Thursday, November 10, 2005

Although there may not be much evidence for the Galician belief that Ireland was colonised from here, there does seem to be some that post-Roman Brits came the other way. The town of Bretoña, south east of Mondoñedo, for example, is said to be the site of an ancient British settlement. To quote . . . “Links between the peoples of NW Iberia and the British Isles were much closer in prehistoric and historic times than has been the case since the 16th century. The old legend of the Irish originating in Spain was simply part of a much broader pattern of movement of peoples along the Atlantic edge of Europe.” Perhaps, then, Columbus was actually of Anglo-Galician descent. See this site for more details –

Despite the Madrid bombings, here in Spain the police can only hold a suspected terrorist for 3 days without charge, against the existing 14 days in the UK and the extension to 28 days agreed yesterday. Not surprisingly, therefore, Blair’s failed demand for 90 days is seen here as more appropriate to a South American dictatorship. How the wheel turns.

The death of 6 construction workers when a viaduct collapsed in the south of Spain has sadly endorsed the country’s position as the worst of the EU-15 for work-related accidents. The league table for these shows the usual north-south pattern on such issues but with some anomalies. Luxembourg, Germany and Austria rank higher than one would expect. Can this be, I wonder, because each has a high percentage of ‘guest workers’? Just a thought.

The more comments I get from the Spanish readers who are good enough to write to me, the more I sense a tendency here to hark back to an earlier ‘golden age’, either of the country as a whole [the 16th century] or, moreso, of its constituent kingdoms. For the life of me, I can’t see this is much different – in principle - from Bin Laden demanding the restoration of Al-Andalus, as the predecessor of [nearly] all of these kingdoms. And perhaps there’s some Visigoth out there who, using the same logic, thinks we should return to the last time Iberia was united, after the Romans went home. A new seat at the UN, perhaps. Visigolandia. Adios both Spain and Portugal. I wonder how much this anti-history nostalgia is unique to Spain, reflecting the long-reported [and admirable] national characteristic of a deep love for one’s patria chica.

Telefonica’s latest wheeze . . . In this month’s bill we’re no longer given discounts on provincial and national calls. They didn’t amount to much per bill but, multiplied by millions, their cancellation must represent a massive amount of pure profit. Of course, we’ve not been advised of this change. How much time now before the ‘call identity’ line has a number in place of the current zero? Oh to be rid of these ‘robbers in white gloves’.

The UK makers of toilet paper [‘hygienic paper’ in Spain] seem to be competing to see who can get the cleverest [or at least cutest] mention of ‘bum’ or ‘bottom’ into their ads. ‘Love your bum’ being one of these. I fear we can’t be very far away from ‘Arse-wipingly good!’

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


jOoLz said...

lol@arse-wipingly good

Portorosa said...

As far as I’m concerned, Colin, I wouldn’t like you to misunderstand what I said about our former historical kingdoms. What I meant is that I can’t see such a difference between British countries and some of our so-called ‘historical regions’; but I didn’t intend, in the least, to defend nationalist claims, which, generally speaking, I consider prejudicial and quite silly.
I understand (and share) love for one’s both ‘patria’ and ‘patria chica’, but I don’t agree about making politics from that feeling, beyond a natural tendency to preserve one’s cultural patrimony.