Last night saw a televised debate between the President and the Leader of the Opposition. For a right-of-centre view, try John Chappell over at Iberian Notes. And for a counter perspective, Graeme at South of Watford. John has an almost blow-by-blow account on his blog and concludes that, although Rajoy won on points, he really needed a knockout blow to overtake the governing PSOE party in the polls. Graeme agrees about the absence of a killer blow from either set of fists but finally goes, as expected, with Zapatero. But, to my surprise, he doesn't work a mention of his bête-noire, Espe Aguirre, into his comment. Sorry, bloggers' in-joke. But more on this theme below.
The latest pledge/bribe from the PSOE is that it’ll subsidise the mortgages of those who want to extend the term rather than pay increased monthly payments. Of course, this will only be available to families in financial difficulties. But as this could well include some pretty profligate people, some rather undeserving folk could now have their extravagances subsidised by other taxpayers. Just as in the UK. So another small step towards debilitating welfare dependency in Spain. You'd think they’d learn.
In yesterday’s El Mundo, you had to plough [plow] through 26 pages of election stuff before you got to any news. With El País unavailable, I had to resort to ABC, which managed two more. Happily, the Voz de Galicia got it down to a mere eleven.
Finally on politics - Could there ever be an emptier headline than “Raul Castro is elected President of Cuba”
In an article yesterday on the [then] imminent debate, it was said that Rajoy was not getting in any sparring prior to the top-of-the-bill bout. I was tempted to see this as the latest bit of Spanglish but the absence of a definite or indefinite article left me wondering whether it wasn’t just a ‘clever’ interpolation of an English word. In other words, sparring is not in the same category as un liftin [= un lifting = facelift] or un futin [un footing = jogging]. Or even – dare I say – un spinning [= un spinning = a group gym exercise on bicycles]. But there will be other views, I suspect.
I was rather impressed to hear both Sky News and the BBC had declined to show pictures of the horrendous injury to the Arsenal footballer player Eduardo over the weekend. No such squeamishness and over-sensitivity here; it was hard to avoid photos of it in the Sports sections of yesterday’s press. And, to be fair, I think the UK press also ran photos alongside their articles.
Homes e Mulleres, I give you Jujel. This is a Galician version of Google, though possibly not authorised. I would have expected Xuxel but, as I understand it, there’s an in-joke at play here. In parts of Galicia the letter G is pronounced like the Spanish J. So gato [cat] becomes jato. By which I mean khato when it comes to an approximation of the guttural pronunciation. And so, the Jujel folk also render Galicia as Jalisia. Which is a double joke as it bows not only in the direction of the above practice [geada] but also in that of the other habit of pronouncing the letter C as an S [seseo]. Those not utterly confused or bored by this will be interested to know the description of Jujel I read contained the funny phrases:- Ghughel para os amighos and E ademais funsiona. Which must have had them laughing in the aisles in, say, Gondomil. Though I doubt that the Royal Academy of the Galician Language is much amused. Anyway, I’m sure that, if you want to search on anything to do with Galicia/ Galithia/Galizia/Galiz/Galisia/Ghalisia/Jalicia/Jalisia, then Jujel/ Xuxel/Ghughel/Jughel/Ghujel is the search engine for you. Good luck. I’ll now just sit back and wait for the abuse from Galician Nationalists keen to tell me I know nothing about the region/land/ country/national reality/nation or its language. Bring it on, chaps.
Domestically, I was summoned to my gate last night by a sad-looking no-longer-nice-but-still-noisy Tony, who was wafting a piece of paper as if it concerned both of us. In fact, it was a water bill, showing consumption of 80 cubic metres up to mid December. As mine was 10, I could see why he might be unhappy. He was sure he had a leak somewhere and took me on a tour of his garden and the community gardens below, where there certainly was evidence of a problem directly below his house. I then made Tony’s day worse by pointing out two months had passed since the reading and he might like to find out what the leak had cost him since then. You can imagine his reaction when we calculated that his use had gone up from an already staggering 80 cubic metres in the previous quarter to just under 300 in the current period. So far. He looked rather despondent as I slid quietly away. And I almost felt sorry for him.