Friday, November 14, 2003

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Prestige oil slick disaster. One of the papers has stressed that none of the various measures proposed – special harbour, more tugs, etc. – has yet been introduced. If it happened again tomorrow, Galicia/Spain would be just as exposed to the consequences. There was another good cartoon today. It showed pictures of the various organisms that are affected in various degrees by the hydrocarbon residues. Some seafood was said to be very affected and some relatively unaffected. The most unaffected organisms were national and local politicians.

The nonsense has begun over the royal wedding of the Prince to the journalist. The Palace denied today that the contract for the nuptial flowers had been given to ‘a Mexican’. The Spanish do like to keep things ‘in the family’, even at the expense of higher cost and lower efficiency.

On a lower note, the papers today say that 63 woman have been killed so far this year by their partners. This is a very prominent topic here and I’m not sure whether this is because the incidence has risen significantly or because the crime has attained greater political importance. Quite possibly both, I suppose, as traditional Spanish males struggle to accommodate female emancipation and modern Spanish women make more noise about it. Spanish women are good at making noise, generally speaking.

The Spanish have a growing love affair with the English gerund. They use it even when the word means something else in English. Or doesn’t even exist. So, ‘footing’ is jogging. And ‘mobbing’ is harassment at work. And ‘un parking’ is a car park. This week I have come across a new one – a ‘lifting’ is a facelift! In a similar vein, they appear to have adopted the word ‘light’ [as in ‘Coca Cola light’] but to have given it a negative connotation. Last night I listened to a discussion about ‘padres light’. This turned out to mean bad parents, i. e. those who don’t fulfil their obligations to their kids. I like to think of myself as a ‘father heavy’.

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