We have a young Saharan boy, Brahim, spending the summer with some of our neighbours. He cycles up and down the road, looking a bit bored. So I wasn’t surprised when he started to chat to me yesterday about my dog and then joined us for a walk in the forest. I know I go on about this but it is one of the greatest things about Spain that kids still venture onto the street and have no qualms about chatting to strangers. Even more satisfying is knowing I won’t be questioned by the police for daring to respond to his questions nor appear on a register of potential sex offenders. I exaggerate, of course, but it is certainly true that I would have cut the conversation short in the UK and would have broken out into a sweat at the thought of Brahim coming into a forest with us.
Another immensely enjoyable experience this week-end was attending one of the numerous local fiestas and watching couples of every age dancing [sort of] in the open air. Plus the inevitable village idiot, dancing alone with his arms wrapped round himself. There’s always one up at the front, near the band.
I see that the leading Spanish bank [SCH] is planning to take over the Abbey National in the UK. This should be a tremendous culture shock for both of them. I can’t see standard ‘Spanish practices’ going down well with UK customers so I hope things move in the opposite direction. If so, I’ll have an even greater incentive to move from the BBVA, who are currently where the Midland was about 30 years ago - before US competition drastically changed the UK banking world for the better.
I took some oat flakes back to the health shop today because they were full of insects. The guy was very nice but gave me two excuses:- 1. The weather has been warm. Without this I guess one would have only eggs rather than live creatures, and 2. The oats were grown organically so no insecticides were used. Perhaps so but I think vegetarians need to know that their muesli might contain animal protein as a result. Be all that as it may, I got my money back and went elsewhere.
Los boxes – The pits, as in Formula 1 motor racing
Gay – Homosexual. Pretty obvious but the interesting thing is the pluralisation. So ‘homosexual marriages’ becomes ‘matrimonios gays’.
FilmWatch: Or Lost in Translation
Stir of Echoes -> The Last Step
Chain of Fools -> Chain of Entanglements