Friday, October 21, 2005

A news item this morning advised horseracing was about to make a return to the Spanish sporting agenda. Until I heard this, I hadn’t realised it was missing. What a contrast with the UK.

Today was the 200th anniversary of the history-changing battle of Trafalgar, which took place off the south west coast of Spain, near Cadiz. At a touching remembrance ceremony, Spanish, French and British sailors threw laurel wreaths into the sea at the site of the death of almost 5,000 of their predecessors. Nelson gets almost as much credit in Spain as in Britain for his strategic genius but culpability for the disaster suffered by the Spanish is laid firmly at the door of the French admiral who decided to cut and run from the protection of Cadiz harbour. Descendants of the leading players were at today’s ceremony but possibly not his. Especially as he conveniently committed suicide before Napoleon could court-martial and execute him. Perhaps.

Another classic shopping experience today. Two weeks ago I ordered a basic blues book for piano. After a call telling me it was in, I trekked right through town to pick it up. It turned out to be for the guitar. When I told them it was useless, the reply was simply ‘No problem. We’ll just order another one’. No apology, of course, for wasting my time; this is what time is for in Spain. The fact Spaniards tolerate this sort of thing with equanimity might explain why a young Dutchman recently wrote to me from Ourense saying he’d had to quit his job in a vineyard as he couldn’t persuade the owner that his concept of time and efficiency simply wasn’t shared by potential customers in northern Europe.

The latest scam email from Africa is from a chap who’s been ‘diagnosed with Esophageal cancer which has defiled all forms of medical treatment’. Poor bugger.

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

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