Having lived in 6 cultures, I long ago gave up looking for logic and consistency in social norms. Some of them, of course, are simply ridiculous. Like the British [English?] convention of eating peas off the back of your fork. This comment is prompted by the advice I was given today that it’s rude in Spain to take a piece of bread from the central basket and then eat it without breaking it into smaller pieces. God knows why. I wonder whether it has something to do with the symbolically peaceful nature of ‘breaking bread’ with someone. Or perhaps it has a religious origin.
Talking of Spanish norms, TV directors here are in perpetual quest for pictures of blood or gore. So it was too much to expect that they would not bring us the stained handkerchief used to prove the virginity of the bride at a recent big gypsy wedding in Andalucia. The other stroke of luck they’ve had this year is the high number of gorings during the summer’s bullfights. Not a lot of blood in fact – at least not of the human variety – but plenty of exciting action to reprise. And reprise.
Spain’s proximity to Africa means it’s a favoured target for illegal immigrants. These arrive by raft and boat on the south and east coasts in their thousands, many of them already dead. As if this weren’t enough of a problem, Spain also has 2 enclaves [decidedly not ‘colonies’ like Gibraltar] in Africa. Over the past 2 nights around 500 Africans have stormed the security fences around one of these in an attempt to get over them using makeshift ladders. Given that some of them succeeded, I guess the prospect is of more of these desperate sallies.
Sentences have been passed down on a group of Muslims accused of plotting the Madrid bomb atrocity last year. The prosecutor asked for a total of 233,000 years, including 74,337 for the ringleader. In the event, the judges handed down 127 and 27, respectively. I’m not sure the massive reductions engendered much sense of relief in the guy who got 27 years.
A Nigerian email scam with a difference tonight – it purports to come from Kenya. And begins ‘Dearly Beloved in Christ’. More of this anon.