On the 1st of July, smoking will be banned in all public enclosed spaces in the UK. In line with the normal approach to such laws there, an ‘army of inspectors’ has been recruited to police it, empowered to issue on-the-spot fines. The similarity with Spain is that we also have a comprehensive anti-smoking law on the statute books. And some bars and restaurants have been known to observe it, at least partially. Fortunately for me, there are two of these in Pontevedra.
Well, the chances of me having to finance the cava in 18 months’ time may well be reducing. In yesterday’s El Mundo, a senior economist paraded a host of statistics and opinions endorsing the pessimistic view that Spain – and its residents – are on the edge of a bleak decade. Describing the headline growth figure of 3.7% for this year as misleading, the writer dismissed government statistics and attitudes as a pure fraud on the Spanish people. Particularly chilling were the number of unsold properties currently/imminently on the market and the statement that per capita income here has fallen 2% in the last couple of years, more than anywhere else on the planet. Time will tell, of course, but I hope his view isn’t as accurate as he claims it to be. I’d rather pay for the cava than not. Especially as the euro isn’t going to fall simply because Spain’s economy plummets southwards. So, unless prices collapse, your pounds and dollars won’t buy you more of whatever it is in which you drown your sorrows.
One of the points made in this article was that the flow of immigrants into Spain is now higher than anywhere else, at 100,000 a month. So it’s not too surprising that anti-immigrant parties won several council seats around Spain in last week’s elections. Madrid has 12 of these but, so far at least, there are none in Galicia. Too much rain and too little work, perhaps.
As befits a [would be] nation, Galicia has its very own breed of dog, the palleiro. A page on the Xunta’s web site says, “its morphological characteristics and psychic stability[?] mean it can be used as a police dog, in catastrophes, rescue dog, guide dog, narcotic dog, army dog, etc.”. Looking at the photos, you might think it rather resembles an Alsatian/German Shepherd but it would be a mistake to regard them as one and the same. The first palleiros were, in fact, brought here by the Celts, long before the Germanic Visigoths arrived with their canine friends. Honest. The search is now on for an equally native cat.
London has unveiled its logo for the 2012 Olympics. If you want a tart view of this ‘puerile mess, artistic flop and commercial scandal’, click here.
Finally, if you'd like to see a host of photos of Galicia and/or hear a song in Gallego, hasten along to this impressive, public-spirited site. Don’t tell anyone but, when you click on Pontevedra Capital, the first 2 photos are where I have my Sunday lunch and the view from my house. Am I being stalked?