Things you might not know about Portugal, from Martin Page's The First Global Village:-
- São Francisco (St Francis) died in December 1552, aged forty-six. His body, apparently embalmed by Chinese techniques unknown to Europeans, who attributed its preservation to a divine miracle, was eventually taken to Goa to be publicly exhibited in St Paul's Cathedral. His physical remains did not lie in peace. Within two years, as an act of piety, Donna Isabel de Caron bit off one of his toes.
- The most fiery Indian dish is vindaloo, from Goa. The term is a contraction from the Portuguese for “garlic wine”. [Apocryphal?]
I had an unusually successful morning in town today. I went out to do five things and managed to do them all. Possibly for the first time since I came to live here. All that said, my last task was to post birthday cards to my daughters and this took twenty-five minutes. This was because one of the three desks open closed as my number came up; another was occupied by a woman relating her life story to the clerk; and the third by a woman who'd clearly asked the Post Office to take on something of amazing technical complexity. Ironically, I read later today of the “great truth that George Orwell once enunciated, that every life viewed from within is a succession of small defeats.” Ain't that the truth.
The British government is seeking to get the increase in the EU budget for the next five years kept to a low level. They won't succeed, of course, and ever larger sums will continue to go to French farmers under the totally discredited Common Agricultural Policy. Meanwhile, it's good to know that the European parliament plans to spend 9.4m euros on a new museum on, of all things, the European parliament. Sensitive folk, aren't they.
It struck me today that the word 'news' is comprised of the compass quarters – N, S, E and W. Which may or may not be of interest.
Talking of news . . . Can it really be true that Paris Hilton is opening a shop in Mecca? Or that Galicia has a Federation of Party and Disco Managers?
And talking of discos . . . I wrote years ago that the police were noticeably absent when drunken kids poured out of these at 6 in the morning, rendering the roads decidedly dangerous for anyone else driving at that time. As was the case when a hit-and-run driver mowed down and killed a young woman along the coast at 6.15 on Sunday morning.
Aardman Productions may not have much to worry about but the Spanish animation industry has put together a film called O Apóstolo (The Apostle), set in Galicia. As for the plot . . . “The story revolves around an ex-con who arrives in a deserted town looking for hidden treasure, but what he finds are dead oldies looking for souls to trade with the reaper himself.” The clip is quite enticing.