Sunday, October 09, 2005

During my drive into the mountains yesterday, I encountered 24 temporary speed bumps. These were all near road-works dedicated to straightening out the bends which so many young men find fatally impossible to negotiate in the small hours of Saturday and Sunday mornings. These bumps are constructed from sections of hard black rubber, striped in yellow. Each section is about 20 inches or 50cm wide and is screwed into the tarmac. You might think that, in a speed-mad, risk-loving, rule-avoiding culture such as Spain’s there would be a certainty someone would tamper with all of these so as to make them less obstructive. But you’d be wrong. For 2 of the 24 had not been got at in any way. The other 22, it has to be said, had all had a section removed so at leave a gap two thirds along the ridge. This then becomes a vital companion to the gutter channel, allowing cars to be driven as if the bumps were simply not there. Which, in effect, they aren’t.

Alfonso has asked whether, in talking about local origins and loyalties, Wales wouldn’t be a more accurate equivalent for Galicia than, say, Cheshire. This is an excellent point but I’m not convinced the analogy is exact. Having weighed the considerations in each direction, I’ve decided Wales is a real country but Galicia is somewhere between a county and a country. Any Galician readers puzzled and/or infuriated by this need to send me their email address so we can debate it outside this blog. Meanwhile, I read by coincidence this week that British loyalties have, in the past 50 years, gravitated from the counties to the cities, as reflected by the fact cricket teams are named after the former but football teams after the latter.

Back in the realm of Spanish politics, the President this week rejected the notion that Catalunia can be a ‘nation’, as this is reserved to the Spanish state. Interestingly, the Spanish word ‘naciĆ³n’ doesn’t merit a capital letter, whereas ‘Estado’ [state] does. I’d be interested in the explanation for this.

Quotes of the Week

He’s a compulsive talker and a candidate for the self-help association of compulsive talkers’ - On Anon Anon.
Jeremy Clarke

The secret to being boring? Tell everything.

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1 comment:

Portorosa said...

(I'm sorry about using your blog, but 300 characters are too few)
Don't get me wrong, Colin; you know I don't usually feel the need of 'defending our things' (and, moreover, I'n not nationalist at all), but I think you're wrong. If you have a look at our History you'll see modern Spain used to be a bunch of different countries, which became an unique state no much earlier than British ones. Of course, there are some differences between so-called 'historical regions' and the others; but I think there are also such differences between Wales and Scotland.

Of course, I know I can be wrong.