Thursday, November 13, 2003

I realised today that I have written 3 letters since I came here 3 years ago offering free assistance. The first was to a local school’s headmaster, offering to give English talks to the pupils. The second was several months ago to the British Council in Madrid, offering whatever they might want in Galicia. And more recently, I wrote to the mayor here, offering to provide assistance with tourism matters. To none of these have I ever received a response, though I met the mayor in the street a week or two ago and he acknowledged my letter and said he would be in touch about an ‘association’. He hasn’t been. I like to think that all this says more about Spanish manners [and perhaps their efficiency] than it does about my qualifications!

Talking about the local mayor, it has struck me recently that mayors in Spain are vastly more important people than in the UK. Does anyone know who the local mayor is in the UK? Or even the head of the town or county council? The local papers here are full of the actions of the town council and, especially, the local mayors. I says ‘mayors’ because every little village and town has one. We have one in Poio, as well as one in Pontevedra. Of course, I suspect that the local coverage of the mayors’ activities may not be unconnected with the finance that keeps the local papers going. There is a raft of these and each of them is daily. It is very hard to see that they are kept afloat by their circulation numbers and advertising.

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