Sunday, February 19, 2006

Observations of my drive back from Madrid yesterday:-
- It’s remarkably easy to get out of the city, at least on a Saturday morning
- Most of the vehicles going past me at speeds somewhat above even the ‘unofficial limit’ of 140kph, were black or dark blue 4WD SUVs. I concluded all Galicia’s drug barons must have been for a night out in Madrid, treating themselves to the region’s best seafood that’s routinely shipped to the capital.
- It’s nearly always raining or snowing when you reach the mountainous passes between Castile and Galicia. No wonder the people up there seem so miserable when you stop for a coffee. They live in the middle of a bad-weather sandwich.
- If, in your search for somewhere to eat, you take the exit for Verin east, the first two buildings you come across on the edge of town are brothels
- Ditto, if you leave the A52 and take the ‘old road’ to Pontevedra. In this case, the building is painted pink, has a large silhouette of a naked, horizontal woman on its side and is called ‘Las Nimfas’. But I must admit I’m only guessing it’s a brothel.

Gibraltar, it seems, is back in the news, ahead of the next meeting of the forum established between the British and Spanish governments [who share the objective of Spanish sovereignty] and the prime minister of Gibraltar, who begs to differ. The British are extremely optimistic but the Spanish only ‘moderately’ so. The issues on which progress is expected include use of the airport by Spanish citizens; payment of pensions to Spaniards who have worked on the Rock; and increased availability of phone lines from Spain. You have to ask why two friendly countries who’ve been fellow members of the EU for more than 20 years are still having difficulty reaching agreement around such mundane matters. Perhaps if there'd been less vote-winning posturing from both sides things would now be much further on. Better late than never, I suppose.

A Spanish parliamentary committee has approved the use of embryos for the narrow purposes of curing a sibling. A Catholic archbishop has criticised this as being “A hostile takeover of mankind.” From God, presumably. So I hope he has good lawyers. Which seems unlikely.

I'm told Francisco Umbral is a novelist with a reputation for writing when he's drunk. Which explains a lot.


Moof said...

When you say "back in the news", you don't, of course, mean the British news. No, Gibraltar is not news in Britain, which prefers to hear about girls getting their hair tangled in mixers than a bit of posturing by some politicos. The BBC hardly covers Gibraltar at all, in fact, the only english-language mention I could find of this was in a very generic Google search which brought up a short, three-paragraph, gramatically incorrect story on a spanish news website.

Gibraltar is only news because Spanish politicians make it so; no Spanish politician has ever been seen to be in the wrong in Spanish news by insisting that Gibraltar is Spanish, and all the major newsworthy stuff that has anything to do with Gibraltar only has to do with spaniards making a fuss.

And yes, these are all fairly minor points, but of such minutiae are good scandals made of. In a country where political scandal serves the same purpose, and has the same level of popularity as the Prensa Rosa, it's little surprise little things like this are what gets discussed in these meetings.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification on the Spanish journalist, if he was less than sober, this explains everything.