Walking through bits of leafy Leeds suburbia, I was astonished to see how silent the dogs were at my passing. And then I recalled that my bordie collie, Ryan, is the only canine in my neighbourhood in Pontevedra which doesn't go beserk when anyone [or anything] goes past the gate. I'm forced to ask - Are all Spanish dogs actually bred to bark? Or is this a natural consequence of leaving them outside permanently as they come to regard themselves as merely guard dogs? Of course, this doesn't apply to the rat-sized creatures favoured by the pijas of Pontevedra and which only go outside in the arms of their owners. I supect these never lower themselves to barking. The dogs, I mean.
I never thought I'd say this but dinner in a local restaurant the other night was ruined by a nearby group of young people far noisier than anything I've experienced even in Spain. Not so much loud as rowdy and raucous, they seemed incapable of talking except by screeching. Awful. But last night in another restaurant, my years of dining in Spain came in very handy when the couple at the next table let their two young kids run around at will, albeit issuing the occasional ineffective instruction to stop whatever they were doing. I hardly noticed it but it did leave me wondering whether British society is becoming more 'liberal' in this respect.
My new shirts from M&S come with a little tag telling me they're made from Fairtrade Cotton and that 'By buying this item, you are ensuring that cotton farmers in the developing world can improve their livelihood.' Well, not my primary objective in choosing them but OK. As I asked recently, how long before everything in Zara bears something similar?
A reader has responded to my mention of 'Spanish practices' in the UK Post Office by firing off a long list of British practices which he seems to have compiled from tabloid headlines. I should perhaps have stressed that the phrase has been in use for many, many years and relates to a Spain that no longer exists. It's not a comment on current Spanish society. So the retaliation was really rather unnecessary.
Talking about British society, the government here - after decades of undermining the institution - has announced this morning that marriage is best for the raising of children. What next? That teaching kids to read and write properly might just help their employment prospects? Or that removing all discipline and respect from society might breed a generation of anti-social youths? One lives in hope. Assuming it's not too late for a series of Damascene conversions.