In the 11th century, a Muslim scholar reviewed all the peoples of the known world. He concluded everyone in temperate zones was pretty clever but those in northern climes were blond and dumb, whereas everyone to the south was black and thick. He detected two [inexplicable] exceptions to what he saw as a Divine law – the Berbers of North Africa and the Galicians of north West Spain. The former were Muslim but fractious and the latter were stubbornly Christian and outside the Muslim state of El Andalus. Despite being in the correct latitudes, both were, therefore, stupid. Funnily enough, notwithstanding latter day religious conformity, the rest of Spain still has much the same view of the poor Galicians. And of the North Africans. I suspect. Part of the Arab heritage?
At 35% of the population, internet usage in Spain is relatively low. And a mere 3.5% use the internet for shopping. I can’t say I blame them. Starting with slow, over-complex, user-unfriendly sites, the barriers to quick success are high. My own worst experience was trying to buy a ticket from the national rail company, RENFE. Having filled in all the details, I was told I’d now have to present myself, with photographic identity, at the local railway station in order to prove who I was. Whereupon they’d consider sending me a ticket. It occurred to me at the time they hadn’t quite got the hang of things.
A very modern tale – The wife of the President of Nigeria has died under the surgeon’s knife in a Spanish hospital called ‘The Molding Clinic’. As you’ll have guessed, this wasn’t a life-saving operation but an ‘aesthetic intervention’. Or plastic surgery. It appears she was undergoing liposuction. So, ‘under the surgeon’s vacuum hose’ might be a more correct way of putting things.
I see David Beckham has got himself sent off again, this time for sarcastically applauding [a la Wayne Rooney] the referee’s decision to give him a yellow card. And these are the captain and star player of the English team, respectively. Strangely, I was going to write yesterday that the reason why football coaches are so stupid must be because they used to be professional footballers. So we can surely look forward to one or both of these idiots managing the English team in about 10 years’ time. Or at least a major Premiership team. I wonder how the Muslim scholar would have explained these two exceptions to his theory.
It seems the ‘greengrocers’ apostrophe’ is not confined to Sky News. There’s a Spanish shop [tienda] called TIENDA BED’S. English marches on, for better or worse.
For new readers – If you’ve arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, you might find my non-commercial guides interesting – at colindavies.net