Friday, September 22, 2006

Second post of the day . . .

Well, reports say hurricane Gordon hit the Galician coast hard near La Guardia in the south and La Coruña in the north but folks in Vigo, Pontevedra and Muros, amongst others, swear they saw and heard very little. It must have been shaped like half a donut.

The UK government is, naturally, implementing a recent [and ridiculous?] EU directive demanding that kids up to the age of 12 - unless they exceed 134cm - sit in special booster seats fixed on the rear passenger seats of cars. As you would expect, sales of these have hit the roof in law-abiding Britain. It’s just a guess but my suspicion is there won’t be such a rush to either implement or obey this directive here in Spain. Constraining/restraining kids is anathema to the average Spanish parent, whether it’s in the back of a car or during a classical music recital. Incidentally, the UK government predicts that this measure will save the lives of 1.5 children per year.

Out of the blue, my favourite café has decided to designate the rear of the premises a smoking area, though it’s still a long way off from complying with the regulation that this be closed off. This leaves the main area as a no-smoking zone, including the bar and all the stools. So I will be amazed if this division is respected. But delighted.

After 6 years, I’m still thrown by the informality [or unreliability] of Spanish meeting arrangements. Yesterday, I agreed to meet a friend at 1 but was a couple of minutes late. As he’d been and gone, I feared I’d upset him and called to apologise. He didn’t answer his phone, leaving me all the more concerned. But he called this morning and was highly amused at the very idea he’d been upset. He reminded me it was Spain and suggested we meet today at the same time. Then didn’t turn up. I suppose we’ll get it together one of these days.

It won’t come as much of a surprise to those of us living here but Spain is now the second largest importer of cement, after the USA. And it's most common bird is still the builder's crane.

In English, double negatives are as rare as hens’ teeth. Not so with Spanish, where they are common. Here’s a good example from one of today’s papers:- El Partido Popular pedirá explicaciones al ministro de Exteriores, y si las que éste no ofrece no son suficientes . . Meaning:- The People’s Party is to seek explanations from the Foreign Secretary and if those that the latter doesn’t offer are not sufficient . . . No wonder it took 37 years to get agreement over Gibraltar.


Portorosa said...

But it is a mistake, Colin:

El Partido Popular pedirá explicaciones al ministro de Exteriores, y si las que éste no ofrece no son suficientes ...: that 'no' shouldn't be there.

Why so many people seem upset because the hurrican was not as strong as it was expected? I think most of them don't have the slightest idea of what a meteo forecast is, and how it works with probability.
Would they/you prefer if the government hadn't taken any measure just in case it wasn't necessary?


Anonymous said...

That statement is wrong, the 'no' could have been 'nos', but more probably it should'n be there.

Anonymous said...

The Spanish have had a booster seat law for approx. two years - same time as high visibility waistcoats were required. Booster seats required for anybody under 1.5m, irrespective of age - the "short granny" clause.