Thursday, November 15, 2007

I raised yesterday the question of the ‘Norwegian’ Orkney Islands seceding from a newly independent Scotland. Gauging the Spanish/Gallego ratio on the streets of Pontevedra yesterday, I got to wondering how the government of a newly independent Galicia would deal with a demand from the Spanish-speaking coast that it break away from the Gallego-speaking hinterland. But this is a purely hypothetical question, of course. It couldn’t possibly happen. There must be a limit to territorial salami slicing. Yes?

The Spanish economy is growing by ‘only’ 3.8% at the moment and, of course, the forecasts for next year are rather lower. For me, the most worrying aspect is that Spain’s annual productivity improvement continues to be marginal, and from a low base. One wonders how the country will fare when the artificial boom of the last 10 years is well and truly over. On the latter, there are daily reports about how bad things are getting but I will lay off reporting any of these for a while.

As someone who tries hard to minimise the number of plastic bags I’m given, I read with interest of London’s decision to stop supermarkets giving them out. I can’t see this happening here, if only because we’d have nothing to use for our nightly deposits in the central rubbish containers. Unless, of course, we're forced to buy them from a specialist supplier. Perhaps the local council. Hmm. Maybe it will happen here quite soon. Especially if I buy a factory and propose a deal to the mayor.

I’ve long wondered whether my border collie’s intelligence isn't too high for my own good and now I have the proof. Confronted by two men at my front gate the night before last, Ryan barked furiously at them – it’s obligatory under Spanish law – but stopped as soon as they unbolted it and entered the garden. I assume his canine reasoning was that, if they came through the gate, they were welcome guests. Except they weren’t and they promptly ran off when I challenged them from a window as they headed for the back of the house. So, a lucky break for me that I was home but Ryan is now in the dog house and awaits re-training, when I can find the right course. Which will be tough as his Castellano is poor. And his Gallego even worse.

It was rumoured yesterday morning that there might be a trickle of rain before the moon came up. But there wasn’t and today has dawned as sunny as any of the previous 77. What a contrast – so far at least – with my first winter in Galicia, when it rained virtually every day from November 2000 to June 2001. But I guess there’s still time to catch up.

Dining in a Mexican restaurant last night, I was surprised to hear a mariachi version of that famous London tune, Roll out the Barrel. I was even more confused when my Paris-raised companion insisted it was a French tune. A quick search on Wikipedia revealed it’s actually a polka, written by the Czech musician Jaromír Vejvoda in 1927. There’s even a Nazi version. That’s enough culture.


Alfonso el Idiota said...

Sensible dogs only bark enough to alert their owners, who are then meant to shoot the baddies. You failed.

Graeme said...

On Mexican mariachis, I was on holiday once when I heard a very familar mariachi being played - the only odd thing was that I was in a hilltop restaurant in Bratislava and the song was being sung by local folk singers in Slovak. I think I'm right in saying the polka and other central european music has influenced Mexican music via emigrants from these regions who ended up in what is now the border region between Mexico and the US.

Colin said...

Yes, Graeme, but did you know that the word mariachi comes from the French word 'marriage' because they play at weddings?

Portorosa said...
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