inside the house they were constructing. They basically bricked him up so that he couldn't get out. How did I know all this, you might be wondering? At night I heard him howl his little head off. He was a poor wee soul. I couldn't stand it any more, one Sunday when I knew the men wouldn't turn up I searched for him inside the house. The howling was coming from a corner where there were bricks stacked up. I pulled the bricks away scraping and scratching my fingers in the process. Lo and behold, there he was! He jumped up and down, his tail wagging, his tongue hanging out. He was absolutely filthy, covered in dust and cement and who knows what else.

I picked  him up and took him across the road to my house and gave him a lovely bath. I fed him and offered him water. I really wanted to keep him, but reluctantly I decided that that wasn't practical. We didn't know for how long we'd continue living in the area, and anyhow, presumably he belonged to one of the workmen. I had no choice but to take him back across the road, place him in the corner and pile the bricks up around him so that he couldn't escape.

That night as I heard him whine and howl I wanted to rush over and cuddle him. I couldn't wait until morning when the workmen would be back for at least then he'd have company.
On Monday morning the workmen arrived, making as much noise as a herd of elephants stomping around. I spied on them from behind the lace curtains to see if they would let the pup out. They did, thank goodness. Out he came, leaping up and down, his tail wagging furiously. He looked over at our house as if ready to visit me and have another bath, maybe some tasty food.

The workmen stared perplexedly at him, scratching their foreheads. How did the pup get so clean?!
Did someone give him a bath?!

I think my secret was out for the workmen turned and gazed over at our house.

"Señora loca! Crazy lady!"  they called out and laughed loudly.

Thank goodness they were laughing and weren't annoyed that I had removed the pup. Maybe they really did care for the dog after all?