Friday, February 09, 2007

As is the Spanish custom, the sister of the Princess of Asturias was buried within only a day or so of her death. As it happens, I discussed respective burial customs with some Spanish friends only last week. Naturally, they’d been astonished to hear British funerals normally take place after more than a week. Various possible reasons for this difference were tabled, with the heat and the ‘localism’ of Spain being seen as two factors encouraging/allowing prompt action here. Incidentally, the Princess’s sister was cremated, which is still not common in Spain. The Spanish word for this is incineracíon. As with the word for putting down animals [sacrificar], this has unfortunate connotations when read by English speakers.

Foreigners who’ve registered here in Spain now account for over 9% of the population. Or more than 4 million in total. Catalunia – at 22% - leads the national table, followed by Madrid and then the Communities of the eastern and southern coasts. Galicia manages a mere 1.8% but this is still more than Estremadura and Cantabria. The average age of the immigrants is 34, against 41 for the natives. And, of course, they breed more than the Spanish. But this would not be very difficult. Even the non-amorous Brits manage it.

Because of a huge spat over water rights, the government of the Valencia Community has joined Murcia’s in threatening to appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal if the Spanish parliament approves the text of the new Constitution for Castilla-La Mancha. I can’t help wondering whether there aren’t better ways of dealing with national/regional matters but, of course, I can’t come up with an answer. We’re all victims of our history and these things have to be done in accordance with historical realities.

Galicia Facts

Galicia has long led the national field in the deaths of elderly residents who are crossing the road. Or even just walking along the pavement [sidewalk]. Last year, there were 38 of these but this year’s slaughter has already reached 12 in less than two months. The genius who is head of the traffic police here says the main reason is that old folk wear dark clothes. Others have suggested reckless driving might just have something to do with it. But my suspicion is that the surge in fatalities stems from Galician Nationalists mistaking other people with graveyard blond hair for me.


Finally - A reader has suggested I “walk a fine line between British humor and British irritability”. On reflection, I think I’d quite like this on my gravestone. But spelled correctly, of course. Actually, no. I’d prefer ‘irascibility”.

5 comments:

Xoan-Carlos said...

But then again you won't need an epitaph if you're "incinerated" like most Brits!

Xoan-Carlos

Gabriel said...

I'm getting dizzy just reading about all the regional-cum-national constitutions! If I spend too much time thnking about it I'll be tempted to walk the roads of Galicia at night, wearing dark clothes and singing the Spanish (err Castilian?) national anthem in the hopes that some intoxicated, live-at-home youth driving a nice BMW will mow me down and take me out of my misery. If he's driving fast enough, it might also spare my family the cost of "incineration" which would be quite a "sacrificio."

Anonymous said...

Can you "sing" an instrumental only anthem, or are you a Second Republican?

Colin said...

Well, these are Jose Maria Pemán's lyrics. Technically, they may still be vigentes but it's hardly surprising no one wants to be caught mouthing them . . . .

Viva España, alzad los brazos, hijos

del pueblo español,
que vuelve a resurgir.

Gloria a la Patria que supo seguir,
sobre el azul del mar el caminar del sol.

Gloria a la Patria que supo seguir,
sobre el azul del mar el caminar del sol.

¡Triunfa España! Los yunques y las ruedas
cantan al compás
del himno de la fe.

¡Triunfa España! Los yunques y las ruedas
cantan al compás
del himno de la fe.

Juntos con ellos cantemos de pie
la vida nueva y fuerte del trabajo y paz.

Viva España, alzad los brazos, hijos
del pueblo español,
que vuelve a resurgir.

Gloria a la Patria que supo seguir,
sobre el azul del mar el caminar del sol.

Gloria a la Patria que supo seguir,
sobre el azul del mar el caminar del sol.

Carlos said...

Colin, don't be so harsh on yourself. A natural platinum blond, that's what you are. Such snow-white crown perfectly befits the purity of your intellect.

And do not worry about being crushed by a car. I don't know about other nationalists, but we Galicians prefer more suble methods against dissidents. A slow-working poison (a noxious chemical and/or insidious indoctrination) would be more our style. Haven't you noticed anything yet?

Now to more serious matters: yes, many here drive like lunatics. Where I live this has taken on the proportion of an epidemic. Mind you, pedestrians are no angels either, though. Jaywalking is the order of the day.

Although it would be totally idiotic to put the blame on old people's dark clothes, it is true that it would do no one no harm if people became aware of the advantages of wearing a something reflective to be seen...

The lyrics by Pemán were never official, or so I've repeatedly heard.

Adeus