I thought I’d have some fun with the stamp machine in the post office today and try the instructions in English. It was an equally long, multi-step process but all went well until the end when the final instruction from the machine was Receive. I guessed this was one of the meanings of the multi-purpose verb Cobrar and really should have been Pay. But I was once again left wondering why such critical things aren’t checked with native speakers, especially when you’ve gone to the trouble to cater for non-Spanish speakers.
Along with the other autonomy-minded communities/regions/ countries/nationalities/nations of the Basque Country and Galicia, Catalunia suffered greatly under Franco’s fascism. So it seems rather ironic the government there should now be indulging in measures such as a new law to make it compulsory for all university professors to speak Catalan. In other words, suppressing teaching in Spanish. Perhaps the Catalans – who are famous for their common sense [seny] – lack a sense of irony.
Meanwhile, back in Galicia, the year has started badly on our roads. A total of 34 people have been killed so far. 50% of these were not wearing safety belts; and 50% - possibly the same people – were killed by trees and walls, after their cars had parted company with the road. Usually around 5am of a Saturday or Sunday morning, I imagine. A columnist in one of today’s local papers expressed the hope the imminent points-based penalty system will have some beneficial effect, given that [surviving] offenders will be sent for remedial lessons specific to their offence. Having seen how driving instructors take their pupils around roundabouts, I am rather less sanguine. He also put forward the view the authorities should stop concentrating on tougher penalties and invest more in making the roads safer. I was initially tempted to dismiss this as a variant of the oft-heard argument to the effect that, if all the roads were wide, flat and dead straight, everyone could drive at 180kph in complete safety. But, in the end, I decided it was sensibly pragmatic to admit one can’t stop indulgent Spanish parents financing the purchase of fatally fast cars for their offspring and so should concentrate on minimising the consequences. If this is really what he meant.
The regions of Asturias and Galicia have amicably settled their dispute as to which side of the border certain towns lie. Both of them must surely feel a sense of relief they weren’t up against France and so facing the threat of a tactical nuclear strike.
A total of 12 foxes were shot during the weekend’s Galician championship. But no humans. And the little abandoned bitch which has adopted me escaped from my garden and found a male friend who, naturally, shared her interest in seasonal rumpy-pumpy. Next weekend, it’s the Pontevedra rampant-male-dog hunting championship. A new but wildly popular event. At least around here.
Anyone want a puppy?