I wonder if the Spanish King is referred to as John Charles in the UK. Which is a little disingenuous as I know he isn't. He's called Juan Carlos, as he is in Spain. In contrast the happily pregnant William and Kate are referred to here as Guillermo and Catalina. It's a peculiarly Spanish custom to Hispanicise all proper nouns from outside Iberia. But I've no idea whether the same thing happens in, say, France or Germany.
Talking about the King, here's Iberosphere nomination of the most outstanding Iberian individuals of 2012's. Meaning, they say, the individuals who've either set the agenda or reflected the public mood over the last 12 months.
As I've said before, there's a never-ending cavalcade of prominent Spaniards – nearly always men – who find themselves arraigned for some sort of financial skulduggery. The latest celebrity rogue is one Gerardo (or should I call him Gerald?) Díaz Farrán, who was President of the failed Marsans Group and a previous President of the Association of Businessmen. Or something like that. He's charged with concealing assets – in their millions – and money laundering,
Relatedly . . . I asked ten Spanish friends at dinner on Friday night if they could name one politician – at the local, regional or national level – who was famous for his or her integrity. I think you know the answer. Mind you, this would be a tough question to answer in most countries, I guess.
Just as I start to implement a resolution to travel more around Spain, the government announces its to close several paradors around spain, including those of Ferrol and Verín here in Galicia. I'd better get my skates on.
Talking of travelling . . . My lovely neighbour, Ester, has something new to worry about. Most of the family is going away for 3 or 4 days but her 17 year old daughter, Maria, is staying at home to study. Ester doesn't want her sleeping alone at night and, having considered the two options of me or my other lovely neighbour, Amparo, has arranged for Maria to sleep there. I don't know whether to be insulted or flattered. However, I have been given Maria's mobile number and am instructed to call her every now and then, to check she's OK. Which will surely endear me to Maria. In addition, I've been asked to rush next door should I hear any screaming. I decided not to debate this with Ester but assured her I will.
Finally . . . Changing spain. Walking into town this morning, I saw a larger-than-life 'statue' of a Dalmatian dog, sitting on the lawn of the Bellas Artes building. On the front of it were several messages exhorting folk to do the right thing and scoop the poop. And, as you can see from the picture here, there was also an example of a full plastic bag. Just for those who couldn't possibly imagine what a bag of dog poo looked like. Touching.